UK Based Destination Wedding Photographer
If you are looking for UK based Destination Wedding Photographer, to travel to cover your wedding internationally, then look no further than Lensi Photography.
We have covered weddings, pre and post wedding shoots in many countries with the furthest away being 6,500 miles away in Rwanda, Africa. If you are marrying abroad or living outside the UK we can still photograph your wedding.
This is a short blog about being a UK Based Destination Wedding Photographer covering a Destination Wedding in Africa.
So you are looking for that special wedding photographer to photograph your wedding, but they are based in another country from you, is this a problem? For most photographers this is not problem, as it wasn’t for us. It may cost you a bit more, but you will be getting exactly the people you want to document your wedding and create the images you want to remember your day by.
How to choose you wedding photographer
see our blog post on this Choosing your wedding photographer
For the photographer – What to bring?
You will have to travel a bit lighter than when you are covering a wedding at home, but travelling with a good airline will allow for a decent baggage allowance. Put anything you need, can be broken easily and cannot do without in your hand luggage. You have to allow for your baggage not arriving, and IF it does not, what do you deliver to your client? Not all countries have easily available shops that equipment can be rented from. This is exactly what happened to us (but that story is for later). Between the first and second photographer we bought, four bodies, 8 lenses, a range of flashes, umbrella, batteries, video lights, boom arm, and reflectors. For a wedding in the same country would carry Quadra Ranger Packs and Ice Lights (but as all of these looks could be replicated with other lights) we opted not to carry these.
Preparation – before the wedding
Being a UK based destination wedding photographer, all the normal pre planning is required, and possibly meetings over Skype. In addition to this you may have to get additional jabs that you may need to factor into your wedding expenses. We had to get Yellow Fever vaccination at £70 so not cheap.
Some countries will need you to state that you are going there to work, which may cause some extra administration and incur extra money and problems. some countries also do not allow you to do jobs as a foreign person that can be delivered by their own citizens, such as Canada. This is all worth checking out before you travel.
Plan B, C and D
As you are UK based working in another destination will mean that you do not have easy access to your usual back ups should something go wrong, so have a plan B, C and D. Ours was to travel with four bodies, in hand luggage, and only to have reflectors and stands on the main suitcases. Very lucky considering as the lead photographer, my cases did not arrive! And did not arrive until the day we were returning home, I literally went to the airport collected them from arrivals, walked to the other part of the airport and checked them back in to come home. But due to pre planning our client we still able to receive a quality product. Hiring Equipment in Rwanda is impossible, equipment is expensive so very precious to local photographers, and has to come all the way from South Africa or further afield. We needed to borrow a reflector, and ended up hiring one from a local studio twice the price of the cost of buying one in the UK.
Leading Up To The Wedding
Rwanda and Kigali was not what we expected, but getting to know the area a little before the wedding, gave us time to plan for pre / post wedding shoots should there be time. Our couple were extremely busy people, and this was always only a possibility even though we are in the country for a week. It is a beautiful country, although most people still (20 years later) only associate it with the Rwanda Genocide.
I had the opportunity to go Gorilla Trekking with Wild Gorilla’s (6 feet away from a wild silverback and its family Gorilla in the Wild by Lensi Photography visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and got to experience a side of Africa that we are rarely shown in the Western World, beautiful homes, trendy wine bars, posh restaurants, thriving town city centres, with sky scraper buildings, and lets not forget the motorbike taxi’s….which were scary for a car driver, but very economical!
On the Day of the Wedding
Rwanda Weddings are very similar to Indian Weddings in many respects. Much of the ceremony involved the families, gifts are exchanged between families, outfits are very similar, there are even ceremonies involving milk. As in any other wedding ensure everything is charged up and your back ups at hand in cars / rooms nearby if possible.
As our luggage did not arrive, we were not dressed as appropriately as we could be… however the most important thing was creating the images we had been hired to create!
After the Wedding
The issue of how to get your products to your couple. We use online viewing platforms for the images, and biased via Skype and whatsapp. Postage of our album would cost about £50 but our couple travel so frequently that we were able to meet them in Birmingham and hand their album to them in person.
If you are looking for a UK based Photographer to cover your destination wedding, look no further than Lensi Photography.
Shooting Wildlife – Gorilla’s in the Mist
Gorillas in the Mist
I remember seeing Gorilla’s in the Mist in the 1980’s, I actually half did not believe that it was possible to see humans so close to wild Gorillas and them live to tell the tale. It was amazing to imagine a person being able to do this. The film tells the story of Dian Fossey zoologist and anthrapologist who dedicated her life to studying the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, Africa.
However, on a wedding commission to Kigali in Rwanda, we got to experience this for ourselves first hand.
The National Conservation Trust runs Gorilla treks to see actual wild Gorilla families, this is actually the same place that the film was made, and where Dian Fossey on who the film was based, devoted her life to the study of primates.
First you must obtain a license authorising you to do so. There are a limited number of license available each day, so this needs to be planned well in advance. The licenses do not come cheap, although there is a local price for Rwandans.
The day starts very early, 7am meet, where you will meet with other ‘hopefuls’, we have to use this words because not everyone is capable of completing their mission!
After a briefing, and introduction to the small group (8 people) that you will be trekking with, do’s and dont’s, you start your trek up a step mountain towards the heavy forested area where they live. This is not an easy feat… even relatively fit people will find themselves stopping for water or a rest, and this trek can continue for any length of time from an hour onwards, depending on how far your family of Gorillas are on that day.
Some of us found ourselves ready to give up, with legs no longer to lift to climb the steep mountain, and as the air gets thinner, an inability to get enough oxygen into your lungs.
When we finally reach the edge of their habitat, again briefings were reiterated, and suddenly you are filled with such excitement and anticipation that the adrenalin takes away all of the fatigue! We trekked for a further 30 minutes to find out small family, the TITUS family, we came across an adult female, Silverback male, and infant Gorilla.
It is difficult to describe the feeling, you are in the presence of real Gorilla’s!! You are humbled into submission at the greatness of these animals sitting only feet away from you.
Contrary to their depiction in many films, they seem placid, happy to just sit and eat, with the exception of the infant who runs around playing, even curiously touching the leg of one of us. As long as you do not impinge on them, and show them the respect they command in their own environment, they allow the temporary trespass of these strangers on their territory.
We follow them around for a while, in true jungle environments, the guides using machetes to cut trees and branches and other foliage to clear some sort of path for us, each new member of the family that we come across is as exciting as the last.
It is a true once in a lifetime experience.
I would have loved to bring every lens I had and could possibly use, however, practicalities. The trek is gruelling, if I could have done without carrying water I would have, just for the additional loss of weight. I carried one camera body and two lenses, and in the end, I wish I had carried just the one! A great range telephoto zoom is all you need. I carried one of the less expensive bodies for fear of a Gorilla taking my camera and me not being able to do anything about it!