Yes, I brought my staff to Puerto Rico
Being a wedding photographer means learning how to work in all types of light scenarios. How to deal with direct high noon sunlight, to dark reception halls with no natural light, is the scenario for some of our weddings. My way of learning was to travel in the off season and get out of the midwest greens.
Wanting that for my staff, I decided we needed to head South for a staff retreat to plan the year, celebrate growth, and get out of the winter gray for a bit. A trip that was a year in the making.
After reading "The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists" by Naomi Klein, Puerto Rico has been on my destination wedding radar. LGBTQ+ friendly, no passports required, abundant sunshine, and lots of friends with local recommendations sealed the choice.
I wanted us to stay East side where Hurricane Maria hit worst in 2017 because I knew our money would go to helping that area. Yes, still. I found and Air BnB in a non-tourist area on the beach. Casa La Ola Beachhouse. I also looked for a BnB that was nice, but could benefit from some free great photos of their space to help drive visitors.
Our stay was right next to The Humacao Natural Reserve and in a gated community of modest haciendas. This natural reserve was established in 1986 and it's managed by Puerto Rico's Department of Natural Resources. There is kayaking and bike rental on site. Within the reserve, you'll find multiple trails for hiking and biking, stretches of beaches, fishing spots, and more.
Here are the photos of part 1 of 3 of our adventure!
Model Chelsea and dress from Common Threads Thrift