First. First let me give you my destination wedding credentials: My studio has done multiple weddings in Paris, Mexico, and most of the Caribbean Islands.
Been there, done that and want moreâ€¦
But on top of that â€“ we regularly do weddings that are outside of our general market. In short â€“ weâ€™re all seasoned travelers.
Here are my tips if you are one of the lucky few that get to shoot a beautiful wedding in a remote location. And by the way â€“ it is for sure a badge of honor whenever someone is willing to fly you into a place to work. Itâ€™s a career highlight for sure.
10). Understand the difference between â€œTravel Feeâ€ and â€œDowntime Fee.â€ Hereâ€™s the difference:
A Travel Fee is your hard cost of what it cost YOU and your assistant to travel to an actual location.
A Downtime Fee is the cost of your â€œwasted timeâ€ as you travel â€œto and froâ€ your destination. For example â€“ You have a Saturday wedding in Paris. You have to fly in on Thursday and youâ€™re not coming back home until say Mondayâ€¦ so you have to account for the loss of income for the extended travel.
9). The Travel Fee is ALWAYS Fixed. These are HARD COSTS. This is reasonable and every bride knows this.
And this is the one thing we never bend on.
The easiest way to negotiate this is for YOU to tell the bride what you need. Plane ticket there. Hotel room. LET your bride carry the hard cost for you. Let them arrange that for you.
8). â€œDowntime Feeâ€ is what is negotiable.
Easiest way to include that cost is to make something mandatory. Hereâ€™s what I do. I make my downtime fee the â€œRehearsal Night Coverage.â€ Easiest way to cover the Downtime Fee is to say – â€œHeyâ€¦ I have to be there the day before anyway. Thereâ€™s no downtime fee if you buy the rehearsal night coverage.â€ In short â€“ you canâ€™t get â€œnothingâ€ for being there. Sure â€“ itâ€™s great to be in Cancun. But youâ€™re not making money on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Yes â€“ youâ€™re on a beach somewhere â€“ but you can also chill with a beer at home. Negotiate a Downtime Fee of some sort â€“ but give them something for it.
7). MUST CHECK that youâ€™re even legally allowed to shoot where you are going.
There are some places where you are legally NOT ALLOWED to shoot. Case in pointâ€¦ some â€œAll Inclusive Resorts.â€ Some of them INSIST that their brideâ€™s use their resort photographer. This is no joke. They are on â€œprivate propertyâ€ and they call the shots. Last thing you want to do go there and they say you canâ€™t shoot. And they arenâ€™t dumb. The olâ€™ â€œThis isnâ€™t a pro photographer â€“ this is my cousin shooting my weddingâ€ bit wonâ€™t work.
6). Make sure you have all ducks in a line
Passport, driverâ€™s license and most of all â€“ how you contact your home. If you are a US Citizen â€“ your direct line to the United States is through your U.S. Representative â€“ your congressman.
Do you know who that person is? Do you know how to contact him/her? Know that personâ€™s name. He or She is YOUR representative in case anything happens from losing your passport in another country to legal troubles in another country.
5). THIS SPACE â€“ THAT SPACE:
Best tip ever when traveling. Take it from a person who has lost computer cords â€“ cell phone chargers, camera battery chargers and even eye glasses when Iâ€™m on the road. Iâ€™ve lost so much when Iâ€™m on the road.
Soâ€¦ Greatest tip ever. When you get into the hotel â€“ put all your stuff in two or three spots only.
I will go even further. I keep all my tooth paste â€“ contact lens caseâ€¦ tooth brushâ€¦ I keep ALL of that to the RIGHT of the hotel sink. I look at the sink and I know ALL my stuff is to the right of it.
My clothes? They go all on one spot at the hotel room.
And I always know where my important papers are.
Basically? Itâ€™s so easy to lose things when you travel. Make it a point to designate areas in your hotel room where things go. It will save you tons of heartache.
4). Remember that you arenâ€™t on vacation.
Yes â€“ you NEED to enjoy yourself â€“ but you are NOT on vacation. You are there to work. Donâ€™t party too much. Remember you are there to work.
3). After your wedding
Burn a copy of your wedding on DVD and mail it to yourself. Either that are upload into a cloud service your RAWS from the wedding.
Iâ€™m not being morbid â€“ but I am being paranoidâ€¦
What would happen if going through customs â€“ and they confiscate your camera and computer?
What would happen if youâ€™re at the airport and someone steals your laptop?
Get your RAWS out of the country as fast as possible. You owe it to your bride.
2). EMBODY YOUR LOCATION
This is the number one tip here. If you do nothing else. EMBODY your location.
Last thing you want is for your bride to say to youâ€¦ â€œOMG â€“ I spent all this money to have my wedding in PARIS and the wedding photos are GREAT â€“ but it no one can tell I was in Paris!!!â€
EMBODY YOUR LOCATION.
In short â€“ make sure your wedding photos show where you are at.
1). ENJOY IT.
Really â€“ do your job â€“ but really soak it up.
Nothing beats great memories.
Do your job â€“ but savor every moment of it!
– Gene Ho
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