Guest blog:Brian Hargreaves-Destination Weddings: a Photographer's Perspective

It’s guest blog Monday, and today I’m fortunate to have Ottawa photographer, Brian Hargreaves of BH Photography, share his wisdom (and beautiful photos) with us on photographing destination weddings.

If you’re interested in connecting with Brian and his wife Ivy, their contact details are at the end of the post.


In looking through the vast amount of advertising material available for couples planning their dream day, destination weddings seem like an elegant, easy and care free wedding experience. They are, in fact a lot more work than one would expect. When searching through options, there are a lot of resorts who offer wedding packages that are all inclusive; they provide the venue, meals, flowers, cake, hair & makeup for the bride, and even a photographer!

However, unlike having your wedding at home, you are unable to see the venue in person, meet with your florist, or photographer. Most couples have a vision in their mind of their destination wedding being on a gorgeous, private beach with the relaxing sound of the ocean in the background. The reality is that your wedding may end up right in the middle of the resort’s beach, complete with onlookers sporting bikinis and Speedos rather than something more appropriate.  On the other hand, if you decide to host your event offsite, finding out that the private beach is right beside a busy highway or airport, or that the ceremony music you spent hours deciding on comes from a boombox can really have an effect on the ambiance of your day.

Hiring a travel agent specializing in destination weddings is your best bet to have the wedding of your dreams. As each individual destination has their own customs and culture, they will help you pick the destination that best suits your style and dreams. A destination travel agent will also be able suggest options or things to consider that you may not have thought of—a growing trend lately is to take both a professional photographer and hair stylist / makeup artist with you for part or all of your trip.

Taking a photographer with you has many advantages. Most resort photographers only cover the ceremony, and provide you with roughly 30 small printed images within a day or two. Often, you won’t be able to order more, print a large photo for your home, or create an album, and most of the time there is very little editing done by the resort photographer. A destination wedding photographer will provide you with coverage of your preparations, the ceremony, formal photos, and photos of your dinner / reception. Your photographer is one of the people who are around you for most of the wedding; what if you don’t get along with the one provided by the resort, or they aren’t as professional as you had expected? Your wedding day is not the best time to find this out!

If you are having a reception upon your return for family and friends who couldn’t make the trip, you will be able to hire the same photographer for every part of your wedding. Some photographers will even include a day after, or trash the dress session to maximize the variety of your wedding photos while away. 

Ultimately, your wedding photos are the only thing you have left after the wedding is over. Investing in a quality photographer is only a fraction of the total investment you and your guests are making, and the family heirlooms created by a professional will be treasured by your children and grandchildren for years to come.


Brian J. Hargreaves
BH Photography
Ottawa: 613.282.3852
Montreal: 514.400.8495 | |