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We know there are a LOT of questions that come up when planning a destination wedding: What location should I choose?  What should I put in my OOT bags? What vendors do I need to book?  How much is this going to cost?!


We wanted to start this thread to help answer some of your Photography related questions.  We have a lot of wonderful sponsors on BDW that are experts in the Photography field.  Have a question about where to take photos, how many photos you will receive, policies about bringing outside photographers to certain resorts, photo editing, and more? This is a great place to post your photography questions and receive answers!


Happy Wedding Planning!

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Love this thread!  Thank you!

Hi everyone.  My name is Lori Lemieux and I am a wedding photographer in the Cancun/Mayan Riviera area.  My company is Sweet Fire Photography and I have 3 years of experience photographing weddings here.  I just wanted to share with you, the answers to questions I am frequently asked.  I am commenting based on my experience in this area only.  I hope you find the answers useful.  Please let me know if you need any clarification.  

1.  What other fees are associated to having photographers at the resort?

There are three common ways for us to gain access to the resort.  Each resort has their own policies and you must check with your wedding coordinator to find out their requirements.  The three most common are Day Passes for each person, a room booked for the night, or a special fee charged for External Providers.  

It is a good idea to sort out the passes before your photographer arrives at the resort otherwise they could get held up at the security gate.  

Some photographers may charge a fee for travel and accommodations, depending on where your wedding is and how much coverage you are booking.

2.  Why should I hire a professional wedding photographer?

Some couples are lured by the low cost of having friends or family members take photos of their day. Almost everyone knows a bride that has been upset by their "uncle Joes" wedding photos. This is the reason I became interested in wedding photography. I'd known too many couples less than satisfied when putting such important memories in the hands of someone inexperienced.

Photography can be very stressful for a guest.  Your friends and family would like to come enjoy your destination wedding with you.  Invite them to share your day instead of stressing about your photography.  Let the professionals take on that responsibility.  We have a trained eye to look for emotions & moments that you may not even realize are there until you see your images.

Another perk that a professional can deliver is post digital editing.  Most photographers will digitally enhance every one of your images for better color and composition.  Professional computer programs and skills are required for such digital effects.

Many destination brides will say that the most important images are their newlyweds. The wedding couple is rarely used to posing for the camera.  Your photographer will be there to guide you in order to create beautiful natural images.  "Uncle Joe" may not have the expertise it takes to lead these portrait sessions.

3.  How long does it take to process our Wedding Photography package? When can we expect to receive it?

This is different for each photographer based on their workload.  I aim to deliver packages within one month.  Sometimes it is more, but often it is less.  I ship the packages via express courier which arrives at your address within 2-3 business days.

4.  What kind of 'touch ups' are done to my Wedding Photos?

Without getting too technical, the most most common digital enhancing that I do to your images is to adjust the light and color.  Youâ€ve likely noticed that the professional images always seem to have fantastic vibrance and contrast.  That happens during the digital editing and is applied to each image individually.

Some examples of other modifications are; cropping distracting items, covering imperfections in skin, softening or brightening colors, adding artistic effects.  Every photographer is different and will have their own creative vision for these special effects.

5.  My wedding package at the resort included a photographer for 2 hours and a 30 minute video. Will there be any issues having the extra photographers during the ceremony? How can I use their services to get the most possible coverage of our wedding day?

The challenge we may encounter with extra photographers is that it will be impossible to keep them out all your photos.  They may appear in more photos than you would like.  From past experience and information from other brides, having the resort photographers at the ceremony will not add any value to your entire wedding package.

With that being said, if you have another photographer that is included in your wedding package I recommend you ask your wedding coordinator about using him/her for another day. They will normally allow you to use their services for a rehearsal dinner, engagement shoot, or TTD. Another option is to have them capture the "cocktail hour" with your guests, while you are off with the photographers for your newlywed session.

I obviously understand your desire for a video of your special ceremony and will 100% work with anyone else you have capturing your wedding but, you just need to realize that they may set their video equipment in the most optimal position. This will mean we cannot move in front of the video camera, nor take photos from that position.  As well, that video equipment can be present in alot of photos from other angles. This is a concern whether they are taking video or still images.  We will be “competing†with them for the best angle on those important moments.

