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…  

Work with amazing couples from all walks of life who have chosen to celebrate an incredible milestone in their lives… 

Capture moments in time that those couples will cherish forever

And 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 do it. 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 someone who travels to different destinations across the world to photograph weddings for their clients. 

Many traveling wedding photographers like to select certain destinations they love, and 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’re already the go-to wedding photographer in your local market and you 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 followed:

  • Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and that your personal and business values align.

  • Figure out who your ideal clients are and build a portfolio that resonates with them.

  • Define your brand and get your name out there with a holistic marketing approach.

  • Be aware of all the costs involved, decide which services you will offer, and nail down your pricing packages.

  • Plan, plan, and then have a backup plan to ensure you always show up as a professional.
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, and 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. 

All of those things can keep people from pursuing their dreams and passion for booking those amazing weddings. So it’s crucial to have a good “why” and values that align with your reason for wanting to become a destination wedding photographer! 

While you’re soul-searching, answer the following questions:

  1. Which aspects of photography do I enjoy and which do I dislike?
  2. What will make my destination wedding photography brand stand out?
  3. What mission and vision statement will guide my business and align with my long-term goals?
  4. Which destinations match my and my ideal clients’ styles and preferences?
  5. What do I want my business’s roadmap to look like?

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 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 as my photographer on our wedding day!” 

Here’s what I suggest you try – see what works for 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 at first. If you want to travel for weddings, you can test the waters by exploring iconic locations 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, you also have content that you can use to market yourself. 

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

When that happens, the clients who do reach out will 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 mantra! Use the portfolio work you’ve created and actually include terms such as, “destination wedding photographer,” or “traveling wedding photographer” in your social media captions. 


Knowing and optimizing each step of your sales journey is crucial for converting more leads into booked clients. We’re not just talking about posting on Instagram and hoping for the best here!

This journey starts when a potential couple first becomes aware of you and your services, and it continues all the way through to when they become paying clients.

To make sure your brand speaks to the right people, you need a clear visual representation that captures your aesthetic and style. This helps potential clients instantly understand who you are and what you offer.

To drive traffic to your website, get familiar with the largest visual search engines and learn how to pin and get noticed!

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

Email marketing can also help you grow your list and stay engaged with your audience. Meanwhile, tools like Google Analytics, Keyword Planner, and ads offer a direct route to being discovered by potential clients.

Make sure your website is designed to guide potential clients toward booking you. Creating an effective wireframe and using persuasive copy that leads visitors to take action can significantly boost your success.

Connecting with wedding vendors and planners can transform your business! Working closely with professionals who share your style and vision can elevate your work and expand your network. Vendor referrals can also strengthen your reputation and open doors to new opportunities.

It’s incredibly important that you integrate content pillars and funnel strategies into your marketing strategy to reach not only more potential clients, but the right ones.

By mastering all of these areas, you are guaranteed to increase your visibility and recognition among potential brides and vendors, boosting your reputation as a sought-after destination wedding photographer.

I know 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 course:

Destination wedding photographer captures photo of bride in Amangiri Utah elopement

Build Your Services and Pricing

When you’re just 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 worth it! 

Once you have a few destination weddings under your belt, start refining your services and pricing to match your talent and expertise. 

Including optional add-ons like framed prints or canvases, boudoir sessions, engagement sessions, and day-after-thew-wedding photos can prove highly lucrative! Make sure your clients have options.

You should also build expenses into your proposals to clients, such as flights, transportation once you arrive, lodging, etc. to make sure you don’t operate at a loss when traveling to far-off destinations.

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 destination wedding photographer. Learning how to prep and pack your wedding photography equipment, booking 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!

Here are just a few of my top tips for traveling photographers:

  • Book your own accommodation and flights. If anything goes wrong, your clients won’t have to deal with rearrangements.

  • Renting a car gives allows you to scout the location as you please, travel freely, and transport your equipment securely.

  • Always get travel insurance and business insurance for your equipment. Trust me on this one!

  • Plan out your wedding shoot beforehand and only take the necessary equipment.

  • Backup, backup, and backup again! Use online backups AND memory cards, and store them in multiple spots in case any gear goes missing.

Once you’re back from a destination wedding, it’s time to hunker down and edit those gorgeous snaps. Learn how to streamline your Lightroom workflow so you can continue to show up as a professional even after the shoot is done, delivering the happy couple’s photos on time.

Becoming a traveling wedding photographer requires a lot more work than just packing a bag on a whim and shooting in beautiful locations. But hopefully, this guide has shown you that you can do it if your heart is really in it!

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

Don’t let all the steps for becoming a destination wedding photographer keep you from chasing 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 become a destination wedding photographer in my course – Your Ticket to Destination Weddings

Every single step in this article (and a whole lot more) is covered, which means:

  • Module 1: You’ll discover your business’s “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 all the answers you need! 
  • Module 2: You’ll create high-quality content to showcase in your portfolio and in your marketing material 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! Hit the link below and let’s do this together.