When it comes to picking a photographer for your destination wedding in Mexico, you have no shortage of choices!
This list of local photographers in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Playa Mujeres is compiled from companies past, present, and future brides are using (over 6000 of them over my 7 years of helping brides plan their destination weddings!) with loads of amazing reviews and photos to prove it!
I completely understand that hiring someone you don’t really know and having them photograph the more important memories of your life is a big deal. It can be nerve-wracking.
Outside vendors offer big value for often much less of what it would cost to use the resort photographer or bringing one from home – but the benefits don’t stop there.
Let’s take a deeper look, and let this be your guide to easing your nerves about hiring a local photographer for your destination wedding! 😊
It’s inevitable that somewhere along the way, even after countless hours of planning, something may go awry at your wedding. Don’t hate me for saying that, but it’s just a fact. But it’s things we can roll with – your flowers aren’t exactly what you envisioned, your cake is the wrong shade of white, or your crazy uncle is up to his antics again.
But what we can’t fix are our photos. Those are lifetime memories, and there are no do-overs.
This is why I implore you to research your options and take your time with it!
Before hiring an outside vendor, be sure to check your wedding contract policy and ask your wedding coordinator if off-resort vendors are allowed at your wedding! Not all resorts allow this, so before you put your deposit down with your destination wedding photographer, be certain you’re allowed to!
If you’re considering videography as well, many of these photographers offer videography for your wedding, too – more on this later!
This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn compensation when you click on the links at absolutely no extra cost to you! Feel free to read my disclosure policy here. Thank you for supporting my blog!
Why should I hire a local wedding photographer?
There are so many reasons why you should hire a local wedding photographer! Let’s take a look at a few:
- Local photographers know the area. They likely know your resort, the best areas to shoot, how to work with the lighting, and what to do in case of backup. This alone would be worth it to me!
- You’ll save money (and headaches!) – if you’re bringing someone from home, not only do you pay for their wedding photography package, but also all of their expenses. That adds up when you’re trying to save and plan your own wedding! And then what happens if something happens with their flight and it’s delayed? I know I wouldn’t want that added stress!
- It’s legal. More on this later!
Can’t I just use my on-site wedding photographer?
Of course you can! This post isn’t to persuade you one way or another, but rather to inform you of your options and learn about the experience of others.
Here’s a little backstory. I ended up using the resort photographer for my wedding. It was easier. Less coordinating. No vendor fee. And it ended up being my biggest regret. I didn’t get a lot of photos I wanted, and I hardly liked any of them.
Experiences like this are resort-dependent (I’ve had amazing experiences with other on-site photographers!), but since you don’t know who you’re hiring, what their work is like, or what their photography style is, you’re taking a huge gamble.
That being said, I know plenty of brides who are beyond thrilled with their wedding photos. Typically at the more popular wedding resorts (like Dreams Riviera Cancun, for example), the in-house photography team does amazing work.
Developing a relationship with your photographer is extremely important for you to feel comfortable on the day of your wedding. Chances are you’ll be hiring your vendor as soon as you secure your wedding date, and sometimes that can be a year or more away.
By hiring an outside vendor, you’ll be able to form a connection beforehand which helps with YOU being comfortable with THEM and being in front of the camera.
Here’s another tidbit of information for you: you will get way more bang for your buck by hiring an outside vendor (even with the vendor fee!). So not only do you get more value by hiring an outside photographer, but you’ll also have reviews to refer to, past work to look at, and the communication beforehand. That’s worth it, isn’t it?
How do I decide which photographer I want?
This is such a hard question to answer!
Don’t feel pressured to pick the most commonly-used photographer. Do your research, and pick a photographer whose style you love, because everyone is different and there is a ton of variety out there.
Some styles are light and air, others are colourful and vibrant, and some are deep and moody. Which style speaks to you? Connect with them and get a feel for their style – you’ll know soon enough if they’re the right photographer for you or not!
Your answer also is budget-dependent, but you’ll find that most local photographer’s rates are comparable.
When should I book my photographer for my destination wedding?
