Advice for Wedding Photographers – Getting into the Destination Wedding Market

By Christina of FunkyTown Photography. Christina is based as a Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica wedding photographer. Visit the Costa Rica weddings blog and the Costa Rica weddings gallery. In Winter & Spring 2010 Christina was ranked as one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world by the prestigious International Society of Professional Wedding Photographres. She photographs weddings all over the world.
Booking Your First Destination Wedding – What you should know

When I first began as a destination wedding photographer I thought of part of my pay or reward to be the vacation itself. Naive? Yes. Now I know, after some agonizing lessons, that it’s really a ton more tough to photograph weddings abroad and there are some risks involved. However, I am glad that I have been able to carve out my own profession and I’ve had the chance to travel all over the world to photograph destination weddings. I wouldn’t change my career path; however, I’ve learned some priceless lessons along the way.

1) The trip is usually all work and very little pleasure. Personally, I am far more inspired in a brand new place than staying home and photographing the identical thing over and over again. However, a brand new spot also means I need to devote a day or two doing considerable site scouting to find perfect locations for the wedding portraits. Even if the wedding is all in one spot, I will devote a lot of time analzying light at various times of the day, taking photos and making notes, analyzing locations of the resort or town for backup plans in case of rain, and going over these details with the bride.

Often, the bride and groom will ask me to their welcome dinner, which is often wonderful because a solo traveler like me likes the company and it’s a wonderful chance to get to know all the guests. They will relax more around me if they are used to my presence. I also normally show up at the rehearsal and the dinner. Then there is the wedding – generally an all day occasion. Many couples choose to spend their wedding day primarily with guests, only getting a few directed portraits on the wedding day itself. That means probably spending the next day doing a long trip, traveling to different spots, to take post-wedding portraits or doing a trash the dress session.

Now, do the math : One day site scouting + one evening welcome dinner + rehearsal & rehearsal dinner + wedding day + post wedding session = you’ve now spent five days of your trip devoted to some aspect of the wedding. Don’t misunderstand . I don’t regret it… but you really should know that many of your days will be invested doing some sort of work. You will not have time to book an all day excursion, a sunset cruise, or most of the other pursuits you may do on your personal vacation. You’re still in a gorgeous and inspiring place, spending time with some nice people, so it is definitely a lot better than a desk job! But a local wedding usually only requires one day – the wedding day. Ask yourself what’s less complicated?

Get paid appropriately for those five days of work. And  remember all the hours you’ll spend on post-production after you get home.

2) make investments in off-camera flash equipment. This is useful for either full-sun or post-sunset portraits. First, off-camera flash equipment (I use a pocket wizard and have two SB800 flash units and two lightweight tripods) has taken my photography to a new level. Second, it will allow me to take intriguing pictures in full bright sun.

3) You won’t have time on the wedding day for a break or a snack . carry lots of water. I bring along an additional “overnight” style bag stuffed with water, chips and granola bars. I also bring a change of clothes in case I get too sweaty or in case I get the bottom of my dress or pants sandy/wet when the tide rolls in unexpectedly while I’m shooting (this has happend three times). I bring the overnight bag to preparations and unload a bottle of water or two. Then, during a slow period of the preparations, I usually sneak over to the reception site and take some detail photos and leave the overnight bag under one of the tables. That way I have the snacks and water waiting for me in case the dinner doesn’t start right away. If you’re their only photographer you don’t want to pass out from hunger or sun stroke!

4) If you don’t have wheels on your camera bag purchase a set of wheels! If you are heading through customs lines it’s useful to put your camera bag on some wheels. The wheels I have are a tiny bit clunky but it’s really worth saving my back in case I’m caught in a super long lineup. I Often use the wheels on the wedding day too.

5) Bring two cameras . You never know.

6) Some resorts DO NOT permit outside photographers. Verify with the couple and make certain they have asked the resort if they are allowed to bring in an outside photographer. Some don’t, even if you have a work permit. I was booked to photograph a wedding in Mexico and the couple had already signed the contract. They changed venues and the new hotel told the couple they did not allow outside photographers with out a permit. I was in touch with both the Mexico Embassy and the Mexico Consulate and the staff told me I didn’t need a permit if I was performing the work for a couple based in the US and the work itself would be done in Canada (where I was living at the time). I even applied for the work permit anyway and was turned down because the Mexico Embassy doesn’t grant work visas for wedding photographers (for one wedding). So… that meant a lot of nervousness because the bride said she was willing to take the risk. It turned out the resort didn’t kick me out… but they weren’t happy either. They sent along one of the resort photographers who harrassed me by positioning herself in front of my camera all day (intentionally) and almost knocking me to the ground (a shoulder check) when the couple was walking down the aisle. From now on I will never photograph a wedding at a resort that doesn’t allow outside photographers. It’s not worth the problems.

