How to make the best use of a camera team at your destination wedding.

You’ve booked your dream wedding in an exotic location. Guests have flown in, the sun is shining, people are happy and relaxed – and so it makes sense that you want to capture the best footage possible to ensure that you remember every magical moment, yes?.

As a freelance camera crane operator, I have travelled the world to film weddings in some really special locations but I have always had a niggling sense that from time to time there have been opportunities missed due to inadequate planning and lack of foresight of the event as a whole. By sharing a few hints and tips with you, my hope is that the photography and videography at your wedding will be enhanced and enable you to have the best possible imagery to look back on.

Be more generous (than you expected to be) with your schedule.

A wedding is a once in a lifetime event and there are lots of different components to squeeze into the schedule of events. However, some wedding planners have a slightly irritating habit of running the events to time far too strictly. It stresses everyone out when a deadline is missed and what you need is less stress, not more.

Because of this strict regimented method of working, you really do run the risk of losing out on some optimum photographic opportunities. Now, why should you listen to me and not the planner on this subject? I’ll explain…

Bear in mind that everything will always take a bit longer than planned Usually a lot longer if I’m being honest. Believe me, almost ten years in this business has taught me that schedules, on the whole, are works of complete fiction. The bride’s traditionally late entrance for instance.. a late arriving make-up and hair artist recently delayed our bride at the ceremony by forty five minutes… ouch, there goes the minute by minute timing instantly. Traffic can snarl up, coaches can be delayed, people are people after all, rarely is everything perfect…

Wedding Planners will have you believe that getting everyone as fast as possible to the reception venue is essential. Nothing wrong with that as an aspiration but the reality is that guests dawdle, chat, socialise and generally take their time. And why not? They’re at a wedding!  The planners will be tearing their hair out, stressing that schedules are slipping and consequently stress levels rise!

So, a couple of hours between end of ceremony and guests arrival at the party venue should be mandated in my opinion. Less stress all around.

While all this is happening, you also want that epic photo shoot while you’re in the first glow of happiness. Us video guys cannot shoot at the same time as photographers because of flash guns going of, which means it will take longer than you expect to get it done perfectly. This time also allows the rest of the photo and video team to relocate to the reception venue and be prepared for your arrival. Meantime they can also capture the splendour of the prepared room as your guests will see it when they first enter. If there’s canapes and welcome drinks we can film this in an efficient manner too.

Remember –  You’ve most likely spent a lot of hard earned on the decor of your reception venue but you won’t get to see it in all it’s glory because you’ll be tied up doing a photo shoot or getting changed in preparation for the party to come. With time the camera team can be in place and capture those shots which afterwards will become so precious to you.

Keep your wedding camera team informed

Help us to help you. If we can consult at an early stage of schedule planning then we can advise on these aspects and have the confidence to get our equipment to where it needs to be and do our job as professionally and efficiently as possible.

I’m sad to say I’ve had (more than once) the frustrating experience of missing the arrival of guests because time wasn’t budgeted for to move all of our equipment to the right spot in time. We need to know your plans in advance and if possible help it planning timings.

Sunsets are time limited! (The ‘Golden’ Hour).

If beautiful sunset shots are one of the main reasons you’ve chosen a location then it stands to reason that you want to get your money’s worth out of the idyllic evening light. At a recent island destination wedding, a sunset shoot that should have lasted up to an hour and a half, was squeezed into 15 minutes due a late running schedule. This is hugely frustrating for both the happy couple (who were desperate to get to the venue before dark) and the camera crew who were struggling against ever decreasing light.. and a planner insisting we hurry up –  so make sure your wedding planner is up to speed with your requirements and insist they factor in enough time for the moments that are important to YOU. Remember – it’s YOUR wedding. Not ours, not the planners, not the caterers or even your guests…  But if you want the very best photography and videography which you’ve after all paid to have, it’s my advice to just allow plenty of time.



Andy is a highly regarded freelance camera crane (jib) operator who has travelled the world filming some of the most exclusive and opulent weddings for companies such as Salshan, and Shakini. His experience and knowledge gained operating internationally as well as within the UK extends to all types of Asian weddings and in the most amazing locations ranging from Thailand, Kenya, Uganda, Italy, Monte Carlo and Dubai just to name a few. He is also a CAA Approved Drone Pilot with extensive experience of filming within the UK and abroad.