Ask Andrea: What are your thoughts on hiring a destination photographer?
Friends, the world is shrinking by the minute! And there is talent in each and every rounded corner of it! Still, as a wedding planner I wanted to go directly to the source and give you insight from the perspective of a Destination Wedding Photographer. Rebecca Marie is a fellow Engage attendee that I love and adore. We have worked traveled together, worked together, and I am thrilled to give her a place to share her thoughts!
AE: A lot of couples flirt with the idea of bringing in vendors to their destination wedding, but then stop. There seems to be this fear of working with out of market talent. What are your thoughts?
RM: You’ve already decided to have a fabulous destination wedding. Not only will you and your fiancé be flying into your dream location, but so will your closest family & friends. Why stop there? If you can get on a plane to celebrate at the perfect place, why can’t your dream photographer as well? While there are certain professionals that make the most sense to hire locally (decor companies are a great example), but photography doesn’t necessarily fall into that category. Here’s a few reasons why I think you shouldn’t limit your choice of photographer to geography. Spoiler alert: The best reason is first!
We are experiencing the location in the same way you are.
I find myself incredibly inspired when I travel. When you are experiencing a place for the first time, you often are seeing it much differently than the person that lives there. If you live in a place, you can take for granted certain things that a visitor may find exciting. The freshness that I can bring through traveling with couples is highly advantageous. Often times, because we are all traveling together, I am experiencing the location in the same way you are. There is an equal level of excitement in discovering all the location has to offer. Your photos then better reflect your own excitement and particularly unique details of the location you’ve put so much thought into choosing.
When traveling to a new place, I always schedule at least 1 full day prior to your wedding to scout. Through this process, we become well aware of your venue and the surroundings. We walk through your day from start to finish, plotting out the exact plan. This allows me to be comfortable in a location whether it’s my first time there or my 100th. With a little preparation, I can walk into your celebration and create something unique to your story, no matter where we are in the world.
AE: Interesting perspective! But don't you need to be there "before" as a photographer?
RM: No, actually....I like to have one day to get acclimated, but the truth is that most of your photography decisions will come after the wedding.
Almost all of your wedding decisions are made before the wedding. Photography is the one thing where you make most of the decisions after the wedding. While your florist and caterer’s jobs are complete after you say “I do,” ours is really only just beginning. It’s not until after the wedding day that you’ll be deciding which photos should go into your wedding album, which to give as gifts, which to use for that perfect canvas on the wall, etc. Photographers that are local to your venue typically will email you a link to an online gallery and leave you to it. While this sounds nice, the reality of sorting through hundreds of photos to decide what works best is really overwhelming.
Because I specialize in destination weddings, we have systems set up to be able to easily meet not only in person but virtually as well when needed. This way I can walk you through the decision process, making it fun and easy. All of our couples receive their full gallery of images within 6 weeks of the wedding and their completed wedding album 12 weeks after the wedding, as compared to the average 6-9 months after! This timeline is made possible only because of the unique systems we utilize to make the selection process so much easier.
AE: So how does hiring a destination photographer work, price and package wise?
RM: We recommend and include an all-inclusive quote in your proposal. This means you are reserving your wedding date with a contract that is inclusive of not only the photography services but also a fixed cost for the travel up front. This way the costs are definitive and no surprise receipts for reimbursement will arise after. Doing this makes it easier to accurately factor photography into your wedding budget because the cost will not adjust even if airfare fluctuates. For Rebecca Marie Photography, the costs that are factored into any destination quote are airfare, room & board and if needed, a rental car for the time needed to cover your events. We do not do a pier diem, unlike other photography companies. Whether I was at home or half-way across the globe, I was going to eat lunch, so there’s no sense in charging you for it. :)
AE: Anything else that you want to share about bringing in wedding photographers and other partners?
RM: Last but not least, the biggest perk of all is that, with me at least, there is no set amount of shooting time. Local photography pricing is based on the number of hours needed for your wedding day. Eight hours is a standard starting point, and ten hours is a very common average. But when I am traveling with you there is no sense in counting hours! The entire reason I am in Cape Cod, Jamaica, Vegas, or Paris is because of you. Because I specialize in travel, being in a new location is the most inspiring thing. There is no sense in going back to a hotel room after 8 hours when we could still be shooting in a new place!
You need to discuss all of this and more with your chosen photographer and all of your partners. Make sure that you know exactly what you are responsible for paying for in terms of travel, hotel, food allowances, and
This added coverage is an often overlooked perk that makes a huge difference in pricing. Most couples receive so much additional event coverage (think about a welcome party the night before or fun excursion the day after) that the cost of travel is equalized when compared to the same amount of coverage for a local wedding. Win-win!
~ ~ ~
Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your thoughts; and your photos! They are truly beautiful and make me want to run off and renew my vows someplace fabulous!