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...