Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Destinations/Travel Weddings

Imagine yourself getting married on a white sand beach. Tropical breeze blowing your hair, the scent of exotic jasmine in the air. The palm trees sway as you say "I do" and your make your grand exit ~ barefoot, down the beach. Nearly every bride has dreamed of a destination wedding. Each dream is different ~ some are in the warm, sunny Caribbean, others are in California wine country; some imagine gondolas in Venice and still others see the picturesque mountains of Aspen.

Photographing destination weddings is like a dream come true
to me, too. It fulfills two of my loves: documenting weddings and being a travel photographer, all in one swoop.

Derrick & Heather in the rainforest of Costa Rica

But why would you pay to take a photographer across the country or even to another continent? Isn't that like paying for their va-cay? (We have heard this question before...)

Really, nothing could be further from true. Yes, you're paying to transport someone to another place geographically, but it is hardly a vacation for the photographer. Let me explain the difference and why it is incredibly smart to take a photographer with you for your destination wedding.

First and fundamental is reliability. If you hire someone local to your exotic destination, there is no guarantee that they will show up at all. There is also no guarantee that a local photographer will be professional, talented or even take decent, usable pictures. We had a college friend who got married in South America four years ago. She hired a photographer recommended by her hotel and to date, has not received any pictures from her wedding besides a dozen 4x6s printed on an ink jet. Those are the only memories she has to share with her children from that important day - because she totally relied on a local photographer who took her money and did not deliver. Being that she lives in the states, had no contract and does not speak his native language, there is absolutely nothing she has been able to do about it.

Taking us along assures that you will have professional coverage, great photographs and reliable service after your wedding. You will absolutely want to be able to chat with your photographer after the wedding about your album, retouching, prints and other post-production needs.
Post-production accounts for almost 80% of a photographer's service to a bride & groom. Another plus is that if you use a photographer from the states, you can sign a legally binding contract that will protect you and guarantee that you will get your pictures. And it can be enforced because both parties are state-side.

Stephen & Jessica in Miami

If you are traveling to an amazing locale for your wedding, you don't want to be disappointed with what the photos you end up with. Rissa & I have a depth of experience traveling the world and feel confident in our ability to capture incredible images no matter where we are.

We've noticed another trend lately, too. People around the U.S. are calling us to photograph their weddings. There is no shortage of photographers throughout the states and the world. We suspect the reason we are called beginning to be called to so many different places is because we have a unique style. Our photography is not simply a mimicking of other photographers work or a series of technical executions. Our work is a culmination of years of training, experience, artistry, passion and love all combined to create a unique vision of photography and a unique style all our own. Our clients recognize that hiring us as their photographers makes their lives part of this vision, and captures beautiful moments in their lives in our own unique way. A favorite quote we first heard from photographer Joe Buissink, "An original is hard to find, but easy to recognize."

In the past we have traveled outside the DC/Balitmore region for weddings to Nashville TN (several times), Asheville NC, Virginia Beach VA, Miami FL, Louisville KY (several times), Deep Creek MD and Rehoboth Beach DE (several times). This year so far we are scheduled to photograph weddings in Phoenix AZ, New Orleans LA, Nashville TN, Knoxville TN, Charleston SC and in L, England. The list of foreign countries we have traveled to and photographed in include Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Rissa and I got married in Nashville while we lived in Baltimore, so we have real life experience with destination wedding planning. We hired a lot of our vendors locally during visits: food, tent, flowers, musicians, DJ, hair stylist, chocolate fountain, favors, hotel & shuttle service. But we flew in two as well because they were important to us... Rissa's make-up artist, and our photographer. Paying for their hotel and airfare was no problem to work our budget around because we deeply valued their services.

While it is pretty much impossible to pack up a cake and fly it to Brazil, or to move 12 table centerpieces from Baltimore to San Francisco in your carry-on, we strongly encourage you to include your photographer when you take your wedding on the road. It will insure your memories will be there to share with your family, friends as well as children and grandchildren.

Nik & Crawford in the Black Mountains, NC

It truly goes beyond a "job" for us and is an honor to be involved in capturing our clients memories. When you bring a photographer to your wedding ~ be it from around the block or around the world, it is a huge commitment on the part of the photographer. It is not a vacation, no matter where you are making your commitment. Not all photographers will even accept destination weddings because the travel adds an extra layer of effort and responsibility for them. Last October I photographed a wedding in Costa Rica. Friends at home asked if I laid on the beach or went sightseeing ~ and really it was the exact opposite. It was one of the most intense work experiences I have ever had. Far from a vacation, I worked constantly ~ we did multiple additional portrait sessions, there was the wedding, reception and also a rehearsal.

Weddings are monumental events where you will experience feelings and moments that will never happen again for the rest of your life. Documenting those moments is an incredibly beautiful experience, a privilege, and extremely challenging work. Make sure someone you trust is behind the camera!

Safe travels and happy planning!

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