This post was written by the incredible wedding photographer, Kristin Sweeting. She has a unique perspective as not only a traveling photographer, but also as an educator. I'm thrilled she was able to share her advice with us! For more about Kristin, check out her website!
Finding your wedding photographer can be a daunting task, especially when you’re getting married in a destination you might not be familiar with.
Things to look for when hiring a wedding photographer:
Can you see yourself in their work? When looking through a portfolio, try to picture yourself in a picture and if you would like to photographed that way or would feel comfortable in that pose. Does the photographer see the world the way you want to see it on your wedding day?
Are they an experienced traveler? If they’re not a local vendor, make sure they have a lot of experience traveling to remote locations. You don’t want to have to worry about micromanaging your vendors travel or worrying about them knowing how to get there safely and with enough time to get settled before the wedding. An experienced destination wedding photographer will feel very comfortable getting to the wedding city and site with very little guidance from you and will know what questions to ask to make sure they are prepared for any situation on the day. Look through their website and social media for travel posts, destination weddings, and various personal travel experiences.
Do you like their editing or the colors of their work? Do you think you'll still like those edits in a few years?
Are they vouched for? Read reviews, get referrals from vendors, and see where their work has been published. Magazines and blogs and venues all have certain quality standards when publishing work, so that can be a great place to start! If you’re working with a wedding planner, they would be a great resource to help with this as well - either helping you find a local photographer that is well-vetted or helping you hire a traveling professional who is familiar with that country’s rules for working there and traveling there.
Are there real weddings on their site? Believe it or not, many photographers’ portfolios are filled with "styled shoots" with models. These aren't bad, but make sure there is a good mix of real couples in the mix, because shooting a wedding is very different than a styled editorial and you want to make sure your photographer has experience with real weddings!
Do they seem like someone you'll want to hang out with on your wedding day? At destination weddings especially, I become part of the party! All your friends and family are on vacation and having great experiences together, and you want to make sure your photographer adds to the good vibes and doesn’t take away from them. Read their posts and social channels and see if they seem like a cool person, because you'll spend a lot of time with them on your wedding day and you want to make sure you like them! I always advise scheduling a phone call or Skype call as well. Make sure you feel comfortable in their abilities and in your communication.
Kristin Sweeting is a traveling wedding photographer and educator. She lives in Nashville, Tn with her 2 year old son Hudson and loves teaching photographers how to run sustainable businesses, shoot film, and expand their horizons. Her work had taken her all over the US, Europe, and Asia and she teaches a handful of international workshops each year. She proudly shoots Kodak film and has been honored to have her work featured in various online and print publications including Martha Stewart online, Brides online, Rangefinder Magazine, and The Knot Magazine.