Growing up, Krista Schmid would travel a lot with her family, exploring new cultures and meeting new people along the way. This experience, she firmly believes, impacted her journey to becoming a destination photographer. Today, she crisscrosses the world, creating beautiful wedding photographs for those with a sentimental heart. Her approach is simple: she wants couples to feel that their special day is not a production or show but a true reflection of who they are. With years of industry experience under her belt, we've asked Krista to share some tips on finding the perfect photographer for a destination wedding.
When is the best time to start searching for a photographer?
When looking for a photographer, the search should start before you are ready to start inquiring! The photography on a wedding day is an element that should not be taken lightly! Taking the time to discover what style speaks to you and aligns with the vision and dreams you have for your destination wedding. Some couples find their dream photographer right off the bat which is amazing, but allowing yourself the space and time to nurture your vision and finding the perfect photographer should not be rushed! With that being said, I think about a year to 1.5 years in advance is perfectly reasonable. Some photographers (like myself) don’t book more than 12 months in advance but it definitely does not hurt to reach out before then. Photographers may be willing to open their books slightly early if it is a destination they are really eager to photograph at too!
When meeting with a potential wedding photographer for the first time, what are the top things couples should pay attention to?
Like I said, choosing the right photographer for your day is absolutely crucial! Here are a few top things to pay attention to when interviewing photographers:
Experience with traveling internationally: Whether your potential photographer has photographed internationally or not, making sure they are seasoned travelers is very important in my personal opinion. There are so many uncontrollable variables when it comes to traveling and I believe it is important to make wise and informed decisions when it comes to planning travel, especially around a wedding day. Delays, cancellations, weather, lost luggage, etc are all things we cannot control but there are decisions we can make prior that allow for these variables to take place without it affecting our ability to show up as a vendor and serve our clients. Obviously, there is only so much we can prepare for or try to prevent but having a vendor who is aware and experienced is a must!
Their experience shooting weddings in general: If you are planning to invest in a photographer and their travel expenses to your destination, it is so important that you get an incredible experience with them! Ask them all the questions: How long have they been shooting weddings? Do they usually use an assistant or shoot alone? What measures will they take to prepare for your day? You can even ask to see sample galleries so you can get a better visual of their work. All these questions give your potential photographer the opportunity to share about themselves, their expertise and educate you on their approach. This will give you a lot of insight if they are a good fit for you!
Their style/approach/personality: The photographer's style is probably what drew your attention to them in the first place. Having a few key words to determine your vision may help you narrow down exactly what you are looking for and who fits the bill. For instance, a few key words I use to describe my own work are: timeless, editorial, true to tone, elevated, documentary, and effortless.
Typically, destination weddings tend to be on the intimate side since it requires all your guests to travel, and making sure your vendors will effortlessly mesh with your guests and the overall experience is a must. Find someone who doesn't only focus on documenting the moments between you and your hunny, but all the gorgeous scenery and details your destination has to offer as well! Find a photographer who will tell the entire story of your destination wedding from all the big details to small!
Now that you’ve seen their portfolio and align with their approach – do you enjoy them as a person in general? You probably don't realize this now, but you will be with your photographer all day long. And it is important that you enjoy their presence and they will bring all the good energy and vibes on your wedding day! I personally align with being a quiet, yet observant vendor with the ability to step in and be a leader. I want my energy to be positive, light and easy going. When it comes to the party, I allow the lively, bubbly side of me to come out for all those fun dancing/reception moments!
In terms of travel details, is it on the couple to handle the photographer's flight and accommodation? Are there any other additional expenses they should keep in mind?
For travel details, I prefer to book my own travel and include the expenses in the invoice. I will provide a travel quote along with an appropriate package for the couple and create an invoice to reflect the overall cost! I am incredibly upfront on all the costs right away so there are no hidden or unexpected fees but additional expenses to keep in mind are: Travel expenses not just for the day of your wedding, but for the days leading up and days after. I typically will charge for all travel expenses for 2-3 days leading up to the wedding and one day after; totaling in 4-5 days of travel (hotel, flights, transportation, food, etc). I believe it is up to your photographer to figure out these travel costs and invoice you for them!
What mistakes should couples avoid when hiring a photographer for a destination wedding?
Firstly, don't rush into a decision just because you feel the pressure to book someone right away. Take your time until you know exactly what type of photographer you want. Interview photographers until you find the one that feels right and you mesh well with them. I highly recommend doing phone or Zoom interviews before booking anyone!
Also, don't hire someone just because they are within your budget. Style, personality and approach matter just as much as budget. And don't skip out on asking all the important questions! Personally, I want my couples to feel nothing but ease and confidence when booking me and your questions show me that you care and are putting intention and thought into your day!
What are some tips for couples to get the most out of their destination wedding photography experience?
If your budget allows, opt for full weekend coverage, including but not limited to: welcome day/rehearsal coverage, all day wedding (8+ hours), and even the day after coverage. Capturing the essence of your whole destination experience is so important! Ask what type of coverage your photographer can offer you and get as much as you can!
Are there specific destination locations that you, personally, find particularly inspiring?
I am currently so inspired by European destinations. Not just for the architecture but for the overall culture and pace of life. The colors, textures and lifestyle of Europe are so diverse and they offer some of the most perfect places to host a stunning and unforgettable destination wedding. Some specific locations I am inspired by are: Portugal, France, Spain, Croatia, Switzerland and Italy.
What do you enjoy most about being a destination wedding photographer?
What is there not to enjoy? While, of course, traveling comes with highs, lows, and the occasional craving for the routine back home, being able to travel is one of the greatest joys of my life. I can’t imagine a life without it! Of course, I love the ability to see new places and experience different cultures, food, geography, but what I cherish so deeply about destination weddings is the intimacy of the group I am welcomed into. I always feel like a part of the family as soon as I step foot into any event. The trust to capture a destination wedding and be welcomed with open arms is beyond an honor. I couldn't be more grateful!