What To Look For In a Destination Wedding Photographer

September 17, 2018

First of all, congratulations! You’ve decided to opt against the traditional and have a destination wedding. There are always going to be reasons to be more practical but a wedding is something you only get to have once in your life. That’s why I’m not shy about being an advocate for going all out to create a lasting experience. Whether it’s Greece, Italy, or any number of other popular wedding destinations, good destination wedding photography is the key to reliving that extraordinary experience.  With my experience as a destination wedding photographer, I thought I’d lend a hand to the future brides and grooms who want to know what to keep in mind during their search.  Here’s what I recommend to keep at the top of your checklist when searching for the photographer who’s going to capture your special day!

Experience With Destination Wedding Photography


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When it comes to destination wedding photography, nothing can take the place of experience. I can read a book about dancing all day but until I get up and start to actually try out the steps myself, I won’t be a good dancer. This is why having a photographer with a proven successful track record is so vital. Experience makes the difference between someone who shows up and someone who shows up ready for anything. The photo above from a Naples wedding was taken indoors because it started to pour outside and we needed a plan B. Looking back at the photos, most people wouldn’t guess that anything went wrong because they still came out beautifully. A destination wedding is nothing like a typical domestic wedding. Shooting a wedding in a foreign country like Mexico can change everything.

Travel Experience

There’s a lot more to consider when you’re shooting a destination wedding. A good destination wedding photographer will remember to have fully-charged cameras even with foreign outlets. They’ll consider transportation to the venue when uber isn’t available in that country. In the same way a guitarist develops muscle memory with chords, a destination wedding photographer will develop a sense of how to work with the lighting, the couple, and the scenery to make the most out of a sub-optimal situation. A natural consequence of experience is also being quick on your feet with anything that could go wrong.  As an experienced destination wedding photographer, these details are all on my mental checklist but have only come with experience.


Talent & Creativity


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The friendliest, best-priced destination wedding photographer wouldn’t be a good choice if they didn’t have the talent to warrant a confident decision. Talent and experience are two sides of the same coin but they aren’t the same by any means. A talented photographer with little experience is a tempting gamble because they may not have the know-how but usually charge less. On the other hand, an experienced photographer who may not have talent in the same way they used to will usually charge more but deliver less. This is why having creativity in the mix is so important. Continued use of creativity keeps talent fresh and is easily seen if you look at the past year of a photographer’s work. If you see improvement or evolution, you can be confident that the photographer is a good selection and that their skill will be up to par on your wedding day.




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If you feel any hesitation about who you’re hiring to shoot your wedding, not because of their ability but because something doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t hire them. The right chemistry is crucial for a destination wedding, and it’s arguably the most overlooked aspect of the hiring process. This is why I love shooting for friends, like the bride above! It’s more fun for both the bride and the photographer when there’s a good match. On the other hand, it can subtract from the experience for both if the wrong photographer is chosen. The idea of having any negative experience lingering over such a joyous time doesn’t seem worth it to me. That’s especially true when there are photographers out there who are both incredibly talented and can add to the positive memories of your wedding every time you look back at your photos.


Final Advice For Destination Wedding Photography


Although I can make suggestions about what to look for, every destination wedding photographer is different. Art is ultimately subjective and can’t all be judged with the same yardstick. My hope is to help narrow down results and give couples certain criteria to keep in their back pocket. I’ve discussed a few more specific aspects of the hiring process before and would suggest looking over both to get more of a firm grasp of what to look for in prospective options. For any questions I missed, I love being a resource for anyone who needs guidance with destination wedding photography. Fill out a form submission or send an email to donnairenephotos@gmail.com and we can get started on a dialogue ASAP. Here’s hoping your search for a destination wedding photographer is short and sweet!