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WARNING for those bringing a photographer to Cuba!


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#1 jackobelle

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    Posted 27 March 2010 - 05:47 PM

    This is a warning to those getting married in Cuba and to photographers:


    We found out the hard way that Cuba is cracking down on people using a tourist visa to take wedding photos in Cuba. Apparently they are going to check the passport of your photographer and check if they have any sort of photography website. Our hotel (Blau Varadero) did this to our photographer and didn't let him photograph our wedding. Our photographer said that he shot 2 weddings a week before ours in Cuba with no problems. The Blau seems to be one of the first hotels enforcing this new regulation, but our photographer was told that the government is going to ensure the rest start doing it too. They will be giving a large fine and will take away your photographer's equipment if they find a photography website with their name (easily done with a google search) or if they have been to Cuba several times which makes them think they are coming back often to work.

    We were really upset as because of this we found out about an hour before our ceremony that we had no photographer. What made us even more upset is that during our research trip last year we asked the WC at the Blau if we could bring an outside photographer and she said "yes, no problem" she then changed her mind after we booked over 40 guests. We, along with our photographer even tried telling them that he was a friend and guest of the wedding and they still wouldn't budge.

    We are not blaming our photographer at all. He felt just as bad as we did about the situation. He takes stunning photographs and I would recommend him for destination weddings in Mexico and other places he is allowed to work. Apparently there is going to be some sort of permit the photographer must buy well in advance in order to be able to take wedding photos. I don't know anything about it though.


    quote from photographer removed at request of poster.

    #2 Dmitri_Markine

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      Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:30 PM

      I read it and it made me smile a bit.

      There are photographers who clearly abuse the tourist visa and they are getting caught. 5-10 trips to Cuba(or another country) per year is a clear indication for the immigration officers that the photographer in question is not a "tourist" as most indicate on arrival.
      I don't want to go into details,but the info from this photographer is not full or correct. It looks more like an attempt to blame everything on the Cuban officials and make them the "bad guys" instead.

      There are ways to photograph weddings legally in Cuba...most photographers just never bother to look into it.

      Cheers :)

      #3 jackobelle

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        Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:29 PM

        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Dmitri_Markine
        I read it and it made me smile a bit.
        Well us as the wedding couple who found out 1 hour before our ceremony that our photographer is not allowed to photograph our wedding were certainly not smiling.
        Maybe you are correct and our photographer should have known better, or maybe this is a new regulation they are trying to enforce (our photog never had problems before). Regardless of the reason, we didn't have a photographer on our one special day, and I find your comment a little insensitive.

        #4 JulieG

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          Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:12 PM

          I agree with you completely!! You didn't get a photographer and are coming on her to warn others, you don't need to be told that your photog should have known better and that it made someone smile to read this. That is just plain mean.

          Thank you for warning future brides of this issue.

          When we got married we had no problems at all bringing in our photog, thank God. I really hope this isn't something that catches on and other resorts follow suit. Did you at least get to take pics before or anything at all? I am hoping you did. Could you use the resort photog?

          #5 TammyWright

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          Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:29 PM

          That really sucks about your wedding. It is too bad your hotel could not have given u some warning about the new enforcement.

          Proper visas have been discussed before and it is an important reminder to brides to make sure you are covered. Governments are the same everywhere. They all want their cut.

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          #6 TammyWright

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          Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:36 PM

          I am hoping dmitris comment was not about your misfortune but as a ta i see comments all the time about hotels selling out, brides not asking about outside vendor policy then freaking out and wanting to blame everyone and everything else and not place blame the lack of due diligence on their part.

          It is hard to give good advice in situations like this without it sounding like an "i told you so" but hopefully this will help future cuba brides

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          #7 Melidell

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            Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:37 PM

            jackobelle-I'm so sorry that this happened to you. It sounds like every bride's worst nightmare. I hope you were able to get some pictures, if not the day of, then after.

            I'm really curious as to what I can do to prevent this sort of thing from happening to me and my photographer. I'll be at a different resort and my photographer is staying on the resort with us- I don't know if that makes any difference at all. If there's a proper permit that she needs while we're down there I'd like to know about it. I hope that this isn't going to be a trend in Cuba now.

            ETA- visa or no visa, I think that it was unfair of the hotel not to warn you about this when you asked them ahead of time.
            Loving married life!

            #8 Dmitri_Markine

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              Posted 27 March 2010 - 11:36 PM

              my post was misunderstood...

              I am sorry it happened to you Jacobelle.

              #9 VaraderoBride

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                Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:35 AM

                I see the misunderstanding here... as I know Dmitri you are not an insensitive person!

                The first line "The Cuban government is hunting wedding photographers from abroad..." is probably a bit extreme. I think the Cuban government probably has a few other issues to attend to before using their resources to burn photographers.

                Jackobelle... that totally sucks and I cringe when I think about not being able to have wedding photos!!! I know how important pictures are for such a special day and I really do hope that you can somehow still get photos. I know it really isn't the same. I had a friend whose photographer's photos were completed deleted... so what they did was they invited all their close friends and family together to have the shots taken again. I really hope everything works out!

                As for future brides going to Cuba, I would go the "friend" route and try to have the photographer stay at the resort. If the photographer is coming from the outside, I would make sure he doesn't have "Cuba" as a destination stamped in his passport more than a few times... It really does look suspicious. It sounds like this could be resort-specific. I know ILA didn't have any problems (was just there last week with a few other brides who also brought a photographer).

                #10 VaraderoBride

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                  Posted 28 March 2010 - 03:00 AM

                  One more thing to add...

                  The fact that the photographer + father knew the immigration officer already from previous issues (implicating that their names were already flagged) makes me feel like they were probably followed. Were they coming from a place inside Varadero? Or did they have to pass the gate into Varadero?

                  Maybe it's like the Canadian/US border. Once you're pulled aside...everytime you go back they're going to 'bust your balls' (excuse my language).




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