April 2021 // The Travel Edition

april 2021




APRIL 2021 | ISSUE 103

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How I Got the Shot with Vanessa Joy


Product Spotlight with N-Vu Dual-Vu & Live-Vu


A Guide to Mobile Video Editing with Rob Adams


Product Spotlight with Standard & Extended Bug Out Bags


5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to Your Portfolio with Sal Cincotta


Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips with Charleton Churchill


Travel Photography Gear Guide with John Greengo

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Working On Location with Off-Camera Flash with Dixie Dixon

The Best Settings for Night Photography with Jennifer Wu

Editing Travel Photos with Lightroom: Tips & Tricks with Clifford Pickett

How to Practice Travel Photography at Home with Molly Van kley

Tools and Techniques for Epic Landscape Photography with Ryan Brown


A Guide to Getting Started as a Travel Photographer with Kenny Kim

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Inspirations from Our Readers

How to Get Better Color with Canon in Lightroom Classic with Dustin Lucas

Final Inspiration with Molly Van kley




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P U B L I S H E R S a l C i n c o t t a

E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F A l i s s a C i n c o t t a

D E S I G N E R E l l i e P l o t k i n

C O P Y E D I T O R A l l i s o n B r u b a k e r

Shutter Magazine ’s focus is on photography education. Our goal is to provide current insightful and in-depth educational content for today’s professional wedding and portrait photographer. Shutter uses the latest technologies to deliver information in a way that is relevant to our audience. Our experienced contributors help us create a sense of community and have established the magazine as one of the leading photography publications in the world.


C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S C h a r l e t o n C h u r c h i l l C l i f f o r d P i c k e t t D i x i e D i x o n

D u s t i n L u c a s J e n n i f e r Wu J o h n G r e e n g o K e n n y K i m M o l l y Va n k l e y R o b Ad a m s R y a n B r ow n S a l C i n c o t t a Va n e s s a J o y


Shutter Magazine: By photographers, for photographers.

If you have ever wanted to travel, now is the time. Whether for work or play , there is always a way to build photography into your travels. Check out how some of the top photographers in the world make it work in this month’s edition. - Sal Cincotta



TITLE: flame


CAMERA: nikon d90 EXPOSURE: f/2.8 @ 1/200 iso 500 LIGHTING: natural light WEBSITE: anya-anti.com MODEL: iva basara

ABOUT THE IMAGE: This image was shot in January 2013 in Kyiv, Ukraine. There was an Asian-inspired structure in a local botanical garden. My model had Chinese fans with a lot of floating fabric. After she started moving them around the fabric looked a lot like flames. That’s when I decided to give the fabric a certain shape.

How I Got the Shot | Vanessa Joy How I Got the Shot

| Sal Cincotta

How I Got the Shot | Vanessa Joy

As a working photographer, most of my shoots are for other people. Whether it's weddings or commissioned portraits, I don't get a lot of time just to explore my own creativity. But I recently had the opportunity to bring an idea to life and set up a shoot just for fun, and I ran with it. I had a couple of ideas and some real-world objects that I thought would make fun photographs. One idea was pink and bubbly: I wanted to use the color of bright pink bubble gum for a poppy and colorful type shot. The other one was inspired by this bright red lipstick and a fun black hat. There is a device, Datacolor ColorReaderEZ, that lets you capture the color of real-world objects and replicate them for paint colors. So, I had the idea to capture the color of the bubble gum and red lipstick and get backgrounds that matched them from Savage Universal.


My favorite eye cream comes in a beautiful blue container, almost like a Tiffany Blue, and I wanted to capture that color to use as a background. I figured it would be the opposite of the bubble gum, and that could be interesting as well. I thought it would be fun to have it against the pink color of bubble gum and photograph a model blowing a bubble in front of it, in addition to matching the pink color… or maybe use both? The idea was that the opposing color would provide the perfect contrast to the bubble the model was blowing. But once I had the bubble gum and the eye cream bottle in the same place, I realized that the two colors worked well together and decided to use blue as the second color.



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I have a darkish red lipstick that has a great color and I wanted to photograph a model wearing that lipstick against a background of the same color. I thought it would look great if the model was wearing a black top and my black hat that has large, decorative holes in the rim. Ideally, I’d perfectly place her eye in one of the holes and grab focus through there, but since the holes make a grid-like pattern, I knew focusing might be an issue and that the camera may grab the grid instead of the model’s eye. Either way, the shot here would be much more dramatic than the first one, placing light almost exclusively on my subject’s face, and lighting the background a little so that it has a deep red color and direct focus on the eye.

