I just got back from shooting my first wedding in Alaska. I'm not a destination wedding photographer so traveling with my gear did not come naturally to me. I learned a lot about my photography and shooting wedding during this trip. Today I share the 7 things I learned while shooting a destination wedding in Alaska.
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The 7 Things I Learned While Photographing A Wedding In Alaska
1: Scout Locations
When shooting destination weddings or shooting in a location you are not familiar with, do your due diligence and scout locations. Know where the couple will be getting married and how much time you will have for photos as this will determine how far to look for locations to shoot at. Use tools like google maps to street-view a location or google "Location Name Wedding" to see what other photographers have done when in your shoes.
2: Don't Pack Everything You Own
Being in a new location offers several challenge for photographers but the biggest is the fear of not being prepared. So we will bring every piece of gear we have ever bought so that we don't miss anything. This causes too much weight and stress. Maybe you don't need the drone or film cameras. Pack just the essentials and shoot within your limitations.
3: Get a Timeline and Addresses
Having a timeline will ensure you are prepared. Even if the wedding day does not go according to plan you will still have one less thing to worry about. Be sure to get address of where every one will be getting ready as well! I've seen some timelines that show a 15 mile distance between getting ready locations but only 5 mins of travel time budgeted. Being able to foresee any potential problems can save the day,
4: Find the Best Light
Getting the address is crucial to being able to find the best light. Knowing that the reception was going to be in the mountains I could find out that even thought the sunset is officially at 9pm the light would pass over the mountian at 745 and I needed to be outside shooting by then if I want to capture great images. You can use apps like "Golden Hour" Or "SOL" for iOS
5: Rent A Car
This can be quite an expense. About $100/day for several days but it will save you a world of headaches. Ive been to wedding where everyone could get TO the first location but once you fill the car with extras that need to be taken to the second location there is no more room. So having your own transportation is essential for a stress free wedding day when travilng.
6: The iPad Can't Replace A Computer, Yet.
Since my main editing rig is an iMac and not portable and I don't have a laptop decided to try using an iPad and a wireless hard drive to backup my photos. Its not like I had lofty ideas of being able to edit the wedding by the time I was home but it would have been nice to cull through some images. This was just to painfully slow of a process to be effective. It took me 10x longer (5 hours vs 30mins) to use an iPad vs doing the same task on a computer.
7: Don't Work Too Hard
I am going to guess that the reason you got into shooting destination weddings was because you want to travel more and see cool things. Not fly in hours before a wedding, work all day and then fly right back out without enjoying any of the local sites. So do your preparation before you arrive so you can take 2-3 hours to see the town or do some cool touristy stuff and get your travel fix.