This is not a huge issue, we are used to working with videographers and can respect each others space.  It will limit what we can do, but we will make it work :-).

6.  Are all the photos you take on my wedding day included in my package? Will I be able to reproduce these photos? Or do you retain the 'rights'?

Every photographer offers a different package.  In photo journalistic photography it is very common to deliver a DVD of high resolution files, without copyright, that you will have full rights to reproduce and share as you see fit.  Normally, not all files are included in your package.  The first thing I do during editing is review all the images and select all the best.


The files you will receive from me, are .JPG format. This format can be viewed on basically any computer or dvd player and accessed and printed by any photo shop you choose.

7.  What is a TTD? Will it ruin my dress?

"Trash the Dress" is a bit misleading in terms of damage to your dress.  A typical TTD session includes walking through the jungle or town, lying in the sand, getting into the ocean, cenote or pool.  Most dresses can withstand the sandy beach and salty water without a problem.  I recommend rinsing your dress with fresh water when you return to your room.  Once you are back home, you can have it cleaned and more often than not, it will be as good as new.  Ironically, the dress tends to get a bit dirty on the wedding day, while the TTD cleans it.

Depending on the dress it is possible that lace can get torn, and beads can be lost.

8.  If I book a TTD or engagement photo session do I have to pay for you to enter the resort for a second day?

If sessions are scheduled on consecutive days it may be possible to book a night at the hotel instead of paying the resort day passes for two separate days.  This will give us access to the resort for both days.  The vendor fee normally does not apply when we are booked into your resort for the night.  You must talk to your wedding coordinator about this.  All resorts are different.

If your second session is to take place in the hometown of your photographer then most will have a public location or two to bring you where no fees apply.

9. Where will we do the TTD?  Can we leave the resort?

Most photographers offer (and probably recommend) the option of leaving the resort for the TTD session.  Playa Del Carmen offers alot of beautiful and colorful architecture, mature plants & flowers, as well as rustic and rundown buildings - perfect for a TTD!!

If you have something else in mind, please let us know and we can discuss whether or not it will work.  I always welcome new ideas that will make this shoot unique to you and reflective of your personalities!

The resort is a good option too, as there is always alot of stuff around to work with (ocean of course, palm trees, pools, etc).  But since you will have most of that in the photos of the wedding day, it may be ideal to switch locations for the TTD.

10. I can't decide how much coverage I need for my wedding day. How will a typical wedding day unfold?  When will we break for photos?  How much time do we need for pictures?

The amount of coverage you'll want will depend on the schedule of your day, as well as what you would like captured.  A typical wedding will unfold something like this:

 ~ Girls head to spa for hair and makeup appointments.
 ~ Depending on the timing of your events you may want to eat before you put on your dress.  Have someone order room service for you (at least an hour or two in advance) or bring you and the girls a few plates from the buffet.
 ~ After the spa, you'll head back to the room for jewelry and dress.  Usually all the bridesmaids are also in the room getting ready and helping you. Once all the bridesmaids are dressed, they will help you get into your dress.
 ~ The boys should plan to be ready about 45 minutes before the ceremony to allow time for a few images and early arrival to the ceremony site.
 ~ When the bride is ready we will take some shots of you alone in the room, as well as a few outside if time and location permits.  While we're outside we'll do a few fun poses with you and the girls (if time permits). Total time required to complete these images is about 30 minutes maximum.
 ~ You'll return to the room and wait for the wedding coordinator to come get you for the ceremony.
 ~ Then, of course, the ceremony, which will be about 20-30 minutes.  I recommend you schedule the ceremony so that it is complete about 1.5 hours before sunset.  That will allow enough time for your newlywed images before the sun goes down.
 ~ If you have scheduled a 'cocktail hour' it is usually directly afterwards, and takes place right at the ceremony location.
 ~ The photographers will set up the equipment for family/group photos, which will begin within about 10-15 minutes after the ceremony. This may run into the cocktail hour but usually only takes about 20 minutes to complete (depending on the number of guests you have and the number of images you'd like. We ask you to prepare a list and send it to us prior to your flight to Cancun).
 ~ If time permits, we can stay at the cocktail hour to capture some candid images, as well as some fun shots of you and your wedding party.
 ~ Then you'll head off with the camera crew to take newlywed images around the resort (we normally spend 1 - 1.5 hours, but can be customized to suit your needs).
 ~ We all head back to meet up with the rest of the group for the reception.
 ~ Evening events you may want captured include cake cutting, first dance, speeches, bouquet/garter toss, and of course.... DANCING!  I recommend a maximum of 1 hour dancing photos.  You will capture the entire story of the party in that time.

