Do you want to be a destination wedding photographer?
Are you a wedding photographer who's dying to start shooting destination weddings? I was exactly where you were a few years ago, and it has taken plenty of trial and error to figure out what works best. In the video below, as well as the content on this page, I am going to outline the THREE reasons you are NOT booking destination weddings clients, and what you can do to change that.
No. 01: You're Quoting Travel Separately
I want to preface this section by saying this - when you begin shooting luxury and ultra-luxury weddings where you're specifically known for destination work, travel may be a separate invoice. But while you're moving upwards from budget clients to mid-level clients while simultaneously trying to get destination work, you'll want to follow this tip.
Include the travel expenses in your quote. When you're trying to appeal to a client who is deciding between a local photographer and a destination photographer that will be flying/driving in, if you quote a price and say "$x plus travel", you are signifying to that client that travel is costing them more, while they aren't necessarily getting more value from that expense.
Before you start quoting "free travel", make sure that you are increasing your minimum investment to match the travel fees. For example, if my minimum for weddings in my own state begins at $13,000, my minimum for a wedding that required flight travel would begin at $15,000 or more. This allows you to make the same income from both weddings, while getting to travel to destinations you want to shoot in.
Need a great template to create these custom proposals with? If you're a ShowIt user, I suggest getting this Showit Pricing Guide Template. If you prefer to send PDF's by email, I recommend getting this Canva template.
No. 02: You're Not Focusing in On Destinations
The second mistake I see photographers making in trying to get destination work is that they aren't focusing in one 1-3 destinations at a time. While you may have 5-10+ destinations you're excited to work in, you will want to focus in on 1-3 at a time. This will allow you to develop more expertise and understanding of those destinations.
Examples of how I have done this include:
- Specifically focus hashtags on 1-2 destinations at a time. Learn what hashtags do best on Instagram.
- Network with planners, photographers, and other vendors in those specific destinations.
- Visit those destinations. Make a work or personal trip out of it! Grab content while you are there (even just images around that city). Don't feel pressure to do a styled shoot in every destination.
No. 03: You're Too Focused on Your Local Market
This is something I struggled with for a long time. When you become too invested in your local wedding market, you begin sacrificing time and energy that could be put into destination weddings. If you are considering becoming a destination wedding photographer, you may want to consider if you're willing to invest less time and energy in your local market.
Personally, I spend about 10-20% (or less) of my time invested in my local wedding market, while the rest of my time and energy is focused on making destination connections, and finding clients in areas like California, New York, and Utah.
Want to know how to get started creating these custom proposals for your destination clients? See this 3-Step Guide to Writing Custom Proposals here.