One of the top questions we get about destination weddings is, “How do you pack?”.
Whether you’re traveling to the next state, the other side of the country or the other side of the globe, you want to be prepared.
However, don’t overpack.
“Pack a bag that’s a backpack.”
Tom’s advice for carry-ons
There will come the day when you pack your carry on (Thinktank makes some of the best photography carry on bags) but the plane doesn’t have the space for luggage thus forcing you to put your equipment under the plane.
In early 2020, when Christora traveled to the Dominican Republic, they were put on a smaller plane that didn’t have cargo space above the seats and all of her equipment had to go below the plane.
“When I say I was freaking out, I was beyond freaking out.”
Having a backpack that can be stowed under your seat gives a bit more peace of mind and you’d be amazed at how much can fit in those things.
So, how does a photographer book that first destination wedding?
From our experience, having a lot of success in your area first matters. If you want to photograph destination beach weddings, show clients that you have those skills by photographing beach weddings where you live (if possible).
Another thing you can do is take a trip with friends to a location to shoot content for your portfolio. With the right geotags, your content could show up for a bride in that area who likes your style and then boom. You booked a destination wedding and you’re already familiar with the scenery.
Destination weddings also come with a different kind of pressure.
A couple has booked you, flown you out to the location and you’re sitting there the night before kicking yourself because you aren’t doing anything “productive”.
Build yourself a travel set of editing stuff. Grab a laptop (and the charger!), maybe invest in a good SSD drive to bring along and instead of scrolling endlessly through the TV guide, you can chisel away at some of your editing to-do list.
It’s no fun spending an entire weekend at a beautiful venue only to come home and immediately feel overwhelmed by the amount of editing you still have to finish before you can even start on the new content you just took.
And finally, build those relationships with your couples.
You aren’t just providing a service as a photographer; you’re providing an experience.
Do your research on the markets in the given destination. Make sure that you’re pricing yourself in the same realm but also making it worth the travel.
One thing to note is that there’s a difference between a paid gig and a portfolio gig. 99% of your destination weddings are to help boost that portfolio in order to get more destination weddings.
If you have to eat the money for travel on your first destination wedding, do it. Or ask them to cover room and board/flight there but don’t charge for the photos.
Getting your foot in the door is most important thing.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you in booking your first destination wedding and ultimately becoming that destination wedding photographer.
Remember, always tell you clients these two words: “I travel”.