FAQ : Destination Wedding Photographer

A
s 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!
Comment (36)
Share on


Thank you! Your comment has been saved.
Victoria Johansson - Good post! Would love an article on how to book more destination weddings one day =)  07.13.14 - 6:40pm
Beth DesJardin - I'm trying to price my very first destination wedding and this is SO helpful. Thanks so much for sharing! Happy shooting!  01.22.13 - 8:17pm
Denver Wedding Photographer - Thank you for this helpful post.  05.05.12 - 10:30am
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!!   09.09.11 - 1:00pm
happy hearts | baby photography - you forgot to mention dessert allowance!  08.02.11 - 4:05am
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!   07.26.11 - 10:58pm
Ashley Goodwin - TOTALLY helpful! I charge for travel but had always wondered about incidentals/food, so this was great insight. :)  07.22.11 - 6:42am
Tammy - OH!!! Thank goodness your charge a travel fee. Thank you!  07.22.11 - 12:52am
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.   07.21.11 - 5:52pm
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...  07.20.11 - 9:05am
jeramy - i love that you answer 'nuts and bolts' questions. excellent. hope all is well.   07.19.11 - 3:43pm
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!  07.19.11 - 7:22am
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 :)   07.19.11 - 5:45am
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!!  07.18.11 - 11:36pm
Wedding Snapper - Sound advice Jasmine.  07.18.11 - 10:09pm
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  07.18.11 - 5:02pm
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.   07.18.11 - 5:00pm
Christina Dely - I could not agree more!!!  07.18.11 - 1:57pm
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!  07.18.11 - 1:29pm
Columbus GA Photographer - Thanks for the great info!  07.18.11 - 11:43am
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!  07.18.11 - 11:36am
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.  07.18.11 - 11:36am
Michelle Hebert - Beautiful! You are worth every ticket, car rental, hotel stay and $$$!   07.18.11 - 11:29am
Sabina Cotuna - Definitely needed to learn about this. Thanks for sharing, Jasmine!   07.18.11 - 11:26am
Steven Theis - Beautiful photo Jasmine! This definitely one of my favs from you.   07.18.11 - 10:59am
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.  07.18.11 - 10:51am
Richard B Flores - Thank you so much for answering my questions in this post!!! :-)  07.18.11 - 10:42am
Cecile - Awesome input and I must say, your photos equal the amount your clients pay.. YOU DELIVER. You can definitely charge...   07.18.11 - 10:41am
Sarah Danaher - lovely picture, and very helpful post  07.18.11 - 9:08am
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!   07.18.11 - 9:06am
Life with Kaishon - Stunning image.   07.18.11 - 8:51am
Meredith Sledge - OH MY GOSH. That picture is beyond beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  07.18.11 - 8:36am
Paige Butcher - I definitely appreciate this post! Good stuff!  07.18.11 - 8:15am
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!  07.18.11 - 8:12am
Rachel Tatem - Thanks for your thoughts. I love hearing how other photographers pricing and REALLY successful ones all the more ;P  07.18.11 - 7:31am
Falcon - Very helpful, thank you Jasmine! xx  07.18.11 - 7:04am
Subscribe