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How Is Destination Wedding Photography Different? With Marta Demartini, Destination Wedding Photographer.

Marta Demartini, Destination Wedding Photographer discusses the differences in Destination Wedding Photography and how to re-create the same feeling at home!

Listen to Marta on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Demartini Weddings


James [00:00:02] Hello Marta. Lovely to see you. 

Marta [00:00:06] Hi James. Lovely to see you too. 

James [00:00:09] Fantastic. So you are Marta DeMartini and your business is called Martini Weddings! 

Marta [00:00:17] Yes Martini Weddings. 

James [00:00:18] And you are a fantastic wedding photographer. So originally you’re from Italy.

So we’ve got the perfect question for you today. And that is “how is destination wedding photography different?”

Now I remember from our experience of shooting weddings abroad that we tend to find… The experience was totally different from a U.K. based wedding because we found that the guests tended to be more relaxed. There was more time to do everything. There was more of a kind of a holiday feel, and we really, really enjoyed that vibe. So when it came to our wedding, we actually chose to book a photographer from the United States so that he could come across and have that experience with us. Because we thought the experience was so special, as a supplier. So what are your experiences of destination weddings? How do they differ from UK ones? 

Marta [00:01:19] Yeah.

That’s a very interesting question because I love doing destination weddings. And can confirm it’s a totally different experience than doing a wedding at home. I would say it involves a lot of adrenaline and adventure.

So in a way, I would suggest the couple find the right Photographer. Because I don’t think it’s for every Photographer. There is this holiday feel, as you say, the holiday feel is for everyone. It’s for the couples and it’s for the Photographer. But ultimately it’s also a job that you’ve got to do. And so you’ve got to go prepared. And there are a lot of things to factor in when you do a destination wedding. Because you are packing your luggage, but you are also packing your equipment. There’s quite a lot that you’ve got plan in advance. And the other thing I would say is to not rely completely on the couple. Because once you get there, they might be busy doing the guest greeting and have other things on their mind. You might be the last thing in their thoughts. So it is best to kind of have a good conversation with the bride and groom well in advance, and find out what they like. Because as a destination wedding photographer, I for example encourage couples to have extra photos taken. Not just for their wedding day, but also the day before, or the day after. 

James [00:03:10] To make the most of the environment? 

Marta [00:03:15]

Yes it’s the whole experience. It’s like storytelling, it’s not just about a wedding day.

That’s why it’s important that there is discussion between the photographer and the couple. And for example, when I do weddings abroad, I always like to go two days before the wedding. One for extra safety because you know… 

James [00:03:41] Anything can happen! 

Marta [00:03:44] A delayed flight!

And secondly because I want myself to get into the vibe of the environment that the bride and groom have chosen to have their wedding in.

And all because I want to make myself available for them, in case they have a rehearsal dinner. Or in case there are some couple photos before the wedding. Because that for example in the UK, or in any other country where a bride and groom get married, it’s very unlikely that the day before the wedding they would be available for a couple of photographs.

James [00:04:28] This is very true! English Weddings typically they happen on a single day don’t they? There’s never really a day before, or day after, it’s just the day! 

Marta [00:04:33]

Exactly! Yes. Because there is this holiday feel for everyone, the couples are more light hearted in a way.

So they will have everything organised in advance, the day before. They want to be ready to greet their guests, or even just to relax and enjoy the environment. And so they would be more willing to spend time with the photographer, because they know how important it is to have these memories afterwards. So that’s why I always spend a few days. A destination wedding day’s work is not just the day, out there and back. 

James [00:05:18] Yeah I think it’s largely organic, in the sense that I think people, because they’re traveling, they always kind of factor in that extra day before, and that extra day after, just for leeway don’t they?

And so you organically create this idea of being more relaxed. There is more time. There’s more meet and greet, which is incredible. So I think it is possible to replicate that in the U.K. isn’t it?

If people took that concept and said “You know what. Let’s book the hotel for two days and let’s stay overnight. And let’s recreate that kind of vibe.” You can do it in the UK if you want to! 

Marta [00:06:00] Yes absolutely you could.

It’s totally about the mindset. It’s about how you perceive these experiences.

I mean if in that mindset, they will become that way. You know for a bride and groom that don’t want to go on a destination wedding, but they like the idea of having these couple of days set aside, that they might think about doing something in the U.K. Maybe they can choose a venue that is a bit far away from where they live, and just book that time for a couple of days. And they could recreate the same situation. 

James [00:06:40] And that’s exactly what we did in Scotland! We chose to travel.

We booked the place for the weekend so that we could have the destination feel at home. You know that’s what I was leading to. That’s precisely what we did! 

Marta [00:06:54] Oh perfect. You must have enjoyed that very much. 

James [00:06:58] Very much. 

Marta [00:06:59] How did you find your Photographer? 

James [00:07:01] Incredible.

Now the thing I felt whenever I had a destination job was that I was going on an adventure, like you said. There’s a heightened sense of excitement. And I’d never really thought about the job as work because we enjoyed it so much.