My packages are organized by an hourly rate.  We can begin our day whenever you like.  We can capture the story of your entire day if we begin during your hair appointment and finish about an hour into the dance.

11.  Do I have to buy a meal for the photographer at the reception?

This will be different depending on the company you hire.  For packages above 5 hours, we require meals for the photographer(s) and assistant(s).  If you would like us to be available during the reception be sure to include us in the numbers for the meal.  Please be aware though that we normally don't take photos of people while the meal is being served.  It is difficult to capture a flattering angle of people putting food into their mouths.  Haha.  Our presence is more to ensure we are there for unexpected candid moments, speeches starting earlier than expected, as well as capture some images of the entire location.

If meals are not available for us at your reception, we will need to leave to grab a bite to eat at one of the resort restaurants.  You must ensure we have proper permission to eat at your resort.

12.  What kind of equipment do you use?

First and foremost, as many wedding photographers will tell you, the quality of your images has very little to do with the brand or variety of the professional equipment. All professional cameras can deliver high quality images. Remember, the magic that makes people fall in love with those photos, is captured when the wedding couple radiates their love and happiness. So, be yourself, have fun, and the images will take care of themselves.

Secondly, I would like to explain that even though every professional camera can take good quality images, they are only as effective as the photographer behind the lens. I'm talking about both technical skills to use the camera as well as creativity and composition of the scene. A good way to illustrate this is to consider a chef. A chef works with pots, pans, knives, etc... but it's not his tools that make the meal taste so good. The taste comes from the skill in knowing how to use them, and what to mix into them.

With all that out of the way, now is the perfect opportunity to talk about the actual equipment. I shoot with 2 Professional Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera bodies. I use 5 different L series lenses: EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, EF 17-40 mm f/4 L II USM, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM & EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM. You will probably notice it will look like the two of us are taking alot of the same images. The difference will be the lens. Each lens is designed to capture the scene in a unique way.

I also do some creative lighting techniques using off camera flashing, 580EX II Canon speedlite flashes, FlexTT5 Pocket Wizards & video lights.

The images are saved in "Raw" format. This just means that I am capturing as much data possible in order to digitally manipulate the photo afterwards without losing any image quality.

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Hola future brides! This is Lincoln from MTM Photography. I am asked all the time about resort policies and what is required for vendor fees for us to gain access to the resorts? That being said... here is a list of the resorts I have compiled so far. Again... it is always best to ask your wedding coordinator what they require as the rules do change often!




Aventura Spa Palace: Upon arriving at the resort the bride was told external photographers were not allowed, but they would make an exception, just once (and we've only been there once).

Azul Sensatori: $500USD fee, or minimum 3 nights stay.

Barcelo Maya Colonial,
Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe,
Barcelo Maya Caribe,
Barcelo Maya Beach,
Barcelo Maya Tropical: 
 Barcelo has again changed their vendor policy and now requires $500 or a 2 night stay. Often, booking us in for 2 nights can work out cheaper and allows us to pretend to be tourists for a day and enjoy the pool!

Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda: We were able to access the resort without a problem. The bride took care of details but I believe they were required to purchase day passes for us.

Catalonia Yucatan,
Catalonia Riviera Maya:
 Both times we attended we spent the night as guests of the hotel (for a TTD shoot the next day). It is possible you could get away with purchasing day passes only. Either way, we've never had an issue.

