We believe that choosing a photographer for your destination wedding is one of the most important decisions you will make with regard to your wedding checklist. The fun and the physical experiences you will have will only last for the duration of the wedding. But as time fades, memories of your wedding will be kept alive only through photographs. Pictures make memories tangible. They give memories colour, and context. How many times have you all leafed through your parent’s wedding album gushing over each detail and asking your Mom to tell you their story just one more time? If you’re anything like us, our guess is more than a hundred times. And we bet that it never gets boring. The story gets better with each re-telling.
If you’re one of those couples that prioritise wedding photography, this post is for you. It can get overwhelming to make so many decisions and choose from so many options while planning a destination wedding. And we’re here to make it just a little bit easier for you to make a decision. Read our tips on choosing a photographer for your destination wedding who will give you eternal and timeless wedding pictures.
A lot of wedding planning websites and portals will tell you that you should hire the venue photographer or someone local to the destination of your wedding. But we strongly suggest that you take your wedding photographer along with you to the destination. There are a couple of reasons for this and not just because we have a vested interest. All leading wedding photographers in India travel all over the world on assignments. We have enough experience and calibre to be able to create stunning images in stunning locations. We understand the rituals and customs of weddings in our country and know which moments are important to a couple and their families. In case of local or venue photographers, there’s a chance that they might be unqualified for shooting, inexperienced in your customs or ill-versed with your language.
Another reason is that if you hire someone closer to home, you will have the chance to meet them in person and discuss your expectations clearly. Your photographer needs to know which moments are important for you. Personally, we make it a point to spend some time getting to know our couples in the months before the wedding. It sets a base for us about what the couple is like and what they are looking for.
Don’t rush and hire a photographer just to tick off one thing off your wedding to-dos. If photos from your wedding are important to you and your partner, then take your time finding the right one. Go over portfolios, wedding trailers and any work that is available online. In fact, have face-to-face meetings or Skype calls with your shortlisted photographers and see if you like them and vibe with them. You are going to be spending 90% of your time with your photographer and being comfortable with them is very important. It’s an important decision, so if you don’t like someone, communicate your reservations with them. In most of our cases, a conversation helps clear our couple’s worries. If you still don’t like them, move on to the next person on your list.
This part is very important in making the right choice. Every photographer has a distinct and different style of working and shooting. The kind of wedding you envision should also weigh in when you’re making a decision. So when you’re talking to your shortlisted photographers, tell them the style, mood, and themes of your wedding. However great the photographer might be, if you don’t gel with them or vice-versa, you won’t be able to make great images with them. Ask them about their style and approach of shooting and tell them to prep you beforehand about how the shoot will proceed on the actual day. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or tell them what you want. If their style and work matches your perspective, there’s nothing like it!
The budget is certainly one of the major factors in deciding on a wedding photographer for your destination wedding. Any good quality product doesn’t come cheap. And so is the case with good wedding photography and cinematography. The top-end photographers are definitely on the higher side of money, but the investment is absolutely worth it! We’ve had countless couples come back and tell us that spending on wedding photography was the best decision they made for their wedding.
Nevertheless, we understand that money does count in while making a decision. If the photographer that you love is a little over your budget, we suggest you talk to them about it. No photographer, including us, wants to let go of a couple they really like. We tend to get attached pretty soon. So talk to them and find out if they can customise a package for you. Over the past years, some of our couples have chosen to cut down budget from one or two of the other areas of their wedding, to spend on photography. And we can safely say that they haven’t complained. Usually, we suggest that you keep a budget of about 10-15% of your total wedding budget for photography. We have spoken previously about how you should set your wedding photography budget. You can read it in detail here.
With a photographer from the venue/resort, you might only get certain hours of coverage. Indian weddings tend to go on for days and into late hours of the night. So the hour-based coverage doesn’t really work well into the equation. Bringing your own photographer will ensure that you have all their attention and commitment for all the days of your wedding celebrations. Make sure that you talk about the coverage they offer and discuss extra charges if the events run late so there are no surprises later on. Once we sign on a couple, we give our 100% to them. From the first function to the vidaai ceremony, we’re there. We’re always up for the challenge that different locations throw before us, even if it means shooting in the middle of the night to get that couple portrait under the starry sky!
While hiring a photographer, make sure that the person or company that you’re talking to has enough resources to be able to pull off a destination wedding. We’re not talking in terms of the size of the crew, although that’s certainly a consideration. If you’re planning a large-scale destination wedding with grand festivities and 100-200 people, then make sure that the photographer has enough resources to capture your entire wedding without any compromise on coverage. Wedding photography companies, like us, often have enough in-house team member to be able to pull that off. Independent photographers usually hire freelance photographers to complete their team. But whoever you’re talking to, it’s important that you know if they can arrange a competent crew to manage the scale of your wedding.
Even if the wedding is small, there are other issues like camera, lenses and memory back-ups. Can they manage if one of their cameras, lenses, cards or any other piece of equipment fails in the middle of the wedding? It’s important because replacements or repairs in some of the destinations aren’t easy. So the team should be prepared for any situation and can adapt to different environments.
Please remember that these are not rules that you have to follow. These are some basic guidelines to help you navigate through thousands of photographer options. One of the above might apply to you, all of them might apply to you or none of them might apply to you. You might even end up finding a great photographer local to your destination. But most of the above guidelines apply even in that case. Please do lots of research and ask your photographer tons of questions before making any decision.
We’d love to know how you chose your destination wedding photographer. If you’d like to ask anything, please write to us in the comments. As always, we would love to answer and help make your wedding day as magical as you imagined it to be!