Couples today are literally going places as many of them are choosing to get married in different destinations. It could be a place that holds a special meaning to them or a location that they both want to go to as a couple. Wherever it is, destination weddings are a trend that won’t go anywhere soon.

Destination weddings can be such a dreamy experience, but it can also be quite overwhelming. For couples and their whole coterie of suppliers and wedding vendors, getting married in other parts of the world can be challenging and, without meticulous planning, can be fraught with anxiety.

With the different factors involved in destination weddings, even top wedding photographers make sure that they make careful preparations. From doing research on the place they are going to shoot to bringing the right gear, everything must be picture-perfect.

If you are shooting a destination wedding, here are some tips on what to pack:

1. Scope out the location

Do research on the place that you will go to. This is the most basic preparation you must accomplish as it lays the foundation that all your planning stages will be based on.

Are you going to a winter wonderland or a stunning seascape? Will you be in a city or countryside? What is the terrain like where you will be shooting? These are some of the questions that you must ask because your visual plan, your gear, and all other trip details will depend on these.

Check if there are any local landmarks or places of interest that you can shoot in. Discuss the possible locations with your couple as well as the transportation and/or manpower requirements that you might need. Prepare a shot list, a photo shoot itinerary, and multiple location backups. Print out or save a copy of the local map with sites that can provide a good photography backdrop for your couple.

Having all these planned and coordinated will save you time, money, and resources. More importantly, it will allow you and your couple to have a better chance at a stress-free pictorial.

2. Know the rules

Find out where you are going and check if there are any rules or regulations regarding photo shoots or pictorials. There are some places where they will ask for a permit or payment. Coordinate closely with your couple or their wedding coordinator to make sure that all of you are aligned regarding these shooting policies, if any.

Also, do research on the place’s policy regarding work conditions or limits. There are some countries that may charge professional taxes or fees. It is best to learn about these rules so you know how to address them properly. It will be a nightmare to find out at the airport that you won’t be allowed entry just because you have overlooked certain working requirements.

Do your homework properly to avoid mishaps that will add stress to the couple and for everyone involved.

3. Be sure to insure

Everyone wants to have a smooth journey. There are times though when unfortunate incidents happen. Cameras fall off boats, lenses get stolen – these things happen. However much you storm the heavens with prayers that this won’t happen to you, it is still better to get travel insurance.

Photography equipment can cost an arm and a leg so spending on insurance is a worthy investment. Having your gear (and yourself, of course) insured will add peace of mind and give you a sense of security that will translate to a more relaxed working environment.

4. Plans and Cards

If you’re traveling out of the country, it is best to check your phone plan including data and roaming services. Better to be ready with this in case you will need to make calls, send messages, or answer emails. You may also need to go online if you want to use your navigation apps or check out local sites.

The same thing applies to your bank ATM and credit cards. Some credit card companies may freeze your card if they notice any huge charges that seem fraudulent so, better alert them that you’re traveling abroad. Take note of transaction fees and conversation rates as well.

5. Camera gear

It doesn’t mean that you should bring every piece of camera equipment that you have. Since you have done extensive research on the place that you are going to, you will most likely already have a clear picture of the shots that you will take.

Identify which camera body and lenses are most needed to achieve the photos in your shot list. Quality wedding photography doesn’t rely solely on the number of gear that you have. You also need smart planning to execute the best shots with the appropriate tools (aside from your skills).

Besides, lugging around all that unnecessary equipment will only be heavy for you (or your  photography assistants) and for your wallet. Remember that airport charges will apply extra fees for excess weight. You wouldn’t want your precious cameras checked in so you’d want it in your carry on, and carry on luggage has its limits. Adjust accordingly and bring only what you need.

6. Luggage and bags

The right bags spell a world of difference in making sure that your photography gear are properly protected. Although most camera bags or suitcases can be quite costly upfront, it will come out cheaper in the long run.

Usually made of tougher materials that can withstand wear and tear longer, these specialty bags are necessary to ensure that your gear are well-protected from the elements as well as all the possible shakes and bumps that you’ll go through when on the road.

Better if you can get a TSA-approved bag to store your valuables in.

7. In good form

Make sure to pack proper attire. You should always exude a certain air of professionalism, so dress comfortably and appropriately. You wouldn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb in a sea of suits and gowns, so check the wedding theme or prescribed mode of dress.

Most formal weddings will not require you to wear a tux or long gown but see that you don’t ruin the look by dressing shabbily.

Bring an extra pair of trousers and comfortable footwear as well as shirts just in case you need to change. Sunscreen and other accessories can also be handy in certain locations.

A trip to remember

Weddings are  momentous occasions and your role in it as a photographer is a crucial one. As the master behind the shutter, it is up to you to capture the moments of this wonderful chapter in the lives of your couple. Your keen eye for detail as well as your natural knack for the aesthetic will give them and their families a chance to reminisce about their special day.

Be sure, then, to come well-prepared as you snap shots of their celebration of love. Your photos will serve as their visual remembrance of this matrimonial journey.


Linda Pasfield is best known for her skill to capture emotion on film and expression in an art form. Linda has had 20 years of experience photographing weddings, portraiture and documentary. She is an award winning photographer and Linda’s career has taken her worldwide, photographing for Olim Aid International, Worship Centre and Cross Rds, and numerous other organisations. Photography is Linda’s passion and “capturing the true feelings on the day, blending creativity and lighting in the right way is a joy.”

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