Ceiba Del Mar: Rules have recently changed. There is no fee to enter the resort, but they do require a copy of all the images taken at the hotel.

Dreams Tulum  &
Dreams Cancun:
 Day passes only. Entrance is always a breeze. I believe day passes are $45USD but could be double when extending coverage into the evening.

Dreams Puerto Aventuras: Required we have a room booked for the evening, staying as guests of the hotel.

Dreams Riviera Maya (Porto Morelos): Recently, this resort has changed their vendor policy and is asking for a 30% commission fee. They would like us to add this to our prices and pay them directly. We do not hide costs from our brides and the base price for each of our packages is the  same to be fair to everybody.  

El Dorado Seaside Suites,
El Dorado Royale:
 $500USD fee or minimum 3 nights stay at the hotel.

Excellence Riviera Maya: Day passes required.

Excellence Playa Mujeres: Day passes required

Gran Bahia Principe Akumal,
Gran Bahia Principe Tulum,
Gran Bahia Principe Coba:
 We have shot here twice, as exceptions to their rule. Recently they have stopped allowing external photographers on the premises. They offer one local photography company for use at your wedding. Since they do make exceptions, it is worth asking your wedding coordinator but I believe their rules have gotten more strict lately.

Grand Coco Bay: No fees, no problems.

Gran Porto Real Playa del Carmen: Day passes required. Entrance is never a problem.

Grand Palladium White Sands,
Grand Palladium Kantenah,
Grand Palladium Colonial,
Grand Palladium Riviera Maya,
Grand Palladium Royal Suites: 
Required we spend the night. Recently, they have only requested that we have day passes to access the resort for the day. Please contact your wedding coordinator.

Grand Riviera Princess,
Grand Sunset Princess:
 Both Princess resorts now have a $200 vendor fee. They do issue us bracelets so we are able to grab a beverage or meal if need be.

Iberostar Paraiso Beach,
Iberostar Pariso Lindo
: Mixed answers. We have shot there approximately 4 times. A couple times they required we spent the night, and the others were told we weren't allowed but they would make an exception.

Maroma Resort & Spa: Completely welcome here. No charge.

ME Cancun & Beach Palace: Permission was not an issue although I'm not sure if there was a fee at all. Either day passes, or nothing at all.

Moon Palace: We have shot the Moon Palace many times now and haven't had a problem. We've had to spend the night twice and most recently we are only required to have a day pass. They have their own photographers on location and push hard for you to use them. From experience here, if your package includes video and photography there will be ALOT of photographers fighting for space. If you hire us it is best to cancel the photographer included in your Moon Palace package. Moon Palace has a policy of no outside vendors. They will allow you to get around this rule by telling them that you are bringing in your own “guest†to shoot the wedding for you. They may require you to get us a day pass or tell you your “guest†must be booked into the hotel for the night. This is just how the Moon Palace works but will allow us to capture your wedding as your guest. We have been that “guest†many times now.

NOW Sapphire: $300 vendor fee

Occidental Grand Xcaret: Day passes required.

Ocean Turquesa: Originally the bride was told she couldn't have external photographers but when she mentioned she wouldn't be booking her wedding there without us, they quickly bent the rules. We required day passes and accessed the resort without a problem.

Paradisus Riviera Maya: Day passes required.

RIU Palace Riviera Maya: $100 vendor fee

Royal Playa Del Carmen: $100 vendor fee

Secrets Maroma Beach: Day passes required. Entrance is never a problem (and we love shooting at this resort!!)

Sandos Playacar: Another "exception". Bride was originally told "yes" but upon arrival was given another story. The wedding coordinator said we were not allowed, but they would make an exception.

The Royal Playa del Carmen: Day passes required. Entrance is never a problem.


In conclusion, there is usually an exception to every rule here in Mexico. If you ask before confirming your wedding they'll be more likely to bend the rules for you. We ALWAYS require the couple to contact their wedding coordinator for permission. This listing above is based on our experience but here you just never know. Please contact the resorts directly to confirm their policies.

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Thank you so much for starting this thread.   And there is some great information for brides too!!!


Here is our approach to every wedding that we do.


