entry to be denied at the destination.
We really got interested in this topic when
researching for a wedding in Mexico a few
years ago. We found countless horror stories
about arrests and equipment seizures, and we
chalked a lot of it up to urban legend. After
checking on the permitted camera equipment
ourselves (you’re allowed two cameras per
person, a restriction to prevent illegal resale
of electronics), we figured it would be a good
idea to check with the resort manager because
they sometimes have in-house photographers
that want to get paid even though the couple
hired you. It turns out, a nominal fee might get
passed to the couple getting married, and
paying it is a good way to avoid a complaint to
local law enforcement. If you contact a Mexican
consulate, they’ll likely advise the same.
Due diligence on your part is absolutely
necessary to avoid problems. To determine if
you can legally photograph in a location that
is not your country of citizenship, go straight
to the source: Contact the legal consul
of the country to which you are traveling.
You’ll certainly need a passport, but do you
need a visa or a temporary work permit of
some sort? They can answer these kinds
of questions for you and more, since the
answers can vary by country.
After that, get in touch with the coordinator
or manager at the location of your couple’s
destination, because they may not care what
the consulate office says in the end. And
from a practical standpoint, the locals are a
good source of information for questions
about whether it’s best to rent a car, hire a
transportation service, if there is a place to get
your wedding attire pressed and so on. Print
out any email correspondences you have with
regard to your inquiries.
INVESTIGATING THE LOCATION
Technology can be the bane of our existence
every once in a while, but you can always find a
way to use it to your advantage. Have you heard
of Google Cardboard? It’s 3D virtual reality on
the cheap, and it’s how we explore the world
before actually exploring the world.
We’re big fans of this tech and the
company’s D-scope Pro viewer, and there are
constant upgrades to the Google Cardboard
suite of apps. It’s kind of crazy, but with Google
Cardboard you can, for all intents and purposes,
“walk” down any street in the world. You’ll need
to get a bit of practice in to target and explore
specific locations efficiently, but it becomes
as easy as searching for a location on Google
Maps and zooming in until you get a street view.
Of course, you’ll want to keep detailed notes in
your studio management software with regard
to favorite spots so you have reference points as
you communicate with your clients.
If you don’t already have a sunrise and
sunset app, get one; you’ll need to, as best you
can, figure out what the lighting conditions will
be like at the time you and your couple will hit
the spots you’ve written down. This will put you
well ahead of the game, and you’ll save a bunch
of time knowing where to scout in person upon
WHAT TO PACK
Definitely go light when you’re packing gear,
but at the same time, make certain you take the
gear you need to produce the photographs
that brought you to the attention of your clients.
You may not be able to pack your trusty strobes,
but some basic modifiers (MagMod is a great
option due to their compact, modular product
line) and two speed lights should be enough.
Make sure you have a backup camera,
backup cards, plenty of batteries (stored per
your airline’s requirements) and a secure
place to keep your cards and film, if you
shoot it. Always take your camera equipment
on the plane in a protective case that
stows in the overhead compartment. If you
absolutely have to check a bag, let it be your
clothing—and make sure you have at least one
wedding-ready outfit in your carry-on, just in
case your luggage gets misplaced and there’s
a delay getting it back.
Barring that, and with all your prep boxes
checked, it will be as simple as sitting back,
relaxing and enjoying the plane ride. Order
yourself your favorite beverage while you’re at
it. You’ve earned it!
Amii and Andy Kauth are the Arizona wedding
and portrait photographers behind Sunshine &
Reign Photography. The wife and husband duo
are all about documenting the stories and love
of those they are honored to photograph.
From pricing, packing and permits to
long-distance, tech-savvy scouting,
this is how to get ready for a
BY AMII + ANDY KAUTH
You may not be able
to pack your trusty
strobes, but some
basic modifiers and
two speed lights
should be enough.
getting set up with
• Download the Google
Cardboard app (it’s free).
• Buy a set of Google Cardboard
“glasses” (they’re $10 online).
• Get the Google Street View app
(it’s also free).
• Boom! You just set up your
personal VR tour guide