What to Know Before Hiring a Destination Wedding Photographer

Having a destination wedding? There's more to hiring your photographer than you think.
by Harmony Walton

A destination wedding photographer is a must-have when planning a wedding away from home. But how do you find just the right one, and what do you need to know before you book? Keep in mind these top expert tips to selecting the team that's right for your destination wedding and you'll be well on your way to a fantastic wedding on location.

It's important to go with someone you like. Loving your wedding photos is crucial, but when spending several days up close and personal with your wedding photographer, being comfortable in their company is important too (and helps you get those amazing images). If you find someone or a team that you really connect with and their work speaks to you too, you've hit the jackpot. Robert Evans of Robert Evans Studios says, "Personality + talent = happily ever laughter."

Destination wedding photography duo James + Schulze says, "Hire a photographer who travels often and whose personality and skills are adaptable. Both are critical when dealing with the challenges that a destination wedding presents."

Beyond the person behind the lens, also consider the unique budget elements when traveling with a team. "The most important question I have my clients ask when booking their photographer for their destination wedding is what is included in their travel fee," says Stephanie Frazier Grimm, founder and creative director of Couture Parties. "Costs to consider would be airfare, ground transportation to and from the wedding site and weekend activities, lodging, meal per diem, and if they have an out of office fee (because they would be missing out on income due to travel to your wedding). Some photographers will package it all together, and some will invoice you after the event based on their expenses."

And when planning for those expenses, consider the entire time on location, not just the wedding day itself. If you're hosting a destination wedding, chances are you've got days of activities planned—from a welcome party to the postwedding brunch and perhaps even a day excursion or event or two. If capturing those events is important to you, when interviewing wedding photographers, discuss that with them and determine if their bid for multiple days suits your overall budget. Some photographers may even work with you on price for the additional events while on property.

Grimm also suggests paying for additional days on location, with or without those added events. "If you're transporting your photographer to your wedding locale, bring them in a full day before your first event. This gives you piece of mind with travel delays and it also gives the photographer a chance to visit the venue/area to find some hidden spots for you and your partner to have some moments that capture the true reason why you selected that destination for your day."

Keep in mind your photographer can also be from the destination. There are exceptional talents both local and abroad, so don't be afraid to widen your search a bit in today's global market. And no matter the location, "Hire the very best photographer you can afford," Evans says. You can't recapture your wedding day photos, so invest accordingly, no matter where in the world you wed.

Harmony Walton is the founder of The Bridal Bar, host of Bridal Bar Radio airing on iHeartRadio and and editor of the destination wedding blog, Jet Fete by Bridal Bar. With a vast celebrity clientele and over a dozen years of experience, her brands have been recognized around the world and featured in media outlets such as The Associated Press, The New Yorker, The Knot, The New York Times, Entertainment Tonight, People Magazine, The Los Angeles Times and many more.   

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