Things to consider before planning your destination photoshoot
IN recent years, destination photoshoots have risen up the ranks to become a popular trend, alongside destination proposals and destination weddings.
No doubt, exploring some of the world’s most exotic places and discovering a foreign land’s hidden charms for the first time with your loved one (or loved ones) and at the same time, getting some professionally-taken pictures out of it is a major appeal.
And after all, there is no photo like a vacation photo that was not taken with the help of a selfie stick or a random stranger who may not be quite as adept with a camera as you would expect. Plus, hiring a professional photographer to document it for you means you will always get the right angles, the best lighting, and the most stunning backdrops.
While the idea sounds fantastic, it is also a difficult task for both yourself and your hired help. Planning a destination photoshoot goes beyond just deciding on the concept that you want and buying yourself a whole new wardrobe and the works for the occasion.
So how can you make the best out of it? Travel Wire Asia spoke to some of its photographer friends for their top tips.
How much are you going to spend?
First and foremost, know exactly how much this will cost. Aside from flight tickets, accommodations, and fees for your hired help, there are the miscellaneous expenditures such as meals, transportation, admission price (if any), etc as well.
“Clients sometimes forget to add these miscellaneous expenditures in their budget so I always tell them before the photoshoot. I even take the liberty of putting these costs down in my contract so that they are aware,” Jane Lee of hellojanelee told Travel Wire Asia.
At the same time, maybe you should consider engaging a makeup artist and a hairstylist too.
“Sometimes, a makeup artist and a hairstylist are needed to help keep an eye on the overall look. They may be able to assist you and the photographer on things you may not be able to see yourselves,” Tian Chad Chen of Sky Arts Production told Travel Wire Asia.
Where will you be going?
When we say venue, we mean detailing the exact locations where you would like to have your wonderful photos taken. Have it all noted down in your schedule complete with time (because you want the best natural lighting for perfectly lit photos) and getting there.
“Photographers love to shoot only at sunrise and sunset, and the timings for sunrise or sunset vary for different destinations. It is important to plan the photoshoot timings well so as to not miss the good sunlight,” Lee said.
“Another protip is to not leave it up to the last minute or up to your photographer alone. Head to the destination a day (or more) before the actual day of photoshoot so you can get used to the weather and the food,” Chen said.
Do you have permission to shoot?
And while you are at it, research beforehand if you need special permission or approval to shoot at the locations. The onus is on you to find out because your photographer is probably as clueless as you are, more so if it is not a common location.
“They have got to know beforehand if the places they are visiting allow photography. Some places which allow photography but for a fee, such as national parks,” Jon Low of Jon Low Studios told Travel Wire Asia.
“Also, they need to be respectful of the local people’s culture and not make a scene,” Low added.
What is on your schedule?
How long will it take you to get dressed or change, and have your hair and makeup photoshoot-ready? What will the travel times between locations like? Will the traffic be unpredictable?
Note all of the above down in your schedule.
And here is the harsh, little-known truth: photoshoots are more tiring than they look. In fact, your day of frolicking around with your photoshoot crew in tow can be very physically and mentally taxing if it requires you to skip, run, climb, or jump.
So aside from deciding on the timing and locations and detailing them in your schedule, you will also need to pen in ample time to sit down, breathe, and rest. This will ensure that you and your crew will not completely burn out before the day is even over.
Is the weather going to be kind?
The Asia-Pacific region is a big one, spanning from Turkey to New Zealand, and from New Zealand upwards to Mongolia. This means the weather and the seasons greatly vary.
Check the weather forecast beforehand because your hired help is likely not going to do that for you.
Is it going to be cloudy all day? Are you going in-between seasons and therefore, could be subjected to some rainfall? Will you be arriving right at the tail end of summer when the plants are no longer lush and green but brown and pretty much dead?
All these will be reflected in the end product – your photos.
Have you got the right outfits?
“If you are picking out dresses for your destination wedding photoshoot, aim for those which will enable you to move around easily. Skip the tight fit ones with a super long train because that is just going to restrict your movements,” Lee said.
In fact, the trend these days is to keep your photos less weddingy and more “travel couple”-y.
“Traveling portraits have evolved. Smart casual and fashionable outfits not only make better couple photos, but they are also more believable and timeless,” according to Low.
“Wearing a comfortable outfit will make you feel and look comfortable, hence the photos will turn out better too. Keep your outfit changes to a bare minimum and enjoy the destination instead,” Chen said.
Additionally, before you go overboard on a shopping spree, consider whether you can rent from where you are or if even the most minute accessories and props such as a hat, dangly earrings, cufflinks, shoes, etc are necessary for the concept you have chosen. You will need to lug these around from location to location.
Lastly, remember to eat an early light meal, stay hydrated, and have fun.
It is your special day, after all.