Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Destination Wedding Photography Tips you can survive with!

Update:  See our wedding featured on Asian Inspired Weddings
Click here for the feature!

I am NOT one that likes to brag, but it would be insane if I did not "share" our experience and just one of the many happy outcomes from a recent Destination Wedding shot in Hawaii.

Being in business since 2007 I still consider ourselves "babies" in the industry.  However, Wayne has been shooting for many years as I have.   After our own wedding we decided to add Photography Services to our already existing business venture of Wedding Consultation & Planning.  I still remember the very first wedding Ceremony I officiated, in 1997 and my love for weddings has never ceased...in fact I think it's an even larger love now and  just one of the many obsessions I have!

So, what can I share with you  to help you on your next destination wedding?  Well hang on to your seats as there are so many things that if one plans ahead, things can go relatively smoother.  These are just some of the things that I can suggest...so get your notepads!

Here's just a few ways to make the entire process just a tad bit smoother.....

  1. If your clients live out of town or out of state, it is very difficult to meet up, so make sure you are on the ball with emails and phone calls.  There is nothing more exciting for me than to call a client who is right in the middle of planning her exciting BIG DAY!  If you are paralyzed with fear, get over it ...QUICK!
  2. Don't be shy, your client wants to hear your excitement, this will put her at ease, don't worry that she will not like you, she already LOVES your work, she wants to know who you are, so LET GO, so she can!
  3. Keep in touch with your clients on a regular basis, have them help you complete your info sheets
  4. Join them on Facebook!  I cannot stress the importance of social media, but in destination weddings it is CRUCIAL!  THIS is how I got to know the family, friends, and wedding party months before the wedding.  The excitement was contagious and FB and Twitter was just what we needed to find out about all of the little details etc.
  5. Contact the vendors.  In this case, Hawaii, I know everyone is really on HAWAIIAN time, so I made sure to contact the venue and vendors prior, and with ample time. I introduced myself about a month prior to the wedding day and got even more details and info from the Wedding Coordinators from the venue.  (This not only helps you as the photographer, but it also helps to start a great business relationship with vendors for possible future interactions).  Offer to give the vendors photographs on a CD after the event, and make sure you watermark each image.  Include all vendors, designers, etc., on your blogs and do not forget to link to them as well as label them.  SEO baby!
  6. Talk or email at least ONCE with the brides mother or father, trust me on this one, it really helps to have interaction and a connection.....
  7. I know we all LOVE LOVE LOVE getting those creative and imaginative shots but remember, the traditional shots are really what sells, and are the ones that usually end up on the mantle or on the office desks.  Think parents, grandparents and business associates.  Trust me, many times, the amazing creative shots you got down on the ground to capture, are not purchased by the elders, but they are great for the bride and groom and it will not hurt your portfolio either :O) But, parents and grandparents = sales
  8. When traveling for a Destination Wedding call the airlines and find out about carry on luggage as well as check in luggage, remember, camera equipment is heavy, and we overlooked the fact that they weigh carry on as well at Hawaiian Airlines....argh! Thank God we managed and did not have to pay extra!
  9. Travel as light as possible, and try to make a connection with a local photographer if you can, trust me there are still some good people out there who can help you with finding spots, or even lend you their studio or equipment.  We were blessed to have met an amazing man and photographer, Eddy Fong of Renai Photography.  We ran into him at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on the night of the Wedding Rehearsal, and he was more than helpful, plus, we LOVE LOVE LOVE his work, see for yourself!
  10. Make sure you have all dates and details of ALL events of the wedding (i.e., rehearsals, dinners, outings, etc.), make yourself available to make arrangements to come along, the more interaction you have with the families and your clients, the better!  Forget about whether you charged for it or not, you are there, in a different place, make it beautiful!
  11. PLAN and make arrangements to take the couple out for an hour or two to capture shots of them in this distant land, yes I know they are busy, but we stressed the importance to our clients, and in turn they needed the little getaway anyways, and POW we got an amazing Sunset Session in Makua Beach the eve of the wedding!  See the video slide herein.
  12. And finally take some time for YOU and your team, we took our assistants out to an island  beach tour where we traveled the entire island and swam, boogie boarded and dived at almost all of the beaches, they LOVED it !  Oh and of course we had some ONO KAU KAU (means delicious food).  And on the day of the wedding they worked hard!  Thanks Nunus and my son Angelo for being such GREAT assistants!
Ok so I can go on and on but you get the idea right!?  Think about capturing the essence of where this wedding is, take shots everywhere that the couple can incorporate into their wedding memories, imagine, believe and create!

Happy Travels & Happy Shooting!!!!!!!!

Images here taken during the actual wedding rehearsal, mahalo to Mr.and Mrs. Aaron Yen, you guys are simply A M A Z I N G !!!!!!!!!!!!