Obviously it is a job, it’s work, but it’s also enjoyment. But I saw that our photographer, because he was working on a destination job, worked so hard. I think because from the bride and groom perspective, we’re all relaxed, you know the bridal party are relaxed, everybody’s having a good time. But there’s more happening like you said. You know you’ll get together with them the day before. And maybe you’ll get together with them the day after for something else as well. Maybe there’s two different destinations that you want to go to, to get photos. And it’s very, very, very hard work on the wedding suppliers, the destination photography and videography. So how do you find you balance that kind of joy and excitement with the pressure? With the extra pressure of the extra work? 

Marta [00:08:08]

Yeah. It’s beautiful for me. There is exactly this contrast that is happening, as you say.

I am very excited to organise everything that should be, but I know it’s work, so I feel the pressure. I also feel like I am somewhere else, I look outside and there is a different landscape, so that cheers me up! For example I remember my first destination wedding was in Madrid, two years ago. And I learned so much from that experience, honestly. I wanted to do that so much and obviously I charged a ridiculous amount of money, because it was my first destination wedding. But I basically, obviously, treated it as you know, a professional job, and so I planned everything in advance, and everything that I could do, I did. And when I got there, basically I couldn’t get hold of the couple whatsoever. Because something happened to the grandfather. They were all busy dealing with that. And they did tell me, you know. This wedding basically was in the countryside, in the surrounds of Madrid. So it was in the mountains, well not mountains, but hilly. 

James [00:09:45] Very rural! 

Marta [00:09:47] Quite rural yes! Very rural, and they told me this is not too far from where my grandmother’s house is. So the Bride told me I’m going to get changed there. And the groom was going to get changed in the hotel nearby. So we’re going to drive you wherever you need. Don’t worry, you’re our guest and everything. And when I got there, none of that happened! 

James [00:10:13] Right. Yes. Because you’re not number 1 priority, really! 

Marta [00:10:21] So it was a bit tough, as the first wedding abroad. Plus, it was in Spain. So I am Italian, so I could understand a bit of Spanish. But still, it was not my language. So I had to sort out renting a car. And sort out where to go, and destinations, and juggling with the phone as a sat nav. The car I rented, didn’t have sat nav. It is just little things. But you’ve got to put everything into consideration. I had to use my phone and I had to hold it as I was driving to see where I was going. Because there was no holder for it. Next time you can bring your own sat nav, and holder, just in case something happened. Or you can use your phone. 

James [00:11:27] I take it in terms of photography though, everything was fine. That you delivered the wedding photography and everything went perfectly? 

Marta [00:11:34] Oh Yes. 

James [00:11:35] I love stories like that where suppliers get into sticky situations in foreign countries, because I’ve been there myself. We got stuck in Venice during the volcanic ash cloud a few years ago.

I love it when suppliers come through for the clients because that is a real test of mettle.

On that particular occasion there was actually a… I can’t remember whether he was a vicar, or a priest, but he, for whatever reason, decided that he couldn’t quite make it back to the UK, for a wedding. Because he was trapped in Venice but we were also trapped in Venice. But we actually made it home to the UK. I mean it was an absolute battle to get back, but we pushed and we pushed and we pushed, and we broke through and we were able to turn up to that wedding, and deliver for those clients. So you know, I love it when I hear those stories of trial and victory. It’s really, really powerful stuff. 

Marta [00:12:28] Yeah. Yeah.

That’s what makes it professional as well. The drive of wanting to deliver at any cost basically.

You’ve got to do it and start developing ideas on how to do it, basically, yeah.

And also another thing I would suggest from a photographers perspective, is to make sure you’ve got maybe another second shooter contact in the country where you’re going, to photograph the wedding.

Again just in case. Because most of the time you’re on your own, and if something happens, the bride and groom have trusted you to do the photography. And so this is being part of professional. It’s being able to deliver in this sort of situation. They will probably understand. But it’s nice if you can provide a solution, if they need one. And yeah I’ve got one coming up next year. A very exciting wedding in the snow. They’re going to get married in the Alps on a mountain, at a resort. And it’s going be in February, so most likely there’s going to be snow around. And the bride is an acquaintance of mine. But she’s seen my work and just wants me to be there because she trusts me. The element of trust, if you’ve seen the photographer working before, or if you’ve seen me at another wedding for example, and you know I could do it. That’s probably the way to go, rather than browse online maybe. Or go on an adventure with a photographer that has never really traveled before. 

James [00:14:42] Yeah. No I think there’s some really, really good points raised there Marta, that’s been really really insightful, thank you. Unfortunately, that’s all we’ve got time for today, but that’s been a really, really great chat with you. Really enjoyed that and hopefully we’ll get the chance to speak to you again in the near future. 

Marta [00:14:59] Thank you so much! That was great! 

James [00:15:01] Absolute pleasure. All right Marta. Take care, we’ll speak to you soon. 

Marta [00:15:06] Thank you very much. Bye bye. 

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