Travel Tips for Destination Wedding Photographers – Before, During, and After


There are few milestones in your photography career as a destination wedding.

Granted not all your destination weddings will be in Paris or Cancun. But if your
hopping on a plane to do a wedding? – it means your good.

To get the best out of it – here are my tips for “Before, During and After “your


1) Do invest in a simple bag that you use exclusively for travel necessities.
I pre-stock mine with travel-sized toothpaste, extra set of contact lenses,
saline solution, toothbrush… Basically all the stuff you will need. And I
never use any of it at home. It just sits in a drawer and I grab it before I go
on any trip. It relieves the stress of having to do the “…did I remember to
pack this???”

2) Do invest in a good travel camera bag. You NEVER want to check in
your camera bag on an airplane. Because of this – my bag of choice
is the Lowepro Classified Sling 180 AW. Why? Its big enough to hold
two bodies, three lenses, two flashes with room to spare. But the more
important thing? It’s not only “carry on compliant” – it fits under the
airplane seat… even in that weird aisle seat on the smaller plans.

3) Do invest in an “carry on compliant” overnight bag that has room for a
laptop. Whenever I travel – I only bring with me two bags: my camera bag
and my overnight/laptop bag. That’s it. A tip for packing light? Bring along
a small bottle of “Woolite” to wash your clothes.

4) Do pack at least 5 blank DVD’s and a self-addressed sampled envelope.
More on this later…

5) Don’t cut your timing too short. The rule of thumb at my studio is arrival
two days before the wedding. You need one day to travel. And one day
just in case. Insist on this when negotiate your travel fees.

6) Don’t lose sight of your passport and or driver’s license before your travel.
Last thing you need is to be scrambling around for a misplaced driver’s
license before a big trip.


1) Do scout out your wedding location before the event. Make sure you know
exactly where your going. Remember – you’re not familiar with local road
closings, traffic, etc.

2) Don’t think you’re on vacation. Granted, have some fun. But you don’t
want an “non-profitable” road trip. Take time to field your emails and bring
some work with you.

3) Do consider a your diet. Invest in good foods on the road. It is so easy to
get sick while traveling. Invest in nice meals. Translation: Avoid the fast
food joints. In fact, when possible – I go food shopping at a local grocery
store and cook my own food. On local “driving” road trips? I pack a cooler.

4) Do watch your passport and driver’s license while traveling. And if
traveling overseas (and you are an American Citizen) – know the name of
your U.S. Congressman. He/she is your contact with your home in case of
an emergency.


1) Do download your wedding on to your laptop and burn at least 1 copy.
The DVD copy will be mailed BACK to you. In other words, if someone
steals your camera bag AND you lose your luggage – your wedding
will return to you in 5 days by U.S. Mail. Thus, the wisdom of the Self
Addressed Stamped Envelope. Your hotel will be able to mail it for you.
The second copy goes into your camera bag. At this point you have your
wedding in four places. One is still on your camera SD or Compact Flash
cards. A second copy is on your computer. A third copy is being mailed
back to you. And a fourth copy as a DVD in your camera bag.

2) Do find time to relax. Once your wedding is done – consider shooting
local landmarks. Half the fun of a destination wedding is showing off on
Facebook where you’ve been. Consider some neat photos of landmarks to
keep your photography fresh!

Gene Ho’s website is at His next speaking appearance will
be at WPPI U – at Atlanta: