Why bring your own photographer to your destination wedding when your resort provides one free?

L

et’s face it; most of us aren’t experienced models when it comes to photos. We rely on the photographer’s instruction and trust their experience and creative judgement. We don’t know how we look and we need the photographer to be able to communicate what looks best and do it efficiently when you’re on a tight wedding day timeline. Do you really want to leave your wedding photos to chance with a resort photographer, whom you’re likely not to meet until you’re walking down the aisle?

Here is a wedding I recently did. The resort insisted that their photographer be there to take photos and wanted to charge extra if they chose not to have him (a little backwards it seems). Some resorts are sticky with outside photographers so do your research. I decided not to cause any drama or stress for the couple and work around him and decided it would make a great article later anyways!

These first photos are all from the resort photographer that the couple agreed to let me see and use for the article. His equipment was less than lacking and had no back-ups if anything were to malfunction. That’s something a photographer should never risk because you can’t get those moments back, always have a back-up! After the ceremony he didn’t ask the couple’s opinion on the type of shots they wanted. He got straight into what looked like the usual routine that he puts all the couples through.

resort vs pro photographer

Here you see little instruction given to the couple and they are looking off at different places. There is also a person in the background.

Here is an example of an awkward moment that was caught and somehow picked as one of the final photos. There are again people in the background randomly. The photo is also taken at an angle that distorts the Bride to make her seem short and stubby.

Here is an example of an awkward moment that was caught and somehow picked as one of the final photos. There are again people in the background randomly. The photo is also taken at an angle that distorts the Bride to make her seem short and stubby.

A Bride walking down the aisle is one of the most beautiful moments of the ceremony. Here she is in an odd middle step, her eyes are half closed and her dress was caught in the wind at an unflattering moment.

A Bride walking down the aisle is one of the most beautiful moments of the ceremony. Here she is in an odd middle step, her eyes are half closed and her dress was caught in the wind at an unflattering moment.

This is supposed to be a bridal beauty shot. The resort photographer used the pop up flash to light her face (this is a no-no) She comes off still looking dully lit and it makes her appear very flat. Again she was given no instruction on where to look and ended up in a slightly cross-eyed looking gaze. It looks like little or no re-touching has been done to this photo. Experienced photographers know how to edit beauty shots and soften skin, minimize wrinkles, brighten eyes and whiten teeth and still keep people looking like themselves.

This is supposed to be a bridal beauty shot. The resort photographer used the pop up flash to light her face (this is a no-no) She comes off still looking dully lit and it makes her appear very flat. Again she was given no instruction on where to look and ended up in a slightly cross-eyed looking gaze. It looks like little or no re-touching has been done to this photo. Experienced photographers know how to edit beauty shots and soften skin, minimize wrinkles, brighten eyes and whiten teeth and still keep people looking like themselves.

The Bride and Groom are not in sync in this photo and isn’t that just the opposite of what we are trying to photograph? Little attention was paid to the background again as there are hints of ugly beach chairs behind them.

The Bride and Groom are not in sync in this photo and isn’t that just the opposite of what we are trying to photograph? Little attention was paid to the background again as there are hints of ugly beach chairs behind them.

A photographer should make you feel comfortable and get you to relax when you’re being photographed. This couple looks extremely stiff and their arms are very awkward. The Groom has to painfully lean in so his face was not covered by the fabric.

A photographer should make you feel comfortable and get you to relax when you’re being photographed. This couple looks extremely stiff and their arms are very awkward. The Groom has to painfully lean in so his face was not covered by the fabric.

This is a photo is catching the Groom in a very precious moment during the ceremony when he was listening to his Bride-to–be’s vows. His face is left in harsh shadows and his eyes are almost closed in this tightly cropped photo. You might mistake the Groom for being miserable when he is actually of so happy he is almost in tears. An experienced photographer will give you a glimpse of the scene so you know what’s happening in the photo. A good photographer knows how to set this scene and tell your wedding like a story through photos. Someone who was not attending the wedding should be able to follow the storyline.

