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How to choose a Destination Wedding Photographer


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#1 Jtds2713

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    Posted 24 June 2008 - 06:45 PM

    Hello Ladies (and Gents)!

    I thought I'd start this thread so all of us who have been married can share tips/advice on how to choose a DW photographer. This is one of the biggest expense and one of the most important decisions DW couples make. Photographers are encouraged to give their tips also.

    Let me start with a few that comes to mind:

    1. During the interview process, ask the photographer for pictures of a whole wedding.
    2. Ask the photographer how they will edit your photos.
    3. How long will it take to process the pictures after the wedding and when can you expect to receive them.
    4. Do they work alone or is there a second shooter? Just because a photographer has an assistant does not mean the assistant is also a photographer.


    I have a few more but I thought I would open this discussion to others and especially to our members who are also photographers.

    Best to all,

    Jess

    #2 BePhoto

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      Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:23 AM

      Quote:
      Originally Posted by Jtds2713
      Hello Ladies (and Gents)!
      Let me start with a few that comes to mind:

      1. During the interview process, ask the photographer for pictures of a whole wedding.
      2. Ask the photographer how they will edit your photos.
      3. How long will it take to process the pictures after the wedding and when can you expect to receive them.
      4. Do they work alone or is there a second shooter? Just because a photographer has an assistant does not mean the assistant is also a photographer.

      I think these are all applicable to all weddings - (and many more apply), but specifically for destination weddings you probably want to add some of these:

      1. - Do you carry a general liability insurance policy?

      2. - Do you alter your packages for destination weddings (we add a number of features for destinations)

      3. - What happens if you miss your flight?

      4. - What type of equipment do you bring? - Do you ship your equipment to the location, or do you bring it with you on the plane? -- what if your equipment does not arrive, - gets lost in baggage? - what are your backup plans?

      5. -- If you are not set on a wedding date, you may find some variances for DW photographer prices based on the time of the year. - For instance, we do not take any (or very, very limited) DW's in May-June, and September-October. - other photogs, simply raise their rates during these times of the year for DW's (since the cost of going on one DW- often costs you 3 or 4 weddings at home).

      ......... I could probably go on and on, but these are common ones I get! :)

      #3 Evan Baines

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        Posted 25 June 2008 - 11:42 AM

        Another vital thing is to make sure you communicate with a potential photographer to make sure your personalities are a good mesh! You're going to be spending more time with your photographer than just about anyone on your wedding day.

        Some more thoughts in my older thread here!
        http://bestdestinati...om/forum/t23076

        #4 BePhoto

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          Posted 25 June 2008 - 03:41 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Evan Baines
          Another vital thing is to make sure you communicate with a potential photographer to make sure your personalities are a good mesh! You're going to be spending more time with your photographer than just about anyone on your wedding day.
          Excellent point............ and probably one of the most important!

          #5 jean-marcus

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            Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:19 PM

            you are also forgetting about one very important one...

            PERSONALITY....

            what kind of personality does this person have... talk to them on the phone (or if they live in your city go hang out with them for a bit).....

            picking a photogarpher that meshes with your personality is very imporant for a wedding but even more so for a destination wedding because most likely they will be there a couple days and whats worse then having some photographer who is pushy, or rude, or no sense of humor.

            ps.. if they have a myspace do some snooping and see what kind of person they are

            #6 Mandy

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              Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:50 PM

              Since you're on the forum, look around a little (maybe here: http://bestdestinati...com/forum/t9132) and see if anyone will be at/near your resort/location around the same time as you. Maybe you can share photographers and cut down on travel costs!

              #7 Jtds2713

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                Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:25 PM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by jean-marcus
                you are also forgetting about one very important one...

                PERSONALITY....

                what kind of personality does this person have... talk to them on the phone (or if they live in your city go hang out with them for a bit).....

                picking a photogarpher that meshes with your personality is very imporant for a wedding but even more so for a destination wedding because most likely they will be there a couple days and whats worse then having some photographer who is pushy, or rude, or no sense of humor.

                ps.. if they have a myspace do some snooping and see what kind of person they are
                I agree with the above posts about the importance of PERSONALITY. I know it is not always possible particularly for destination weddings to meet with your photographer FACE-to-FACE, but if you can make it happen, please do so. It is SO IMPORTANT to GET TO KNOW your photographer BEFORE you commit to hiring him. Even bridal referrals (no matter how well the intentions are) are not always reliable. We are all different people and we don't all connect in the same way.

