As a destination wedding photographer, Brittany & Ray’s initial email to me was what dreams are made of. “Looking to do something adventurous but haven’t nailed it quite yet. -Here are some things we are thinking about – safari, Thailand, Italy – all over the map.” That first one. Safari. As soon as I saw that, I immediately thought this could be one of the best destination weddings possible. Having been to Africa a few times already, it holds a special place in my heart and shooting an adventurous wedding there would be the perfect way to combine my passion for Africa with my passion for capturing the best places to elope. I wrote back my elopement ideas centered around the Masai Mara in Kenya and they were in.
Lets fast forward a few months, a few flights and lots of travel time. Brittany & Ray traveled from Seattle for their destination elopement so the first time we met was in Africa, the day before their wedding. Having helped plan their day in terms of when and where to shoot, they went along for the ride with every idea I threw at them. I planned for us to head out on safari before the sun came up the morning of their wedding to take advantage of that incredible, early morning African light. On the bumpy drive out, I spotted my lone tree and had Ole Kakui, our driver and guide stop the truck and we hopped out. It all felt too good to be true. Shooting destination wedding photos in my favorite place on Earth. But, it was very true.
They also allowed me to have serious input on where their ceremony would be held later that day. We scouted a few locations and settled upon a ridgeline overlooking the plains of the Masai Mara. Joined by Maasai warriors from neighboring villages, their elopement ceremony was a mix of local culture and emotion. Minutes after their nuptials, the storms rolled in. And the clouds. It was otherworldly as we shot more photos with the sweet, sweet lyrics of Toto playing in my head. You nailed it, Toto.
Later, that very same day…
I think if my wife and I were to do it all over again, we’d go the adventure wedding route. After traveling to and visiting so many awe-inspiring places, it would be hard to pass something like this up. But, time machines still don’t exist so the best we can do is make up for it by doing photo shoots of ourselves by ourselves during our travels. It’s not a bad compromise if I do say so myself. Last year, for your 5th wedding anniversary, we traveled across the incredible country of Iceland and I photographed us as only destination wedding photographers could. It was a memorable experience, especially being able to take our time over the course of a week exploring almost every end of the country. One of the best things Iceland had going for it when doing a self shoot like that was the huge expanse of landscapes where we were essentially alone for miles. This year, we found ourselves in a similar position exploring the Sahara Desert in Morocco, so I said why not do this again?
So, we kind of did. I’ll never forget the experience of wandering out into the Sahara and just soaking in the fact we were wandering out into the Sahara. It really wasn’t something I ever thought we’d do but it was as surreal as I expected it to be. Our alarms went off just before sunrise and we quickly made our way out into the mighty sand dunes of the desert. It was just us for miles.
Iceland. A land of unrelenting beauty, drama and wild weather. It’s been a place on my bucket list for years and for Dani and myself’s 5th wedding anniversary, we decided it was time to visit. After booking our tickets I began brainstorming on what seemed to be an impossible plan. I’ve been fortunate enough to photograph couples in some of the most beautiful places on Earth but the one thing missing from our own lives when we travel are images of us. Our 5th wedding anniversary seemed like the perfect time to change that and Iceland photography the perfect way to pull it all together. Being an Iceland wedding photographer was a dream.
My goal was to photograph our own love as we traveled across Iceland as if I was capturing another couple. I wanted these images to feel like I was behind the camera while simultaneously being in front of it. I wanted the story. I wanted the connection. I wanted the adventure. Doing this as a couple, really forged a strong connection with the country and landscape, elevating the trip to something more than usual. It was ambitious and I was really nervous I wouldn’t be able to pull it off but I honestly am so proud and happy we have these photographs to cherish forever.
Destination Wedding Photographer – New Zealand Wedding Photographer
Here is where I try to put this day into words and fail miserably. When Jeni & James first contacted me about their The Venue Wanaka wedding in New Zealand, I tried maintaining my composure and playing it cool. Sure, I’ll fly across the world and be your destination wedding photographer, no big deal. 20+ hours of flying time to get there? Worth it. Then came the details about hiring a helicopter to fly us to the top of Roy’s Peak and shoot photos at the edge of the Earth. That’s when composure flew right out of the window. The life of being a New Zealand wedding photographer.
