Wedding Photography Abroad

Photos and videos are important to any wedding. Memories of cherished moments, memories of our loved ones and memories to show our grandchildren, all caught on paper or tape to last our lifetimes and beyond. But what happens when a couple decides upon a destination wedding away from home and influences that might help in choosing a photographer are not available?

Admittedly, the task of hiring a photographer or videographer is difficult at home even knowing that references can be checked and actual previous experience can be seen. But in whose hands, does the bridal couple entrust with their most precious memories when they are so many miles away from home? And what do the bride and groom do about the cultural and language barriers?

To help with all these questions, we have outlined a few suggestions to guide the couple when choosing a photographer long distance or abroad.

  1. If marrying in your native land, which is not your land of residence, pick a trusted friend or family member and ask if she would make some inquiries. Choose someone that you are sure you can trust. You do not need the whole family involved in the decision so she must be able to carry out the function. Also, make sure the person actually wants to do the task. Do not impose on people. Make sure she understands that she can say no.
  2. Look on the internet but be very careful. It is easy for anyone to say they have a portfolio. Email questions, even if you know the answers to see if the photographer responds and how he/she responds. After having made initial contact, ask for more pictures, either through a download link or by email. Again, you cannot be sure of the person is sending real photos that he/she took but it does show the person is at least interested in working with you. Check with any of the local Chambers of Commerce or other business organizations to see if they will recommend anyone.
  3. In most instances when planning a destination wedding, a couple would probably hire a wedding consultant from the location to act as the liaison between the couple and the vendors. Most if not all, good wedding coordinators will speak about photos as part of the total package. Normally one of two things happens:
    a) photos are part of the package so the photographer is already set up and ready to go or
    b) the wedding planner gives the bridal couple a choice of options.
  4. Either way is beneficial to you, as you do not have to worry about photos but remember that the photos will only be as good as these people think they are. Perceptions are very different so you must see examples of the work. You should also know how many photos you are to receive and when you will receive them. Again remember that once you have returned home and you are away from these people, they do not have to do anything for you.
  5. In the case where you are requesting photos over and above the stated package, ask the coordinator if she can help. Have her send examples from other photographers’ portfolios so that you can make a final decision.
  6. Although this last point may seem rather simplistic and obvious, you will want to safeguard yourself against any of the number of things that can go wrong. In this vein, it would be wise and advisable to designate someone from your guest party to bring his/her camera and film and play photographer just in case.

In summary, it is fine to get everything legal and on paper in your own country but when holding a destination wedding, many things are out of your control. Thus, it is important to take cautionary steps to ensure a smooth outcome. Your photography is special to you and you should discuss your wishes and needs in advance and have a good backup plan in place.