Once upon a time I was looking to bring a photographer with me to shoot our wedding. Its someone I adore and I can't find anyone on the island that is similar. I received emails through this forum from two different people - one was a photographer that insists a work permit is needed and it takes months and a lot of paperwork to acquire. Another emailed me saying she knows of DJs, photographers and videographers that have been arrested working without permits!
Its been quite a while, but I started doing a lot of research to try to find out what exactly is involved in getting this work permit. The only information I could seem to find is intended for people looking to relocate to Aruba. I asked the hotel and they said they had never heard of someone getting a work permit to work a single afternoon.
At a loss, I emailed the Aruba Tourism Authority through this website and received a reply saying that no work permit is needed - that our photographer would simply be a tourist. If these 'warnings' I receive have no merit then we have a couple of pretty bad sports on the forum. If they DO have merit, I'm hoping someone can please clear the air and tell us once and for all how we can go about getting a permit. While its no longer an issue for me, I find myself talking to many other brides and no one seems to know the answer.
Please don't misunderstand - I think there are some wonderful photographers here in Aruba. I love looking at their pictures and really appreciate their contributions. We are looking forward to working with all of the Aruban vendors we have chosen.
Below is the reply from the ATA:
Thank you for chosen Aruba as your wedding destination.
No permit, because your photographer is a tourist on island. He can come with his camara to make some picture of Aruba.
My swimming pool with a 7/7 or in
my boat with a fishing rod looking in at Malmok.
I think it is pretty much like if I brought someone to the states.
Formally you need a work permit to work in the US. But if I bring a guy to work for me a few days, no one would mind or even check.
Same thing in Aruba. In principle you need a work permit to work in Aruba, but since he/she will not work for others it is a different issue.
If I were you I would bring the guy/girl along as part of the wedding party and you would never have a problem.
Just my 2 cents but I am pretty confident that you would never run into any problem, as long as you bring them as a "friend" and not someone who will put on the customs papers that they are there to work.
They are of course there to attend your Aruba Dream wedding.
We respect the people of the island and wanted to follow all requirements but just couldn't figure out what and where they are. We were surprised when even the hotel couldn't direct us. I received two emails from a user with the name "mombyel" that insist photographers have been arrested during the event. How awful would it be to have someone come in an arrest your vendor during your wedding?
It was obviously intended to scare me and worked. I've been too embarrassed to bring it up but trust the people of the forum help get to the bottom of it and hopefully save other couples the confusion. Especially with the moderators that are so good at their fact checking. =)
In most cases it makes sense to invite local talent however sometimes there are just special circumstances.
My swimming pool with a 7/7 or in
my boat with a fishing rod looking in at Malmok.
I discovered Aruba the first time when my friend and business partner got married there. They used a local photographer and got amazing results.
So yes there are definately some good ones on the island as well.
Just to be fair to everyone. The question you posted is a legal question and in one of the areas where the legislation is tough but at the same time with a lot of grey areas, so you have a ton of people that will answer you as to what restaurant is the best or where the best diving is, but a legal matter in another country is much more tricky.
I will even bet you that if you spend a few thousands dollar to get a legal opinion from a good law firm, they would give you an answer like mine: one one hand and then on the other hand .
I would be extreemly surprised if any foreign photographer was arrested for taking pictures at a single wedding ,
If I go to a meeting with a bank in Aruba to sell my services and I bring one of my geeks that are on my payroll, to do the techie demo at the meeting, it would be the same, and it would definately not require a seperate 3 hour workpermit.
So I am not giving you legal advice, but common sense, as I see it.
Thanks again, Carsten. Yes, of course I wouldn't take anyone's advice as legal advice. The biggest thing I guess I'm wondering if others can back up the stories of arrests or if they know how to get this permit. I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from local photographers and admit I should have had more patience. They are the ones that know the island the best.
I'm feeling bad about bringing the issue up, though I am disappointed in the two photographers that sent those PMs (I just realized I can search for all posts by a user and figured out that mombyel is a photographer, though he doesn't state it on his profile and has had only 4 posts).
I also participate in another forum and have already recommended Bryan Morris and Victor Winklaar to a couple of brides that didn't know where to start.
As a local photographer, I'm not promoting myself, I'm however curious to know what style you are looking for? Can you post the link to the photographer you're looking to bring or at least PM this info to me? I understand every one photographer has their own style but the person you're referring to seems to have some out of this world qualities, which I would like to see.
I'm sure that bringing your own photographer will not get you or the photographer in any trouble. The real bottom line is, the photographer "should" be honest when entering the island, state his/her purpose on the island and pay a deposit based on the value of his/her equipment. There is a Customs form that the photographer should fill out and he/she can ask for this form at the Aruban Customs at baggage claim.
If you do decide to bring your own photographer, I would recommend taking and additional photography package from your resort... That way you can be one hundred % sure that you will not miss the most important moments during the ceremony that a foreign photographer would have a difficult time capturing. The local photographers, videographers, the officiate, and the coordinator have rhythm, timing and language that a newcomer would have a difficult time understanding. Our photographers know what the officiate is going to say, before he says it ~ therefore they know where to be situated for the best angle. Shooting into the sun just before it sets is an art and an unpracticed favorite photographer could make or break your wedding day memories.
To enter Aruba as a tourist the following rules are applicable:
A: By "tourist" is meant any person who visits Aruba for the purpose of recreation, sports, health, family reasons, study, religious purposes or business and does not take up any gainful occupation during his or her stay in Aruba.
See -- here's the thing - we don't really care about the 'wedding photos'... we've seen lots of gorgeous sunset photos and wonderful wedding photos. There is no doubt a lot of great skill in some of the portfolios I saw. But, we aren't too worried about those kind of photos. We'll be having the cocktail hour for our guests during sunset so they can watch it while we wrap up our photos but we aren't really that interested in the sunset photos themselves. I totally understand that it does take a lot of skill and experience to capture them, however they are not the photos we would display. The ones I'll put on our walls will likely be dramatic black and whites.
I'm more interested in a 'fashion photography' style and a sort of abstract, artistic approach. I want my couture dress captured a certain way... I need some 'glam' - this is one day I expect to feel beautiful and confident and I have strong ideas as to how I want this captured. Also, we're most interested photos of the intimate private moments that we'll have in a session prior to the ceremony... Those personal exchanges that are just about us. Of course we'll have the obligatory ceremony and family photos and love them but they aren't the ones we're excited about. I know this makes us weird - that the ceremony should be the most important thing and how could we not be fixated on getting the stunning Aruban sunset photos? I don't know...
We had first chosen Puerto Vallarta for our wedding and while researching PV I fell in love with two photographers. Paulina Ulloa and Elizabeth Medina. There is a certain glam and art in their photos that is different than most wedding photography. I'm not saying that approach is better than another and expect that there are plenty of couples that would be disappointed in the portfolios here -- they're just different. You can ask our wedding planner -- we're all about something different. I'm sure we're driving the poor lady crazy. Luckily for us she's extremely patient. =)
But please please know that I totally respect and appreciate all the talent on Aruba and when I talk to other brides on other forums I point them to my Aruban favorites. Also, if we can work it in the budget somehow, I might want to have a local photographer stop out to our welcome party and take some pics. We'll have a henna artist and I expect it to be a lot of fun and would love to capture those candid moments of my ladies excited about being painted up. Of course it would be a small job that many probably won't be interested in, but I have to find out if I have any budget yet anyway. The catering person I need to talk to isn't even back in town for another 10 days.