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cariandnick

Using outside photographers at all-inclusive resorts...

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Hey all - this is my first post. Thanks for all the fabulous info! I remember reading somewhere that some of the resorts don't allow outside photographers on the resort. (Moon Palace for example says on their website they dont allow photographers, you have to use theirs) How are people getting around this so that their own photographers can be there. Are people just paying for a hotel night for the photographer? Also, do the brides pay for flight and hotel for the photographers in addition to the base price for the photography if the photographer is not local (like Leigh Miller Photography who appears to be located somewhere in the US did a beautiful wedding at the El Dorado).

 

I have so many questions, I just don't even know where to start. First just trying to figure out where we are going to do the wedding - so many choices are making it way too hard to narrow down the list!

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hi cari - congrats on your engagement and thanks for your kind words about the wedding i shot at el dorado royale! heres a recent thread on that very topic - http://bestdestinationwedding.com/forum/t2343

 

on a side note i see youre from memphis! i was born and raised there. i went to memphis prep. yes old school :) where do you live? i come back a few times a year to see my granny and grandpa. they live in collierville now. i grew up on craft road - over by elvis house. im not sure what its like over there now?

 

sorry to jack your thread. but im always so excited to meet someone from memphis!!!

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hi leigh - yes, collierville is a little bit nicer than your old stomping grounds near graceland! its probably good u stay with your grandparents! i live in east memphis, near galloway golf course and although im not from memphis originally, ive been here for 5 years now and really love it. anyway

 

so i see you are in cali - so do your clients usually fly u to the location and then put u up in the resort for the night? you have FABULOUS pictures - i've actually been drooling over them for a week now (just got engaged!), but i'm on a budget and I'm guessing that would probably add another $500-800 onto the cost?

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Originally Posted by cariandnick View Post
hi leigh - yes, collierville is a little bit nicer than your old stomping grounds near graceland! its probably good u stay with your grandparents! i live in east memphis, near galloway golf course and although im not from memphis originally, ive been here for 5 years now and really love it. anyway

so i see you are in cali - so do your clients usually fly u to the location and then put u up in the resort for the night? you have FABULOUS pictures - i've actually been drooling over them for a week now (just got engaged!), but i'm on a budget and I'm guessing that would probably add another $500-800 onto the cost?
yeah ive heard that area has really gone downhill. too bad!

travel for DWs for myself and my assistant usually runs an additional $1500 on top of the package pricing. i always arrive two days before the wedding. the day before is just cutting it too close. but remember, when its all over all you will have are the pics :) and the husband of course!!! smile159.gif

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We aren't getting married at a resort, but the place we are getting married is affiliated with a resort, and they wanted us to use theirs. What we did is put our photographers on our guest list, so they are technically our guests/friends who happen to be excellent photographers. I don't know if you could do something similar, but you could certainly try!

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For Dreams Tulum, all we had to do is ask. Our wedding coordinator had no issue with it and there are no additional charges or room fees. As far as I know our WC is sending our photographer (who lives and works near the resort anyway) a form to bring with her so that the front gate guards let her in.

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I'm an "outside vendor" in the Riviera Maya (video, not photo) and this can be an issue. Some resorts are really good about it and welcome us, others are not. One of the mega-chain AI resorts here charges what they call a "penalty" to bring in outside vendors. You must pay $300 to the photo shop to NOT use their services. Often times the photo shop is contracted to a third party and I imagine that's the case here. They've come up with a deal that insures they get paid for every wedding, regardless. Imagine trying to leave a store without buying something and being told you had to pay a penalty to take your business elsewhere.

 

A colleague of mine just got an email from a previously mentioned AI. They demanded a $500 fee be paid for the right to shoot there,. This is a quote from their wedding coordinator's email "This amount should be paid cash to the weddings office the morning of the wedding." I'm surprised she didn't ask for it in a brown paper bag, it's pretty clear what's going on here.