I always tell brides to start researching options for photography ASAP and book once your date is secured.
Many photographers will only take a certain amount of clients per year due to the time involved in editing, so if you have your heart set on a certain photographer, book them as soon as you have your details sorted out!
How many hours of coverage do I need?
It depends. What do you want covered for your wedding? Just the ceremony? Getting ready, ceremony and reception? If you have an idea of what you want, convey this to your photographer and they’ll be able to assist you with your planning.
I had mine for 3 hours, which covered getting ready, the ceremony, and group photos afterwards. Many brides usually get 6-8 hours of coverage, which also covers the reception!
Do I need more than one photographer?
When speaking to your photographer, they will be able to help guide you with what you need for your wedding. There are many factors that come into play when deciding if you just need one photographer, or two!
Having two photographers may help ease your stress about making sure all the details are covered. But leave it up to the pros – they know best!
Ask yourself these questions before you talk to your photographer:
- What moments do you want captured? If you want getting ready photos for both of you, and if your rooms are on opposite sides of the resort (like mine was), that will eat up a lot of time.
- How many guests are you expecting? If you have a large number of guests attending your wedding, you will want more than one photographer to capture all of the moments from your guests as well.
- Do you want a lot of decor and setup photographs? Photographing these little details takes time. One photographer can’t take photos of you plus all of the decor, so this is another instance where two is better than one!
- How long do you want coverage for? Do you just want the ceremony covered? Are you having a reception? These are all things that come into play. If your day is spread out with getting ready photos, ceremony, reception, etc., then you’ll likely need more than one photographer. It’s difficult, though not impossible from what I’ve been told, to shoot a wedding alone for 8 hours, but staying at full attention for that long is challenging for anyone!
And, don’t let the vendor fee scare you off, because even if your vendor fee is per person, there is a huge chance you’ll come out ahead.
Do I need to give a list of photos I want to my photographer?
If you’re hiring a professional local wedding photographer, this isn’t their first gig. They know what they’re doing!
That being said, it’s a good idea to have some idea of the style of photos and photo ideas you want. This is why creating a Pinterest board is a good idea, and in fact, some photographers may even ask that you put one together to share with them!
They’ll take inspiration from your vision board and give it its own character (keeping in mind the lighting and weather may also affect the exact pose you’re trying to recreate). Let the professionals handle it – they want you to be happy, too!
I only wish I had a list because I used the in-house photography team and missed out on some important shots, like just myself and my mom. You can’t get those moments back.
My wedding package includes free photography. What can I use them for?
I get it – you don’t want to waste the photography included in your wedding package and you may be feeling some pressure to not let that go to waste. I wouldn’t either!
Here are some ideas of what you can use your included photography for at your destination wedding:
- Welcome party
- Rehearsal dinner
- Trash the Dress shoot
I’m a huge proponent of making sure you get the most value of your wedding package, and this is a great way to get coverage from some of your other planned wedding events!
Do I need to tell my wedding coordinator I’m bringing in an outside photographer?
Yes! Your wedding coordinator will need to know who your photographer is, and charge any vendor fees associated with bringing in an off-site photographer.
Destination Wedding Photographers in Cancun and Riviera Maya
I wasn’t kidding when I said you have no shortage of choice for photographers at your destination wedding!!!
Santiago Gabay Photography
Studio by the Ferry
Moshi Moshi Photography
Alive Photo Studio
Moments that Matter
Ivan Luckie Photography
Citalli Rico Photography
Oscar Zarate Photo
Button up Photography
Amorcito Corazon Studio
Del Sol Photography
Mayan Riviera Photography
Dean Sanderson Weddings
Sebi Messina Photography
Fun in the Sun Weddings
Sotero Cancino Photography
Moni & Adri Weddings
IWANT Wedding Photographer & Videographer
Jaime Glez Photography
Do I have to tip my destination wedding photographer?
Tipping goes a long way, and there are lots of opinions on what is recommended when it comes to tipping. That’s why I compiled the ultimate guide to tipping at destination weddings, plus a handy printable for you!
