Island Photographers - Pros & Cons - Beach Wedding Article

Island Photographers - Pros & Cons

Long after your bridal bouquet has shed its last petal, the key to your memories of the biggest day of your life are your photographs. Choosing the right photographer is no easy task and the decision of whether to take a your home photographer with you, or hire a photographer local to your wedding destination adds another layer of complexity to things.

So what's the best option? Let's look at each.

Local to You

Finding a photographer in or close to your hometown should be relatively straightforward. With the Yellow pages, friends, family and, of course, the internet, you won't have a hard time finding a photographer who matches your style, and, hopefully, your budget and for whom you'll have personal recommendations.

You'll be able to make an appointment and sit with them in person to review their work, their packages and spend time getting to know them (its important that you feel comfortable with whomever you choose, and a face-to-face meeting can usually tell you what you need from that aspect in a few minutes).

Seems like the obvious way to go? Well, there are pitfalls, and the main one is cost.

While a photographer from home may seem like the perfect choice, the costs of using them are going to rack up fairly quickly. Along with their own fees, you're going to have to get them to your wedding - this means the costs of an additional airfare. If they shoot with an assistant, yep - two tickets on the bill. Then, of course, they'll need somewhere to stay, and expenses for food, ground travel etc during their trip.

With flights, accommodation and living costs, you could well be looking at double their standard package rates, and sadly it doesn't end there...

With the exception of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, none of the countries in the Caribbean are US owned. Why do you care? Well, because US citizens (or people of any nationality other than that of the destination) can't just show up and work there, which is what your photographer will be doing.

He (or she) will need to apply for a work visa or permit before being allowed to shoot your wedding. The cost of these permits is usually only a few hundred dollars, but it's 'yet another thing' to add to the list of items that need to be taken care of.

Is it essential to have a work visa? Well, the Caribbean is fairly laid back, and a photographer could take the risk and try to sneak through as a tourist, but its not unusual for them to be turned right back around and sent home, leaving you several thousand dollars out of pocket, and without a photographer to capture your day and the precious memories that will last your lifetime. Not something we at recommend risking.

So, is it better to go the other route? Lets take a look....

Local to Your Wedding

Your search for a wedding photographer located in your wedding destination is pretty much going to start and end online. Type the name of your destination into Google with the word photographer on the end, and you should come up with a few options straight away. To broaden your search you might also want to check out a few other resources too - sites like ours,, and many others will provide you with even more options.

Once you've found a few with an online portfolio that catches your eye, or who have a style that suits your personality, make contact by email and find out what they can offer you. While not a perfect test, you can get a feel from the replies of the type of photographer you're dealing with, which can help in your decisions.

The downside, of course, is the lack of real contact. You won't get to make an appointment with them and sit down for a face to face chat. You're not likely to find friends or colleagues who have used the photographer before.

You can also ask them for references from previous brides they have worked with, and check with your resort or wedding planner to see if they have worked with the photographer before.

You also need to be aware of issues that may arise - how can you make your payments? Is the photographer a 'prints only' type and do you want to be dealing with buying prints from a far off country when you get home? What recourse will you have if something goes wrong?

While the downsides are there, there is some amazing talent to be found in these destinations, and they have the added advantage of knowing all the best locations to make the most of the islands for your bridal portraits. This kind of insider info of unique and picturesque places can make the difference between great wedding photos and amazing wedding photos.

Another plus for local photographers is the cost. Your budget won't need to be eaten up by flights, work visas and accommodations if you choose an island photographer, and this can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, or free it up for those extra special favours you had your eye on for our guests!

At the end of the day, you have to choose a photographer who's work inspires you, and who's personality you feel comfortable with, but don't be too quick to dismiss the possibility of a photographer on the ground in your wedding destination - it might just be the best choice for you and your purse!


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