As the popularity of destination weddings among UK couples continues to rise, photographers are having to adapt to new venues and destinations in a very short period of time. Wedding photographers are used to having to scout out a new location for a bride and groom’s special day. However, when that location is just a few hours away, scouting it out is a lot easier than having to travel overseas.
The photography experts at Peli UK have put together their top 7 tips for perfecting the way you can successfully scout out a new wedding location abroad, to ensure the very best results for the bride and groom.
1. Start researching the wedding destination early
You can start scouting the overseas wedding location weeks or months before the actual date of the event. Thanks to the advancements of technology such as Google Maps (especially Street View) you can get a feel for the direction of the sun at certain times of day as well as in and around the venue and destination. By doing a search on Instagram, you can view images from weddings held at the venue or within the town or city abroad, which can give you great ideas of where you’d like to see in person on your first scouting trip.
2. Speak to the bride and groom to get a better understanding of the venue
The bride and groom will more than likely have visited the destination of their wedding as well as the venue. Before their next trip to the venue, ask them to take some photographs of where they would like to have certain photographs taken. This can give you a basis to work from when you go to visit the venue just before the wedding. Ask the bride and groom if there will be any special traditions related to the wedding destination or religions which will help paint a picture of where you will need to pay special attention to when you visit the venue.
3. Make sure to double check your equipment
Before travelling to the overseas destination for your scouting trip, it’s vital to check and double check all of your equipment. Take a variety of lenses, spare batteries, memory cards or film, backup cameras, hard drives and international travel plug adapters, so you’re ready to take all types of photographs. If you’re in charge of the photography for a wedding abroad, take the equipment and cameras you’re used to as you won’t want to be worrying about how to change the focus and exposure on a new camera.
4. Immerse yourself in the local culture
Try to arrive a couple of days before the event to fit in some exploration of the local culture and lifestyle. You’ll be able to find plenty of inspiration for your photography on the day of the wedding from the lifestyle and culture of the destination. Not only that, but spending a few days exploring the destination will give you a greater understanding of where the sun sits at different times of the day as well as the lighting depending on the weather conditions.
5. Take your time when visiting the venue
It’s important to take your time when visiting a wedding destination or venue, to shoot areas which you’d like to use on the wedding day, or for more relaxed pre-wedding shots of the bride and groom. You can practice your compositions without the bride and groom and their families, to see how the light looks on your camera. Not only will you be prepared for the wedding but you’ll also build yourself a good library of photographs which you can use to showcase your work, or to help you come up with future wedding photoshoot ideas.
6. Do a preliminary run of the wedding day
Although you won’t be able to account for changes to the weather and lighting on the day of the wedding, by running through all the events of the wedding day will help you understand when and where things are taking place. It is best to try and find out when and where the orchestra, DJ, lighting and caterers will be setting up at the venue, so you can see which shots may or may not be obstructed.
7. Be flexible on the day of the wedding
Whilst you can prepare for all possibilities when scouting the venue, on the day of the wedding it’s unlikely that the conditions will be exactly the same. You will need to be flexible to quickly think of backup photoshoot locations at the venue just in case, especially when taking the portrait shots. The more you prepare for the bride and groom’s big day, the better your photography will come out and the happier your clients will be.
By familiarising yourself with the location and venue, your destination wedding photos will be greatly improved and you can even take these new skills for scouting new locations and venues nearer to home. These top tips are also useful for the bride and groom, so that they can provide you with all the necessary information to help you take the best wedding photographs, no matter the location.