Don’t feel pressured into tipping and work with what’s in your budget. Tipping is very subjective, but I’m a firm believer that if you have great service and are happy with the results, it’s a kind gesture to tip.
Plus, word of mouth and reviews are also worth their weight in gold (social media, Google reviews, Wedding Wire, Facebook groups, those sorts of things!).
Do I need to supply my photographer with a meal?
Vendors who are with you for hours need to eat too. But the good news is, their meals won’t cost as much as your wedding guests’.
This will either be in your photographer’s contract, your own wedding contract, or both. It doesn’t hurt to ask your wedding coordinator!
How long does it take to get my wedding photos back?
This is a question you can ask your photographer – it will also be listed in your photography contract. The average length of time is between 8-10 weeks. I know that can feel like ages, but it’s worth the wait!
There’s a lot of work involved with editing photos. You’ll be given a preview to help tide you over in the meantime. 😊
*If you’re using your in-house photographer, you’ll likely end up going home with your DVD of images, plus any photo books you’ve picked out.
Can I bring a photographer from home?
I say this with caution: yes you can. However, it is technically not legal for a photographer from outside of Mexico to work at your wedding.
It is possible that if customs believes your vendor is coming to shoot your wedding, they can confiscate their equipment and then you’ll be left without a photographer (as well as all other costs incurred by you, like flight and accommodations!).
Many brides bring their photographer from home, but just be aware of the situation in the event something like this happens to you!
Won’t it cost more to hire an outside vendor?
Contrary to what many brides believe, this is not the case. Even with some of the exorbitant vendor fees, you can still end up paying less than using the on-site photographer.
Resorts are banking on you using the in-house photographer. This means they are able to charge more (and get away with it). But with that comes less of a deal. You don’t know who you’re getting to photograph your wedding, you don’t know the skills of the photographer, what their work is like, or even their name prior to your wedding.
The local outside photographers know this. Their rates are often much less than the in-house team, and you get so much more value for your money PLUS the experience, reputation, and the ability to communicate with them and form a friendship beforehand!
I really want to hire an outside photographer but my vendor fee is high. What should I do?
The local photographers in Cancun/Riviera Maya/Tulum are well aware of these vendor fees. If you’re finding it difficult to make it work with the vendor fee, let them know and they’re more than happy to work with you, if needed, to help offset the fees.
I’m considering videography for my destination wedding but I’m on the fence. Do you have any advice?
The topic of videography can be (and will be!) a whole other subject, but this is what I always tell brides:
If you’re even remotely considering videography, do it.
I didn’t want it and I don’t regret it, but there are many who were on the fence and didn’t get videography and wished they did. It’s better to have it and only watch it a handful of times than to not have it and regret it.
Should I hire one company that does photography and videography?
If you like the videography style of your photographer, then you may be able to save some money and save on the vendor fee (unless the vendor fee is charged based on service and not per service).
Hiring the same company can help with communication, too, since you’ll only be dealing with one company and not two.
That being said, there are tons of amazing videographers in Mexico to pick from. If your chosen photography team doesn’t offer it, ask them for recommendations!
Looking for packing lists?
- What to Include in Destination Wedding Welcome Bags
- Questions to Ask Your Destination Wedding Resort
- Beautiful Barefoot Sandals for your Destination Wedding
- Cancun and Riviera Maya Wedding Makeup Artists
- The Ultimate Guide to Tipping at Destination Weddings
- Best Destination Wedding Tips and Advice from 30+ past brides!
- Alternative Destination Wedding Guest Book Ideas
- 8 Reasons to have a Destination Wedding
- Best Adults-Only Resorts in Mexico (Perfect for Honeymoons!)
- Awesome Private Airport Transfers in Cancun
- Fun Excursions in Cancun & Riviera Maya
- What to Pack for an All-Inclusive Vacation (plus Printable Checklist)
- 20 Cheap Travel Items Under $20 (that are actually useful!)
- What to Pack in a DIY Travel Medical Kit