Choosing a photographer to document your destination wedding in the Dominican Republic and/or the Caribbean shouldn’t be a task as complicated as it seems. It’s pretty similar to hiring a local wedding photographer back home — “It all comes down to having a connection with your photographer first and foremost. ”
Now, there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind to help you out navigate these waters with ease, but before you start, there are some important questions you must ask YOURSELF about this to do it right:
HOW IMPORTANT IS PHOTOGRAPHY FOR ME?
Planning a wedding is one of the most special times of your life, and choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions and investments you’ll make. Be mindful that when the cake is cut, the music is gone, and the flowers have dried, all you have left after the months, sometimes years of thoughtful planning are your wedding photos and videos.
So after self-answering this question, I guess you are ready to embark on the adventure of finding and booking the right photographer for your destination wedding in the Dominican Republic. Here I give you some tips that I think are great to help you make the process easier and more successful! I hope you find them useful.
DETERMINE WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE YOU PREFER BEFORE STARTING YOUR SEARCH
What type of photography style you prefer will help determine which kind of photographer you’ll want to shoot your wedding. Is it important that your photographer capture photojournalistic moments? Do you like light and airy photos? Are you loving film photographers? Think about what you want your photos to look like, and then search out photographers with that exact style.
If you prefer classic portraits (think: your parents’ wedding album.) Go with a traditional photographer who specializes in portraiture. These are posed shots of the two of you, friends and family, in front of various backdrops. That’s not to say there isn’t room for creativity in this category.
While some photographers will pose subjects in more traditional spots and more formal poses, other photographers take portraiture further into the creative realm with a more dramatic composition (the couple sitting on a lounge chair at their hip hotel reception venue or the couple holding hands and both watching far away while the sunset wears the horizons with the most beautiful colors.
Suppose you would love many candid or spontaneous pictures (read: not styled) of people in action. Maybe your motley crew of cousins dancing or you and your bridesmaids laughing, champagne in hand. With a purely photojournalistic photographer, you’ll very rarely see people staring at the camera; the photos capture the moments exactly as they happen, and together they tell a story.
Or maybe you prefer a fine art photography style. Though it’s similar to documentary photography, this style gives the shooter greater artistic license to infuse their particular point-of-view and style into your photographs. So while the shots reflect reality, it’s the photographer’s take on reality. With Fine – Art Photographers, the photos are dramatic and gorgeous. In some cases, they may look as though they were shot on film (most probable they were) with a grainier, dreamier, more muted appearance. Usually, the object (or couple) is in focus, and the background appears to blur. The motion also looks very natural in this style of photography.
Many wedding photographers like me, for example, will do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots. They will do a mix of black-and-white and color images, but if there’s a special style you love, make sure to check with the photographer about it.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE A BETTER IDEA WHAT YOU WANT, LET‘S TALK BUDGET
Some articles will tell you to pre-determine a specific % of your wedding budget for your wedding photography, but with destination weddings, I feel the variables are many! Photography is an incredibly personal decision. There are so many unique factors to consider when choosing a Destination Wedding photographer that you shouldn’t overlook. Definitely, you don’t want to make the wrong decision by choosing based only on numbers. My personal advice: Forget thinking in numbers terms. First, determine your needs & educate yourself about the market offer to set up a realistic budget.
NOW IS TIME TO START TO START NARROWING DOWN YOUR RESEARCH
That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style, and personal demeanor are extra important when choosing your photographer. Start by asking your other wedding vendors, for example, your wedding planner, about their favorite photographers?
Carefully review potential photographers’ websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings they’ve shot, giving you an idea of their style. The design of the website may also give you clues about the photographer’s personality and sensibility. Check out their social media pages as well; is the feedback from clients good? How does the photographer respond?
ASK TO SEE A FULL WEDDING GALLERY
It is SO important that you see at least one (but I would ask for 3) complete wedding galleries to see the complete day. It is easy to fall in love with a photographer’s work of 50 of their best photos (and their gorgeous, curated IG feed), but make sure that you like how they photograph the whole day and document the most important things to you.
CONSIDER CHEMISTRY – MEET WITH THEM
Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. After you’ve found a photographer that may fit according to style and budget, ask for a personal interview.
You are going to spend one of THE most important days in your life with this person (when emotions are running high), so make sure that you like the person, feel comfortable with him/x/her, and that you trust them. I make it a must to chat with my clients can be in person or via Facetime / Google hangouts, to really connect to make sure we are both a good match for each other, and I think it is so important in making a good decision.
LIST YOUR QUESTIONS
Make a list of all the information you may need before the meeting to be ready to move forward on hiring that photographer. It’s easier for us to answer questions during live interviews. After that first consultation, the communication will be a lot easier, I can assure you.
During that interview, you can observe better those small things that can’t be faked:
● Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it?
● When they make suggestions, do they present them clearly and respectfully, or are they bossy rock star photographers?
● Are their mannerisms off-putting?
LEARN HOW THEY APPROACH THE DAY
They might have beautiful photos, but how do they create those photos you love so much. Are they expecting you to know how to pose and be lovey-dovey for their camera?
Do they wait for moments to unfold, or do they help create them? How do they capture all the family photos? Ask them how they work so you will know what to expect for your wedding day.
To get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way. Remember, they’ll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out.
UNDERSTAND WHAT IS INCLUDED + WHAT IS EXTRA
For some brides, the idea is to have their photographer be there for the full wedding day, from when they start getting ready until after they make the grand exit from the reception. But that’s not true for every couple. While packages vary, most include from 6 to 12 hours to cover everything from pre-ceremony events (getting ready with your bridesmaids or first-look photos) to the end of the reception. Some other options will come with additional coverage for other wedding-related events, such as rehearsal dinner… So what do YOU need is the most important question.
Every photography package is different, so it can often be tricky to compare them side by side. Make a list of what is most important to you and your families and what you need to have for your budget.
It is better to spend your photo budget investing in a photographer whose work you LOVE vs. picking a photographer you don’t like as much so that you can get something else like an album or prints. You can always order albums/prints/artwork post-wedding with some of your gift money, but if you don’t like your photos, my guess is you won’t really be thrilled with that album that was included.
BE RESPECTFUL, GENUINE, AND CONSIDERATE WITH YOUR CHOSEN PHOTOGRAPHER
I will also tell you what a lot of photographers wish you knew but won’t say; be nice and respectful to your photographer and understand that you have to like them as much as they like you. Trust them.
Instead of giving them a list of must-have shots from other photographers, please make an appointment and talk to them about how you envision your wedding, how you are longing for beautiful sparkler shots, beautiful close-ups at sunset, your groom sharing intimate, closed eyes, and lips touching smile. Talk to them about that beautiful bridal lingerie that you bought for your wedding night that you’d love to have a shot with. They will be so happy to capture that special moment while getting ready.
Great photography is an art. It requires certain conditions to be developed. If a photographer is thrilled and excited about an adorable bride or wedding, their creative juices are going to flow better. Make your photographer feel like one of the guests, and they will do everything for you, even to stay those extra minutes you need without asking you about the bill first.
DELEGATE AND ENJOY!!
And finally and most importantly, enjoy your wedding day! Because of the day’s intense emotions, there are a lot of probabilities that it will fly by. So delegate everything that can be delegated. Focus on you. Embrace and enjoy your day. Flirt with your husband, smile a lot, dance, and have a great time! I can guarantee that your photographer will capture those great memories just beautifully.