HEART+          .


A Photographer’s Checklist: Destination Wedding Edition

  1. LOGISTICS:  There are several elements within this first stage of preparing to photograph a destination wedding, but communication and clarity is VITAL.  Making sure my clients and I clearly talk about what is covered, what’s expected and getting it all in writing and agreement form is absolutely necessary.  Logistics are the “not so much fun” part of preparing for a destination wedding photo session, but it is the most important.  Next comes assuring that me and my assistant and or second photographer are prepared with Passports and all necessary documents to board the plane and travel areas safely and QUICKLY.  Accommodations matter who is responsible to making accommodations, I always make sure that I’m 100% secure that we have the right accommodations and that it is accessible and most of the time on the same premises as the couple [this makes all the transitions easiest].  Transportation-I also make sure that I have direct shuttle to the hotel from the airport-most hotels/resorts have shuttles so always ask first.  Finally-Timeline!  Timeline of the wedding is so important to discuss even early on.  But it is definitely important to have at least a month prior to the wedding day.  This will help to understand the flow of the day and to better prepare for the transitions.  I gladly help all of my brides understand a good wedding day flow that will maximize their moments while making sure we have enough time to capture what’s important.  Understanding timeline will help a photographer prepare for what day they need to arrive, what locations they need to scope out once they’ve arrived and so on and so forth.  These are not all of the tiny logistics that go into preparing for a great destination wedding shoot, but they are some of the key things under logistics.
  2. VISION + STYLE: For me it is vital to walk my couples through vision for their day.  If I can understand what their wildest wedding dreams are, I can visualize and dream with them and give them something wonderful.  Usually I listen to key things they desire and then I request for a few photos to give me an understanding of what they envision and then I can take that and run with it.  My mind starts to wander of all the possibilities…the only restrictions I have are the ones my couples give me, but if they don’t give me any restrictions, well then the sky’s the limit.  Some of the things I do to create vision for myself is that I focus a lot on LOCATION.  I map out how long it will take us to go from place to place.  I imagine what I can do in those spaces, and what kind of feeling I can get out of my clients in that atmosphere.  Most of the time I can start to see little patterns come together and I can see the whole collection and visualize what it may look like and feel like from start to finish.   Style is important to me-so I always take the time to understand the climate of where we will be shooting and try to make sure that I am presenting myself as a professional creative.  Comfort is important so I take that into consideration which always limits me to wearing pants and comfortable shoes, but besides that, I can have a little fun based on the overall wedding style of my clients day.  I don’t want to show up with some random color and pop out of the crowd like a sore thumb, but I do want to present myself in a stylish and professional way.
  3. EQUIPMENT PREP + PACKING: Equipment preparation is always the most nerve wrecking.  I think I check my equipment list about 10 times before I comfortably know that I’ve got everything I need.  With destination weddings, it’s tough because you don’t want to overpack but you need to make sure you have back ups to your back ups.  I make sure that I’m fully prepared and nothing is going to fail on me especially when I’m clear across the world and possibly have no access to any equipment anywhere nearby.  Packing LIGHT is the biggest deal here.  Just making sure that I’m carrying enough items for the days I’ll be out there and try to work with one pair of shoes at all times.  It is important to try to narrow it down to having everything be carry on baggage because you just never know if something can get lost, if you have to switch flights, then something can get left behind.  It’s best just to carry light and feel more secure that everything you need is with you at all times.
  4. RELAXATION: This doesn’t always get to happen but it is certainly something I always aim for.  Relaxing the day before.  This can look different for everyone.  But if #3 is done and everything is packed and ready then the day before I leave, I like to relax.  Relaxing to me looks like, getting my pedicure, getting a massage, and spending time with my husband and kids.  I try not to even think of work, I try not to even look at work.  This day helps me to turn things off so that I can be refueled come game time.
  5. BOARD + GO:  Obviously this is simple.  Making sure that I arrive with plenty of time to transition.  The thing you never want to risk is missing a flight….ever!  OMG, every photographers’ nightmare I’m sure.

Well…I’m a few days away from boarding and going to a destination wedding in Mexico.  I’m so excited for so many reason.  Visions are just stirring inside of me and my clients are just ready to have the best day of their lives and for me to be there to capture it all!  We have some fun things planned, like first look happening at their GORGEOUS resort [which has an Italian feel to it] then we plan on going into the colorful historic parts of Mexico to really get the rich culture perspective [THIS I’m pumped about].  Next to their venue is this incredible building [which I discovered, and it ended up being a night club] which we will take full advantage of and take photos there.  Their ceremony will be on the beach and there is an element of surprise in this time frame that I can’t wait for.  Finally their reception is on an open terrace that overlooks the beach.  Ummmmm…yes!  I can not wait to create my clients’ dream wedding collection as they live out their dream wedding day in beautiful Mexico!  If you don’t already follow me on instagram… or FB, you may really want to come along this weekend as I share my journey on stories.  [My Facebook Page]  [My Instagram Page]