Complete Guide to Hiring a Photographer for Your Destination Wedding

I am a Utah-based destination wedding photographer. I’ve photographed hundreds of engagements, elopements, and weddings since I started my small business, but there is something about a destination wedding that really appeals to me. Getting to travel to a place I’ve never been and experience a culture different from mine is exciting and challenging, and it creates a special bond with the couple that I work with. And nothing is more rewarding than seeing a client light up when they see their destination wedding photos for the first time. 

Clients also come to me from all over the United States to be their Utah destination wedding photographer. Because I’m a local, I know all of the most romantic spots to take elopement, engagement, and wedding photos. I also travel to other states like my home state Georgia, and even as far north as Juneau for an Alaska engagement session

As a traveling wedding photographer, I know the ins and outs of weddings both in the states and abroad, and am always ready to help guide my clients through any rough spots that appear both before and on the day. I’m also a great resource for how to find and hire a wedding photographer who can perfectly capture all of the sweet and intimate moments of your big day.

Kelsey & Austin’s Destination Wedding in Negril, Jamaica

So, how do you hire a destination wedding photographer?

The first thing to know when considering which photographer is best for you is that the process isn’t that much different from hiring a local wedding photographer, but there are a few things to keep in mind. 

First, you need to decide whether you want to work with a photographer from the same place you live, or with a photographer based in the country or area you will be getting married. A photographer who is based abroad may know the area and even be a fantastic photographer, but if they don’t speak the same language or are in a different time zone, it can be hard to forge a genuine connection before the day of the wedding. A great advantage of hiring a local photographer with traveling experience is that it will likely be easier to connect with them, and they will be more likely to be problem solvers and be an asset to you on your wedding day. 

Whichever kind of photographer you’re looking for, there are a few key ways to find out how to hire the best destination wedding photographer for you.

Look at Reviews

A quick Google search for “destination wedding photographers near me” will likely bring up dozens of results for photographers who specialize in exactly what you’re looking for. Before looking at their galleries or reading their blog posts, look at their reviews! A highly reviewed and highly rated destination wedding photographer will have glowing testimonials that will give you some insight into what you could expect when you work with them.

Check Out Their Social Media

Another way to find a great photographer is through social media. Most of us are on our social media apps for at least several hours a day, so take some time to search “destination weddings” and “destination wedding photographers” into the search on Instagram or Pinterest. See something you like? Now is the time to head to the photographer’s website and look at photos from previous sessions, learn about them and their pricing, and even set up a phone call to see who you vibe with.

Ask Them How Often They Travel

Many destination wedding photographers aren’t just located in the area you want to get married, but travel all over the world to photograph weddings. If it looks like the local photographer whose style you love doesn’t travel often, or has never been to your wedding location, that might be a sign they’re not a good fit for you. The best way to find out what amount of travel they are up for is to ask before going any further!

Alaska Destination Photographer

How much do destination wedding photographers charge?

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to the question of how much it costs to hire a destination photographer. There are many factors, but you can typically estimate the pricing if you factor in the amount the photographer usually charges for their services, then add on two flights, accommodations, and other things like meals and transportation.

 If you want to know how much your photographer will charge for a destination wedding, ask them directly. Most traveling photographers have a good grasp on how stressful wedding planning can be, and will be upfront and honest with you. If they are vague or not willing to put in the effort to give you a realistic price, you can take them off your list of potential photographers. 

Alice and Sam live in Florida and hired me for their wedding in Ocala.

Other Things to Consider When Hiring Your Photographer

Most photographers know the importance of having a good reputation, and if your chosen photographer has stellar online reviews, a robust portfolio, and a thoughtful social media presence, you most likely don’t have to worry about them doing a great job for you on your special day. There are, however, a few things to look out for to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Are they looking for a free trip?

This is perhaps one of the most potentially disappointing aspects of hiring a photographer for a destination wedding. It’s often not easy to tell until you get to your wedding location whether or not your photographer is there for you or is there for a free vacation. Some ways to judge this beforehand include ensuring that they have traveled before, and viewing the images they took while there. If their destination wedding photos are just as quality as their regular images, that’s a sign they took the job seriously. You can also usually tell just from talking to a photographer whether their heart is in the right place—trust your gut on this one.

Do they prioritize their client experience?

One of the biggest red flags that a photographer might not be a good fit for you is if they only care about taking flashy photos with gorgeous backdrops, and care less about the experience of their individual clients. Sometimes you can spot this on their Instagram or blogs. If their captions or content are more focused on how beautiful the scenery was and less about how glowing the couple was, that’s an indicator they’re not in it for the right reasons. 

Your photographer should help you scout the best locations, but if they are only interested in iconic photo spots and not what you and your partner feel most comfortable with, that’s not a good sign. A good photographer will want their couples to feel at ease, a surefire way to  capture magical moments.

Jamaica Destination Photographer

Courtney Blair Photo: Travel Wedding Photographer

Are you looking for an adventurous, well-seasoned destination wedding photographer? I’m a Utah wedding photographer who not only captures beautiful photos in and around the Park City area, but I also travel across the country and even across oceans to help my clients get the perfect photos! If you’re wanting an Alaska elopement photographer or somewhere warm, I am happy to help you! For more information about my services and pricing, get in touch today!

Documenting Alaska & Utah elopements, intimate weddings, & portraits

Running Away From A Wedding That Feels

I’ll meet you there. Happy to run, walk, or climb — all adventures are welcome here.

(With an adventure elopement photographer like me?)