Should I hire a traveling photographer? Or should I go with the photographer that was provided to me by the resort / hotel?

I was chatting with a friend of mine.

He had just gotten married in the Bahamas and had a wonderful time at the location.

Eventually, we got around to talking about the photos that was taken of him and his wife.

Although I was happy with the photos that were taken, I wasn’t happy about the packages he was offered.

For a flat fee of $2,000, he was only given about twenty images, some prints, and a booklet.

After I voiced my displeasure about what he got for the money he paid, he asked me how it was like to travel for events.

I told him that, to me, the extra thousand dollars or so to hire a good photographer far outweighs the savings of getting an on-site photographer.

My problem was that all he got were photos.

Anyone can get photos and take photos.


Why hire MediaSmith or any other photographer company to go abroad and take photos?


1.       Creating a Relationship Between the Client and the Company

My emphasis has always been on customer service.

Meeting face-to-face with the client beforehand helps me get to know their wants and needs.

It also allows me to build a relationship with them.

The relationship that I build with clients helps me understand what type of pictures they want.

I should emphasize, however, that I don’t do pictures entirely off of what my client wants.

Creating the relationship allows me to show them how MediaSmith’s art style meshes with the style of photography/videography they have in mind.

2.       You will be able to “demo” the photographer with an engagement shoot

At this point, you are already set on that photographer and you are definitely going to bring them along for the ride.

However, being able to see how the photographer handles work flow will give you confidence that your photos are in the right hands.

Furthermore, portfolio pictures aren’t everything.

I am very cautious about what I’ve seen in people’s portfolios.

When you do an engagement shoot, you can be 100% certain that the photographer is taking the photos that you will like.

3.       Your photographer will be there from the beginning of the trip to the end of the trip

If you plan out the flights correctly, your photographer could be available for more than the day that you could book the local photographer.

When I looked at the photos that my friend had taken of him and his bride, they were without reception photos and without photos of them getting ready for the day.

All of MediaSmith’s photos tell a story.

We want you to be able to run through all of our photos and tell exactly how the day was.

4.       Get pictures as soon as they are taken.

This is a big one for me since we live in an age where everyone wants to share their stories as soon as they happen.

Instead of waiting a week or two after your wedding is done to share memories with your family and friends, why not share it with them immediately after it has happened?

If the photographer is editing on their laptop (like we do), then they will be able to have one or two pictures to you by the time dinner ends!

5.       Finally, costs!

I am huge on numbers.

I want to be able to compare what I am getting and I want the best possible deal at the best possible price.

Weigh out the cost of travel and the package of the photographer versus the cost of the local photographer that is looking to earn your business at your destination.

If you are getting more for your money by hiring a photographer to travel with you, then go with the photographer you have to be travel for.

If you get exactly what you want from the local photographer and their style fits what you want, then go with the local photographer.


What does MediaSmith charge for photography outside of the Phoenix area?


The reality is that good photography costs money!

Here at MediaSmith, I’ve made it a point that the only additional costs that people pay when we go abroad is the cost of travel.

That means my clients get receipts for the following:

  • Rental car
  • Travel costs associated with flying (i.e. cost of flight and baggage)
  • Hotel
  • Miscellaneous flat cost (i.e. food, gas for car, etc.)

We charge them an expected fee (some places give estimates – not the actual total).

And if the total ends up being more than the amount already paid, we DO NOT charge our client more.

However, if the total ends up being less than expected (e.g. we were given a discount), then we refund the client the difference!


What should a traveling photographer charge you?


If I were you, I would ask the photographer to itemize what they are charging you for.

I do not look for profit from travel when going for travel.

Essentially, I do not charge a penny over the cost of travel because I feel like that would be unethical and I wouldn’t want my clients to pay for that.

If you take a look at the bulleted list above, that is exactly what I would look for when asking a photographer what you are paying for.

Are you not completely sold on getting a photographer to travel with you?

Hey, that’s completely fine.

My job here isn’t to try to get you to buy from us or other photographers.

It is to try to give out free information about what options are available to you.

It’s just that when I see someone paying $2,000 or $3,000 for a package and they didn’t get the best bang for their buck, I feel for them.

I want what’s best for my clients.

For that same price point, if I could be there for my client and give them a better service, then I would be more than happy to book a corporate event or wedding abroad.

Again, if you’re getting few pictures and a booklet for $3,000, then pay that same amount to another photographer, fly them in, take care of them, and then they will take care of you.


Thanks for visiting, everyone.


If you are at all interested in working with us, please click here:

If you have the opportunity, please check out our main site by clicking here:

We are Phoenix, AZ based and we primarily are hired for events in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff (in that order).

I travel abroad for shoots maybe three or four times a year.

My crew accompanies me on local shoots.

We look forward to working with you in the future!