Claire Morgan grew up in South Africa and moved to Europe when she was 19. Claire is currently based in Vienna, Austria. She is a destination wedding photographer, and her work has taken her across the globe to locations such as Armenia, New York, Prague and Chile. We are continually impressed with the incredible range of countries Claire works in, and the popularity of Folio albums among her clients. We had a chat with Claire to find out more about her work and the challenges of being an international wedding photographer.
How long have you been working as a photographer?
In January 2014 I will start my fourth year of business. Before that I worked as an assistant photographer for about two or three years.
What inspires your photography?
I follow a number of fine art photographers and I am inspired by fleeting moments, creativity, unique locations and the cultures that surround me.
What is the best part of your job?
The new people I meet and the new friends I make. I love having the opportunity to see some amazing venues and travelling to exotic countries. Of course, witnessing and documenting the most special day in someone’s life is also a great part of the job.
What is the most challenging part of shooting weddings on an international level?
One of the most difficult aspects is dealing with different climates and environments. I have to plan my travel well so that things run as smoothly and as conveniently as possible. As an international wedding photographer, you have to gain the trust of the couple enough that they will fly you to any given location where you most likely have never photographed before.
Are there any other special considerations you have to make when shooting at international locations?
When you work in countries where people have customs, traditions, and cultures different to those you’re used to, you can sometimes be caught off guard. The couple themselves may not consider it necessary to explain certain details, as for them it may be completely normal. It’s always important to discuss with the couple what will happen so you can prepare yourself accordingly. I also do some research online if I’m not sure. For example, if you are shooting your first Persian or Jewish wedding, you can check in advance so you know what to expect. I was once caught off guard during a very traditional Italian wedding. I never would have thought the cake entrance and cutting would be an actual show with smoke machines and confetti bombs!
What was your most memorable assignment?
In 2010 I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Armenia to photograph a wedding. The trip also included a five day tour of the country with all the guests who mostly came from abroad. It was probably the most diverse country I have ever visited and the most interesting wedding I have photographed to date.
Where would be your ideal location to shoot a wedding?
I’m a big fan of outdoor weddings, for both the ceremony and reception, so I’m more inclined towards Southern European destinations such as Mallorca, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy, Croatia, or Greece. My ideal location would be somewhere with reliable weather and beautiful outdoor locations.
What is the most popular Folio Albums product among your clients?
The 12×12″ Ivory Contemporary Leather Fine art album with the names engraved or embossed on the front.
Why do you think many of your clients order multiple albums?
Most of my clients’ weddings span more than one day, especially if they are destination weddings and everyone has travelled in. Most couples will organise a get-together the night before and a brunch the day after the wedding, which I usually cover as well. Naturally the couple are also inclined to make an album of photographs from the additional days and then order matching albums for the parents from the wedding day itself. Some also order pocket books for other family members.
What advice would you give any budding destination wedding photographers?
Firstly I would suggest booking travel and accommodation yourself. The couple or wedding planner do not always know what you need and what is most convenient for you. I think it’s important to be located close to where the wedding will take place, to stay in a hotel with a lift so you are not lugging your gear and luggage up and down stairs, and get a quiet, comfortable room so you have decent night’s sleep. I also think it’s important to spend some time the day before the wedding exploring the area and venue to get a feel for the place and new surroundings. I usually take my camera along and check where and when the best light is so I can plan the portraits.
Thank you to Claire for taking the time to contribute to the blog! You can visit her website here: www.claire-morgan.com