Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips with Charleton Churchill
If you’re looking to get into the market of destination weddings or you’re already invested, you may want to take notes. There is plenty of opportunity out there for all photographers and good money to be made. And it doesn’t matter where you live or if you have a family. Anyone can be a destination wedding photographer. I’m an example.
I live in a small town, population of 3,900 people, with the nearest airport about an hour away. I have three daughters, a wonderful and supportive wife, a home to maintain, and I’m involved in my community and church. I photograph weddings all over the world and even captured a wedding at Mt. Everest base camp, which went viral around the world. I was bombarded with many requests after that event, and today I continue to photograph destination weddings or what I also call adventure weddings and elopements.
I’m here to share some of the Destination Wedding Photography tips I’ve learned along the way that will hopefully help you on your journey to shooting.
1. Start off by researching and marketing to your top desired destinations.
Instead of trying to be a destination photographer to all destinations, start off by taking your top 3-5 destinations you want to photograph the most. Research those areas: the top venues, top elopement locations, weddings blogged in that area, related Instagram hashtags, etc. Do your homework. In the past, I have taken personal trips to scout locations and venues, hiked trails and captured images to get a feel for the area (it’s a write-off). Additionally, take a real couple with you to photograph all day, even if it means taking a pay cut. I did that for one of my desired destinations and as a result, I’m getting more bookings there. The point is you want images in your portfolio that represent you as a destination photographer in those areas. If you’re not able to travel that far, then locate adventurous destinations near your home, even if it means driving several hours away. After you have images, market your work, blog about it, etc. Your website and social media should be oozing with destination weddings if you want to be booked for them.
2. Pack light
If you travel mainly by vehicle, bring all you want. However, when traveling by air, pack your essentials in your carry-on. Get a backpack if possible, preferably without wheels, as airlines tend to pull those on booked flights. Don’t chance leaving your gear with checked luggage where it may be lost. Also, if you’re hiking with couples, you’ll want a lighter backpack. Every job is different and so is the hiking, but I typically carry two Nikon Z6ii mirrorless cameras, 35, 50, 85, sometimes 24-70, 70-200, 20, Profoto B1 or B2, a speedlight, and a few others. On the flight, I also carry my 13” MacBook Pro.