How I Got the Shot | Vanessa Joy


Bubble gum and the pastel colors of the shoot cry out for something bright and cheery, so there was plenty of light in this shot. I also went with one of my favorite models, Nikki (instagram.com/nik_lovins, whose wedding I also photographed). She has such a great personality and I knew she’d help me bring this shoot to life. I used a Profoto white Beauty Dish with a grid and a diffuser. A Lastolite Triflector reflected the light back up into my model’s face to fill in some shadows. A couple of Profoto D1s rounded out the lighting setup. My Canon EOS R5 with an RF 85mm F 1.2 L lens was used to take the photos. It was a lot of fun letting my creative side out, and I was soon ready to move on to the lipstick shot. For the bubble gum photo, it was all about getting the bubble as big as we could, and then shooting a bunch of different expressions. The Canon EOS R5 had no problem locking onto my model’s eyes and face and letting me shoot plenty of expressions without missing a beat. Previously, if I was using one of my DSLRs and the older EF 85mm 1.2 L lens, I likely wouldn’t have had as easy of a time as I do now with the combination of the mirrorless camera’s autofocus tech and the newer RF 85mm fast-focusing lens.

My settings for the shot were: ISO: 100

Aperture: 6.3 Shutter: 1/250

How I Got the Shot | Vanessa Joy

For the red lipstick shot, with Nikki in black wearing the dark red lipstick and the red background behind her, I wanted a completely different feel. It was a little less brightly lit and a little more mysterious, but still kept the color of the photo. This was accomplished with a gridded Profoto D1, and another D1 with a zoom reflector to light the background. I have to say, I felt like a dentist pointing the light right at my model’s face and getting it just where I wanted it. The test came when I started attempting to position my model’s eye behind the gridded rim of the hat. My focusing mode was set to eye-detection and AI Servo so it would move as I did or the model did slightly. I honestly did switch to manual focus at first, thinking I would have to "do it myself," but after a few shots I went back to auto and that magical little eye focus box hit my model right on her iris and did a way better job than I did trying to hit it manually. It was honestly incredible.

My settings for the red shot were: ISO: 50 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/160

How I Got the Shot | Vanessa Joy

final edit

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final edit

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How I Got the Shot | Vanessa Joy



final edit

final edit

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After the shoot was over, I decided to do something that I hardly ever do: professionally retouch the photos. Since I’m no expert in that, I let my friend Kristi Sherk retouch the photos (www.sharkpixel.com – use code vanessajoy for 20% off). Although I don't normally retouch photos, these were done for artistic reasons and I just wanted to see what Kristi could do with them and ultimately ended up with a super polished image. I narrowed my photos down to a small list of favorites, but couldn't decide which of those to have Kristi retouch, so I actually went live on my Instagram (@vanessajoy) and let everyone else choose for me. Kristi did an incredible job removing some of the imperfections without changing the character of the shots. Wrinkles in the model's shirt were smoothed, lines were straightened, bubbles were rounded. It improved the composition of the shot without taking away from the model's natural beauty.

See the entire process from start to finish on Shutter Magazine’s YouTube channel. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to create and execute a shoot from start to finish, pulling from my little imagination and using tools that help me achieve my results.

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

Vanessa Joy has been a professional wedding photographer in New Jersey since 2002, and an influencer in the photographic community for years. Since starting VanessaJoy.com in 2008, she has taught photographers around the globe at almost every major platform in the industry (LearnPhotoVideo.com). Vanessa has been recognized for her talent and business sense at the renowned industry events CreativeLIVE, Clickin’ Moms, WPPI and ShutterFest. Her peers love her informative, open-book style of teaching. website: vanessajoy.com instagram: @vanessajoy

Product Spotlight | N-Vu Dual-Vu & Live-Vu


product spotlight

Why N-Vu Dual-Vu & Live-Vu?

In-Person Sales with a Twist

We live in a covid world, but you still have to be able to sell your images if you are going to stay in business. In-Person Sales doesn’t just go away, it must evolve. N-Vu is the answer with its Dual-Vu and Live-Vu Technology. Dual-Vu allows you to work with your clients from any remote location and control the entire sales session from your local machine. Live-Vu allows you to use built in video functionality to truly personalize your IPS session.

Learn more about Dual-Vu and how N-Vu can help you amp up your remote in-person sales game.

