HOW TO CHOOSE A DESTINATION WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
We think that choosing your destination wedding photographer - whether it’s someone local or traveling in for your event - should be a beautiful experience that complements the joy of your wedding journey. So today we have the incredibly talented Belinda from Belinda Jean Photography here to advise us on all things destination wedding! From the style, to the language barrier, get ready to make notes....
"You have your dream venue for your destination wedding and now you are searching for the perfect photographer to capture it! You will have so many choices, it can be so overwhelming. So what is my best piece of advice as you begin your search? Choosing a destination photographer is a blend of not only the photographer's style and skills but also important is their personality and people skills. Here are some helpful tips to consider when deciding upon a destination wedding photographer!"
I would recommend studying the photographer's style as a starting point. Study the photographers website and media outlets. Is the imagery consistent in style across all media outlets? Are you drawn to the editing style, aesthetics and the colors/tones of their work? There are so many ways to classify a photographers work: bright/airy, dark/moody, vibrant, de-saturated, just to name only a few. How about posing? For example, more posed or documentary style...staged or unstaged? Do couples appear comfortable? And how about composition and layout? Study the photos of people as well as of objects and details. Can you clearly identify the subject in the photo or is it very busy? This is especially important in detail shots. Look closely at how the shot is arranged or perhaps their style isn't to arrange details at all. It is best to know this upfront. Is there a lot of negative space or interesting composition? Find images taken indoors and in more challenging/low lighting scenarios, such as indoor images, ballroom images, reception images with flash, etc. How do they handle low lighting conditions? Is it appealing to you?
People skills and personality are equally as important as a photographers skill. Let me explain why. Whether it is a large local wedding, intimate elopement or destination wedding...the fact that you spend all day with your wedding photographer doesn't change. Especially for Destination weddings, where you are likely to spend even more time together capturing a welcome dinner shoot the night before, a pre or post wedding shoot, or perhaps a celebratory brunch the next day. Your personalities should mesh well together so you feel very comfortable in front of them and their camera. I never realized exactly how important this was until a bride left some kind words in a review and my entire perspective changed. She said it was the way she felt in her images that was equally as important as the quality of the photos. That her nervous grin quickly changed to a genuine smile...all due to the level of comfort and connection we had with each other. So her advice to future brides was exactly this piece of advice I'm sharing with you— that personality is equally as important as a photographers skill.
Though I don't feel experience at a particular venue is critical, as a skilled photographer who shoots weddings on a regular basis can quickly adapt and are used to handling any lighting scenario thrown their way and will find creative angles and backdrops that define their own unique style, a destination wedding photographer with experience will understand international travel, local travel, any research into any special permits required, special equipment insurance for overseas travel, process for backing up imagery, etc.
If you are having a wedding overseas, it may be important to you to consider hiring a photographer who speaks your native language in order to avoid any awkward posing scenarios that may arise or culture differences. You can think about if you would feel more comfortable and relaxed to have a native speaker.
I would also like to emphasize that there isn't a right or wrong answer when it comes to style but more important is that you understand these style differences in your destination photographer so your wedding is captured and documented in a way that you feel speaks to you. Each photographer is meant to serve a specific clientele. But one thing there should be is a well defined style and that takes experience to develop. You should find a photographer whose style you resonate with rather than the expectation for the photographer to change their editing style to match your vision.
A huge thanks to Belinda Jean Photography for providing the perfect destination wedding inspiration as well as guidance about one of the more difficult decisions you can make when organizing your destination wedding. You can visit her website here to see more wedding inspiration!