My job includes working vacations, shooting destination weddings. It’s a tough life for a wedding photographer! Five days that turned into seven at a super luxe resort.
So I’m flying to the Caribbean to this fab resort, the Melia Caribe in the Dominican Republic (Google maps link). I’m imagining the fabulous beach shots, especially at sunset. As we’re coming in for our landing, I’m noticing that we seem to be heading for the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola (where Columbus first landed btw) and my heart is sinking as I realize that we’re on the north side of the island facing the north Atlantic Ocean. So what’s the dig deal with being on the north side of the island? They put the beach on the wrong side of the island! I won’t get any strolling-toward-the-ocean at sunset shots. Errggghhh! Instead, I’ll have the sun disappearing behind the hotel property and some trees. This is a fact of life for a photographer. You simply have to adjust and compensate. No matter what the setting or time of day, you still have to find the great moments, the great shots.
The Melia Caribe is huge. Getting to the beach means riding a “train mobile,” and I have to say that these guys must have been trained at Grumpy University. Somebody please tip these guys so they’ll be happier. It’s paradise guys! Cheer up, ok?
I find an area near the lobby that is an obvious setting for photographers, that is if they’re traditional photographers. There were charmingly arranged ponds and pink flamingos (with clipped wings, poor birds!). But I’m looking for something not so “Disneyland.” I’m walking the property in a search for a combination of architecture with its angles, shapes, curves, plus sky and trees, color and light, but unfortunately there was not much of the architecture part. I suppose I’d have to call the architecture “soft.”
Most of the resort is actually a delightful combination of a blue sky and palm trees and that is what I had to work with. Mostly. Don’t get me wrong; the resort is amazing and has a lot going on, plenty of adventures to explore. I’m just giving you a through-the-lens take on the place. I’m looking at it in terms of, “Where are my best opportunities for good shots?” Background, light, the whole ball of wax.
My bride and groom, Kristine and Jim, live in Michigan, so as with some of my clients, I didn’t get to meet them before heading off to their destination. All I had was a photo to find them. Kristine did things by the book and already had her veil on when I came through the door. When you’ve got a whole group of women in one room, all dressed up, the wedding veil helps a lot in finding the bride. Thanks, Kristine!
I had a blast working with Kristine, Jim, and their family. And the whole wedding party. Everyone was simply the best. I’m so lucky; somehow I get the best clients!
And thanks to bad weather in New York (everyone say, Ahhhhhh too bad!) we couldn’t get a flight off the island, so I got to stay two extra days at the resort. I used the time to work on their photos in the pool. Were the photos in the pool, or the bride and groom, or me? You’ll have to check out the photos to find out. The engagement photos are first, followed by the wedding photos, and some real Trash the Dress shots. Enjoy!