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

For more information, visit bit.ly/2Wm0cy5

with Rob Adams

A Guide to Mobile Video Editing | Rob Adams

Unless you’re a professional video editor or serious YouTuber and video content creator, chances are you’re recording most, if not all of your video on your phone. And why not? Today’s phones are nearly as good image- wise as many of today’s prosumer CMOS camcorders—minus all of the professional in-camera features. Image stabilization and video codecs are getting better with each new iteration of phone processor, so it’s very likely that phones may overtake the camcorder market at some point. And with a majority of people posting content in a vertical orientation to platforms like Instagram and TikTok, a phone just makes the most sense. After all, they say the best camera is the one you have on you, right? Well, then that begs the question: Is the best video editing application the one you have on you, also? There are a multitude of options when it comes to editing video on your mobile devices. In fact, most of today’s social media platforms give you some rudimentary ability to edit your video’s color, orientation, crop, and add cute little stickers, filters and GIFs. But not many of them give you the ability to splice and cut and rearrange video in a long form. TikTok and Instagram reels give you the ability to string shots together, but that’s about it. So if you’re ready to take the next step into making more complex videos on your phone—and you should be considering it, because the future of video editing is not on a desktop PC—then here are some options to help you get some of that video content creation work done while away from your laptop or home office.

Luma Fusion Real NLE interface

Luma Fusion Export Settings

Luma Fusion Advanced Color Space Options


The only problem is that it’s not available for Android as of the writing of this article. No other application comes as close to a desktop video editing suite. LumaFusion has a real NLE style timeline (best viewed in a horizontal orientation), effects, transitions, a multitude of canvas layout options, multiple choices for rendering and output formats up to 4K resolution, a full audio suite with multi-track audio editing and mixing capability, and much, much more. It’s great for cutting and splicing vertical videos and adding titles and graphic overlays. It even handles transparent background still images and designs for layering and compositing. It’s a full-fledged video editing program in the palm of your hand. I’ve used LumaFusion on set to quickly whip together video shot from my pro cameras for quick multi-camera reference. On an iPad Pro, it sings with enough screen real-estate to make me look forward to seeing robust video editing processing power come to tablets eventually. All of this functionality will cost you $29.99 for the full unlocked application.

A Guide to Mobile Video Editing | Rob Adams

2. ANDROID PHONE OR TABLET PLATFORM? DON’T FRET BECAUSE ADOBE HAS A SOLUTION FOR YOU Adobe Premiere Rush is a very simplified mobile version of Adobe Premiere and offers the ability to splice, cut and rearrange photos and video clips as well as add titles, mix sound, add music, and even create speed ramps and zooms on your video, in addition to cropping and resizing videos within the frame. Rush’s interface is surprisingly straightforward and handles vertical video in a snap, making it a viable option for editing in the field. It also includes some very nice and capable graphics and title templates built-in for quick design of overlay graphics and packages. It basically takes rudimentary features from Premiere, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Audition making it a very viable option for mobile video production. Adobe Rush is available as a free download on iOS and Android.

Adobe Premiere Rush


It’s a decent little app that offers pretty much every video editing option you would need. It benefits from being one of the longest existing video editing applications for mobile on the market and has had time to hone in on its best qualities and iron out the bugs. It won various web awards early on for its use of camera technology in early smartphones once the processing power made video editing a possibility. In addition to all of the standard editing tools, Splice gives you the ability to use slow motion and has a plethora of built-in effect filters to create different looks. One of its best features is that it contains a stock music library that’s free to use so you don’t have to search out licensed music from an external source. Since Splice operates on a subscription basis, it starts at $2.99 per week and has options for discounted longer subscriptions.


A Guide to Mobile Video Editing | Rob Adams


Apple has dumbed down its desktop editing app iMovie (as if that was possible) and made a version for iOS. The iMovie mobile app gives you very basic editing ability and is essentially Final Cut for your phone. The nice thing about this is that you can use airplay to transfer your mobile iMovie projects to your desktop iMovie app or Final Cut Pro for seamless editing of your edited project once back in the studio. You can also make use of a Bluetooth-connected trackpad on iPad for a smoother editing experience and even connect an external monitor that iMovie mobile will recognize as a full-screen display for your video reference while editing. The biggest complaint about this app from the reviews section is its limited clip browser window, which makes importing and organizing clips a bit frustrating.

iMovie app, very limited

There is a plethora of other video-making apps out there for your phone. I’ve chosen to highlight the ones that are not only the most often used apps but are of higher quality and more feature-rich. Many of the other ones allow you to manipulate individual video clips by shortening their length, cropping and adding filters and graphics, but only a proven few allow you to string shots in sequence and operate in the vein of a traditional video editing application. These are all features that likely are available within your social media applications like Instagram, TikTok or Facebook. All of these apps I’ve listed allow you to share directly to social media and cloud drive platforms and also by email and text, or you can choose to save the rendered video file to your phone for later uploading. As mobile video technology becomes more advanced and all signs point to that happening at a feverish pace, it would behoove you to take the time and learn one of these mobile editing applications to stay ahead of the curve. There are also online video editing services that offer similar features plus the added benefit of cloud storage and sharing, but they operate mainly on desktop interfaces.

