Picking A Destination Wedding Photographer

In August, 2011 I got married in Riviera Maya, Mexico. As a photographer, I was a bit worried about hiring a resort approved photographer because there was minimal way for me to get to know the options prior. All the websites were horrible and the portfolios were worse. After much debate and number crunching, we went with the option that provided the most photos and all the originals on DVD. Turns out that the package also included two albums (which we received before leaving Mexico).


While this worked for Melissa and I, it may not work for everyone. So here with that said, here are some tips.. some items to consider when deciding on a destination wedding photographer.

Deciding On A Destination Wedding Photographer

  • Bring your own photographer: while this might be an amazing option, it could be the most expensive. We were considering this option ourselves, but add travel and hotel on top of the actual shooting price and it was close up there.
  • Find a local photographer to your destination: Pay the resort an extra fee to “bring your own”. At our resort it was $500 to hire my own from “outside”
  • Build your own package: Like a resort approved photographer, but not their package? Ask to build your own but be aware you might have to pay the resort that same fee for “bringing your own photographer”. At my resort it was $500 added for a custom package.

So those are you options for getting around what the resort specifies. If you have experienced something different, please comment so my readers can learn from you as well.

If you’re bringing your own photographer that is local to your destination, find out if you pay the resort or if you pay the photographer direct.

Choosing A Resort Approved Photographer

My resort had five photography companies to choose from. Within each of those companies I had the ability to request a specific photographer. Here is what I did, and what I recommend for others to do.

  • Review the photography company portfolio
  • Review each individual photographer’s portfolio, if available
  • If one company has a preferred package over another, reach out to the photography company directly and ask for a custom portfolio to be created from your destination (resort) and more specifically and importantly, a resort wedding.

I did these things and as it worked out so well. Because of how busy resort photographers are, it did take some time to receive replies from the photographers, but I had a chance to see my custom portfolio. Melissa and I picked the company for our wedding.


Extra Destination Wedding Tips

  • Bring your own cameras
  • Have a guest be an extra photographer
  • Bring your own tripod
  • Bring your own video camera
  • Sit back, relax and get married

In Closing

To sum this up. Do research and choose wisely (note: Indiana Jones rocks!). Don’t pick blindly. Ask questions before picking. When you get to your destination and meet the photographer, he/she will likely ask you if you’re looking for anything specific. Don’t be shy… tell the photographer what you’d like.

Make sure the photograph you choose for your destination wedding meets the following criteria that you prefer:

  • Portfolio
  • Personality
  • Style
  • Packages
  • Price
  • Testimonials
  • Flexibility

Melissa and I couldn’t have been happier with our choice and the result. We received just under 1,000 photographs on DVD, two albums and 100 edited photographs in a ZIP file – one month later (which we knew about).

As a side note: our photographer was told (I wonder by who) that I was a photographer, so he asked me if I thought of any specific shots I wanted. What I found just awesome was that he said “no problem” and “on the list”. What a guy!

As I said earlier, if you have more tips to share please comment below so my readers can learn from you as well.

Thanks for reading,

This Post Has One Comment

  1. My fiance and I are getting married in Mexico next year and we want to make sure that the photos match the beauty of the location. I like how you point out that the most important thing to remember when choosing a destination wedding photographer is the importance of doing your research. That will be the only way to know exactly what to expect. I imagine that a large part of this will include looking at their portfolios and reviews from former clients to get a feel of what the photographer is like. We’ll be sure to reference this as we are looking around.

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