We started shooting weddings about four
years ago, driven largely by a desire to
document interesting people in larger-than-life locations while still maintaining
our aesthetic. In the beginning, we
scratched our heads and asked ourselves
the fundamental questions: How does one
start shooting destination weddings? Do we
have to start by doing it for free? Is there life
on Mars? Sorry—back on topic.
We received a lot of advice in the
beginning, and the concept that stuck with
us the most had to do with motive. To us,
that meant making sure we wanted to shoot
destination weddings for the right reasons.
It’s glamorous, to be sure, but really, would
we be doing it just to seem accomplished?
The meaning and purpose behind the
work is huge for us, and if we were going to
shoot across the country and globe, we had
to do it with a kind of honesty that fell in step
with the no-frills character we’re known for.
We had the fortunate opportunity
to shoot our first destination in Kauai,
Hawaii. Some friends of ours decided to
fly their families to the island instead of
hosting a traditional wedding celebration
in their hometown, and they asked us to
document the festivities. We knew it was
an opportunity to tell a real story about an
adventurous couple, and it allowed us to
dive right into the “style” of shooting we
knew we would enjoy.
Throughout the week we captured hikes
on the Na Pali Coast, cliff-jumping into the
Pacific and capped it off with a ceremony on
the beach under the Hawaiian mountains.
We agreed to shoot it for the cost of the
travel and photographed over four days,
which provided us with a beautiful story
that we could show the world. As a matter
of fact, that wedding is still in our portfolio.
Looking back, it’s clear that our experience
in Hawaii set the tone for the type of
celebration we enjoy documenting: simple
yet adventurous nuptials.
Granted, “simple” and “adventurous”
seem like opposing ideas. To us, it boils
down to this: The couples we want to
photograph focus their energy and time
into experiencing once-in-a-lifetime
moments instead of grandiose perfection.
This usually means letting the natural
beauty of a destination speak for itself so
they can focus entirely on their special
time with family and friends. We often find
ourselves documenting weddings with less
than a hundred people in attendance.
Don’t get us wrong; we admire big,
superbly executed celebrations with huge
amounts of detail. That’s just not what we
connect with emotionally, so we don’t push
ourselves to attract those couples.
Potential clients naturally draw close to
what they want for themselves, so the more
we shared what we truly enjoyed shooting, the
more it brought in similar destination work that
we loved. “Do we feel inspired to shoot this
kind of wedding again?” That’s the question
we ask ourselves every time we share photos
online. If the answer is yes, it goes up. If not, we
keep it stashed in our archives.
This type of intentionality even extends
to the words we write online. We’ve focused
on communicating in ways that come
more naturally to us, without any “sales
fluff.” Every single word on our Instagram,
Facebook page and website speaks to
our values, and we portray ourselves in a
straightforward, cheeky way.
On our website, we say things like,
“If you plan on keeping our relationship
a business one, there are a lot of
photographers out there who can do that.
Honestly, we’re not one of them. Let’s be
friends.” It creates an understanding that
goes beyond the transaction to make it an
interaction instead. If a couple doesn’t like
it, they will probably steer clear. If they truly
resonate with it, they’ll reach out.
A recent intimate celebration brought
us to Provence. We spent the morning
lounging in a beautiful old apartment
documenting the couple’s morning of
preparation before they exchanged vows
under a 17th-century windmill, just the two
of them. Last year, another couple brought
us to a mountaintop in Vermont for a small
gathering on private property, high up in
the northern Appalachian ridge. They were
visually extraordinary, to be sure, but at their
core, logistically simple and emotionally
meaningful. Our every approach to building
our destination photography business has
led us to this point. And business is bliss.
Brea Marie and Alexander Lefler are the
people behind The Wayfarers Photography.
They shoot weddings, elopements and vow
renewals around the world.
;;;;; ;;; ;;;
;;;;;;;;;. Make it
explicitly clear to your
audience and those
that follow you on your
channels that you’re
available for travel.
Your social networks,
and Instagram, are
great places to make
direct offers to couples
traveling for weddings.
;;; ;;;;;; ;;;.
As you travel more, take
some time to yourself
and experience the
world. Arrive a day earlier
to explore a town or
eat local cuisine. This is
especially important for
Making time for each
other will allow that
positivity to pour into
your work as well.
Submit to destination
blogs, promote on
Facebook, and direct
as much traffic back
to your blog posts
or galleries on your
website as possible.
With an honest vibe
and work that speaks
for itself, you’ll find that
more leads will follow.
;;;; ; ;;;;; ;;;;;
;;; ;; ;;;;;. In
the beginning, it’s
important to at least be
willing to do the work
for less than it’s “worth”
to get a destination
under your belt. A
more robust portfolio
of beautiful travel work
will be pay off down