I hope some of this guidance was useful. Being a destination wedding photographer is a satisfying and inspiring job, but bear in mind it is a job and that means you should be paid adequately! Never work for free or in lieu of the trip. You’re worth more than that!

Update Your Wedding Album By Creating A Customised Photo Book

An old wedding album contains some of our strongest and most enjoyable memories. The wedding day itself should be a day that the bride, groom, family, and friends remember for many years to come but the memories can fade all too easily. That’s why we have wedding photographers take professional photos and then have those photos printed in a format that we can easily store and share. While a modern wedding album is designed to last for many years, older album manufacturers simply didn’t have access to the same quality of materials to create a permanent reminder of the big day.

Customised Photo Books

Customised photo books are a great looking and convenient alternative to photo albums. They don’t require any mounting of photos as the pictures that are chosen are printed directly onto every side of the photo book. The cover can be customised as well as the pages and with many fine details such as metal corner protectors and silk ribbons, they are luxuriously beautiful. The high grade materials used, including the HD Satin cover and 160gsm silk art paper pages, also ensure that the photo book will last for many years.

Customised Photo Albums

However, some people prefer the tactile experience of mounting their own photos but that doesn’t mean they need to suffer either in terms of looks or quality. Customised photo albums can be personalised in much the same way by choosing a photo for the covers of the album and even having a presentation box printed using another favourite photo and including text too.

Designing The Cover

The cover of the photo book and photo album are HD Satin. HD Satin is chosen for its combination of durability and great looks. Photos printed on HD Satin really stand out as being lifelike and realistic, with colours seemingly popping off the material. Choose a photo and have it printed on the front and back cover or choose a different picture for the back. You can even add text, too, which could be anything from an anniversary greetings message to the names of the bride and groom and the date they married.

Presentation Tins And Boxes

Photo books and photo albums are designed to last for many years; in fact, the book inlay of the photo book will last for 100 years. However, during storage in a drawer, cupboard, or loft space, they can still become battered or damaged under extreme pressure. Presentation tins or boxes can be used to prevent this damage from occurring and keeping the book or album looking its best for even longer. Choose a photo, which will be laminated and turned into the lid of the presentation box or have a sturdy textured presentation tin instead.

101 steps to perfect wedding photographs

So much will be happening on your big day (and it often goes by so fast) that the photographs you have of the event will be something you’ll treasure and look back on for the rest of your lives. It’s important to prepare properly, to get the best out of your day and your photographer.

For the original article, and for Chris’s portfolio you can visit his Brighton Wedding Photographer site

IMG 9656 2 1024×682 101 steps for perfect wedding photos

Here are my 101 steps to perfect wedding photography:

1) Look at all the photographers in your area (use the internet for this)

2) Ask your friends for recommendations

3) Look at friends wedding albums

4) Bookmark the photographers you like (don’t think about money at this stage)

5) After getting a feel for the photographers, decide on your budget (you’ll now have a good idea of who you can afford)

6) Create a shortlist of photographers

7) Call each photographer to check availability (we often book up fast, so call early to ensure you end up with a list of available photographers!)

8) Check out reviews of these photographers through Google / other online review sites

9) If you’re looking for other services (like a band / caterer etc…) ask your photographer, they often can get you discounts with other vendors in the industry

10) Decide on what kind of style of photography you would like for your wedding

11) Compare that style to your shortlist

12) Collect some images that really resonated with you. Create a mini gallery of what it is you’d like your photographs to look like

13) You can keep this gallery electronically, or print it out.

14) Meet with the photographers (if possible)

15) Show them the images you’ve collected

16) Discuss how to achieve your goals

17) Consider doing the main Bride and Groom shoot the day before / morning of / day after the wedding (many couples are now choosing to do this to allow time for many impeccably lit studio-style shots with zero pressure)

18) Discuss your other photographic needs (how many formal shots will you need?)

19) How many locations will you want to shoot in?

20) How long do you want to be apart from your guests after the wedding?

21) Ask them about their strengths (film / black and white / photographic styles)

22) Ask them what style of photography they prefer

23) Do they work with another photographer?

24) Do they work with an assistant?

25) Consider meeting their assistant or fellow photographer

26) Ask them if they’re flexible on changing styles to meet your needs

27) Inquire about their re-touching skills (can they cover up any blemishes that may appear on your big day)?

