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Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular, and I 100% get why…Michael and I almost planned one ourselves, but Michael’s sweet dad isn’t into flying so we opted more local! 😂  For couples who love to travel and experience new things, have a place far away from home that is very special to them, or just want a smaller wedding with less fuss, destination is the perfect solution.  But one of the big questions that comes up is who to hire for your team…do you go with local/resort vendors, or bring someone from closer to home??  While for things like florals, food, and cake, I think local makes the most sense, for your photographer, there are so many factors here, and I wanted to share the top 5 reasons to bring a stateside photographer (like me!! 😉) to your destination wedding!  Whether it be in the mountains somewhere, at a resort on the beach, or overseas…there are so many benefits to using a more local to you photographer!  Or to hiring one from anywhere in the US to bring with you or join you at your destination!  I speak for myself and my business on these, but I’m pretty sure they apply to most photographers I know and love!

Top 5 Reasons to bring a Stateside Photographer to your Destination Wedding

(or…to just bring us!)

1). Many couples think that hiring a wedding photographer to travel to their destination is going to cost a huge amount of money…their full package price, PLUS travel.  While that might be true for some, it isn’t necessarily true for us!  If you are getting married somewhere we want to travel or photograph (like ANY of these venues, near National parks, or overseas like in Italy, Iceland, or England, or our favorite state, Alaska, for example!), we are going to give you a huge discount on the package deal to make it all feasible for you!  There are some locations that we would really only charge the travel cost to go to with you- so you could be getting a great deal!!

2). Resort photographers may be cheaper up front because they are already there…but you really have to consider what they are including!  Often times it is just a couple hours of coverage (and likely only includes a couple of digital files and the rest you purchase, which sometimes people don’t even realize until they read the very fine print after the day), or coverage just for your ceremony and a few family pictures.  When we travel by plane to a destination and are staying with you for a couple of days, your coverage reflects that!  For true destination weddings, we include 10-12 hours of coverage day of, and often a little rehearsal dinner coverage and brunch coverage on the days surrounding!  You get us for the whole weekend, to document it all– because especially for destination weddings where your loved ones have flown across the country or world for you, we know the fun isn’t limited to one day!  Honestly, this just isn’t even a service resort photographers offer!

3). This is one of the biggest benefits…when you fly us (or any state side photographer!) to your destination wedding, you are getting a photographer new to your location with a fresh (and excited!) eye.  I think this is a HUGE asset! Make no mistake…photographers are thorough.  About 70% of the venues I shoot at every year are new to me because I travel so much around the state to shoot– so it is normal for me to spend a lot of time before your day prepping and scouting locations.  The concept that only the resort photographers will know the best spots just isn’t true if you get a great photographer! It is a part of my job (and one of my favorite parts) to find the best spots with the best light…whether it is my first time at your venue or not.  I actually think having someone photograph your location who hasn’t been there a million times is so helpful, because the creativity really flows, vs in a space that you see day in and day out.  By bringing someone as excited about the location as you are who is seeing it with fresh eyes, and your images will look different from every other couple who was photographed there by the same person!

4). Total honesty here: the resort photographer might be amazing.  Truly!  But they also might have a more old fashioned approach, a style you don’t love for the way they edit their photos, odd lighting choices, and packages that are stiff and don’t give you what you likely want (like your files).  I think sometimes destination couples decided this just doesn’t matter or isn’t that important because surely the photos will be good enough, right?!  You might be someone who gets great pictures from your resort photographer! Or you might be like my friend Morgan, who used a resort photographer and then came home and hired me to take photos of her and her husband in their wedding garb because her photos were just not at all what she had hoped and dreamed.  And while she loves the pictures from her after session…she can never get back the moments from that actual day she got married that aren’t photographed like she remembers them.

5). To me, this is the single greatest benefit. If you bring a stateside/local photographer, it is a photographer you know and have connected with before your wedding day. You spend more time on your wedding day with your photographer than honestly anyone else.  Would you rather it be a photographer from a resort that you have never met (and may have an amount of a language barrier with depending), or someone who has been in touch with you for months, done an engagement session with you, knows how you two relate to each other and pose together?  What would make you more comfortable on your wedding day?  And…in the future, your stateside photographer might be able to photography your anniversary, maternity, newborn, or family photos…and how special is that?!  The relationship I get to build with my couples is one of my favorite parts of being a wedding photographer…and I can’t imagine photographing new couples each week who I haven’t met, gotten to know and love, or gotten to care about how I do mine!!!

There are so many choices to make when planning your destination wedding, and none of them are right or wrong…just what will work best for you as a couple! I hope this helps filter through the various factors of the photographer decision!

We are wanting to shoot another mountain wedding next year, and offering a huge incentive to the couple who books us to do so!  Spread the word, and email at  But we also want to go anywhere, mountains or not– just ask! 

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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!). 

As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids.  I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!

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You're in the right place!  As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business!  I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).

I'm so glad you are here!  Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business!  I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).  

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