You’ve seen the dreamy photos on Instagram of twirling around the Parisian Trocadero or laying on the beaches in Tulum, but what is it really like having a destination photo shoot. Is it hard to set up? How much does it cost? How to find a photographer? I’m answering your biggest questions today.
We’ve done a few of these destination photo shoots (much to my husband’s dismay) but they always turn out beautiful. There’s something magical about being in another city and capturing those memories in a way that you can put in a frame. I’ve set up a couple of destination photo shoots and here’s what you need to know.
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Where to find a photographer
Surprisingly, Instagram is actually valuable here. Using hashtags like “city+photographer” is a great way to find people who meet your style. Scroll your way through the hashtags and when you find someone you like to message them and ask about availability. Always ask for two dates! Travel is fickle and between delays and weather, you want to have options.
Cost & Time of a Destination Photo Shoot
Obviously, this varies by so many factors: the city you are in, length of session, photographer rate, etc. I’m usually comfortable paying up to around $200-$300 an hour. As far as time frame goes, don’t overextend yourself! It’s easy to see $300 for one hour or $500 for two and think you are getting a better deal- but the truth is that you will likely be exhausted after the first hour. You’ll never actually post 100 photos and you won’t frame them on your walls so less is more.
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Your photographer may ask for a deposit to secure the time slot and that’s completely normal. Make sure it’s no more than 10-20% of the total cost of the package. Also, ensure that your contract has clauses for weather delays, if you have outfit changes, number and location of places that you would like to shoot, where you are meeting and in what form the final payment should be rendered. Are you giving them cash (in their currency) when the photo shoot is over? Are you paying online? Who pays fees. It’s important to clarify all of these things up front.
Lastly, you need to discuss how many images you plan on receiving. Usually, photographers have a minimum like 15-25 photos, but will often give you more if they are good? Ask about this and also chat about their editing policies. Will they only edit 15 photos? If so, do you get to choose which 15?
Your access to phone and internet may be intermittent when you are traveling so have a plan for how you will reach your photographer while you are oversees. WhatsApp is a free international messaging and calling app that many prefer. Make sure you have these apps downloaded before you leave town.
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If you are planning on meeting at a popular location or tourist destination, sunrise and sunset are two great options to have fewer people in your photos and great lighting. Remember, this is sunrise or sunset their time! Allow yourself a day or two to adjust to the time zone change so that you don’t sleep through your shoot time.
If you are doing an outfit change, bring a bag that will allow you to swap clothes. Think through whether or not your pieces will wrinkle and how you can change in a hurry.
Doing a destination photo shoot can be taxing (especially if your partner isn’t into it) which is totally understandable. But like all things, just tell them how much it means to you, they will sully through it, and then be grateful that they did it later when they see how great the photos turned out!