I consider it such a privilege to be able to call myself a destination wedding photographer in Italy. A country rich in beauty, history, and culture, it’s easy to see why Italy is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the world. As of writing this, I’ve been to Italy more than any other country I’ve visited and I have no problem continuing to keep it that way. Several destination wedding photographers I’m acquainted with in the United States tell me Italy is too big of a journey to make for a wedding but I treat every Italy elopement or wedding inquiry like I just won the lottery. I personally don’t know know how anyone could turn down the opportunity to be a destination wedding photographer in Italy when gorgeous photos are almost guaranteed. Whether you’re considering going with an destination wedding in Italy or have already booked the venue, here’s my advice on everything related to destination wedding photography in Italy!
How To Find a Destination Wedding Photographer in Italy
Finding the right destination wedding photographer in Italy certainly isn’t an easy task. Looking for a destination wedding photographer in a foreign country opens up a pandora’s box of questions. Should I limit myself to choosing a wedding photographer in Italy? What about hiring from other nearby European countries? Do wedding photographers in Italy charge the same prices as they do in my country? Do I start my search online? What if I can’t properly communicate with a photographer I really like because of a language barrier? All these questions can paralyze just about anybody lost in the stress of wedding planning. For those struggling with hiring the right destination wedding photographer in Italy, here’s some advice on where to start!
Online Search or Referral?
The question of where to start searching for a destination wedding photographer in Italy is often answered with a Google search. A quick Google search can you lead you to incredible talent that may not be advertising or using social media to display their work. The trouble is that the best photographer may not be so adept at web design, or even internet savvy. The opposite can often be true as well, when there aren’t any good options 5 pages deep on any search engines, just mediocre destination wedding photographers who know how to get their site found. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when thousands of photographer’s sites are all vying for high visibility, especially when it comes to pursuing being a destination wedding photographer in Italy. For this reason, I think it’s usually better to start your search with a well-known app best known for displaying photos!
In 2018, it’s easier than ever to gather a list of candidate by searching online, whether it be through a search engine or a social media platform like Instagram, which I recommend starting your search for a destination wedding photographer in Italy. Social media has totally revolutionized the way couples are able to look for the wedding photographer of their dreams, often cutting out the unnecessary middleman of expensive wedding directories. Being hired from Instagram is one of my favorite ways to be found because it comes with a few advantages over a typical online search. My Instagram is not only a diverse portfolio of my recent work but also reveals a bit of my personality, which is hugely important for a destination wedding photographer. If you want a serious photographer, a fun photographer, or a moody photographer, a quick look at their Instagram photos and captions is, in many cases, enough to determine whether or not that particular destination wedding photographer is right for you. Instagram alone isn’t enough, I definitely suggest reaching out to them to make sure they match what you’re looking for but an Instagram profile will say a lot.
Should I Hire a Local Destination Wedding Photographer in Italy?
This is a bit of a tricky question to answer. Many times I’ll advocate for hiring a local destination wedding photographer, especially in a developed country like Italy with a decent sized pool for good photographers. The problem is that the pool shrinks if you want a photographer who speaks English, and the ones who do speak English will often charge a premium which could shrink your options even further. Additionally, by not limiting your choices to Italy, you’ve essentially opened the door to nearly unlimited options from around the world. It’d certainly be a stretch to say it’s not possible to find a single qualified destination wedding photographer in Italy but for those who are fixed on a particular photographer, hiring a non-Italian may be necessary. This is why it’s tricky to say whether or not to hire a local, because if you can find one that fits all your conditions then I recommend doing it but it’s not always easy to find the right person when the selection is so narrow.
Generally speaking, it’s easier to find a destination wedding photographer from your home country and bring them with you. Logistically, it makes more sense to hire a destination wedding photographer from your home country for several factors. When it comes to speaking the same language, understanding the way business is done, knowing what rates are fair, it’s hard to compare the simplicity of hiring at home in contrast to hiring a local destination wedding photographer in Italy. The only potential drawback for doing this is the addition of travel fees, which could range from an extra $500-$1000 depending on the travel needs of the photographer. In many cases, a photographer will waive travel fees for a destination they’re keen on shooting, which I’ve done for several countries. The right photographer will always make it work when it comes to budget but remember that’s it’s always worth stretching your budget to get the right photographer!
What Makes a Good Destination Wedding Photographer in Italy?
