Why You Should Bring a Destination Wedding Photographer With You to Your Destination Wedding || Wedding Tips || Emily & Co. Photography

Why You Should Bring a Destination Wedding Photographer With You to Photograph Your Destination Wedding

6 Reasons to Bring a Photographer You LOVE to Your Destination Wedding

Planning a destination wedding can be difficult and sometimes stressful. Even with the help of a resort coordinator, you are leaving the decision of which vendors will suite you perfectly up to a complete stranger. You will not have a relationship with any of these people who will be surrounding you and bringing your visions to life alongside you the entire day of your wedding. It can make you feel very anxious to show up to your destination wedding venue and have your fingers crossed that everything you've imagined and conveyed to your coordinator will come to life and be the most wonderful day of your life.

The truth is, if your flowers are not exactly the right color that you requested, only you will know that. If your cake isn't the right flavor and the centerpieces are way different than that Pinterest image you sent for reference, you will soon forget. There is one thing that you will not forget and that will stay with you as long as you look back on your memories of your beautiful destination wedding: your wedding photographs. To put all of your time and planning into this beautiful destination wedding at the most gorgeous place on earth will always only be reflected in your wedding photographer's ability to bring that venue to life in your images.

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When you plan a destination wedding, you're envisioning the perfect place to say "I Do" surrounded by your closest family and friends and you are going to want to have wedding images that blow you away in an amazing way just like the location you've selected.

Bringing a wedding photographer of your choice will be the best decision you will make while planning your destination wedding and below are 6 reasons why:


1. No Cookie-Cutter Wedding Images

When you bring a wedding photography professional to photograph your wedding in the Caribbean or Scotland, you are bringing someone who will be just as inspired and awestruck of your location as you are. They will be falling in love and ready to create one of a kind images from the beauty that they are possibly seeing for the first time. This will result in you having images of this spectacular place from a fresh perspective, not the same exact locations and poses that the resort photographer takes every couple to when they get married. You want your wedding images to stand out because you've decided to go the extra mile in making your wedding day stand out as one of the most important days of your life, bringing a wedding photographer who knows you and is eager to create beautiful images in this new place will result in one of a kind images which are sure to keep you amazed and bring you back to where you tied the knot over and over again with all the same feelings.

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2. You Can Truly Find the PERFECT Wedding Photographer for You

If you've decided to bring your wedding photographer with you to your destination then guess what? You now have the option to research photographers from all over the world to bring with you and find the exact style of photographs you want to document your wedding day with. This opens up so many possibilities where as a resort photographer would typically have a very traditional style and one you would be forced to accept even if it's not the style that makes your heart swoon. You can find the perfect match for you and your unique wedding and bring them with you on this adventure.

3. Multi-Day Coverage to Tell Your Entire Destination Wedding Story

There is a reason why you're getting married at this beautiful destination and bringing your own photographer ensures you will have them all to yourself for the duration of their stay unlike the resort photographer who may have weddings every day prior to and following your wedding. Research your options for hiring your destination wedding photographer for multiple days like the rehearsal dinner/mixer the day before, the wedding day and a day after session so you can take full advantage of your beautiful venue and location and tell the full story of your destination wedding. Some destination wedding photographers may have the day before the wedding and day after included in their destination wedding collections like we do and are happy to accommodate multi-day coverage to get you exactly what you're looking for.

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4. You Get to Have a Relationship With Your Wedding Photographer

This one is SO, SO, SO important! Your wedding photographer is there to document your wedding day and needs to know you and what is important for you to have captured. They need to know to keep their camera ready for Uncle John because he and your Dad haven't seen each other in years and would love photos of the two of them joking around like old times or that you and your best friend's Mom are extremely close and you would love having photos of her included in your album. Details like this may slip the mind of your resort photographer because they have so many weddings going on that weekend and have not built that relationship getting to know you and the people you care about. They may capture the kiss at the ceremony but miss the special pep talk your Dad gave you right before you walked down the aisle because they are only looking for the obvious. 

5. You Will Have A Photographer Dedicated to Impress

A professional destination wedding photographer will work with you by researching your destination wedding location and providing you options for breathtaking views and photo ops off the beaten path. By them going the extra mile for you, scouting the location for you and working with you to create a plan before the day of your wedding, you can rest assured you will receive the images you always dreamed of and that you can be sure to love. Bringing a destination wedding photographer with you to your destination means that they will be just as excited to explore and document this place as you are to explore and experience it. We love going to multiple locations for portraits and taking full advantage of the beautiful location you've selected - we're flexible and up for anything, and so should your wedding photographer!


6. The Craziest Reason of All: ... It Can Cost the Same or LESS!

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Yes, you read that correctly. Bringing your own photographer, which you've hand picked, built a relationship with and been able to have hands on planning for your wedding photographs with can cost the same or LESS than the resort or local photographer. Why is this? Because resort photographers are often paid very little up front and make most of their money from the prints that they will pressure you to buy after your wedding day. Resorts take a large cut of what they actually charge you for their wedding photographer and hide it in the overall package cost but it's typically a surprise when it's time for you to select your images and you find out that you only receive 7 images included with your collection and must purchase the rest a la carte. This happens extremely often and when you're already investing so much in your big day, those hidden costs can add up and be disappointing when you were excited to receive your wedding images only to find out that you have no print or sharing release unless you pay up. Even for local photographers at your destination, it may be the case that there are very few and the cost for any of them is extremely expensive and they are successful because many destination wedding couples think that they have no choice but to use them.


Now that you know the truth about the cost and the benefits of bringing your wedding photographer with you, what will you choose?

