What You Need to Know if You’re DIYing Your Destination Wedding Photos

What You Need to Know if You’re DIYing Your Destination Wedding Photos

It’s so exciting getting to have a destination wedding, right? It’s like a little adventurous trip where you’re getting to become a spouse! You get the chance to have unique wedding photos you wouldn’t otherwise have. You get to dream up what spots you’d like to have your photos taken, like in the mountains, a cliff, or even on the beach, but at the same time, you know that the actual ceremony and celebration itself is going to be so unique, too. Well, with that said, if you want to do your own photography, it’s not going to be easy. 

While sure, if you look on TikTok, Pinterest, or even Instagram, you’re going to see a lot of couples showing off that they did their own wedding photos, you have to keep in mind that it’s not exactly the easiest thing to do. Of course, if you’re already a photographer or have experience DIYing some of your photoshoots, then sure, this could work. But regardless, when it comes to a destination wedding, there are still a few things that you’re going to want to keep in mind!

Understanding Local Lighting Conditions

Lighting is everything in photography, and different locations can have dramatically different lighting conditions. For example, a beach wedding at noon can present harsh sunlight and strong shadows, requiring specific camera settings and techniques like using a reflector or finding shade. So, with that said, it’s going to be a good idea to just do some research, and try to get an understanding the typical weather and lighting conditions of your destination will help you prepare to capture stunning photos under local conditions.

Legal Considerations and Permission

Before you start snapping away, it’s important to know the local laws regarding photography, especially in a foreign country. Some locations might require permits for photography, especially if you’re planning to shoot in protected or historic areas. For the most part, any professional photographer will have the right permits or they will at least be willing to get the right permits. 

On top of that, if you want to use a drone for some aerial photography, like the new DJI which you can learn more about, then you have to keep in mind that some locations full-on won’t allow for drones to fly. Not just the location, but sometimes the entire country or region- and you have to register your drone so you can be easily tracked. In general, you need to ensure that you have all of the necessary permissions, as this can save you from legal hassles and fines.

Transporting All the Equipment

You already have your wedding stuff you’re already having to worry about transporting, but transporting sensitive photography equipment to a destination wedding is pretty much on a whole new level. 

The risk of damage during transit, potential extra luggage fees, and the challenge of keeping expensive gear secure are significant concerns.  Honestly, there’s not even too much you can do to mitigate these risks, just hope that nothing gets stolen or broken during transport- if you can try to stuff this all into a carry-on.

Dealing with Humidity and Sand

Destination weddings, particularly in tropical or beach settings, pose unique challenges like humidity and sand, which can harm camera equipment. Now, just about every professional photographer has a protective “coat” for their camera in case it’s windy so no water or sand gets inside. One of the only ways to really make sure you can handle this during your wedding would be to be cautious and use what professionals use. 

For example, you can look into silica gel packets that can help keep your gear dry, and using protective covers can prevent sand from getting into delicate parts of your equipment. But on top of that, always have a cleaning kit handy to gently remove any debris from your lenses and camera body.

The Timing of Your Photos

Where is your wedding going to be? Is it outside surrounded by a beautiful landscape? For truly breathtaking wedding photos, consider the timing of natural phenomena. For example, if you’re getting married near the ocean, know the tide times to plan beach shots when the scenery is most impressive. Similarly, sunrise and sunset times are crucial for planning those magical golden hour photos. What time is the ceremony? 

What time in the day can you dedicate to your photos? For the most part, apps and websites that provide this environmental information can be invaluable. But just think about timing, since you’re doing your own photography, that does mean it’s going to take longer compared to photographers (or just anyone taking your photos).

There Might Be Changes to the Weather

No one likes the idea of it raining on their wedding day, but sometimes, it happens! Generally speaking, weather can be unpredictable, especially in certain destinations. This is exactly why you need to have a contingency plan for rain or other adverse weather conditions. This might include scouting alternative indoor locations or investing in umbrellas that double as props. Waterproof covers for your camera are a must if you’re expecting variable weather. 

Again, you’re taking your own photos, assuming you have a tripod, so in case of bad rain, you have to protect your equipment. If it rains too hard (and you’re outside), you might not be able to get any shots at all. 

Energy Management

Now, professional wedding photographers usually carry an extra camera, sometimes even three cameras at a time. On top of that, they have so many batteries. But what about you? Are you using a camera? Are you only going to use your phone? You have to keep in mind that shooting an entire wedding can be draining. Ensure your camera’s batteries are fully charged, and you have plenty of backups. 

Also, consider your own energy levels — staying hydrated and having snacks can keep you sharp and focused throughout the event. Again, this is your wedding! You will be up early, you’ll be hyper-focused on creating the perfect day. People are going to want to talk to you. This will be such a busy day from the second you wake up to the second you fall asleep. So you have to keep that in mind!


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