Choosing Between a Destination Wedding Photographer vs. Local Resort Photographer

destination wedding photographer vs local resort photographer

As a wedding photographer with years of experience photographing weddings and people’ happiest moments, I often get asked whether it’s better to hire a destination wedding photographer or a local resort photographer. Let me take you through the pros and cons of each option based on my firsthand experiences with awesome couples and their destination weddings. We’ll start with the differences between the two.

Why Hire Destination Wedding Photographers?

When couples hire me as their destination wedding photographer, we’re already on a first-name basis. They’re investing in a wedding photographer who knows them personally and can connect beyond the surface level. My couples trust my wedding photography style completely and how I approach a wedding day. I travel with them, spend time with their guests during rehearsal dinner, and become part of their friend group well before the wedding day.

Local Resort Photographer

Local photographers are based at or near your destination weddings. They have a deep knowledge of the area and know the best spots for photos. These photographers are often recommended by the resort or wedding planner. However, resorts might prioritize cost over quality, sometimes hiring local wedding photography with the cheapest rates rather than those who has your vision in mind.

Provence France Elopement Photographer Destination Wedding Photography
Photo By: Heartstring Weddings

Pros and Cons of a Destination Wedding Photographer vs Resort Photographer

Pros of Hiring a Destination Wedding Photographer

  • Consistent Style and Quality: One of my favorite couples, Dani and Kirk (now my friends), hired me for their destination wedding in Punta Cana. They loved their family photos I had taken of them throughout the years and reached out to me right after the proposal. Bringing me to the Dominican Republic ensured their destination wedding photography matched the aesthetic they loved from their previous photos.


  • Established Trust and Relationship: Working with me before their wedding day allowed Dani and Kirk to feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera, which SO IMPORTANT for getting those genuine moments.


  • Pre-Wedding Sessions and Familiarity: We also did a pre-wedding session, exploring some stunning locations around Punta Cana, which added a personal touch to their destination wedding photography.

Cons of Hiring a Destination Wedding Photographer

  • Higher Costs: Traveling internationally can be expensive, that’s an obvious one. My fee included flights and accommodation. I usually tend to give discounts to offset some of the destination wedding travel costs.


  • Travel and Logistical Challenges: Coordinating travel plans can be complex. I once had a flight delay, but thankfully, everything worked out. This is why I always suggest having me arrive at least two days before your destination wedding. You never know what can happen!


  • Limited Local Knowledge: While I researched Punta Cana extensively, there were still some local nuances I wasn’t aware of compared to a local resort photographer. However, arriving two days before the destination wedding gave me time to explore the resort and find the best location for wedding party photos, family portraits, and intimate shots of the couple on their big day.
Punta Cana Wedding Photogrpaher Dominican Republic Wedding Photogrpahy Destination Weddings at dreams maccao
Photo By: Heartstring Weddings

Pros of Hiring a Local Resort Photographer

  • Cost Efficiency: Local photographers often cost less because there are no travel fees, and the wedding venue resort usually pays them in the local currency.


  • Local Expertise and Knowledge: Local photographers may know the area, venue, and resort policies.


  • Easier Coordination and Accessibility: Having someone local meant they could meet in person several times before the wedding, something that can be difficult with a destination photographer.

Cons of Hiring a Local Resort Photographer

  • Potential Style and Quality Variations: There can be concerns about a local photographer’s style not matching your vision. You may need to sift through many portfolios to find a good match.


  • Lack of Personal Connection: You usually meet them on the day of your destination wedding. Without pre-wedding sessions and initial meetings, it can be difficult to establish a personal connection compared to a destination photographer.


  • Limited Portfolio Insight: Local photographers may not have extensive portfolios available online, making it harder to gauge their work accurately.


  • Coordination and Accessibility: There’s no direct communication with them until the day-of. You won’t have the ease of texting them whenever or asking questions at random, which can be inconvenient.
wedding couple running on the beach
Photo By: Heartstring Weddings

Key Considerations

Wedding Photography Budget

Comparison of Costs: Weigh the cost of hiring a destination photographer against the savings from a local one. There won’t be any hidden costs for me!

Style and Quality

Importance of Consistent Aesthetic: Ensure the destination photographer’s style aligns with your vision. Look through entire destination wedding albums, not just highlight reels.

Logistical Issues

Coordination and Travel Arrangements: Be prepared for potential travel hiccups. I always recommend having a backup plan for any unexpected delays.

Legal and Contractual Considerations: Understand the contract thoroughly. When Dani and Kirk hired me, we had clear terms about travel, accommodation, and delivery timelines, so there were absolutely no surprises.

Personal Wedding Experiences and Testimonials

Hearing stories from other couples and wedding photographers can be incredibly helpful. Dani and Kirk’s satisfaction with their consistent, high-quality photos from a destination wedding photographer they trusted shows the benefits of bringing your own photographer.

Community Insights and Recommendations

Browsing forums and discussions, you’ll find many couples debating this very topic. Common themes include budget constraints, style preferences, and logistical challenges. The consensus often boils down to personal priorities—whether you value a consistent photography style or local expertise more.

wedding ceremony in playa del carmen


Choosing between a destination wedding photographer and a local resort wedding photographers depends on your priorities. An added bonus of booking a destination wedding photographer like myself is that I often travel to beautiful places such as Vietnam, Bali, the Swiss Alps, and the Maldives. This allows us to plan unique engagement sessions, making the most of your trip and celebration.

If you’re looking for a photographer who will take your intimate wedding photography with consistency and style, send me an email to say hello and let’s see where our paths will cross.

I hope this article helped you in your search for the best destination wedding photographer for your destination weddings.

About Author

huy nguyen los angeles wedding photographer

Hi, I’m Huy! I’m a destination wedding photographer based in Los Angeles. I love sharing wedding planning tips inspired by my experiences shooting weddings. Happy to have you here!


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