So I always get asked the question, do you take your own photos? The answer 99% of the time is NO. Why, you ask? Number one, trying to set up a tripod and a timer and then run back into place is very difficult, and then you have to check the photo to make sure it looks good…and then repeat that several times! Let’s also not forget that camera gear isn’t exactly cheap and there are usually people bustling about in busy tourist areas and since I don’t want anything to happen to my gear, I am nervous instead of excited – not quite the emotion desired for personal photos! But this is all a little outside of what this blog was meant to be about. So…Why should you do a photo session on your Honeymoon? WHY NOT? I must admit that I had never seen a single one or my friends of family members do this when they traveled but when the idea struck, it was perfect! If I’m visiting a place that I’m not sure if I will ever be again and can hire someone to do photos of my wife (Liz) and I that we can put in the house and have printed memories to cherish forever, how great is that? We can then use our photos to tell stories to family and friends while they oooh and ahh at photos of us in London, UK and in Florence, Italy. So maybe part of it was to brag about all the amazing adventures my wife and I were taking but in all honesty, it was for us. When I walk around my house and I see these photos, they are as special to me as the photos I have from my wedding day. They show the adventures that we have been on together and remind us why we work so hard for the precious moments we get to cherish with each other for the rest of our lives.
For our Honeymoon, my wife and I traveled to London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Sorrento. I had been to London, UK once before but never to Europe. Originally when I came up with this idea I was not even sure how I would pull it off. How was I going to find a photographer? How was I going to communicate with them? How would I make the payments? Would they have the specific date available during our Honeymoon? Before I even told my wife this idea, I did a lot of research and when I narrowed down to several photographers I really liked. I finally brought up the idea and, luckily, convinced her to do it. How did I find the photographers, you ask? Well… Google… and ultimately a website called Fearless Photographers . After going through several portfolios, we had found who we hoped would be our photographer and I reached out to them.
I sent the email off to Samantha from Moon : Wedding letting her know who Liz and I were and what our plan was. I gave her a range of dates and the places we would be near her home base and hit send and then… I waited. Now, to my surprise I received an email back within a day and was so excited to hear that Samantha was available. We went back and forth with ideas for and locations to do the photo shoot. Eventually we picked a date, a location, and I made my payment via PayPal. I know some people are going to be afraid to do this but that is why you put the research into a photographer and keep up communication and honestly I felt safer using PayPal than I would have sending a check overseas.
The planning of the photo shoot happened a few months into the planning of our honeymoon. After we got married, Liz was still going to school in Illinois to get her Doctorate in Chiropractic and we wanted to wait until after she graduated to go on this adventure abroad. So, over the next few months as we were planning where we wanted to eat, what we wanted to do, and what we were going to wear during our photo shoot, I kept in touch with Samantha. I added her as a friend on Facebook and followed/ swoon-ed over every wedding and engagement post she made. It was exhilarating getting to see how she lived, the places where she was taking photos and know that I was only a few short weeks from meeting her face to face for the first time and having our own photo shoot.
And then the day finally arrived! We had already been to London, Paris, and spent a few days in Rome. We woke up earlier then I ever thought I would agree to on my honeymoon, got dressed and walked to the train station to head to Florence. Just before we left our hotel, I sent one last message to Samantha about where we would meet. (Side note: we decided not to get data on our phones for this trip and only could communicate when we had WiFi, and even though a lot of places had WiFi, I must say, pay to get data! From using GPS to knowing you had a way to communicate if something happened, or, in this case, letting your photographer know where you were- it was our biggest traveling mistake to not get data!) We decided to meet at The Duomo, a giant Cathedral in the center of Florence, Italy. We let Samantha know what we were wearing, had sent photos of what we looked like, and we already knew what she looked like from my research. Once we arrived, it was a game of Where’s Waldo? (in this case Samantha) and luckily, unlike the books, Samantha had pink hair and was fairly easy to spot. We introduced ourselves (and thankfully her English was a lot better than my Italian) and, over some espresso at a local cafe, we were able to make our plan for the next 2 hours.
We walked around the piazzas and down the cobblestone streets as Samantha captured our adventure. She posed us in some spots as we laughed and learned about each others’ lives. Samantha was perfect- fun and easy to work with. She was a friend in a place we had never been to before. She told us the inside scoop about different places and what to try and see. It ended up being much more than a photo shoot, it was like reconnecting with a friend that I hadn’t seen in months and having to catch up and hear all about their life and telling them about ours.
The 2 hours we had with her seemed to fly by and as we said our goodbyes, we felt a little sad. Would we ever cross paths again? I mean, we would have to communicate once we received our photos, but this could be the last time we were ever face to face. We had really just meet but it felt like after months of communicating back and forth we had known each other for so much longer. But, as all shoots do, ours had to come to an end and we gave each other a big hug and went our separate ways. Samantha had to prepare for another photo shoot in Rome, and us… we had to find wine!
At the end of all of this, what do I think about Honeymoon photos? I tell everyone it is an absolute must! Think about it, the selfies are nice and you can always find a stranger that can snap a quick photo of you on your camera or phone, but hiring a professional photographer? That’s honeymooing on a next level! The photos we received from Samantha a short while later were better than I ever could have asked for! I have printed them an hung them all over my house, made them the background on my phone, posted them all over Facebook, and added them to a photo book that I share with friends and family when they visit. So do yourself a favor when planning your honeymoon and look for a photographer! Need help finding one? Ask! I would love to help you find someone near your destination, or you can always bring me with you *wink, wink*. Not only will you get photos back that you can cherish, but you get to meet someone from the area and really communicate with them, learn about their culture, which places to go and maybe even make a new friend! And why stop there? Already went on your honeymoon? Plan another trip! Or, on your next big adventure hire a photographer just because you can! My wife and I loved our honeymoon photos so much that we have decided to make a habit out of vacation photo shoots!
On that note, keep traveling and having adventures together. There is a giant world out there just waiting for all of us to see, and photos are a fantastic way to remember your travels and re-live them every day. They are the best souvenir you can have and are the next best thing to actually going to the places and experiencing them first hand.