Destination Wedding Photographers | What You Need to Know Before Hiring

Photo of bride and groom | By Destination Wedding Photographer Antonio Crutchley

Hey, congratulation on deciding to say your “I dos” at a romantic destination away from home. I am so happy for you! But before you go jetting off to your destination wedding, here are some things to know about destination wedding photographers. If having beautiful photos of your destination wedding is paramount, you will want to read this post.

Having your wedding away from home in some far-off exotic places is a lot of fun and a dream come through for so many couples. For my first wedding, I elope to Malta, a beautiful Mediterranean island south of Sicily, Italy. I didn’t hire a photographer, a decision I still regret. I don’t want this for you – so here are some things you should know before hiring a destination wedding photographer.

Destination Wedding Photographers’ Cost

There are a few factors that will affect your destination wedding photographer’s cost. The cost of living, the photographer’s experience, and wedding packages are some of the factors that will affect your photographer’s price. Let’s take a look at how each of these factors will affect your wedding photographer’s cost:

  1. Cost of living – the region where the photographer lives and conducts business will affect your photographer’s price. For example, if you are planning a destination wedding in Jamaica and you plan to hire a New York Wedding photographer, the New York photographer will most likely cost you a lot more as opposed to hiring a local photographer in Jamaica. This is because it costs much more to live and conduct business in New York than in Jamaica. On the other hand, if you live in Miami and plan a destination wedding in New York, hiring a Miami wedding photographer would likely cost you less than if you hire a New York wedding photographer. With that said, inexperienced photographers are everywhere, and you could easily find a cheap photographer for a destination wedding in New York, Hawaii, or Jamaica. But would you be forever happy with the photos? Perhaps not!
  2. Experience – wedding photography cost is equivalent to the photographer’s experience. The more experience the photographer has, the more you will pay for that photographer’s service and the more pleased you will be working with that photographer. Grant it. There are some outstanding wedding photographers out there who are part-time photographers and don’t have solid business backing. When thinking of experience, you also have to consider the business aspect. Does the photographer has a legitimate business, license, and insured? A photographer running a legitimate business and being licensed and insured is going to cost you more.
  3. Wedding Packages – many destination wedding resorts will have all-inclusive packages that include a photographer. The photographer in these packages is often time more expensive than hiring a local photographer. Nevertheless, with the resort photographer, you get peace of mind because the photographer will be accountable to the hotel and you. Furthermore, with the package photographer, you will only have to deal with the hotel instead of dealing with the hotel and a photographer separately. This will simplify your destination wedding planning and set you up for relaxing and enjoying your wedding day.

Your Destination Wedding Photographer’s Experience

Above I told you how the photographer’s experience affects cost. Now I will share with you why it is crucial to have an experienced destination wedding photographer. Besides creating beautiful photographs, an experienced photographer is a problem solver that will make a world of difference on your wedding day. You will want a fun and confident photographer who is organized and can take control of your destination wedding. You want someone you can have fun with, someone who will understand you and what you want out of your photographs.

While it is quite possible to find an experienced photographer from the region of your destination wedding. It is a little trickier to develop rapport and determine if they are right for you. Suppose you must connect with your destination wedding photographer. In that case, you may have to hire a home country/region photographer for your destination wedding. This way, you will be sure of what to expect.

Resort Photographer

Going with a resort photographer will reduce your stress and set your mind at ease. You don’t have to worry about vetting them – the resort has already done this for you. Resort photographers will have special privileges that an outside photographer will not have. Additionally, the resort wedding photographer knows all the ins and out and the best photo spots.

Some drawbacks with a resort destination wedding photographer are that communications are done through the resort wedding staff. Responses take longer, and you may not like their style. Some resorts will allow you to hire an outside photographer, but they will charge you an external vendor fee.

Local Photographer

A local photographer lives and does business in the area where you are having your destination wedding. Still, they are not a part of the resort wedding staff. Before hiring a local photographer, make sure you check that your resort will allow you to use an outside photographer. You may also want to check if there are any additional fees for bringing in your own photographer.

The advantages of hiring a local destination wedding photographer are that you will have a bit more control over your images. You generally receive more photos, and you typically have a faster turnaround time. You will also be more likely to connect with a local photographer because you will be communicating with them directly.

International Destination Wedding Photographer

An international destination wedding photographer is a person who travels outside his/her country to photograph weddings. One of the challenges international destination wedding photographers face is that many countries have laws to prevent foreigners from legally working in the country. Therefore, you must hire an experienced destination wedding photographer. I would recommend that before you hire an international destination wedding photographer, you ask them about these challenges. This way, you can be sure that they are familiar with all the paperwork and requirements to travel and photograph your destination wedding.

The Bottomline – Have an Open Mind

Planning a destination wedding is challenging enough, and deciding on a destination wedding photographer is even more challenging. Keep an open mind! Determine what is important to you. If money is no limit, hire the photographer of your dreams and fly them to your destination wedding. Luckily for you, I live and work in one of the US’s most popular destination wedding locations, Miami, Florida!

Have questions? Let’s connect here.

If you like this post, you may also be interested in these other posts:

5 Reasons to Consider Destination Weddings in Miami

Finding Your Best Wedding Photographers in Miami

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer

Destination Weddings and Why South Florida is a Prime Location

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