Tips on Tuesday: Preparing for your destination wedding!

23 Aug

So you’ve booked a destination wedding – and you’re totally pumped. You’re thinking about all the amazing and inspirational new spots you’re going to see once you arrive at the wedding resort and your mind is racing with ideas! The one thing you’re probably not thinking about? The boring logistics on how to prepare yourself AND your business for a smooth and successful trip worth every single awesome photo you’re bound to take home with you. I know, because when I booked mine, I certainly wasn’t.  So here are some helpful hints that I learned firsthand (some of them, the hard way) that will hopefully arm you with all the wisdom necessary to make your next destination wedding a smooth sail.

If you are traveling to a destination by air, this ups the ante significantly. When you are hitting a destination wedding by car, you have that wonderful, roomy trunk to fill with back-ups and emergency kits and step ladders and props and, well, just about anything else that you fancy to aid you in pulling off the perfect wedding. You also get to avoid pesky airline regulations that are bound to pose a problem no matter what you do. With luggage restrictions and the need to simplify your packing list, your planning needs to start well ahead of take-off. The following is a checklist you should review in advance of your trip – and is tailored to the international traveler – but still most tactics apply no matter where your fabulous destination happens to be!

  • Call your airline in advance to make sure there are no weight restrictions on your carry-on luggage – well-packed camera bags are heavier than you think – and you don’t ever want to be separated from your gear.
  • Make sure you have a sturdy, international airline approved rolling bag to transport your gear that will keep everything well protected in the overhead compartment and in the event of severe of shifting or turbulence (I used my ThinkTank Airport Airstream – FABULOUS).
  • If you are traveling for an international gig, you must document your gear (anything that has a serial number i.e. camera bodies, lenses etc.) with the customs department nearest to you (Note: you can do this at the airport customs office on your day of departure, but make sure you allow for extra time before your flight to accomplish this) otherwise, you risk paying a hefty tariff when it comes time to re-enter the states.
  • Bring additional folded bags incase you have to redistribute weigh or bulk for your carry on bags at check-in- this happened to me – now I know why all collapsible vendor bags at WPPI are so valuable!
  • If you can, travel with a partner – it lowers the stress level by leaps and bounds!
  • Triple check that you have as many back-up batteries, CF cards, and rechargeables that you can fit in your bag – depending on where you are going it may be impossible to find replacements.
  • Do the proper research and find out what voltage you’ll be dealing with at your destination – and make sure you have converters for your battery chargers, laptop etc. if necessary.
  • Back it up, Back it up. back it up, back it up. Don’t leave that wedding on your CF cards and then travel with them. If possible, upload your files to an FTP for back up, use your laptop for temporary storage and if possible, travel with a portable external hard drive.
  • If you are shooting in a tropical location – where the temperature and humidity will differ significantly between inside and out – bring gallon sized ziplock bags to keep humidity out of your lenses and bodies as you travel between the two environments – allow for 15-20 minutes when you first embark outdoors into the heat and humidity to give time for your lenses to defog.
  • Pack one change of clothes (in addition to the outfit you plan to shoot in) in your carry on luggage.
  • Check to make sure that you insurance policy covers you outside of your domestic domain – and purchase travel insurance as an additional safety measure.
  • Finally – remember that you are going to be shooting in a totally different environment – one that may present unusual challenges – whether it be uncommon weather patterns, different sunrise/sunset times, language and/or cultural barriers or a infinite number of things. Expect the unexpected and do as much research ahead of time as possible!

Finally – enjoy the amazing experience of being able to travel as a photographer! It’s exhilarating and an incredible way to infuse new inspiration into your work and portfolio!


One Response to “Tips on Tuesday: Preparing for your destination wedding!”

  1. Nicole August 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Great tips! Especially the one about the ziplock bags

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