28) Ask them how long they will spend on re-touching each one of your images? (good photographers will often take 5 – 45 minutes on EACH image they create for you. I often say 40% of the work is in taking the image, 60% is in post-production.

29) Ask for references

30) Ask for a discount!!! (if you’re willing to make a decision quickly, many photographers will offer you 10% – 15% discount for booking early)

31) Create another list of your photographers (in the order in which you like them)

32) Sleep on it for a few days

33) Think a lot about which photographer you like as a person

34) Choosing the right person for the job is about choosing a person you’re going to want to spend a fair amount of time being close to on the big day – so make sure that the person doesn’t annoy you!!

35) Watch how photographers work at weddings you attend – or remember ones you particularly liked, what is it about them that you liked – do these photographers have the same qualities?

36) Compare quality of your top 2 / 3 photographers, versus price

37) Make your final decision

38) Ask for a contract

39) Read the contract carefully

40) Ensure the contract has the correct date

41) Check that the contract ensures you’ll be getting the photographer you expect (and that they can’t change the photographer for anyone else at the last minute)

42) Check that there is a “Statement of work” or something to that effect in the contract (detailing how many hours will be spent on photography / how many images to expect from the day) etc…

43) Some photographers include a model release as part of their contract – decide whether you’re willing to sign one

44) Discuss copyright with your photographer (this can be a complex issue, and one worth reading up about)

45) You’ll only need to buy the copyright from the photographer if you’ll be selling on the images from your big day. If you think you’ll want to do this at some point, discuss how much it would cost to buy the copyright from the photographer.

46) Ensure any copyright agreements are entered into the contract

47) Feel free to ask for changes to the contract if there’s something you’re not happy with

48) Sign the contract

49) Give the retainer to the photographer (often 15% – 50% of the total cost)

50) Ask for a receipt

51) Have your photographer estimate when you will be getting the post-production photographs. You may be anxious to see them quickly, but good photographs take time to produce.

52) Will the photographs be in digital format only or will prints be included in the price of the package. Ask for samples of their printed books to see if you like the style.

53) Begin to create a shot list (Bride with Mum, Bride with Cousins, Groom with best men etc…)

54) Assign a groomsman or bridesmaid to liaise with the photographer on the big day

55) Make sure the groomsmen and bridesmaids are informed on what to organize for the photographer – this ensures you don’t have to worry about a thing (like gathering family members for photographs) on the day. You can focus on looking wonderful and being happy!

56) Begin thinking about makeup

57) Start practicing your smile

58) If you’re still thinking about a makeup artist – ask the photographer for a recommendation – photographers will normally recommend wonderful makeup artists – ones that help make you and their photographs look even better

59) Practice your smile

60) If you’re camera shy, practice your smile in front of a point and shoot camera with your other half behind the lens (this could be fun for the both of you!!).

61) When you think you can’t smile any more, practice again icon wink 101 steps for perfect wedding photos

62) Think about which of the details of the day your planning you’d like your photographer to focus on (I once shot a wedding where the bride, groom and priest were all drummers. “Please get some fun shots of the drums Chris”)

The drum cake 300×199 101 steps for perfect wedding photos

63) Consider having an engagement shoot with your photographer

64) You can use the photos from the engagement shoot for the invitations – or use them online / with facebook etc… to remind people of the up-coming event!

65) Use the time at the engagement shoot to get to know your photographer

66) Consider the photographs as you look at venues for your wedding

67) Think of the areas of the venue you really like

68) Communicate these preferences with your photographer

69) Ask your photographer whether he’s willing to go to the venue with you to discuss the photographs

70) Ask whether he’s planning to use ambient light or artificial lighting

71) Consider what the weather is likely to be (in Arizona, you’re likely to have Sun, if your wedding is in the West Country in England, you’re probably in for rain)

72) How will adverse weather affect your plans (and therefore your photographs?)

73) Practice your smile again

74) Decide (with the photographer) how much time you’d like to spend on each part of the day

75) Decide whether you’d like to get shots of the preparations on the day (getting dressed / makeup / champagne breakfast etc…)

76) Decide time what time the photographer will arrive on the day of the wedding.

77) Assign someone in the wedding party to meet and greet the photographer.

78) Has the photographer scouted the location before the wedding day or will he/she simply arrive early on the big day?

79) Is this time factored into the total cost of the wedding package?

80) Make sure a member of your wedding party has given the shot list to the photographer either electronically or in person.

81) If you are not ready to start being photographed when he/she arrives, have the photographer start doing shots of the venue, details of the wedding rings, flowers, etc.

