As a professional wedding photographer, my most challenging assignments are those that require working as a destination wedding photographer. It is also a challenge to the wedding planner and the couple, as everything is out of the country (mostly) and there are millions of things that can go wrong.
Local photographer – To be or not to be
While choosing a photographer cum videographer for your destination wedding, the common dilemma couples face is whether to hire a local photographer who is familiar with the sights and surroundings or to fly in a photographer whom the couple know well and are comfortable with. Both the points are valid, but evaluating each solely depends on the budget.
If you can save up money on travel and other arrangements, you can always afford to fly in someone you know for the job. Knowing doesn’t essentially mean personally, but knowing would suggest having an idea about the person’s work from previous weddings (friend’s or family’s).
One thing you need to know is that not all the countries allow photographers from abroad. Some places require the photographer/videographer to have a government permit often requiring a nominal fee to be paid to obtain the permit. This can also take few weeks to months. So plan ahead.
If you were to hire a local, you might need to meet the person face to face to talk about your ideas and gauge their talent. This is important not only to get a clear picture of what the photographer can offer you, but also to see whether or not you are comfortable with the photographer and his/her approach.
Some locations, like resorts and clubs have ‘in-house’ photographers on contract. In such a case, an outside photographer is strictly prohibited from working on the wedding. I once had to refuse an offer because the resort wouldn’t budge from their decision to not allow outside photo and videographers! The bride was devastated, but what was done, was done.
This is a good time to point out that you need to check with the hotel or resort on their policies on bringing in hired photographers.
Go for the one who has the better experience. A wedding photographer who has travelled a lot is bound to have plenty more ideas and experience when compared to a local. However, you might also find that some of the locals have better talent than the photographer you personally know from your own place.
Get referrals from people who have used both local as well as hired destination photographers from their own countries. Decide for yourself as to which one fits the budget and what are the requirements to fly in such a person and his/her crew into the destination.Happy destination wedding planning!
For a bit of fun check out – Trick Photography
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