I recently got engaged this summer, and the first order of business was to get engagement pictures taken. Dan and I had already planned a trip to Vietnam for November, so we thought it’d be a great experience to get our engagement photos taken there.
Dan and I are both Vietnamese-American, so Vietnam is very special to us. Plus, it is a beautiful tropical destination that is the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot. It was also my first time in Vietnam, so I was really excited yet anxious about this trip.
Finding a photographer in a foreign country that spoke English was not the easiest task. If you’re looking for a destination photographer, I highly recommend checking out Fearless Photographers. They have a ton of photographers all over the world, and we were able to find some great photographers in Vietnam.
In the end, we went with Linh from Lita Photography. I corresponded with Linh through email to see his availability for the dates we would be in Vietnam. Linh was also very helpful in letting us know the best places to go for our pictures. We ended up picking a beach town in Vietnam called Phan Thiet that is about a 5 hour drive from Saigon which was where we spent most of the trip.
We made a mini vacation within a vacation with our trip to Phan Thiet. We spent one day taking pictures and then 2 more days relaxing at a beach resort. Linh also brought along his friend, Phuoc, from Hachi Imasay Photography to help with the photoshoot.
When it came time to take our photos, Linh & Phuoc recommended that we get the beautiful sunrise over the White Sand Dunes of Mui Ne in Phan Thiet. We woke up at 4am to make the trek to the dunes. The view of the sunrise over the dunes was the most breath-taking thing I have ever seen, and I was so happy that we got that beautiful backdrop for our pictures.
Once the sun was fully up and too hot to shoot in the sand dunes, we headed to the beach. The beach was full of asymmetric rocks,and locals were fishing along the beach with their brightly colored fishing vessels. From the beach we went to a unique place in Mui Ne called Suoi Tien (Fairy Stream). The stream was a creek where you walk in ankle deep water and sand around a pitted limestone rock formation. The rock formation was covered with red clay that flows down the side of the rocks. It was such an interesting place, and I loved that we could just walk barefoot in the wet clay through the twists and turns of the creek.
All of the apprehension I had about booking a photographer overseas went away while we were shooting. Linh & Phuoc knew the area very well, and I don’t think we would have seen these sights without their help. They were pretty much doing double duty as our tour guides and photographers! We are so happy we decided to have a destination engagement session. After seeing the photos, we are thrilled with the results and so excited to have this great adventure captured forever.
If you’re thinking about getting destination photography in a foreign country, here are some of my tips:
Do your research
Spend a good amount of time researching your potential photographers. Try and find if the photographer has any certifications or memberships. Get the market rate for photography in the country you are going to. You want to make sure you are getting a fair price and not getting ripped off. I also found it helpful to check out each photographer’s Facebook page and see how many likes they had and if they had any good reviews. The translate feature on Facebook was super helpful for this!
Get the deets before you leave.
I highly recommend hashing out all of the details before you leave the U.S. Internet was spotty in Vietnam, and we didn’t have a phone besides our hotel phone. You should know your photographer’s local phone number and contact information. Make sure you figure out all of the travel information, the payment information, and the logistics of your photoshoot.
Hire a translator.
If your photographer doesn’t speak fluent English, I would recommend getting a translator or tour guide for the day. I speak a little Vietnamese and our photographers spoke a little English, so we were able to make do with talking to each other. Depending on what country you’re traveling to, a tour guide/translator may be cheaper than you think.
I would love to hear if you have had any experiences hiring photographers overseas. If you’re interested in doing a destination photoshoot, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below!