                #8 O'Driscoll Photography

                O'Driscoll Photography
                • Sr. Member
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                  Posted 26 June 2008 - 11:16 AM

                  Here's a couple of other things to consider:

                  1. Ask them if they are members of any professional organizations such as WPPI, WPJA, PPA, etc. Membership in professional organizations and regular participation in seminars and conventions can be an indicator of their dedication to their craft, and can show how serious they take their continuing education and improvement as a wedding photographer.

                  2. Another thing to keep in mind is their professionalism. Do they return phone calls and/or emails promptly? Do you feel that they are someone who would be reliable? Do you get the feeling that they are truly all about serving you and your needs?

                  3. Do you get the sense that they are excited about working with you, and will really give it 110% to make sure you have awesome images which tell the story of your day?

                  I would also like to reiterate what's already been stated above regarding the importance of the personality of your photographer. I think this is definitely one of the most important, if not the most important aspects of your decision making process. If you feel that your personalities are a good mix and you love their work, then chances are you will be very happy with the experience they provide you, and will also love the work they do in documenting your big day.

                  Hope this helps.

                  Tod

                  #9 Jtds2713

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                    Posted 26 June 2008 - 02:21 PM

                    I agree about the post about the importance of PROFESSIONALISM.

                    Regarding references, some past customers may be reluctant to give a thorough review of a photographer's work on a public forum like this. Talking to SEVERAL past brides/grooms/couples would give you more insight into a photographer's work, personality and professionalism.

                    #10 Richard King

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                    • 16 posts

                      Posted 05 July 2008 - 02:56 AM

                      This is very tricky

                      There are 3 sorts of destination photographer

                      1. lives at the destination
                      2. lives near you
                      3. lives elsewhere

                      The first guy will know the destination well, and will either be excelent, or "just hired by the hotel" and be shaby. So in essence - try to find out what you are getting. Once, in Cuba I was handed 3 negatives and prints from the "official hotel photographer" 1 week after the couple left! "could you give these to the bride and groom when you meet them". Not good. On the other hand I know some excelent British photographers who actually move for half a year to a resort in spain and offer british brides a superb service, and the office back home deals with all the paperwork and printing etc.. Interviewing and meeting in advance this sort of photographer is difficult

                      The second type will for sure be a great photographer, you can interview them easily, and they will take great photographs. However, if they do not travel much, then the logistics might be a bit much for them.. the gear and cases they have will be oriented to bundling in the back of a car, not the hold of a plane. They will possibly noy be used to working in the lighting conditions of where you are getting married, and not know the venue

                      The third type seems more risky, but infact will be very used to travelling and shooting, and be set up grandly for it. Interviewing and meeting them face to face before the wedding is tricky. These types of photographers are generlly at the top of the game

                      I agree professionalisim is a must, however accross the world there is a massive range of "acceptable levels and standards of work". The chap in Cuba did his best, with the old russian camera and and thought his work was superb. A lot of the "professional qualifications" are infact just letters given to a photographer for joining an organisation (that is a bussiness). So whilst i agree with the other photographer above, if you do use a "qualification" as a factor in your decision, check out what the photographer has to do to get it. In some cases it is just sending in a panel of 10 ok images and paying the money.. in others it is actually submitting a large panel of first rate images in a album from one wedding, having an interview etc.. the standard for passing varies massivley


                      When choosing a photographer first decide what style YOU like, then assess the photographers work online - does it consistantly meet your style and standards? Sort out a budget. Only look at photographers in your budget. If they dont publish straightforward pricing, dont bother. Get a short list. Email them all at the same time with the same email - judge the responses - are they professional? are they timley? - if they are not timley - is the excuse reasonable (on a plane between x&Y is reasonable). Wait another week and send the photographers all a question or two.. you will soon find out which ones you like dealing with. Narrow it down to a couple, get on the phone to them - do they engage with you, are they friendly. Are they telling you what they want, or are you telling them what they want? Do you feel like you could trust and be with this person, on the most special day of your life (and possibly a few days arround that day). Unfortunatally photographers range from brilliant to crappy, arrogant to eminently personable, blend in the background to primadonna, bossy to laid back

                      Look at the contracts. are you happy?
                      Destination wedding photography has some special things to consider

                      1. expenses
                      2. proofing at a distance
                      3. getting your product
                      4. contractual differences between countries (e.g. my contracts are subject to british law, not US law)
                      5. paying at a distance
                      6. logistics, and possibly hiring equipement locally
                      7. being a long way away from any suppliers (meaning that the photographer absoloutley needs everything he is going to use on him/her, and if anything goes wrong, he still only has the equipement infront of him)
                      8. travel time eats away at "in the office time" which means the process is SLOWER

                      hope that helps

                      Richard




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