Ready to start photographing destination weddings? We’ve got your back.

If you’re thinking about expanding your wedding business to include destinations, we say, “Go for it!” The path to getting started is different for everyone, but capitalizing on opportunities is a common denominator. Here are a few tips to consider as you lay out your plan:

Finding clients will be your biggest obstacle. Start by announcing to the world (okay, maybe social media) that you’d like to shoot a destination wedding. Tell your previous brides that you’d love any referrals for destination weddings. Start peppering your galleries with photos of destination images.

PRO-TIP: Arrange a styled shoot while you’re on a personal vacation. Get creative. The possibilities are endless.

Make it easy for them to book you. Decide how you want it to work and simplify it even more. Many photographers build their destination portfolios by doing travel and expenses only. Yes, you’ll make less profit, but you’ll have the images that you need to promote yourself even more. We recommend finding out how much the travel will be and offering them a flat-rate package. That way you can handle your travel and logistics. Figure out the cost and present it to them.

PRO-TIP: Don’t forget about costs like parking at the airport and an Uber to the final destination. Excursions and fun things should be on your dime, but do a deep dive into any expenses that are actually tied to their event.

Get there early and devise a plan. Arrive AT LEAST one full day before the event and get there as early in the day as possible. You need to be covered to get there if you have a travel snafu AND you’ll want time to scout out the perfect places to photograph. Take a walk around the local town and see if it’s worth arranging a little photo field trip with the couple.

PRO-TIP: Make sure that you understand the customs and travel restrictions for any of your destinations. Do your research on what gear restrictions certain countries might have and what kind of paperwork you need to have in order.

Think about your portfolio while you’re shooting. Yes, you’re shooting for the clients and you will give them an amazing gallery of images. But don’t forget to think about how you’ll market yourself when you get home. What images do you need to promote yourself and make your portfolio look as robust as possible.

PRO-TIP: Find a cute couple (maybe a bridesmaid and her man) and ask them if you can do a mini-shoot of them the next day on the house. That will give you an “engagement-style” session for your portfolio as well and they’ll love the images! Is there a cute family at the wedding? Offer the same thing to them!

Are you booking destination weddings like crazy? We’d love to know one of your favorite bits of advice!

Molly Connor

Molly is the marketing and communications guru at Iris Works. She is also a long-time professional wedding photographer in the Indianapolis area. She is a lover of all dogs, but especially her sweet girl, Henry June, the Great Dane who frequents the Iris Works headquarters.

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