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

Rob Adams is a veteran wedding filmmaker and educator. During his 22 years filming weddings he has helped to define modern wedding storytelling with his blending of visuals and spoken dialogue. He has been a frequent contributor to Shutter Magazine and has spoken at various photo and video conferences around the globe.

website: robadamsfilms.com instagram: @robadamsfilms

Product Spotlight | Standard & Extended Bug Out Bags


product spotlight



Why Standard & Extended Bug Out Bags?

The Bug Out Bag from Salvatore is the last shoulder bag you will ever need. Designed by professional wedding and portrait photographer, Sal Cincotta. It has been designed to be a working field bag. Meaning, your bag should make it easier for you to work and move around with your gear in the field.

Key Features

· Weather resistant construction · Shock proof foot cushion · Quick release buckle for easy access · Reinforced lens-swap pocket lined w/ micro fiber for extra lens protection · Strong, adjustable nylon strap with shoulder pad for extra comfort

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

For more information, visit www.salvatorethestore.com/bug-out-bag




| 5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to your Portfolio with Sal Cincotta | Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips with Charleton Churchill | Travel Photography Gear Guide with John Greengo | Working On location with Off-Camera Flash with Dixie Dixon | The Best Settings for Night Photography with Jennifer Wu | Editing Travel Photos with Lightroom: Tips & Tricks with Clifford Pickett | How to Practice Travel Photography at Home with Molly Vankley | Tools and Techniques for Epic Landscape Photography with Ryan Brown | A Guide to Getting Started as a Travel Photographer with Kenny Kim | Inspirations from Our Readers

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5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to Your Portfolio | Sal Cincotta

with Sal Cincotta

5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to Your Portfolio | Sal Cincotta

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Love traveling? Jelly of all those photographers who have pictures from around the world? Well, it's easier than you think to get started. Below are some of my favorite tips and tricks to get started in destination photography. Before we get started here, ask yourself, "Why?" Why is it you want to travel? Now, I know you might be thinking this is a trick or somewhat rhetorical question, but I assure you it's not. It's an important question and the answer will drive your future decisions. Knowing your "why" so to speak will help you see the bigger picture when it comes to travel work. So, what is my "why"? Well, we love to travel. It's really no more complex than that. We don’t have kids. We love food. We love different cultures. We love experiencing the world. It's this big beautiful place. So, traveling was something we wanted to do. Our goal: make sure it’s a business expense. To do that, we had to make sure we were working and shooting in these destinations. Profit, in the beginning, was low on the totem pole. If we could break even, we thought, how cool would that be? We were being paid to see the world. Do you see why understanding your why is so important now? It will help you see the difference between always having to make money, which is very important, and doing what you love. This is a fun and exciting time in your personal life and your business. Creatively speaking, who doesn’t want killer portraits from around the world? We all get bored shooting in our own backyard all the time.

So, let's get started.

5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to Your Portfolio | Sal Cincotta

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Sounds too easy, right? Well, that’s because it is that simple. Now, if you are just getting started, start small. Start local. For example, pick a city that’s within driving range to keep costs down. Open a map and look for locations within a 4-6 hour drive. This allows you to control hotel costs and eliminates the costs of airline tickets which is always a factor. By starting somewhat local, you also make it easier for your clients to say yes to a destination shoot as well. This is important. After all, they are the ones you are selling to. There are a lot of other benefits to starting local. Traveling with gear is not easy. There is something to be said for seasoned travelers. They know how to move gear around the world efficiently. I know when we first started traveling it was a bit of a circus. We always seemed to pack too much and that cost us money in extra baggage fees, larger vehicles, more staff, etc.

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You gotta commit to this. And there is no better way than by putting it on your calendar and making it real. This forces you to march to a certain beat. There is a lot of work to do if you are going to be a destination photographer. We will cover more of this in the article, but surely, you realize being a destination photographer is more than grabbing your camera and showing up to a magical city and shooting. My suggestion, pick two cities you want to shoot in this summer and mark it off. Start with a 3-day weekend. That's super easy. Travel the first, shoot the second day, and travel back the third. If your schedule is flexible then schedule more time, but this is a great way to start. Once you have this on your schedule, the next thing you need to do is start selling it to your clients. You know, the very people you are trying to get to pay for this magical ride.

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5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to Your Portfolio | Sal Cincotta

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What's your plan? Who are you shooting? People in the cities you are traveling to? Nope. That’s a really bad plan for a lot of reasons. You should be shooting the clients from your own city who are traveling to these cities with you. In order for that to happen you need to advertise this fact. You do this by advertising months in advance that this year, you will be offering limited availability shoots in select cities. First come, first serve. We have to create buzz and excitement for these shoots. Now, when you are first starting out, you may only book a single session. Who cares? Remember what I told you in the very beginning of this article? This is why it's so important. One shoot would be more than enough for me if we wanted to travel to a select city. Now, I will tell you, clients that travel with us spend 35%-40% more on average. Think about it. They took off from work. Got a hotel. Bought new clothes. They are invested in this.