Once you’ve been able to narrow down a decent few candidates, it comes time to determine who you’re going to hire to be your wedding photographer in Italy. I’m asked on a near daily basis what to look for in a destination wedding photographer and have gone into detail about it before but not specifically for Italy. I wanted to be more detailed about what to look for when booking a destination wedding photographer in Italy, so here are two hugely important aspects to keep an eye out for when hiring your Italy wedding photographer!
Knowledge of Location
I can’t overstate the value of the understanding of whatever location a couple is getting married in. Any destination wedding photographer in Italy should be prepared for a few factors that only those with travel experience in Italy can really be ready for. I have a good wedding photographer friend who shot a destination wedding in Italy but was over an hour late because she didn’t account for Uber not being available in the town where was staying. She had to scramble for a taxi and arrived to an upset bride – not a great way to kick off the wedding day for either one of them. Another common domestic example is photographers in San Francisco who don’t realize how often car break-ins happen in the city. I couldn’t count on my own hands how many photographer friends or acquaintances have told me stories about coming to San Francisco for work and having their gear stolen from their rental car. Although I still recommend San Francisco for anyone weighing their options for a California destination wedding, it serves as a great example of why knowledge of location is so important when hiring a destination wedding photographer. For peace of mind, a question as simple as, “how well do you know Italy?” can make all the difference when hiring a destination wedding photographer in Italy.
Ability To Improvise
A big part of a destination wedding photographer’s job is needing to be able to improvise. In a foreign country, this means having a solution when problems you haven’t necessarily faced arise. When it starts to rain, you want a photographer who’s able to keep their composure and still get the shots they need. If the sun doesn’t come out from behind the clouds all day, the right destination wedding photographer will be able to work around it to make sure the day still comes out looking beautiful. The best personal example I can think of is when I was taking bridal portraits with a couple in Cartagena and our taxi that was supposed to wait for us ended up driving away leaving us stranded during the cocktail hour. As the bride’s stress started to mount, I was able to navigate to a main road and hail a taxi, using basic Spanish to return us to the hotel where the cocktail hour was going on. It’s hugely important that whoever you hire to be your destination wedding photographer in Italy manages to keep a cool head in stressful situations and find solutions, photography-related or not!
Pros and Cons of Getting Married in Italy
No matter where you choose to get married, you’ll have to make certain trade-offs. As a destination wedding photographer in Italy, I think you can guess whether or not I think getting married in Italy is worth it or not (hint: it totally is). Ultimately, it’s up to you and your future spouse to decide whether or not the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks. Here are what I’ve found to be a handful of the major pros and cons of having a destination wedding in Italy!
Pros of a Destination Wedding in Italy
First of all, as basic as this may sound, Italy is overall incredible. It’s hard not to fall in love with a country that values and expresses beauty in such a unique way. The primary reason I became a destination wedding photographer in Italy is because it was the first place I ever felt romance in the air. Italy is a place where you can feel passion just walking through the narrow streets or sitting at a cafe having an espresso in the morning. It’s also apparent in the physical beauty of landscape, from the unbelievable views of the Amalfi Coast to the jaw-dropped seaside villages perched on the coast of Cinque Terre. It feels almost silly to describe how amazing Italy is in a paragraph but if anything I said struck a chord with you, you’d probably love it just as much as I do!
If you’re choosing to get married in Italy, you could easily choose to remain in the country and use it as a superb honeymoon destination. From taking a ski trip to the alps to enjoying a villa on Lake Como to a culture tour of Venice, there’s an innumerable amount of unforgettable experiences to be had in Italy. As I mentioned before, it’s one of the most romantic countries in the world, and isn’t that the most important requisite for a honeymoon? Additionally, Italy happens to have considerable proximity to a number of other phenomenal countries well-suited for a honeymoon. I don’t know a couple who wouldn’t be interested in a wine tour through Bordeaux, soaking up the sun on a number of Greek islands, or exploring the Croatian coast on a yacht, all of which are a short and inexpensive flight or drive from Italy.
Cons of a Destination Wedding in Italy
Italy is one of the most visited countries in the entire world, which means the high season of tourism can bring crowds that are more dense than Hong Kong at rush hour. Every popular city from Milan to Naples experiences massive crowds from all over the world which vary depending on the season. The peak season is the summer, in which the crowds are so large, even many of the minor sites are a hassle to visit, let alone the major ones. This may be a personal preference, not everyone has an enmity for overcrowding the same way I do, but I would keep this factor in the back of your mind if you share the same feeling. Be particularly mindful about a destination wedding in Italy during the peak tourism season between June and August.
