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It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to finding a wedding photographer in Guatemala. The internet has made it easier to find good candidates but the overload of options often results in decision paralysis. It might be easier getting a referral but you may not have the Guatemala wedding photographer you want to hire in your network! For those struggling with hiring the right destination wedding photographer, here’s some advice on where to start.

The decision to find a local Guatemala wedding photographer or to hire from somewhere else isn’t an easy one to make. Hiring local has a lot of advantages. You’re likely to find someone who speaks Spanish, and English which may come in handy for any number of communication-related problems. A local wedding photographer in Guatemala has intimate knowledge of the area that even a well-researched foreigner couldn’t duplicate. To top it off, hiring local means no travel fees, which can range from savings of $500-$1500 in some cases.

Hiring from another country outside of Guatemala comes with a handful of pros but not as many as hiring locally. If you’re not limiting your choices to Guatemala, you’ve essentially got a pool of unlimited options from around the world. It’d be hard to imagine not finding a single qualified destination wedding photographer in Guatemala but for those who are fixed on a particular photographer, hiring a non-Guatemala may be necessary. I’d only consider bringing someone in from another country if I found a destination wedding photographer I couldn’t part ways with. In all other situations, I recommend finding a local destination wedding photographer in Guatemala.

In my experience, there’s no single best way to find your Guatemala wedding photographer. I’ve had brides referred to me that didn’t work out because there simply wasn’t a good fit. I’ve also been hired by a couple I didn’t meet until the wedding day that ended up being one of my favorite weddings. Searching online or through social media can lead you to incredible talent. My Instagram (@camanuelaldana) is how half the people who find me online are able to access not only my portfolio but a bit of my personality and how I like to work with my clients. Social media has changed the way couples are able to look for the destination wedding photographer of their choice, for the better in my opinion!

As great as finding the right Guatemala wedding photographer online can be, there’s something about getting a personal referral that offers a unique peace of mind. The biggest upside of a referral is the extra level of security in knowing not only the quality of the photos you’re getting but a full look into what you can expect from your Guatemala wedding photographer. The value in having someone who’s friendly, flexible, and has a quick turn-around time is indispensable, and it is often overlooked. The downside, on the other hand, is a lack of options. The Guatemala wedding photographer who shot your friend’s or relative’s wedding may not be who you’re looking for. If this is the case, I encourage you to lean on the internet to provide you with better options. I never advise a couple to compromise on who they hire to be their destination wedding photographer. Unlike many other vendors, it’s the one aspect of the wedding that could haunt you every time you look back at your wedding photos.

Once you’ve discovered a good pool of candidates, it comes time to judge who you’re going to hire to be your wedding photographer in Guatemala. I’ve been a destination wedding photographer for so long it’s sometimes difficult to realize that a person with no photography experience may not have the same critical eye I do. I can’t say how often I’m asked what to look in a destination wedding photographer and have gone into detail about it before but not for Guatemala. I wanted to be more specific about what to look for when booking a destination wedding photographer in Guatemala, so here are 3 key aspects to keep an eye out for when hiring your Guatemala wedding photographer!

It’s critical that whoever you end up hiring to be your destination wedding photographer in Guatemala has a thorough knowledge of the area. This includes crucial elements like knowing what time the sun sets, how to get to the wedding venue, and any local spots to get bridal portraits. Knowing how to get to the wedding venue may seem like splitting hairs but I didn’t realize how important it was until a couple years ago when I shoot an Indian wedding in New York, it truly was a dilemma I experienced. I looked for Air BnB’s in the area, not realizing how expensive it was, and ended up booking in the other side of where I needed to be, an hour and a half from the venue. It was terrible. A wedding photographer in Guatemala will likely be able to avoid any of the hiccups someone not familiar with the area might experience.

I have experienced communication breakdown in other countries like France, Germany, Kenya, etc.. where I wished so badly that I’d spoken the language. Luckily, being bilingual in English and Spanish has me equipped me to be confident in my ability to communicate as a Guatemala wedding photographer. I will admit, in many cases, English will be spoken wherever in the world you are, including many places in Guatemala. Anywhere that experiences a lot of tourism is likely to speak English, so you probably won’t run into problems in places like Antigua or Lake Atitlan. That being said, any rural or non-tourism heavy areas in Guatemala are likely not to speak a word of English. In my book, this isn’t a deal breaker but it certainly will come in handy to have a destination wedding photographer who speaks the local language.

Antigua Guatemala has a ton of Ruins, which means, of course, a ton of events. It’s important you hire a Guatemala wedding photographer who has experience shooting in the Ruins, if you intend to have a wedding in Antigua Guatemala because there are so many location rules. In Guatemala most likely the colors are different, and most importantly the lighting is different, I’ve seen international photographers struggle to work with the limited light to get good shots at the ruins.

As far as destination weddings go, Guatemala is a very convenient choice compared to popular cities in Europe. A shorter and more affordable flight combined with affordable accommodation means the barrier to entry for both you and your guests is considerably low. Flights from USA to Guatemala City are usually in the 400’s, even less than the cheapest cross-country flight. And once you arrive, it’s even more shocking how cheap everything is. As an example you can have a good lunch with $6.00, When I was living Texas, where $6.00 can hardly get you a coffee and a bagel at most places. It’s not uncommon to find exceptional places to stay for less than $50/night in Guatemala, which you’d be lucky to get a cheap motel for in the US. Transportation for a week is likely to cost less than a tank of gas when most Uber rides are between $3-$5.

Lastly, Guatemala is overall incredible. With its modern and ancient history leaving behind Mayan pyramids that are thousands of years of, amazing ruins, and thriving culture, it’s hard to not fall in love. On paper, being a Guatemala wedding photographer makes sense but I made the plunge because of my heart for my country. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, I highly recommend anyone to make the journey, you will not regret it.