I was welcomed into their lives and felt like family from the second we met. Guests traveled from Australia & all over the world truly making this an international wedding. The wedding ceremony at Glendhu Station was as breathtaking as the helicopter flight. It seemed like a dream. Sprinkle in an epic dance party, a traditional Haka dance (Google it, it’s intense!) and an appearance by the Milky Way galaxy and you have a winning destination wedding formula. It was one of those days where I’m still trying to figure out if it was real. Based on the photos, I think it was.
So, Costa Rica, you’re beautiful. Earlier this year, Huiru & Tim flew me out to Central America to capture their destination tropical wedding. Being a destination wedding photographer is the ultimate dream for a traveler at heart like myself so I feel lucky every single time I get to shoot in a new place. The day before everything you see here, we did an adventure session through the Costa Rican jungle ultimately ending up at a majestic waterfall. You can see those images here.
Right back at it the following day and it was wedding time. Friends and family traveled in from the States, China & Australia. I love when celebrations bring people together from all over the world because it’s always a fascinating dynamic. I’ve been talking way too much. It’s photo time.
When you have a groom from England and a bride from Houston, you obviously do a Grand Canyon wedding. Maybe not, but that’s exactly what Ady & Jess did 3 days before Christmas. What they wanted was the feeling of an elopement with the added benefit of their closest friends surrounding them. We started the day in a rented Airbnb house in beautiful Sedona, Arizona overlooking the red rocks. Then after a “short” 2.5 hour limo drive to the Grand Canyon, they were married at Grandeur Point overlooking the canyon. It was as breathtaking as it was windy. Oh, and Jess’s dress? That was purchased on Etsy from a woman who hand makes wedding dresses out of TABLE CLOTHS. Incredible.
The Grand Canyon is simply a place you have to see with your own eyes to understand the scale and absolute awe that it exists. A classic example of photographs not doing a place justice. But, this is why you travel and why you get married in amazing places. That feeling of being there cannot be replicated through a screen so I’m incredibly thrilled to have been a part of it. Whipping winds, perilous cliffs and all. I think I’m ready to go back.
After shooting my first two New Zealand weddings, I still couldn’t believe I was flying back across the world in another two weeks to document a third. For Fiona & Karl’s destination wedding photography, I calculated that I spent 44 hours in transit and 60 hours total on the ground. It was completely crazy and completely worth it to document their Black Barn River Room wedding.
From the minute they picked me up at the airport, we spent the entire day before their wedding scouting locations for photos and I spotted this incredible mountain backdrop called Craggy Range. The only hitch in the plan was that the land I wanted to shoot on was actually owned by a family of farmers. In classic Kiwi fashion, Karl and I drove up to the family’s home and asked if it was possible to shoot some wedding photos on their land. Not only did they welcome us onto their property, but they drove us around in their own truck so that I could pick out the perfect spot. It was an amazing story and led to some of the most breathtaking images I was able to make in New Zealand.
Working with these two Kiwis, living in Australia, was a dream for me as a photographer. They left every decision regarding photos up to me and what I thought would be best. Fiona wound up wearing sneakers most of the day because of all the climbing I had them do on Te Mata Peak. They even had me decide where exactly they should hold their ceremony at the Black Barn River Room. The trust they placed in me was second to none. Time to look at their photos now.
Being destination wedding photographers is the ultimate creatively inspiring thing. Here you are in a foreign land, telling the story of a couple with traditions different than your own and working with a landscape as beautiful as they come. Jess & Jarrod were married in Napier within the Hawkes Bay region of the North Island of New Zealand. Their ceremony took place in one of the most beautiful little churches I have shot in with a reception inside a converted old church. In between that, we ventured to the top of Te Mata Peak for what we were hoping would be some epic wedding portraits. As their ceremony ended, an ominous sky rolled in and drizzle began to fall. I was getting nervous our grand plan would have to be altered, but we decided to still go for it. And wow, were we rewarded.
As soon as we arrived at the peak, the winds were howling and I was afraid Jess in her wedding dress wouldn’t want to venture off too far for pictures, but I was luckily very wrong. She changed her shoes to sandals and we embraced the wind & muddy ground. As the storm brewed off in the distance, some of the most beautiful stormy light washed over Te Mata Peak and we made some incredible images. It really proved what being adventurous on your wedding day can do for you.