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5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to Your Portfolio | Sal Cincotta

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Do not just show up and expect to start shooting. It just doesn’t work that way. Take your lead from Hollywood. They have teams that are focused on scouting locations and securing permits. We will talk about the second point in a moment here. So what does research look like? Well for us, it starts with Google streets and goes from there. Each city is known for something. In St.Louis, for example, where I'm located, we have the St.Louis Arch. Any search online for "cool architecture in St.Louis" or anything along those lines will reveal a ton of unique shooting opportunities. Armed with this information, you will start putting together a shot list of the top 3-5 locations you would like to shoot. Now, from here, you really need to do your research. Do you need a permit for any of these locations? Do they have restrictions on photography? I'm all for a little run and gun shooting, but when you are working with clients I want to know I'm not going to spend half my day being chased off by security. Having that simple piece of paper showing you have a permit is priceless to getting the shots you want. To drive this point home: In St.Louis, if you think you can just show up on the Arch grounds and shoot you are sadly mistaken. Sure, you can shoot with it in the background and that’s a gorgeous shot, but if you step onto the grounds, which is gorgeous by the way, Park Rangers will be on you within 10 minutes looking for a permit. And that’s my point. It's not expensive. It's procedural. So, just do the leg work and avoid the hassle.

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5 Ways to Add Destination Shoots to Your Portfolio | Sal Cincotta

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If you are just getting started with this, you must remember, this is just the beginning. I have had an amazing career in shooting all over the world. Literally, all over the world. Here is what I can tell you about the journey. I started locally just like I advised you above. Our first trip was to Chicago from St.Louis. Clients freaked out! Suddenly everyone wanted to travel and we had seniors contacting us for our travel schedule. The next thing you know, we are shooting in LA, NYC, Chicago, and then internationally. It was amazing. Here is what I will tell you. If you want to book more business year after year, then you have to shoot for your portfolio. You need to show people iconic images from around the country or the world. A tree in a park does not scream "I TRAVEL." A tree is a tree. A brick wall is a brick wall. So, you need to ensure that you are shooting for your portfolio when you travel with clients. Ask yourself, what iconic image can I capture here that will book me more business next year? That is the golden tip here.

So, in the end, if you want to travel and get paid, there is a way to make that happen.

Dream big. Expand your travel radius over time. Look for international opportunities. And most importantly, have fun!

Sal Cincotta is an international award-winning photographer, educator, author, Canon Explorer Of Light and the publisher of Shutter Magazine. Sal’s success is directly tied to the education he received in business school. He graduated from Binghamton University, a Top 20 business school, and has worked for Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. After spending 10 years in corporate America, Sal left to pursue a career in photography and has never looked back. website: salcincotta.com instagram: @salcincotta

Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill

with Charleton Churchill

Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill

If you’re looking to get into the market of destination weddings or you’re already invested, you may want to take notes. There is plenty of opportunity out there for all photographers and good money to be made. And it doesn’t matter where you live or if you have a family. Anyone can be a destination wedding photographer. I’m an example.

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I live in a small town, population of 3,900 people, with the nearest airport about an hour away. I have three daughters, a wonderful and supportive wife, a home to maintain, and I’m involved in my community and church. I photograph weddings all over the world and even captured a wedding at Mt. Everest base camp, which went viral around the world. I was bombarded with many requests after that event, and today I continue to photograph destination weddings or what I also call adventure weddings and elopements. I’m here to share some of the tips I’ve learned along the way that will hopefully help you on your journey to shooting destination weddings.

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Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill


Instead of trying to be a destination photographer to all destinations, start off by taking your top 3-5 destinations you want to photograph the most. Research those areas: the top venues, top elopement locations, weddings blogged in that area, related Instagram hashtags, etc. Do your homework. In the past, I have taken personal trips to scout locations and venues, hiked trails and captured images to get a feel for the area (it’s a write-off). Additionally, take a real couple with you to photograph all day, even if it means taking a pay cut. I did that for one of my desired destinations and as a result, I’m getting more bookings there. The point is you want images in your portfolio that represent you as a destination photographer in those areas. If you’re not able to travel that far, then locate adventurous destinations near your home, even if it means driving several hours away. After you have images, market your work, blog about it, etc. Your website and social media should be oozing with destination weddings if you want to be booked for them.

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If you travel mainly by vehicle, bring all you want. However, when traveling by air, pack your essentials in your carry-on. Get a backpack if possible, preferably without wheels, as airlines tend to pull those on booked flights. Don’t chance leaving your gear with checked luggage where it may be lost. Also, if you’re hiking with couples, you’ll want a lighter backpack. Every job is different and so is the hiking, but I typically carry two Nikon Z6ii mirrorless cameras, 35, 50, 85, sometimes 24-70, 70-200, 20, Profoto B1 or B2, a speedlight, and a few others. On the flight, I also carry my 13” MacBook Pro.


