How to Hire A Travel Wedding Photographer
Answering 5 Common Questions About Hiring a Travel Wedding Photographer
Ahh yes, a post I’ve been writing in my head for a long time. How to hire a travel wedding photographer.
If you’re not aware that hiring travel wedding vendors is a thing that many couples do nowadays, this might seem a little strange to you, and I would totally understand having questions! So let’s go a few questions you might have about how to hire a travel wedding photographer.
- Does every photographer shoot travel weddings? Is this a thing?
Yes, it is definitely a thing! Not every photographer wants to travel for weddings, but I think that many do.
Of course, not every photographer has been asked to shoot a travel wedding/has booked travel weddings, but I can tell you that a sizable chunk of the wedding photography education niche is devoted to helping photographers travel more for weddings, and travel to specific places for weddings.
Before I even started my business, I picked up on the fact that wedding photographers use travel weddings to build their portfolio and project a sense of prestige to potential clients. We started traveling for weddings in our first year of business, and learned a lot very quickly.
After a few years of traveling a lot, we have pared down on how much we travel, where we travel, and (to be blunt) for whom we will travel. We now have a few venues around the country where we love to shoot, so we prioritize weddings at those venues. There are also certain clients that we prioritize when it comes to travel weddings (specially, we prioritize booking weddings with siblings/wedding party/family members of former clients). We don’t take every local wedding that comes our way, and we also don’t take every travel wedding that comes our way.
Nowadays, it’s less a thing we do to build trust and prestige, and more a thing we do to work with awesome vendors and awesome clients.
- Does it matter that my travel photographer won’t be able to see my venue before the wedding?
Not at all.
Nashville’s wedding market has exploded during the 6 years we’ve been here, and it’s now heavily saturated with all types of vendors, including venues. So even for our local weddings, we shoot at venues that are new (or new to us) about 60% of the time.
Part of a wedding photographer’s job is to produce great images in any and every situation. I can tell you firsthand that we’ve had some very unpredictable things happen at venues that are old hat to us – venues where things should be “predictable.” But really, no wedding is predictable. Every wedding day is different, every lighting situation is different, every couple and every family is different.
Personally, at all of our weddings (local and travel) I make sure we can arrive at the venue and spend some time scouting on the day of the wedding, even if we’ve shot at that venue before. Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to scout a few months in advance while I’m traveling for other shoots and weddings. It really comes down to trusting that your photographer will do the work ahead of time to make sure that he/she can produce great work on your wedding day, no matter the venue.
- How does payment and booking travel work for all of this?
Well, my best answer is pretty unhelpful: it depends.
Some photographers charge a flat travel fee, some bill for each expense. Some photographers only shoot travel weddings, so they just include the cost of travel in their wedding packages, and the client never really sees that “travel” cost listed separately (even though it’s there). It really comes down to personal choice.
In terms of actually booking travel, your photographer will do that on their own. So as long as the travel is domestic, there’s no extra work involved with hiring a photographer to travel to your wedding.
- Does it make you nervous to travel for weddings?
Not at all.
We vet our hotels thoroughly and make smart travel plans. We plan for tons of extra time traveling. We never check a bag, even if it’s just clothes. We know how to manage data and prevent anything from being lost or stolen while we’re traveling (you would probably laugh if I told you the lengths we go to in order to keep our stuff safe).
Again, a reliable photographer knows how to do these things (and does these things) for every wedding.
- WHY would someone hire a travel wedding photographer?
- Some couples just fall in love with someone’s work, someone’s personality, someone’s brand. Usually when a couple inquires about a travel wedding with us, they either say “I was in a wedding you photographed and loved working with you” or “you’re exactly what we’re looking for and we can’t find someone else in our area that we love.” You have so many choices when it comes to wedding photographers, which is why it’s so important to find the one who is exactly the right fit – personality-wise, and photography-wise. Sometimes that person is across the country.
- There are certain styles of photography that are much more prevalent in certain parts of the country than in others. Photographers in the PNW may (generally) have a different style than photographers in Charleston, for example. So if you’re getting married in a location that just doesn’t have a lot of photographers with the style you’re looking for, then many couples choose to hire someone from one of those areas to travel to their wedding.
- Culturally, there are certain photographers that specialize in certain types of weddings. Hindu weddings, for example, are a popular niche and many couples having Hindu weddings choose to fly in a photographer who has experience shooting Hindu weddings.
So there you have it! Happy planning, friends!!
Lindsay Campbell is a wedding photographer specializing in natural, romantic wedding photography with a bright and airy film look. She photographs weddings in Chattanooga, Franklin, Nashville, Sewanee, and the surrounding areas, and travels across the country to photograph weddings! If you’re looking for a Chattanooga wedding photographer, Sewanee wedding photographer, Nashville wedding photographer, or Franklin wedding photographer, get in touch!