Lilly Red, a destination wedding photographer, explores a mountain next to the ocean after photographing a wedding

Get Paid to Travel: Here’s How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

What if I told you…

You can travel the entire globe and get paid to do it?  

What if I told you that you can work with amazing couples from all walks of life who have chosen to prioritize an incredible milestone in their lives with an incredible ceremony? 

And what if I told you that you can capture moments in time that those couples will cherish forever? And that you’ll have stunning, epic photos from some of the coolest places in the world? 

I know, it sounds like a total pipedream, right? 

But I’m living proof that you can. And that’s why I’m sharing how to become a destination wedding photographer – so you can, too!

Lilly Red behind the scenes after learning how to become a destination wedding photographer

What Is a Destination Wedding Photographer? 

A destination wedding photographer is exactly that – it’s someone who travels to different destinations across the world to photograph weddings for their clients. 

A lot of traveling wedding photographers like to select certain destinations they love, and they focus on photographing weddings in those areas. Some are open to all kinds of adventures and want to explore everything. 

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer (Everything to Think About): 

So how do you become a destination wedding photographer? What does it even look like to be one? 

If you’ve already become the go-to wedding photographer in your local market, and you already know the ins and outs of your trusty camera bodies and lenses, then you might be looking for something new and refreshing. And that’s one of the beautiful things about traveling to photograph weddings! 

After becoming a published destination wedding photographer myself, I’m sharing the process I took:

Lilly Red, a destination wedding photographer, explores a mountain next to the ocean after photographing a wedding

Do Some Soul-Searching and Figure Out Why You Want to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer 

Before you set your sights on booking destination weddings in magical, epic locations, I highly recommend doing some soul-searching first. 

There are so many amazing things about becoming a destination wedding photographer. You’ll get to work with incredible couples from all walks of life. You’ll get to hop on a plane and travel to faraway places that you might not have had the chance to experience before. 

And you’ll get to take some stunning photos that make people’s jaws drop! 

But there is a ton of work that goes into the career and business of a traveling photographer to get to that point. You’ll spend long hours traveling or even longer hours waiting on layovers in the airport. You’ll have to learn how to travel with your wedding photography equipment, which is a skill in itself. 

And unless you work in a pair or team, you might even get lonely if you’re shooting alone. 

All of those things can keep people from pursuing their dreams and passion of booking those amazing weddings. So having a good “why” and values you align with behind your reason for wanting to become a destination wedding photographer is so important! 

Create Your Portfolio for Potential Clients

I know, I know. It’s the biggest Catch-22! How are you supposed to build a portfolio for potential clients … if you’re still trying to book those potential clients? 

But, I have to say it. Because creating a portfolio that showcases how you capture those epic locations is what’s going to make potential clients say, “Yes! That’s who I want on our wedding day!” 

Here’s what I suggest you try – see what works for you:

  • Join wedding groups for destination weddings and make connections with other vendors and clients. You never know who might refer you! 
  • Try becoming a second shooter for destination wedding photographers who are already booking clients. 
  • Organize your own styled shoots and approach vendors in the destination market you want to focus on. 
  • Don’t be afraid of traveling close by first. If you’re wanting to travel for weddings, you can test the waters by exploring iconic locations that are close to home. Take plenty of photos while you’re there. Maybe even join some Facebook groups for the area and see if any couples would be interested in a mini-photography session! 

Luckily, I have an entire guide on how to build a portfolio without booking any clients whatsoever! 

Market Yourself as a Destination Wedding Photographer 

Once you have high-quality work to showcase in your portfolio, then you have content that you can start using to market yourself. 

But here’s one of the biggest mistakes I see new destination wedding photographers make – they never market themselves as a traveling wedding photographer because they haven’t booked one yet. 

When that happens, the clients who do reach out are going to be way less likely to say, “Are you interested in traveling to Lake Como to photograph our wedding for us?” 

So, this is where the saying, “fake it ‘til you make it” should become your main motto! Use the portfolio work you’ve created and actually use terms such as, “destination wedding photographer,” or “traveling wedding photographer” in your social media captions. 

Write blog posts and use SEO best practices to help your ideal clients find you on Google. But the only way they’ll do that? Is if you market yourself as a destination wedding photographer already. 

I know, though, that showing up online and marketing yourself is overwhelming. Especially when you’re first trying to break into the traveling wedding photography market. That’s why I’ve created an entire module on it in my new course – Your Ticket to Destination Weddings.

Add Your Name to the Waitlist and
Be the First to Hear When the Course Re-Launches! 

Build Your Services and Pricing

When you’re first starting out, the first handful of destination weddings you take on may not bring in a whole lot of money. So, you’ll need to decide if that’s going to be worth it for you in the end. 

In the long-run, word-of-mouth referrals, portfolio work, and the experience of actually traveling will all be well worth it. 

Once you’ve gotten a few destination weddings under your belt, then you can start refining your services and pricing to match your talent and expertise. 

You can build expenses, such as flights, transportation once you arrive, lodging, and more into your proposals for your clients.

Creating luxury client experiences and services, and pricing them accordingly, is one of the most important parts of building a 6-figure destination wedding photography business! 

Show Up as a Total Professional

Traveling to a wedding that’s a plane ride and an ocean apart from your hometown is much different than jumping in the car and driving 45 minutes. 

It requires a new set of skills to travel as a traveling wedding photographer. Learning how to prep and pack your wedding photography equipment, learning how to book yourself enough time to account for travel mishaps, and more all takes experience. 

Doing plenty of research before your first destination wedding to learn how to do all of that is key. You’ll want to show up as nothing but a seasoned pro for your clients!

Get Step-by-Step Instruction on How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Don’t let the steps you need to take to become a destination wedding photographer actually keep you from chasing after your dreams! 

A life full of independence and creativity is absolutely possible. And this career path can give that to you. 

I’m giving you step-by-step instructions on how to do it in my course – Your Ticket to Destination Weddings. 

Every single step in this article is covered, which means:

  • Module 1: You’ll discover your business “why,” your values, your ideal client, your signature photography style, and your ideal destination. I’ll walk you through the essential, thought-provoking questions you need to answer to find the answers to all of these! 
  • Module 2: You’ll create high-quality content to showcase in your portfolio and in your marketing after I teach you my exact framework for organizing and designing styled shoots. 
  • Module 3:  You’ll establish yourself as a seasoned pro for your destination using a tried-and-tested content marketing strategy. From learning how to write a blog post designed for SEO and how to structure your website to bring in more leads, you’ll get a step-by-step marketing plan for your destination wedding photography business. 
  • Module 4: You’ll get super comfortable and confident with speaking to your leads and booking them for their upcoming weddings. Use my methods for building and pricing your services to help you scale your business to 6-figures! 
  • Module 5: You’ll learn how to show up as a seasoned professional for every destination wedding, with my tools, tips, tricks, and advice for the trade. Find out how to save money, book flights, schedule your timeline, pack your equipment, and learn how to set yourself up for success in different countries. 

If you’ve been waiting for a sign to take the first step in becoming a destination wedding photographer, this is it!

Save Your Spot on the Waitlist and Be the First to Hear When the Destination Wedding Photographer Course Re-Launches!