Sometimes a destination wedding schedule can be so busy that it doesn’t allow for creative couple’s photos at the location. Offer a second day session, maybe a few hours or up to a full day if there’s more travel involved. If you want to sell it, you need to show it. Give them a vision and reason to spend more money. It allows the creative juices to flow, the couple receives amazing images, and it makes your portfolio stand out. Even with elopements where the destination is heavily intertwined, it might seem unnecessary to offer another day, but it’s not. Offer second days and third days to allow for more hiking, overnight camping and more creative images. My Everest wedding was 10 days of hiking. I had planned to be gone three weeks total. It was an investment being gone that long, but it more than paid off.

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Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill


Most of the time, this is done after the ceremony, but many couples hike to their ceremony in their attire. Capture them as they are hiking because scenery changes, light changes, moments happen and inspiration happens. You have to be ready. It’s not just about the destination—the journey has beautiful moments along the way. Have them wear boots or whatever your environment encourages. Bring the bouquet, the veil, makeup, touch-up kit, etc. Just be cautious about hiking too far, as sweat, too much dirt and messy hair suddenly doesn’t look as good in your images. I have rare couples who will do whatever it takes for photos, but most people want to look good, even if they say they don’t care. If you hike, know your environment, and bring what’s necessary to make your couples look their best.

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When deciding on a destination wedding, figure out if it’s worth it for you. If traveling by plane, plan to be gone 3-4 days minimum. If international, you will need to show up at least 2-3 days early to avoid any possible hiccups and maybe scope out locations. International trips require more time where a flight could take 30 hours. I have learned what it’s worth for me and my family. You will have to decide. For me to accept an international wedding, it has to be the right price, the right location, and the right couple with all the work and time it requires. I have a family, so I choose to take on fewer international weddings and take on more closer weddings. If you’re single or have no kids, you can take more risks.

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This pertains mostly to elopements, but it can apply to weddings. Decide on four or five wedding packages to include pricing for in your local area and international. Because June through October and especially weekends are busy for many of us, these months require higher package minimums to book. In other words, don’t book a 2-hour elopement on a Saturday in June when you can book an 8-hour one instead. Move those smaller events to the weekday and locally if you can. Many of my couples inquire with no date selected and weekdays are always better with fewer crowds. Also, I don’t shoot portraits or engagements on the weekend because if I’m not shooting a wedding on the weekend, I’m spending quality time with my family. When I tell them the minimum, they can either refuse or commit.

Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill


Small but important necessities that get overlooked can compromise your entire trip. When traveling, do your homework. Have a contract that spells out what will happen in circumstances. Stormy weather could ruin a whole day; will you be available the next day to shoot? With international flights, what size bags are you allowed to carry on? Do you need a work visa? Many things can ruin a trip if not carefully checked: carrying lithium batteries on flights, required wedding permits in national parks, if certain locations are even open, updated passports with copies, bank notification that you’re traveling, cell phone coverage, and other details. I traveled to a national park internationally, and we were told we couldn’t photograph there. Don’t jeopardize your business and reputation. Bonus: Travel with TSA PreCheck, which allows you to bypass the long airport security lines and get to your flights much sooner.

settings: f4.0 @ 1/1000 iso 100

settings: f9.0 @ 1/80 iso 1000

Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill

settings: f1.8 @ 1/3200 iso 400


This is something we all should stress to our clients as you should be protective of them and your business. Bring extra water in hotter temperatures. Drink more water at high altitudes. Wear sunblock and proper clothing. Bring food and necessary medications. Know the top 10 essentials for the outdoors. Many destination weddings are exotic and sometimes have situations that can suddenly become unsafe with wildlife, atmosphere and landscapes to name a few. Learn to be aware of your surroundings, who or what’s around you, where the local help is, and how to respond. I carry radios and I’m a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR) just for added protection and knowledge. When you’re in the wilderness, it’s always good to have a quick reflex. There’s much to be said, but just play it safe.

settings: f2.8 @ 1/80 iso 1600

Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill


Bring a small, lightweight computer with extra cables, extra card readers, extra memory cards, and an external hard drive backup (LaCie Rugged SSD is what I use). When you’re done with a wedding, download all your images immediately to your computer. Back it up to your hard drive, leave it on your computer, and store one of your memory cards from each of your cameras with you at all times. The other memory card from your dual card slot camera should be stored in luggage or sent via mail. Now you have four backups.

settings: f2.8 @ 1/4000 iso 50

Top 10 Destination Wedding Photography Tips | Charleton Churchill

settings: f10 @ 1/3200 iso 1600


Sometimes a destination wedding is a destination to your couple, but not to you because you live so close. If so, learn and get to know the vendors who work hard and produce great work in that area. Refer them even if they don’t refer you. Maybe someday they will refer you, but you want to help your couples with basic requests if you can. If your destination is further away, and you want to return to that destination, then get to know the vendors and the venues with great service. Help them get business, make them look good with your images, credit them on a blog post, and hopefully it will come back to you as a blessing.

