Depending on where your wedding is, you can choose to hire a local photographer or fly one in. There are pros and cons to each, but rest assured that the important thing is to hire someone whose work you absolutely love.
There are literally thousands of photographers that you can use for your destination wedding, and selecting one is no easy task.
In this article, we’re going to go over the process of finding, qualifying and hiring the perfect destination wedding photographer for your event.
Let’s start by discussing the kind of photographer you are looking for.
What kind of photographer are you looking for?
There are three basic categories that most wedding photographers fall into. They are journalistic, traditional, and balanced.
Journalistic photographers are the ones that will provide you in the moment photographs of both you and your wedding guests. Their work reads like a newsreel with mostly un-staged shots. It’s a great way to tell a story without actually telling the story of your wedding. An example is the image above.
Traditional photographers will provide you mostly staged photographs of your family and wedding guests.
Balanced photographers will provide you a good combination of the two.
Once you know the type of photography you prefer, start looking for a photographer that is familiar with your destination.
Where can you find a photographer that specializes in your destination?
The advantage of hiring a photographer who has worked at your wedding destination is that he/she knows the best places to do a romantic shoot. They know the scenic views, hidden vantage points, and even locations for great sunsets.
When looking for a photographer, use a multi-pronged approach. Use all avenues, both online and off-line to find photographers whose work inspires you while staying within your budget.
Here are some suggestions:
Google search: Simply use a term that includes the name of the city along with the word photographer and you’ll get a list of people who specialize in that destination. For example, try searching for the term Bahamas wedding photographer.
Pinterest Search: this website has become extremely popular for both brides and wedding vendors such as photographers. It’s easy to showcase your portfolio an attractive an organized manner. As such, it is easy to find a photographer whose work is up to your standards. Searching for a photographer in Pinterest is simple. Use Bahamas Wedding Photographer as an example to get started.
Forums like Weddingwire, and TheBestDestinationWedding.com: while there are regular vendors listed on both these websites, the real gem is the forums. Simply sign up on each one so you can ask for a referral from other brides taht have wed in your location. The best part is that you get honest unfiltered feedback.
Questions you should ask other brides are:
- Were you satisfied with the quality of their work?
- Was the photographer on time?
- What was the cost? Any packages that they would recommend?
- On a scale of one to five, how would they rate the quality of their work?
- Did they get their photos on time? Was it easy to have photos edited to their satisfaction?
- Was the photographer easy to work with? Was he friendly with guests?
- How intrusive was the photographer?
- Were there any surprises in terms of price?
Here are some more ways to find a photographer for your destination wedding:
Photography websites: popphoto (http://www.popphoto.com/how-to/2011/05/top-10-wedding-photographers), or http://snapknot.com/ or http://www.weddingphotousa.com/
Referrals: ask other vendors for the names of the best photographers that they have worked with. Doing so will give you the names of photographers that have experience working at your destination and possibly your wedding venue.
Friends: people you know personally who have married recently can be a great resource when searching for a photographer.
As you go through each of the above choices, put together a list of photographers whose work you love. Contact each one for their pricing, availability, and ask to see an entire wedding shoot.
In addition, ask for references and make sure to call each one to ask about the photographer strengths and weaknesses.
Once you have more information, choose the best three or four photographers that fit your budget and start interviewing each one. Here are some questions you should ask.
Questions to ask your destination wedding photographer
- How long have you been in business?
- How many weddings do you do in a year?
- Have you worked at the destination before? Have you worked at the wedding venue where I am getting married?
- Will you be photographing the event or will there be someone else?
- Are you comfortable working with RAW images? Can I see some before and after images?
- How much time do you allocate to retouching photos or any other corrective actions?
- Do you offer any packages?
- How much time does each package include? Are you willing to do rehearsal dinners or lunches as part of a package?
- Can I customize a package depending on my needs?
- Do you have any packages that include engagement photos?
- What kind of albums are included in the price you quoted?
- Will I get negatives or do I have to order images from you?
- Are you comfortable working in low light environments?
- If you’re using a local destination photographer, then ask to see if you can get negatives before leaving the destination.
- What happens if my wedding extends beyond the number of hours included in your package? How much extra do you charge?
- Will you bring in an assistant and if so, what is their fee?
- If you will be flying in to the destination, what are the additional fees you charge? What is the per diem? Are there any additional charges? How do you normally dress for the event?
- How quickly will you arrive on the day of the wedding?
- How long after the wedding will I see the proofs?
- Do you offer the ability to view photos online? How long after I order my album will I get it?
- How much of a deposit do you need? What is your refund and/or cancellation policy? Do you have liability insurance?
Finalizing your choice
While you are interviewing the photographer, make mental notes of what you like and dislike about each. Do your personalities jive? Is the person casual, fun loving, detailed or serious? No matter what their personality, just make sure it works for you.
When looking over their portfolio, does it seem that the photographer takes the same shots over and over again? Or does he adjust to the environment with new and different shots/angles?
Does every wedding look the same or does each wedding have a distinct feel or personality?
After you have taken all the above into consideration, selecting the right photographer should not be that hard. As you talk to individual photographers, you will get a sense of which person will work best for you.
Destination weddings provide for an incredibly momentous occasion in your life and by choosing the right photographer, you will be able to capture the memories for a lifetime.
What should you do next?
If you are going to be looking for photographers, then you should bone up on your negotiation skills. Here are 10 tips on negotiating with wedding vendors.