By Jared Benoff | Published on June 27, 2023

One of the questions couples always ask is about photography for your destination wedding. 

You’re getting married in paradise. 

Your friends and family are traveling all over to celebrate with you. 

You want to capture the memories in the most stunning way possible. 

But where do you start, and how do you budget appropriately when hiring a photographer for your destination wedding?

Whether you’re getting married on a dreamy white sand beach in Mexico, a pier overlooking the blue ocean, or a tropical garden, you’ll want to hire a photographer who understands your aesthetic and can make you feel at ease in front of the camera.

So how do you go about selecting the right destination wedding photographer? 

How much does it cost to hire a wedding photographer?

A typical destination wedding photographer will cost between $3,000 – $6,000. 

The cost fluctuation here is because of factors like the length of time you want them, whether you need them on multiple days, etc. 

More experienced wedding photographers will likely charge more, while newer photographers will charge somewhere on the lower end of the spectrum.

Should we bring a wedding photographer from the United States or hire one at the destination?

Deciding to bring a photographer from home or hire a local one is a big decision, depending on the couple’s wishes and budget.  

Some couples already have an existing preferred photographer at home or can quickly get some recommendations from friends and family who may have gotten married recently. 

But booking a photographer from home comes with extra costs; you typically pay for their flights and accommodation. 

Some couples tell the photographer they have a budget that includes photography and travel combined and will see if that works, as the photographer benefits from “free” travel to the destination. 

If you go down this route, your chosen photographer must have experience with travel. You don’t want to book someone simply looking for a free vacation! 

One downside to hiring a destination wedding photographer from the destination is that you will only meet them in person right before your wedding day. There may also be a language barrier to overcome. 

However, they will have the expertise and experience from shooting weddings at your chosen resort before. 

Photographers who regularly shoot beach weddings will have the best understanding of the specific natural lighting of the beach and the ways to enhance that Caribbean ocean backdrop and sky. 

Hopefully, they’ll know the resort well and take you to the most beautiful spots for your wedding shoot that someone else may not know about.

Will the resort recommend a photographer?

Yes. Each resort will have several local wedding photographers they work with and will recommend to you. You can then research each one and contact them for an initial chat.

It’s worth noting, however, that when you book a wedding package with the resort that includes photography, it’s unlikely that you will get to choose your wedding photographer, although you can see their portfolio as part of the booking process. 

It would help if you also spoke to your wedding planner, who may give you different local options than the resort.

How do I choose which is the right destination wedding photographer for us?

Once you’ve been given the names of some local photographers, we recommend you look at their website and social media profiles.

All good photographers will have their own Instagram accounts, so follow them and look through their feeds to get a feel for their style. Make a note of the photos that stand out to you and the styles that you love.

You can then contact the local photographers with the photos you are most drawn to. Be sure to check their availability on your wedding day first, as you want to ensure they can make your wedding date. 

You can set up video calls to chat with them – this will give you the best chance of getting to know them and seeing if there is a connection.

Make sure you talk to them about the style of wedding photography you love. 

Also, discuss the number of events you want them to shoot, the number of hours, and any other specifics before discussing the price. 

It’s also worth checking that they will bring a second shooter – capturing your wedding from different angles is important.

Also, ask your photographer if they have any other ideas or suggestions for your wedding photography – some may suggest ideas you have yet to think of.

Do you book accommodations for the photographer? 

If you are using a local photographer, then no, you are not expected to pay for accommodation for them. 

If you are flying someone in, then yes, accommodation will be expected to be covered.

How soon after the wedding can you see the photos? destination wedding photographer | beach wedding | cancun mexico

We understand that all newlyweds want to see their wedding photos as soon as possible after the big day… the excitement and anticipation of seeing the best parts of your dream wedding day are huge! 

However, all good wedding photographers take time to edit and grade their photos, and destination wedding photographers are no different.

For the weddings we work on in Mexico and the Caribbean, couples typically get the previews as early as the next day (very exciting!), but the complete set of edited photos will take around 6-8 weeks. 

Examples of destination wedding photographers

Here are two amazing destination wedding photographers we have previously worked with and would recommend. 

  • Adventure Photo – they are a team of passionate photographers and videographers working for AM Resorts in the Cancun area – for properties including Secrets, Dreams, and Breathless. They offer several packages for you to choose from. Check out their Instagram here.
  • James & Weddings – these guys work with the Karisma resort properties around the Riviera Maya. Their most popular package is called “Light Full of Love,” which has 6 hours of photography coverage, but they are also happy for couples to customize a package to their requirements. See their Instagram here.


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Will the resort charge an outside vendor fee?

Each resort has a different policy on bringing external vendors for your wedding. If we look at the Dreams Playa Mujeres resort as an example, they state that outside authorized vendors are permitted. Still, they do not take any responsibility for the service provided to them. The resort will charge a small fee of $150 per vendor brought in. 

Recap: What to know before hiring a destination wedding photographer

We hope our breakdown on the tips and tricks for choosing a photographer for your destination wedding has pointed you in the right direction. 

The photos are a key part of your planning process and your special day so you should take time to think about what you really want and what will fit your budget.

Be bold, ask questions, and book early to avoid disappointment. 

Need help planning? 

Our experienced wedding planners at Destination Weddings by Vacationeeze are with you every step of the way.

With decades of experience planning hundreds of weddings, our team understands what couples are looking for and how to navigate working with the resorts. 

Our dedicated team will work with all your friends and family so you can focus on planning your dream wedding.

Ready to start planning your big day?

Call us at 215-454-2070 or get in touch with us here

Looking forward to chatting soon! 


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About The Author

Jared Benoff

Jared is a certified destination wedding travel advisor and has been recognized as a top agent by Palace Resorts, Karisma Resorts, Lomas Hospitality, and Hyatt Inclusive Collection.

He caught the travel bug early in his life as his parents (the founders of Vacationeeze!) instilled a passion for travel and adventure in him and his siblings.


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