Q: “What’s involved if I were to hire a photographer for a wedding or event that is not local to the photographer?”
A: Whether your wedding is a destination affair in a foreign land or you simply will not settle for the quality (or lack thereof) of local photographers in your area, there is more to bringing in an out-of-town professional than simply buying them a ticket and picking them up at the airport like any other guest. Many couples decide that the photographer they want is absolutely worth the extra planning, but what does it usually entail?
Of course as the client you are fronting the travel expenses, which in addition to any airfare or fuel costs may also include vehicle rental or shuttle/taxi fare, a reasonable per diem stipend if your resort is not all-inclusive, and any necessary permits for your photographer (which may include a work visa)! We are always stressing the importance of a travel agent to our destination clients—they will find deals and discounts for you that are not published anywhere else (it’s their job!), and can package things like air, rental car, and hotel all together for both your photographer as well as you and your guests! If you don’t have one of your own, we are happy to refer you to ours (she’s excellent…and affordable!).
When we travel for destination events, we request our own room at the same lodgings as the guests; we are traveling with expensive camera equipment and cannot risk sharing a room anywhere that you yourself would not stay; access to you and your guests before the festivities begin is an added bonus!
If we’re coming from quite a distance, it’s advisable to allot at least a day or two prior to your event for us to recombobulate, as well as a full day’s worth of buffer time for travel delays. We can also use some of this time for a Day-Before session, and to check out your ceremony and reception sites as well as potential portrait locations beforehand.
A Day-Before session is a specialized session featuring only the couple, in areas or settings that are not accesible due to time or location constraints on the wedding day itself. These sessions are highly recommended for destination weddings as they yield some of the most memorable and stunning portraits of the bride and groom that will be taken during the overall event. Some brides use the opportunity to don their “second choice” wedding dress, others opt to wear their original/only wedding attire, albeit more casually (i.e., wear your hair down, no tie, etc).
Generally we recommend that the Day-Before session happens two days before the wedding; the actual day before is when the couple is usually preoccupied with the arrival of family and friends as well as rehearsals and last-minute details. The session can also be scheduled a day or two after the wedding, although it’s also not as advisable since most people just want to relax, honeymoon, or sleep off their party in the days following the event.
Above All, Patience
Patience will serve you well when planning an event, whether it is destination or not. Remember that in addition to the chaos of simply planning a wedding you are adding in the extra element of travel, so setbacks that are beyond anybody’s control can indeed happen. Even if all else fails, patience will be the safety net that keeps you sane, so be sure to step back every once in a while and center yourself throughout the process!