Jetsetting around the world, visiting stunning destinations, creating gorgeous videos of couples on their wedding day… Sounds like a dream job, right? It is! But if you’re wondering how to break into destination wedding videography, know that it isn’t all passports and fancy hotel rooms – it can be tiring, full-on, and stressful if you don’t go into it with a plan.
I absolutely love all the adventures of the job and am honored to build connections with some wonderful couples – being invited into their elopements is such a privilege. However, I approach my job with organization, balance, and strong time management skills, as I never want to burn out or take on more than I’m capable of handling.
If you’re wondering how to become a travel videographer or simply want to improve the way you work, here are a few tips that can help you save time and avoid stress while traveling.
One of my top videographer travel tips for destination weddings is to get yourself set up with TSA Precheck. It’s currently $85 for five years, which is a serious bargain once you realize how much time it can save you each time you fly.
We all know how chaotic airports can be, but once you’re approved with Precheck, you’ll benefit from an expedited security process. No need to remove shoes, belts, laptops, or liquids either, which saves you plenty of time and makes the process easier to manage – especially when you’re juggling plenty of valuable carry-on, like computers, cameras, and lenses.
If you’re traveling internationally often, TSA Global Entry is also worth your time, since it means you won’t need to wait in long customs lines when you return.
My next tip for becoming a destination wedding videographer is to travel as light as you can! While you’ll probably still need to check your luggage, all of your photography gear should always be carry-on.
You really don’t want to check expensive gear like lenses or cameras, as there’s such a high risk of damage or baggage delays. If you arrive at your destination and your clients are getting married tomorrow, what happens if your camera gear is delayed by a few days?
You can find plenty of amazing padded camera gear bags designed specifically for carry-on – check out brands like Peak Design or Manfrotto, as they make high-quality luggage designed for professional photographers. As nearly all purchases for your business are tax-deductible, it’s worth splurging on the best you can afford.
It’s best to always book your own travel – especially flights. You can include travel expenses within your costs, of course, but always book reservations yourself, in your name.
If something goes wrong, or you need to change flights, you might not have full access to make changes if the booking was made by your client. By booking all of your own travel, you’re in full control and can easily make changes if needed.
When booking flights, make sure to thoroughly read the company’s cancellation and rescheduling policies first. There are more fluctuations and risks with travel than there used to be, so always try to book travel that can be credited or refunded if you need to cancel.
When it comes to international travel tips for destination videographers, it’s ideal to obtain an international driver’s permit before going overseas. They’re often required when renting a car overseas, so you don’t want to be caught out without one.
I also think being able to drive around your destination results in a much better finished product for your client. How so? One of my practical tips for making a great travel video is to tell a story, from beginning to end. You can do this so much better if you have more footage, from scenic shots of the drive to the resort or of your couple exploring a beautiful waterfall just nearby. With a license, you can also take your clients to film in various locations, which will make their wedding more interesting and varied.
Before traveling to a new destination, do your research or arrive a day or two earlier to do some scouting, working out the most scenic places to film. You’ll also want to create some destination wedding video guidelines in advance, working out how much footage you’ll need and how long your final product will be.
As someone who travels frequently, I find travel credit cards can be a lifesaver. There are a number of credit card programs specifically designed for travelers, offering points for every dollar spent that you can use on hotels, flights, or rental cars. Some credit cards also give you a large number of frequent flier points at sign-up or a few free lounge passes per year.
The right credit card can help you save money on purchases you would be making for your business anyway, and can sometimes even help you qualify for upgrades more easily, so it’s well worth enrolling.
Frequent travel can be so complex, especially when you’re fighting jet lag and trying to furiously work toward deadlines! Don’t avoid missing out on anything important – put an organizational system in place that works for you.
This could be an old-school paper diary, a spreadsheet, or a business management CRM or tool. It helps to think about how you like to work and find a system that will suit your needs. This will help with time management and make it easier to balance your work and personal time. Personally I screen shot all my travel confirmations and add them to each clients wedding in Honeybook under files.
With the tips above, your travel will be so much smoother, I promise! Easier travel means you arrive at your destination feeling more calm and relaxed, and your clients have a better videography experience – a win-win for everyone.