Charleton Churchill is an international wedding and adventure elopement photographer based near Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. He is known for helping ignite the adventure wedding movement and he photographed the internationally viral Mt. Everest Wedding that was featured globally in the news, talk shows, magazines, blogs and popular TV shows. Charleton presented a TEDx Talk on adventure weddings and has spoken for Nikon, Profoto, and at photo conferences, conventions, seminars and workshops. While Charleton is known for his adventure footprint in the industry, he continues to climb mountains, push himself to deliver only the best, and produce epic signature masterpiece work for his couples. website: charletonchurchill.com instagram: @charletonchurchill

Travel Photography Gear Guide | John Greengo

with John Greengo

Travel Photography Gear Guide | John Greengo

For many photographers, nothing matches the excitement of heading off to a far-flung destination rich in photographic potential. The gear you choose to take will have a big impact on what images make the return journey home. Having the right gear on the road is important because when you’re away you typically have limited time, equipment and resources. The items you choose to bring need to match the purpose and scope of your travels. A clear understanding of what you want to achieve and the situation you will be in will determine what specific items you need and overall how much gear to bring. The obvious travel conundrum is how to bring everything you might need, have backups, and not exceed weight limitations. The key is bringing only the most useful gear and backing up the most likely points of weakness. Failure in any one of four key areas—camera, lens, power and memory—can put an end to your photography adventure.

settings: f4.0 @ 1/8 iso 400

havana, cuba

Travel Photography Gear Guide | John Greengo

cairo, egypt

settings: f11 @ 1/100 iso 100

cairo, egypt

settings: f11 @ 1/250 iso 200

punakha, bhutan

settings: f22 @ 1/15 iso 200


All cameras are designed to travel. The best camera for you and your travels will depend on many characteristics, but any camera can be justified as a good option. It just needs to fit your needs and be appropriate for the situation. My personal rule is that I won’t leave home without two quality cameras. From off-roading in a 4x4 in Mongolia to bicycling through South America, I’ve always traveled with two cameras. If you want to count your mobile phone as one of these two cameras, that’s up to you. As long as it captures the quality of images that you’re happy to go home with, then it’s good enough. The obvious reason for two cameras is in case one should be lost, stolen or unusable after an accident. Beyond backup, there are other benefits to having two cameras. When visiting the camel fair outside Cairo, Egypt I was excited about the variety of shots available. Shooting with two cameras allowed me to quickly switch between two different lenses. The added benefit was that I wouldn’t need to expose my camera’s sensor to the heavy dust that filled the air. I prefer to travel with two different models of the same camera brand. This way lenses are interchangeable for backup reasons, and the bodies can fit different needs. One camera might be better suited for action and video, or may just be smaller and more appropriate for carrying along to dinner. It’s best if the two cameras use the same memory cards, batteries and chargers for additional layers of contingency.

Travel Photography Gear Guide | John Greengo


Lenses aren’t that different from cameras in that they’re all designed for travel in some manner of speaking. Like a camera, any lens can be justified if there is a true need to have it along. I’ve traveled with my 300mm f/2.8 because it was the lightest, smallest and best quality lens for what I needed. This lens is by no means small, but it’s all based on what your goals are and your desire to make them come true. In general, I won’t travel anywhere without good coverage between 24mm and 200mm, and I’m a big fan of the f/4 lenses for travel; they’re a great balance of speed, size, weight and quality. My favorite combo is a 24-105mm f/4 (or 24-70mm f/4) and a 70-200mm f/4. Working professionals or those who take lots of portraits could benefit from using the same lenses in f/2.8. The increase in light gathering will yield better results in marginal situations, but with a compromise in size and weight.

viñales, cuba

settings: f2.8 @ 1/160 iso 200

Once you’ve covered your 24-200mm range, the questions to ask yourself are if you have any space left in your bag and are there other needs that need consideration. If you are visiting grand landscapes, churches or big cities, then adding an ultra-wide, prime or zoom makes sense. If you’re headed out on safari, bird watching or anywhere with big wide-open spaces, then a lens in the 300-600mm range can be a big benefit. Should you have enough space for a small bonus lens, I highly recommend a prime in either 35mm or 50mm with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 to f/2; they’re small, lightweight and fast. They are the perfect lens for a dark monastery, an evening stroll, or keeping a low profile while shooting on the street.