This is a photo is catching the Groom in a very precious moment during the ceremony when he was listening to his Bride-to–be’s vows. His face is left in harsh shadows and his eyes are almost closed in this tightly cropped photo. You might mistake the Groom for being miserable when he is actually of so happy he is almost in tears. An experienced photographer will give you a glimpse of the scene so you know what’s happening in the photo. A good photographer knows how to set this scene and tell your wedding like a story through photos. Someone who was not attending the wedding should be able to follow the storyline.

Do I need to say much about this photo? Not only is it awkward and unflattering but it’s extremely dull colors. These photos are taken in a vibrant paradise. You chose a destination wedding and a perfect spot for the ceremony for a reason; here you don’t get the sense that it takes place in a tropical paradise. An experienced photographer would have chosen a different angle so the Bride’s arm didn’t look so large and squished. The photo should have been taken just after she closed her mouth so you can’t see a weird facial expression and up her nose all at the same time.

Do I need to say much about this photo? Not only is it awkward and unflattering but it’s extremely dull colors. These photos are taken in a vibrant paradise. You chose a destination wedding and a perfect spot for the ceremony for a reason; here you don’t get the sense that it takes place in a tropical paradise. An experienced photographer would have chosen a different angle so the Bride’s arm didn’t look so large and squished. The photo should have been taken just after she closed her mouth so you can’t see a weird facial expression and up her nose all at the same time.

This is some of the editing techniques you might encounter with a resort photographer, a straight black and white filter. Their faces are what are important, not their clothing, but their faces are left in the dark. Black white is complicated technique that can’t be accomplished by a push of button. This photo is also taken at awkward moment again where their hands and arms seem lost, the Groom looks angry and the angle is unflattering to the Bride.

This is some of the editing techniques you might encounter with a resort photographer, a straight black and white filter. Their faces are what are important, not their clothing, but their faces are left in the dark. Black white is complicated technique that can’t be accomplished by a push of button. This photo is also taken at awkward moment again where their hands and arms seem lost, the Groom looks angry and the angle is unflattering to the Bride.

Some other things to consider; Depending on your destination there might be a language barrier, you might not be able to tell the photographer what shots you do or don’t want. The couple ended up with a DVD of the photos the next day. I know this might sound great, but how much time and care could he have put into the post process work with that little amount of time? On average most experienced photographers get photos back to their couples within 4-5 weeks of the wedding. The couple received just over 200 photos, of which half were duplicates in the horrid black and white filter he threw on. That might be enough for some people, but there are so many details and moments he missed that really make the day so special.

There is a chance you might luck out with a great resort photographer, but there is also a chance that you might end up with photos that look like these. You’re spending a lot of time and money on your wedding to make it beautiful and have everyone important travel all the way to your destination so don’t let photography be the area where you cut the budget!

Now here are some of my own photos from the same wedding.

resort photographer vs pro photographer 10   resort photographer vs pro photographer 2resort photographer vs pro photographer 3resort photographer vs pro photographer 7resort photographer vs pro photographer 9resort photographer vs pro photographer 5resort photographer vs pro photographer 6resort photographer vs pro photographer 12resort photographer vs pro photographer 11resort photographer vs pro photographer 13

 

A huge thank you to this couple for letting me use their wedding photos as an example. They were on board for sharing this information with other people who are planning their destination wedding in hopes they would realize a resort photographer might not always be the best choice. Everyone deserves photos as beautiful as their wedding day.

See more wedding photos here.

Interested in booking Ally Papko Photography & Design? Head to the Revel Routes contact page to inquire about your wedding day photography.

 

Ally Papko

About

Ally is a photographer and graphic designer. Her strong background in both creative areas make for her distinct style. Her images are captivating and truly striking. FUN FACT: Ally’s been danglin’, snipin’ and cellying since 1994.