Saturday, 11 July 2009

How do you prepare for a wedding abroad?

Throughout my time as a wedding photographer I've been fortunate enough to carry out several weddings abroad for some lovely couples. Destinations I've visited include Italy, Spain, USA, Cyprus and as far away as New Zealand! (Well far for me as I'm based in the UK!)

So first things first. What's essential?

  • Plan, plan, plan! Draw up a list of everything that needs to be taken care of. Become super organised!
  • I have a complete back-up kit when tackling weddings with me in the UK, but depending on your location abroad, you may not even have the opportunity to purchase equipment, so make sure you take multiples of all equipment if possible, including lenses that overlap focal ranges. It might even be time to dust off those included kit lenses if you have any... It's better to have something with you if you drop your precious L series into the drink than nothing at all! (Now you know I'm a Canon man...)
  • Pack securely. I can't stress this point enough. I use Peli Products cases after a switch from Lastolite's products, and found that even the Peli offerings sometimes struggle with the rigours, or should I say efforts, of the baggage handlers before and after a flight. I once had the front element of a 70-200 f2.8 smashed which I thought was packaged perfectly. My method now is to make sure that there is no movement possible for anything contained in the case, and at check-in, ask for every 'fragile' tag and sticker available and whether it's possible to have your case taken through as outsize goods. If you're travelling to the USA, TSA approved locks are a must, or you may find your padlocks handed back to you in a small bag! Fortunately I didn't find out the hard way.
  • Insurance. As a Pro photographer, it goes without saying that you should be operating with full insurance to cover you for all eventualities in any case, but inform your insurers anyway that you're travelling abroad with potentially £20,000.00+ of equipment and whether they have any requirements for you to adhere to. It will ease their blood pressure if you do indeed have to claim, as it won't come as too much of a shock!
  • Make sure you have all your documents with you, and a schedule of the wedding, along with addresses and contacts, group shot lists and any other information you have. If you have a Smartphone or Blackberry, put it all on there too, then photocopy all of your essential documents and keep them separate to your originals. You get the idea... It's all in the preparation! Make sure you take your own SatNav, just in case the Hire Car company has run out, or you may be lucky enough to be met by a member of the wedding party... It also pays to install TomTom Navigator or CoPilot on your Smartphone as a back-up to your own SatNav. You can't have enough back-up in my opinion!
  • Invest in a good suit carrier if you're a man and even if you're a woman, it helps to keep your dresses in good order and negates the need for an iron. I hate creases! Double up on clothing for the wedding day if it's a hot climate too, as you may need to change.
  • Be prepared to always fly out on the day before. It gives you time to meet the families and also check out the venues and other locations. It's unlikely you will have had the chance to carry out the normal pre-wedding shoot you may offer, so familiarise yourself.
  • Back-up any shots on your portable drive or dual card set up if you have a 1 series canon or D3/D3x etc as your shoot, although you should always be doing this anyway.

There are many other aspects to consider, but most are common sense or directed by your location. This method has got me through a lot of weddings abroad without any hiccup, and you will tailor your own methods to suit you. It's more important to find what works with you and what you can repeat, with little effort in doing so.

Soon we'll have some images and a report on the latest wedding abroad, in Tamariu near Barcelona in Spain! 36 degrees C on the day! Hot...

No comments:

Post a Comment