 

Buying a day pass is normal for anyone you invite in from outside the resort for your wedding. It's a nice gesture for your vendors as well. It allows us to move about, get food and drinks as needed, and not be questioned or hassled by the staff. The above mentioned fees are in addition to the day pass fees. Americans like myself can get by for a while saying we are friends/guests of the couple but eventually someone begins to recognize us as "outside vendors." This is what happened with the above mentioned colleague.

 

I think this has been a closed monopoly for a long time. The concept of free market capitalism is relatively new and they don't know what to do, so they're fighting it. I've realized that it's a mistake to assume that the best quality/price wins. I've seen a resort photographer with a consumer grade, point and shoot camera. I've seen the resort videographers show up at the chapel in shorts and T-shirts with a five year old handheld video camera. It seems to be a gamble to rely on the resort services. I know that many wedding coordinators make more money from vendor commissions and mark-ups than they do with their salary or coordination fees. Many vendors know that by offering higher commissions they will get the work and coordinators will give you all sorts of reasons why you have to use a particular vendor, some are valid, but often it's the higher commission that they will receive from their "preferred" vendor.

 

I know this sounds like sour grapes, it can be frustrating. The only way it will change, is if consumers demand a free market. It's a shame to say out loud, but don't assume that your happiness and satisfaction is paramount. The motives are often cash-related. There are many vendors and hotels/resorts here that are sincerely concerned about your happiness and satisfaction and who will insure that you get the finest quality service available. I don't want to burn bridges by omitting anyone from the good list or naming anyone on the bad list on a public forum.

 

Julie (itsme7396) has posted here about her wedding. I worked at that wedding and everything was top-notch from start to finish. It was also well-timed and had a great cadence. I was surprised by the fact that both the photographer and I were hired for five hours and we got everything from Pre-Ceremony preparations to all the reception events and some of the general dancing. Normally at an AI a LOT of time is spent waiting or moving from place to place. With five hours of coverage, sacrifices have to be made or the coverage needs to be extended to get everything, this costs more money. It's also very hard to put a value on the frustration of waiting and conforming to the resort's schedule and logistics.

 

At a smaller hotel or resort, you get more for your money from your vendors because your not paying them to wait, and you're more likely to get a well-timed event that keeps your guests happy and engaged. A well-timed event, where everything is within walking distance and no one gets bored or annoyed, is something that's hard to consider up-front, but will always end up being valuable in many ways. If you're already booked, or considering booking at an AI, you have a lot of clout to bargain with as the couple bringing them business. Tell them you'll be bringing in photographer(s) and/or videographer(s) as invited guests. Expect them to be treated as all your invited guests from outside the resort and don't tolerate any additional fees or penalties for choosing not to use their services. Nobody wants 40 American/Canadiens complaining on the internet, on message boards like this. You the consumer have a right to demand free market competition. They have the right to expect you to purchase a day pass for outside guests.

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Originally Posted by scharke View Post
I know this sounds like sour grapes, it can be frustrating. The only way it will change, is if consumers demand a free market. It's a shame to say out loud, but don't assume that your happiness and satisfaction is paramount. The motives are often cash-related. There are many vendors and hotels/resorts here that are sincerely concerned about your happiness and satisfaction and who will insure that you get the finest quality service available. I don't want to burn bridges by omitting anyone from the good list or naming anyone on the bad list on a public forum.
HOLA AMIGO PAUL... .Paul is SPOT on ladies... Paul is also a friend of mine. WE have been fighting this here... and, i'm also an American and a local vendor, so these resorts let us in there... We were at a wedding at the Moon Palace on March 9th. If a room is purchased, you are considered a guest of the hotel... we were smooth sailing...

In regards to hiring outside vendors, there is also a stigma that photographer / videographers in Mexico just don't cut it.... so brides pay $1500 or so to fly their photog down there... well, I say spend that money on the local talent... it exists... plus, local vendors do not charge travel fees... (sorry leigh) *leigh's work is very worth it* some brides can afford the additional travel fees, just stating this as you mentioned you were on a budget...

DEMAND outside vendors... soon, we will win!

Cheers!
Matt

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