Hand in hand with high tourism is high demand for destination weddings in Italy. The foundation of economics is that a higher demand with a constant supply means everything is going to cost a lot more, especially during peak seasons. I recently spent New Year’s in Tulum, where everything was two to three times more expensive than when I’d visited only a few months prior. The same goes for wedding venues, caterers, florists, and local wedding photographers in Italy during high demand. In many cases, this drawback can be avoided by staying out of the bigger cities and opting to get married in any number of smaller, incredibly charming towns or choosing to get married during low season. As a destination wedding photographer in Italy, this is what I’d recommend, not only to save money but because I think the smaller towns have a more distinct sense of real Italian culture.
When To Get Married in Italy
Italy’s range of climate doesn’t change dramatically throughout the country. This means whatever Rome is experiencing is typically applies to Sicily, Florence, or Milan, plus or minus a few degrees Celsius. My time as a destination wedding photographer in Italy has brought me there for every season so here’s what I’d personally recommend for anyone still considering dates to book for their destination wedding!
The saying of Spring I’m most familiar with is that it begins like a lion and finishes like a lamb. This is particularly true of Italy, where most of what can be said about winter is still true for the first month and a half or so of Spring. Fortunately, when May hits and the short cold days of winter start to subside, Italy once again becomes the perfect wedding destination. The sunrise is earlier in the morning, making the days longer, sunnier, and more enjoyable. People start going to the beach again because the water isn’t too cold to swim in anymore. The sun once again starts to set later in the evening, creating better timing for golden hour during bridal portraits. I mention Spring first because it’s my personal favorite time of year in Italy, at least from late April up until the heat of the summer starts to pick up. There’s almost no rain, plenty of sun, and long warm days; with almost no downsides, I’d recommend a May or June wedding for Italy.
In my experience, Summertime in Italy is as close to paradise as you can get in Europe. I’m from Miami, so I can handle the heat, and thoroughly enjoy the 15-16 hours of warm sun most of the summer receives in Italy. As I mentioned earlier, June-August is peak tourism season, which is just about the only drawback about summer in Italy. It’s close to impossible to avoid crowds at many of the most popular cities and sites but the best way to get around that is simply to avoid the popular cities and sites. Although I advocate doing as much as you can when you travel, you can always save the Trevi Fountain for another trip, or even your honeymoon! Summer in Italy means going to the beach, eating granita in the morning, or enjoying the smell of the Adriatic as you explore a Venetian street at daybreak. I’ve also found something about the warm air in the evening to be conducive to dancing into the dawn, which I could not more strongly suggest for your wedding!
The weather of a peninsula is not the same as other land, as the climate is dictated by the temperature of the water around it. The warmth of the Mediterranean keeps Italy feeling like summer well through September, one of my favorite conditions of Autumn. The cool change isn’t usually felt until October, along with an increase in rain in many parts of the country. Although relief from the strong heat is felt in September, you wouldn’t be able to tell that winter was around the corner until late October, making the first few months of Autumn just as temperate and lovely as mid-Spring. The additional benefit, of course, is that most of the tourists have returned to their respective countries, leaving you to enjoy the beauty of Italy with fewer crowds and at a lower price. What else would you need to choose an autumn wedding in Italy?
Most European countries aren’t exactly suited for a beautiful wedding during any of the Winter months. I just got back from a weeklong trip to London and Paris and I saw the sun for a grand total of one hour. Plus, because the sun sets at 4 or earlier in much of Europe which doesn’t create ample opportunity for a well timed golden hour, or any golden hour at all in some cases. Although Italy’s southern geography puts it in position to get more sun, the sunset is still typically very early, which is one of the most important things to take into account as a destination wedding photographer. I don’t know too many destination wedding photographers in Italy but the ones I do know typically take the winter months off. I always say that if you’re going to be cold for a wedding, you might as well lean in and go for a fully winter setting, like this couple did for their Iceland elopement.
Destination Wedding Photographer in Italy – Final Thoughts
My time as a destination wedding photographer in Italy has given me unique insight into how special Italy truly is. It’s such a unique privilege to be able to start your marriage in a country that celebrates love the way that Italy does. Even considering Italy as the country to host your wedding tells me you have great taste and are in for an incredible day, no matter what you choose. As someone who’s been in the wedding industry for nearly a decade, I love to be a resource for any couple with questions, especially related to photography. For any destination wedding photographer-related needs, make sure to reach out at 786-270-8527 or fill out a form submission. I can’t wait to hear from you and your future spouse and find out why you chose Italy for your destination wedding!