settings: f4.0 @ 1/125 iso 100

settings: f2.8 @ 1/1250 iso 200

punakha, bhutan

settings: f2.8 @ 1/750 iso 160

Travel Photography Gear Guide | John Greengo


The dreaded tripod can be an agonizing decision for many travelers. I typically bring a tripod as many of the images I like to create require one. My advice is to look for the smallest tripod that will get the job done well. I’m a big fan of the Gitzo traveler series. An important question is: do you know you’ll need a tripod, or is it that you think you might need one? The first time I headed off on safari to Kenya I wanted to bring a tripod. After packing all my gear and weighing it, it was either a tripod or a change of clothing—Kenya planes can have exceedingly strict gear loads (35lbs/16kg of total baggage). Thinking about what I was primarily doing on the trip—shooting from a 4x4—the tripod didn’t make sense. So I left it at home and the trip was a great success.

new zealand

settings: f8 @ 1/420 iso 200

gibara, cuba

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 200


Two key areas in which to make contingency plans are power and memory. An absolute rule to follow is never go out to shoot photos without a spare battery and a spare memory card. When in eastern Cuba, I was leading my tour group on an early morning photo walk when we unexpectedly came upon a parade. Our short walk down to the beach resulted in a memory card filling, multi-hour shoot. Aspare of each of these critical items will be helpful on big shooting days and can save your bacon if a malfunction strikes. In photography you need to be prepared for the worst, as well as the best.

gibara, cuba

settings: f4.0 @ 1/500 iso 400

Travel Photography Gear Guide | John Greengo


Stabilization - This may come in the form of in-body stabilization (IBIS), in a lens, or as a combination of both. The feature will eliminate the need for a tripod in some situations. Many locations such as museums, churches and temples have restrictions against tripods but not against stabilized camera systems. Tilting LCD screen - When you have limited time and resources, you need to maximize every opportunity you have. An articulated screen will allow you to shoot over people’s heads, from low angles, and from unusual positions.

new york city

settings: f5.6 @ 1/200 iso 100

sydney, australia

settings: f14 @ 1/30 iso 640

USB charging - Many cameras now allow charging of their batteries through the USB port. This popular port, thanks to mobile phones, can now be found in many airports, hotels and restaurants. It will provide a great backup to your standard charger or a lightweight charging option. Silent mode - Most cameras now offer a silent mode where the camera uses an electronic shutter rather than the mechanical shutter. Absolute silence can be very helpful in a variety of locations and the electronic shutter is the quietest way to capture an image.

punakha, bhutan

bursa, turkey

settings: f2.8 @ 1/400 iso 400

settings: f4.0 @ 1/10 iso 800

Dual card slots - If you’re being hired to bring back images or the images are very important to you, backing up your data is a must. Saving duplicate images in the camera may save the need to bring a computer as well as protect against a memory card failure. I’ve rarely had corruption problems, but I’ve never lost an image when saving photos to two memory cards. GPS - Remembering exactly where you were when an image was taken can be especially difficult when you are in a new location, unfamiliar with the language, or quickly moving from place to place. Turning on your camera’s GPS (if it has one) will use a bit more battery power but can be a lifesaver when it comes to identifying your specific location. No GPS? A quick snapshot of a location sign can do the job. Wi-Fi Remote & download - Most new cameras allow for the ability to connect with a smart device for remote viewing and shooting, as well as a limited ability to download images. The remote feature can be quite handy if you need to mount the camera in an unusual position but need to see what the camera sees. Wi-Fi downloading can be slow and clunky for a large batch of images, but if you’re looking to send out a few select images, this is a great way to get them from your camera to your phone.

Travel Photography Gear Guide | John Greengo

vatican city

punakha, bhutan

settings: f8.0 @ 1/200 iso 100

settings: f11 @ 1/40 iso 200

chefchaouen, morocco

settings: f4.0 @ 1/250 iso 400

When preparing for your next trip, be mindful of not packing all that you “might” need, but rather bringing only what you know you can make use of. Your perfectly packed camera bag should be described as not too heavy, and filled with a minimum number of items that all fit the classification of either needed or useful.

JohnGreengo specializes in photographic education through online training, books, and international photo tours. He has photographed on all seven continents and has led photo tours to many of the 50 countries he has visited. John’s desire to help fellow photographers grow, coupled with his talent for simplifying the complex, has positioned him as a world leader in photographic education. His classes over the last 10 years have been viewed by millions around the globe, the most popular of which are “Fundamentals of Photography,” “Travel Photography,” and his collection of tutorials on over 60 specific cameras. website: johngreengo.com instagram: @john_greengo

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