FAQ : Destination Wedding Photographer

Photography

As with most things in life, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to do things. Throughout the years, we’ve photographed destination weddings and we’ve found what works for us…and our clients. Now, this isn’t to say we’re doing it the best, but it’s working. And I’m happy. I’m often asked how a photographer should price destination weddings, so here’s how I approach this aspect of my photography business.

I have a Collection Menu (a set of prices of my wedding photography services) for local, Southern California weddings. For weddings outside of Southern California, I charge a travel fee. This travel fee varies upon destination, but it’s–basically–broken up by region (West Coast, Southern States, East Coast, South America, Europe, Canada) and travel length (i.e. how long I’ll be on a plane). So, why the travel fee? The travel fee is a way to compensate for the time I spend away from the studio…and home. A destination wedding isn’t a one-day affair the way a local wedding is…it could be two days of travel, the wedding, then two more days of travel home. Because I’m out of the office, I need to ensure the costs (meals, incidentals, etc) I incur while on the road are completely covered, as well as my time away.

In addition to the Collection, clients are responsible for paying the travel fee, roundtrip airfare for two (myself and JD), a rental car (including gas and taxes), and hotel accommodations, preferably at the hotel where the bride is preparing for her wedding (it makes the wedding day so much smoother).

Now, I know there are photographers who don’t charge travel fees (or even lower their prices for destination weddings) and that’s totally okay, but I’ve realized life on the road is difficult…I’m able to remain fully in love with my photography passion when I know my bases are covered. Thankfully, I have the most amazing clients who feel the same way.

I hope this helps and adds a bit of clarity on how pricing and photographing destination weddings work for me…and because beaches make me happy, I’ll end this post with a picture from Cori+Eli’s Costa Rica wedding…

Happy Monday!

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  1. Falcon

    July 18th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Very helpful, thank you Jasmine! xx

  2. Rachel Tatem

    July 18th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts. I love hearing how other photographers pricing and REALLY successful ones all the more ;P

  3. NgeeJee

    July 18th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    This is a very helpful post J*. it has been a bugging question in my head, as I’m preparing a price list for my services. This just really came at the most perfect of times! Thanks Jasmine!

  4. Paige Butcher

    July 18th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I definitely appreciate this post! Good stuff!

  5. Meredith Sledge

    July 18th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    OH MY GOSH. That picture is beyond beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Life with Kaishon

    July 18th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Stunning image.

  7. Jenelle Sewell

    July 18th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks Jasmine for the advice. This topic has always been a struggle for me and I’m happy to see how another photographer handles pricing for travel. Thank you!

  8. Sarah Danaher

    July 18th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    lovely picture, and very helpful post

  9. Cecile

    July 18th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Awesome input and I must say, your photos equal the amount your clients pay.. YOU DELIVER. You can definitely charge…

  10. Richard B Flores

    July 18th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you so much for answering my questions in this post!!! 🙂

  11. Abby Grace Photography

    July 18th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    this is really helpful- I never thought about the "charging for your time" aspect, in terms of charging them for time traveled because you’re away from your business. that makes a lot of sense.

  12. Steven Theis

    July 18th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Beautiful photo Jasmine! This definitely one of my favs from you.

  13. Sabina Cotuna

    July 18th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Definitely needed to learn about this. Thanks for sharing, Jasmine!

  14. Michelle Hebert

    July 18th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Beautiful! You are worth every ticket, car rental, hotel stay and $$$!

  15. tim king

    July 18th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Awesome stuff Jasmine! You know this is a big goal of mine…have the travel bug for sure!

    Would be great if you could share a few things about any problems you’ve encountered on the road i.e. customs in mexico, which places you wont shoot, etc.

  16. Kim

    July 18th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Jasmine! Destination weddings are my dream! Hopefully one day I will be able to do it and then I’ll def use your great tips!

  17. Columbus GA Photographer

    July 18th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks for the great info!

  18. Michael Anthony Photography | LA Photographer

    July 18th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Girl you are living the life! I like this pricing structure. Hopefully we can get those same type of clients one day!

  19. Christina Dely

    July 18th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I could not agree more!!!

  20. Erin - Kansas City Photographer

    July 19th, 2011 at 12:00 am

    This is wonderful. I have always added in travel fees, but a rental car genius. I was missing some of the cost associated with the traveling. Thank you for clarifying it for me so that when I go again, if I need to give someone a discount I can do it wisely.

  21. adrian Head

    July 19th, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Good advice and a fair pricing policy easily understood. We welcome photographers contracted by brides to our venues and are more than happy to provide all the facilities necessary to ensure the photos capture the essence of the wedding and the exotic surroundings

  22. Wedding Snapper

    July 19th, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Sound advice Jasmine.

  23. Lydia

    July 19th, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Sounds like a great strategy! Almost all my weddings demand a night away from home, so I need to figure out how to price for that. Thanks for sharing!!

  24. Marcia

    July 19th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I feel the same way too. We recently did a destination wedding on Harbour Island, Bahamas and the bride/groom covered all our travel expenses. We love when clients appreciate our work 🙂

  25. Sylvia Guardia M.

    July 19th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    As soon as I saw this beach, I knew it was taken in my beautiful country Costa Rica!!! I’m a destination wedding photographer here in Costa Rica, and specialize in beach weddings, I just love it! I wish you could have photographed my wedding 🙁 I back up your opinion, definitely. Even when travelling inside the same country, one should charge differently depending on the travel times and expenses. Love you blog, you’re a true inspiration! Thanks!

  26. jeramy

    July 19th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    i love that you answer ‘nuts and bolts’ questions. excellent. hope all is well.

  27. Caroline Frost Shea

    July 20th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    You are an extremely encouraging and inspirational personal (as well as a very talented person, but that goes without saying). I hope I can make it to a workshop of yours one day…do you have anything soon? Thanks for all the helpful tips on your blog. I feel like someone is reading my thoughts…

  28. Chanelle

    July 22nd, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Well put, I am getting a lot of enquiries for destination weddings and have done a few. It is good to outline in a clear way how they work for clients to be in the know.

  29. Tammy

    July 22nd, 2011 at 7:52 am

    OH!!! Thank goodness your charge a travel fee. Thank you!

  30. Ashley Goodwin

    July 22nd, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    TOTALLY helpful! I charge for travel but had always wondered about incidentals/food, so this was great insight. 🙂

  31. cassandra-m

    July 27th, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Awesome advice. Thanks for u sharing your viewpoint! Earlier this year i shot my first international wedding in Mexico and I thought "what would jasmine do?" and all went AMAZINGLY wonderful!

  32. happy hearts | baby photography

    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:05 am

    you forgot to mention dessert allowance!

  33. becca

    September 9th, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I love your posts. I have a follow up question to this. Do you charge the travel fee with the collection price and they pay this all upfront rather than they pay for your tickets, hotel etc. etc. all separate ? Thanx!!

  34. Denver Wedding Photographer

    May 5th, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you for this helpful post.

  35. Beth DesJardin

    January 23rd, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I’m trying to price my very first destination wedding and this is SO helpful. Thanks so much for sharing! Happy shooting!

  36. Victoria Johansson

    July 14th, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Good post! Would love an article on how to book more destination weddings one day =)

  37. Luke Cleland

    February 20th, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Traveling is great, but well said, life on the road can be hard, especially when your paying a lot of things out of pocket. So I tell photographers to do what you want. You want to travel? Then soak in some of those costs, but if you’ve been there done that, well time to get your bases covered, quite literally.

  38. The Happy Bloom

    February 19th, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing!