FAQ : Destination Wedding Photographer

FAQ : Destination Wedding Photographer


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 -

    Very helpful, thank you Jasmine! xx

      7.18.11 - 2:04 pm

  2. Rachel Tatem -

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

      7.18.11 - 2:31 pm

  3. NgeeJee -

    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!

      7.18.11 - 3:12 pm

  4. Paige Butcher -

    I definitely appreciate this post! Good stuff!

      7.18.11 - 3:15 pm

  5. Meredith Sledge -

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

      7.18.11 - 3:36 pm

  6. Life with Kaishon -

    Stunning image.

      7.18.11 - 3:51 pm

  7. Jenelle Sewell -

    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!

      7.18.11 - 4:06 pm

  8. Sarah Danaher -

    lovely picture, and very helpful post

      7.18.11 - 4:08 pm

  9. Cecile -

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

      7.18.11 - 5:41 pm

  10. Richard B Flores -

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

      7.18.11 - 5:42 pm

  11. Abby Grace Photography -

    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.

      7.18.11 - 5:51 pm

  12. Steven Theis -

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

      7.18.11 - 5:59 pm

  13. Sabina Cotuna -

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

      7.18.11 - 6:26 pm

  14. Michelle Hebert -

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

      7.18.11 - 6:29 pm

  15. tim king -

    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.

      7.18.11 - 6:36 pm

  16. Kim -

    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!

      7.18.11 - 6:36 pm

  17. Columbus GA Photographer -

    Thanks for the great info!

      7.18.11 - 6:43 pm

  18. Michael Anthony Photography | LA Photographer -

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

      7.18.11 - 8:29 pm

  19. Christina Dely -

    I could not agree more!!!

      7.18.11 - 8:57 pm

  20. Erin - Kansas City Photographer -

    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.

      7.19.11 - 12:00 am

  21. adrian Head -

    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

      7.19.11 - 12:02 am

  22. Wedding Snapper -

    Sound advice Jasmine.

      7.19.11 - 5:09 am

  23. Lydia -

    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!!

      7.19.11 - 6:36 am

  24. Marcia -

    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 🙂

      7.19.11 - 12:45 pm

  25. Sylvia Guardia M. -

    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!

      7.19.11 - 2:22 pm

  26. jeramy -

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

      7.19.11 - 10:43 pm

  27. Caroline Frost Shea -

    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…

      7.20.11 - 4:05 pm

  28. Chanelle -

    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.

      7.22.11 - 12:52 am

  29. Tammy -

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

      7.22.11 - 7:52 am

  30. Ashley Goodwin -

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

      7.22.11 - 1:42 pm

  31. cassandra-m -

    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!

      7.27.11 - 5:58 am

  32. happy hearts | baby photography -

    you forgot to mention dessert allowance!

      8.2.11 - 11:05 am

  33. becca -

    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!!

      9.9.11 - 8:00 pm

  34. Denver Wedding Photographer -

    Thank you for this helpful post.

      5.5.12 - 5:30 pm

  35. Beth DesJardin -

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

      1.23.13 - 4:17 am

  36. Victoria Johansson -

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

      7.14.14 - 1:40 am

  37. Luke Cleland -

    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.

      2.20.15 - 1:31 pm

  38. The Happy Bloom -

    Thanks for sharing!

      2.19.16 - 3:57 pm

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