82) If you decide to take all of your pictures before the wedding ceremony make sure to schedule the photo shoot long before guests start arriving. You probably won’t want your guests seeing you in your wedding dress before the ceremony!

83) If you insist on only seeing each other after the ceremony choose two private locations in the venue for both sides of the bridal party to be photographed. This way you can avoid an accidental encounter!

84) Tell the photographer how much time you have for the photographs – this way they can help keep you on schedule.

85) Have fun! This is your big day so be relaxed and enjoy all the flashing lights and attention.

wedding2 201×300 101 steps for perfect wedding photos

86) Keep an open communication with the photographer. Be polite, but don’t be afraid to express what you need. They are working for you.

87) After the photography session, factor in some time to rest and refresh yourself before the ceremony begins.

88) Be very clear with the photographer what photographs will be taken during the ceremony. You want the most sacred part of your day documented, but not intruded upon. You’ll probably want to remember the look in your lovers eyes, rather than the filter the photographer had on his 24-105 L Lens

89) A tip for photographing a beautiful kiss (To have an elegant looking neck line): The Bride should not strain her neck allowing the Groom to do most of the work. Both should turn slightly towards the camera. You can practice this one a lot at home! (especially useful for couples with a height difference)

90) You’re married! Smile and look at the camera. These moments are often printed and framed so be conscious of your facial expression. This is where all of your practicing comes in useful!

91) Gather your shot list to either finish the family pictures or to begin the Bridal Party photo shoot.

92) Be silly and have fun. People often like the less posed pictures so just let loose.

93) Decide how important it is for you to stay on schedule. This is a once in a lifetime event so don’t be afraid to take that extra half and hour to get what you actually want. However, dinner is waiting on you, so have a member of the bridal party watch the clock so you can just enjoy yourself.

94) The most public part is over! Give your partner a kiss.

95) Set your photographer free! Now it is time to get those fun candid shots that can be so memorable and fun.

96) Feed the people working for you – they’re often there for the whole day. From the photographer to the band, a well fed worker is a happy worker (and it will show in their performance)

97) Will there be a first dance? Give the photographer a heads up if anything unusual is going to happen (like dancing on roller skates) so they can prepare and get the best pictures possible.

The first dance 181×300 101 steps for perfect wedding photos

98) Once you’ve eaten and had a glass of champagne it’s hard to remember the details including how long your photographer has been on duty. Just make sure you have the toast, speeches, and the cutting of the cake whilst your photographer is still on duty.

99) After your honeymoon, you’ll be able to work with the photographer to choose your favorite photographs from the big day. You’ll receive your printed images soon after.

100) Share the online link of your wedding photographs with your friends and family.

101) Now simply enjoy your photos and your new life together!

Chris Noble is a professional wedding photographer in Brighton

Find Best Photoshoot Service with Hindu wedding photographer London

Like everything else, weddings have also been influenced by changing trends. However, the traditional essence of Hindu weddings still remains consistent which is fully comprehended by a Hindu Wedding photographer in London. The team of experienced photographers and fully equipped studios is what makes BigDay Photography qualified to take your wedding pictures throughout United Kingdom. For all Hindus residing far away from home, a Hindu Wedding photographer in London is a great facility for capturing pictures that feel close to home! Nonetheless, it would be an insult to limit the abilities of a photographer to simply capturing a few specific or ethnic events. Professional photography services like BigDay photography cater to any event including weddings.

Weddings_0004.jpgA Hindu Wedding photographer in London works in close co-ordination with the couple so that he/she can deliver the photos to their taste. It has been observed that couples have recently gotten more involved in planning their weddings. This has given a refreshing look to weddings that were falling prey to the year old designs and customs that had started to look weary. Now, a Hindu Wedding photographer in London can snap pictures without getting people to pose with forced smiles. Many a times, the most natural pictures are the best ones. Viewing some of the sample pictures, you would see that most of the pictures have been taken of people in their most candid moments. The non-intrusive Hindu wedding photographer in London knows what do and how to do it. You can fully trust them with the task without having to provide any sort of direction; however, client suggestions are always welcome.

In the end, the question arises where to find a Hindu Wedding photographer in London? The internet is an excellent and most convenient source of guidance from where you can directly sign up for the photography services. You can also ask friends and family who might have previously hired a Hindu Wedding photographer in London. With social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook, it is even easier to find the right connection. Most people are of the opinion that Asian weddings held in United Kingdom are devoid of the fun element that is present back at home. However, with generations having grown up in UK, there is no longer a dearth of facilities