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Destination Wedding Preparations

I’ve had the pleasure of shooting weddings in Austin and San Antonio Texas, Baltimore Maryland, Santa Clara, San Jose and San Francisco and locally in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.  Traveling is never easy, add 50 pounds of photography gear that you can’t let out of your site and it becomes downright comical. Remember that scene in Meet The Parents where Ben Stiller won’t let the airline stewardess (is that term PC?) check his bag because the engagement ring is in it? That’s me on Thursday with my camera bag. You’ll check my bag over my dead body. As a backup I’ll pack a reusable grocery bag because I’d rather throw my equipment in a cotton bag under my seat than let the baggage guys throw it around.

On Thursday I venture to Cancun Mexico and The Riviera Maya for Jo Anna and Todd’s wedding. A few days ago Jo Anna left this message on my facebook page:

“Airplane tickets- $550
Reception- more money than I would like to say…
Having one of your oldest, truest friends as your wedding photographer- Fricken PRICELESS!!!!
Thanks so much for being such a huge part of my big day, Chuck. And be sure to thank Robin for the extra effort of having to man the house without you for a couple of days. Much love to you both!!!!”

That meant the world to me. I moved to LA in 1997 and met Jo shortly thereafter. I’m honored and excited to be shooting their wedding. I’ve shot a handful of friend’s weddings and I’ve also had a few friends hire other photographers because they wanted me (and my lovely wife) to enjoy the festivities. Despite the “guest” status at those weddings I always take a camera (only one camera) and on a couple occasions my friends weren’t happy with their photographer’s work yet loved my shots. If you’ve got a friend who is a photographer, my vote is to hire them. You’ll most likely get a great deal and your relationship and comfort level will lead to better photos. When someone is spending all day chasing you around with a camera you’re going to want to like the person.

Thursday will be the first time I leave for an international destination and it brings it’s own set of issues.

  1. Language barrier.  Despite three years in high school and having once been fluent as a child, mi Spanish es muy malo.  Apparently the on-site coordinator isn’t as fluent in English as Jo Anna had hoped.
  2. Assistants. When anyone, anywhere asks me about photography I’m always happy to help. With every out of town wedding I’ve photographed I’ve always send out emails to local photographers asking for referrals for assistants. The local photographers have always been happy to help. I’ve met and worked with incredible photographers in all of those cities. I guess I’m not welcome in Cancun, because only one photographer I emailed bothered to reply that she was booked as was her assistant. I’ll be shooting this one solo.
  3. Gear. I’m taking two cameras, four lenses and three flashes. Enough compact flash cards to shoot three weddings and enough AA batteries to power a Prius. I’ll have the added fun of explaining to a customs agent why I’m traveling with $10K in equipment. I also have the added risk of having to check some of the gear because it won’t fit in my carry-on.
  4. More time on site equals more photos. More photos means more editing. I’ll be attending and shooting the rehearsal dinner, wedding rehearsal as well as all the wedding related festivities.  It’s included in the package. I’m happy to do it and look forward to designing an amazing wedding album.

Here’s a couple shots from Jo Anna and Todd’s engagement session we shot at Santa Monica Pier.

Jo Anna & Todd Engagement Session

Jo Anna & Todd Engagement Session Portrait

Jo Anna and Todd - Santa Monica Pier

Jo Anna and Todd – Santa Monica Pier

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