How Much Should You Charge to Travel to a Wedding?
Oooooooo, this is controversial, but there at four ways to approach the conversation of travel fees. As a photographer, my approach has changed as my priorities have changed. As an 18 year old starting out, I ate the travel fees because I wanted to see the world and I didn’t want there to be a barrier between a couple flying me to Hawaii because of the obvious extra cost of getting there. I desperately wanted to see anywhere anyone requested me to travel to. And with this approach- my travel fees weren’t built into my overall price, which I learned as I got older was that I was losing money and not being paid what I was worth.
That is approach #1, which fit my lifestyle at the time (living in a 56 square foot bedroom and crying about not having time for friends and staying up until 2am to finish editing because the reality is, traveling to a wedding basically takes up half of your week. I was stuck and I surely couldn’t afford to outsource my editing.
#2 You can Include travel fees into your overall cost. This is the approach I lean on now, because it doesn’t appear to the clients that they’re being charged a travel fee and still removes the barrier of travel costs when it comes down to actually booking their wedding. This approach most of the time makes couple feel like they’re getting a “deal”. You can say, “I would to travel to “x” and I can cover the travel costs (little do they know that travel fees are built into the quote.
#3 Charging a flat travel fee for clients. Quite a few photographers I know charge around $2,000 to travel from NYC to LA. Of course you can manage to book travel + accomodations for less than that. This fee also covers the time spent away from your life or family. This is any photographers dream, but not always realistic when you’re first starting out.
#4 Having clients book your travel + accommodations. Sometimes, clients will book you on a flight with no connections and a room at a hotel that is better than what you would have booked yourself. Many many many photographers will warn against this. You are subject to the whims of your clients and at the end of spending all of their money on their wedding, they could potentially book you on a flight that is unnecasarily long and your couldl be at the Motel 6. No shade here, but after 14 hours of shooting + being in a different timezone, you don’t want to be worrying about security + bedbugs. Obviously, this is not always the case and I have to admit that some clients go above and beyond and make sure you’re getting the very best sleep before their wedding day. But- this is not always the case.
I really hope that this is hopeful for some of you- whether you’re just now discovering the nuances of wedding photograph or you’ve been around the block a few times.