In the end, you could hire a photographer from your location but it's a gamble if you care about your wedding images. While the resort or local photographer may take photos of your wedding and satisfy the requirements of just having those photos, you may end up with regret of not investing in those tangible memories after the fact with AMAZING photographs to showcase your wedding day. You will also be left with images that look like every other wedding from that resort or destination. As always, we encourage you to do tons of research on all vendors you include in your day and encourage you to think out of the box when planning your destination wedding. Planning a destination wedding is not as scary as it seems and getting the facts and realizing you have many options in finding the right vendors for you can be a huge relief when it comes to your wedding day being everything you've imagined and more.


Here are some more tips to help make the memories of your destination wedding as beautiful as they can be:

Get to Know Your Vendors Personally, Anywhere in the World: Just because your favorite photographer or videographer may be across the states (or across the world) doesn't mean that it all has to be email communication. Skype is the number one way we set up meetings with each of our couples to get to know them and give them the peace of mind that we are real people who are passionately in love with what we do and that we are so excited to be a part of their wedding day.

Don't Get Locked Into a Venue That Forces You to Use Their Vendors: Make sure you can bring a destination wedding photographer with you to your dream location by double checking with your resort or venue that outside vendors are allowed. Some venues require you to use their vendors and it is written into their contract. As always, thoroughly read every contract before you sign it as often a non-refundable retainer accompanies them to reserve your wedding day. It's important that you check with your venue before you book because once you do and if they do not allow outside vendors, you could have your heart broken.

What You Can Expect for Costs: While some destination wedding photographers may include some travel fees in their destination wedding collections like we do, many do not and it that is completely understandable because they are doing the work in addition to traveling to your wedding. Please keep this in mind when asking for quotes and do not be afraid to ask if you can use your airline miles or be creative in arranging for travel plans. Here are the following costs associated with a destination wedding that your wedding photographer will be taking into account when booking your destination wedding and creating travel plans: airfare, baggage (photography equipment + personal luggage), hotel (2 nights depending on how long your event will last), rental car (3 days depending on how long your event will last), vendor meals during your event, roughly $30/day per photographer for meals on travel days.

Booking Your Destination Wedding Photographer's Travel: You or your destination wedding photographer can book the travel. If you decide to use airline miles or special discounts and book their travel yourself, make sure to double check all the information such as departure location, time and layovers with your photographer before booking their flights. Your photographer may decide to book their own travel and it's important to give them enough time in advance to do this.

Book Your Destination Wedding Professionals AT LEAST 6 Months in Advance: Depending on where you will be getting married, some destinations require permits and are strict on this rule. Your destination wedding photographer should check and make sure that they can obtain the permit to photograph your wedding and start the process immediately upon booking as some permits can take up to 6 months to clear and receive. We do not recommend attempting to bring a wedding photographer illegally to the destination to photograph your wedding because some locations are extremely strict and can result in harsh fines and even arrests to the photographer. Rest assured, your professional wedding photographer should know and do the research for these permits and regulations and let you know before booking.

Arrange For Your Vendors to Arrive At Least 48 Hours Prior to Your Wedding: Give your destination wedding photographer time to scout the location and travel time in case any weather or flight delays arise during that time. You also want your photographer refreshed and ready to go for your wedding day and by giving them the extra time before they start photographing, you can be sure they are prepared and stress free to focus on your wedding photography.

Triple Check That Your Ceremony Site is Truly Private: Some resorts and destination wedding locations promise that your ceremony site is private but then day of your wedding comes and you find yourself on a public beach, exchanging vows and surrounded by people in bikinis and rainbow umbrellas. This is because they own that small part of the beach but can do nothing about the people on the rest of the beach. If they promise you will be the only ones on the beach, double and triple check that this is the case if it is a stipulation for you signing their contract and utilizing their ceremony site. If you have gotten a ceremony site that is not private, we offer additional editing for images selected for your albums where we take out all distractions at no extra fee.

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Make Sure The Season You've Chosen is Right For Your Destination: During the summer, the Caribbean and most tropical locations in the western hemisphere are visited by rain frequently at that time. While sometimes it is only for a couple hours a day, some areas are prone to flash flooding or extreme winds. A good destination wedding coordinator will ensure a back up plan that has a secure and safe location in the event that the weather decided to celebrate with you on your wedding day and got a little too excited.

Schedule Your Ceremony and Portraits Correctly for Sunset: Being based in Florida, this is one of the biggest problems that we see for destination weddings: ceremonies set for exactly sunset. Why is this a problem? Having your ceremony as the sun literally sets behind you is so romantic but if you have chosen not to do a first look or any formal photos prior to the ceremony, there will be no more beautiful colors or daylight for formals photos following the ceremony. At that point flash would need to be used and will create a harsher light and almost make you look super-imposed onto the background of whichever gorgeous location you've chosen. The soft, airy and colorful formal images you see throughout our portfolio are captured with natural lighting and right at the golden hour which is the most appealing and flattering lighting for formal photos. Set your outdoor ceremonies for 4:30 or an hour and a half prior to sunset to leave time for those must have images at sunset.


While we've given you so much information in this article, we'd love to hear any questions you may have or things you've experienced from planning your own destination wedding. As always, your wedding day is about the two of you getting married and celebrating the love you've spent building up over the years. Surround yourself with those who support you, love you and celebrate your marriage and vendors who are excited to be a part of this stop on your adventure together. 

We can't wait to work with you on your destination wedding and hope that you love the planning process and exploring all the options out there for having a one of a kind wedding that tells the love story you two share!

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