1) Our wedding packages are unlimited hours.  We find it really important to tell the entire story of your day.  We don't want to tell just part of the story.  We want to document the Getting Ready, The Ceremony, Portraits, Cake cutting, bouquet toss, (Garter Toss) and all of the moments in between.  You have already invested in us being there, we might as well stay the whole time to document the day you spent so much time putting time and effort and paying attention to all the little details. 


2) We include a complimentary TTD (Rock the Frock) session with all of our packages.  Normally this happens the next day, and it is really beautiful.  It gives you and your new Husband (or Bride) to be a chance to enjoy each other's company.  We can go to the beach, through the jungle, and anywhere to really make this magic happen.  It is complimentary, and we LOVE this part!


3) There are ALWAYS two photographers at your wedding.  Chris and I work as a team, we are engaged and have practiced the art of telephathy. (kind of).  But we GET each other, and we work well together.  Chris climbs trees, I lay down in the sand, and together we work really hard to get the important photos.  


4) It is not the equipment that makes the photographer, it is true, and Chris and I use the top of the line Canon L series lenses, and Canon bodies.  (this is for the camera buffs out there).  We have taken the time to KNOW our equipment VERY well.  We use flashes that are off camera with wireless triggers, we use the best filters for our cameras, and we have really gotten to know how to read light.  We have studied how light works with our equipment, the best scenarios for different lighting situations and really tried to NAIL every photograph that we take.  (We have a boudoir studio at home, so we are always taking photos, not just wedding season: www.noragrace.ca)


5) Something that is important for Chris and I is to have a CONNECTION with the bride and groom.   We want to know you, what you like, what you love, about your personalities.   We never book a wedding without a) a SKYPE consultation and B) talking on the phone with you a few times before your wedding.  This is important to us.  We want to be your friends.  You will be spending one of the most important days of your life with us, you will be sharing that celebration with us.  It helps that you like us as people as well as our photography.  It also helps that we like you.   We take huge pride in building personal connections with you, because every wedding we shoot is personal to us.  A day before your wedding, we take you out for coffee when we meet face to face.  Each couple that we have shot becomes our friends, and their wedding party too. 


6)  We personally cull and edit each one of our weddings.  We edit for colour correction and so on.  Our editing process takes about a week from the time of your wedding.  You can expect to have your photos within 2-3 weeks from the date of your wedding.  Typically you will have between 600-1000 photos from your day. 


7) When we deliver your photos, we give you high res photos with printing rights.  (We strongly suggest getting them printed through us, because we have relationships with professional photo labs who know our colour calibration, and who we trust with your memories)  However, we understand that because you are not living in the same city as us, because you have your own schedules, we give you printing rights. 


If you have any questions on anything, please give us a call at 514.758.6672 or drop either Chris (chris@nandcphotography.com) or myself (nora@nandcphotography.com).  We look forward to hearing from you all very soon. 




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This is a great idea for a forum post! All the vendors who posted on here thus far are truly amazing at giving great advice! The vendors of everyone on this website really know all there is to know about DW =)

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This is such a great idea for a thread.  As a US photographer who gets flown in for destination weddings, I can try and answer some questions as well.  Here are the ones I get frequently.


How does flying in a photographer from the states work?

It's different for every photographer, but for myself (and most others), you pay for travel and accomodations for three nights.  On top of that, you'll pay a set fee for wedding coverage.  It's different for everyone and every situation, so don't be afraid to ask!  You'd be surprised how reasonable the price ends up being.  My brides typically pay between $2500-3000.


Tulum Trash the Dress Photos


What are the benefits to flying in a photographer?

We are there for you!  You're not just another day at work.  We aren't worrying about quickly leaving your wedding to go capture the wedding that takes place two hours after yours.  We are soley worried about your wedding day and how amazingly we can capture it. 

Additionally, you tend to get more "bang for your buck."  We shoot all day.  You get all the edited images on a disc.  Not just images on the disc, EDITED images on a disc.  Many resorts will give you the images, but they are flat, lifeless jpeg files that will take you hours upon hours to edit.  From us, you'll receive 600-1000+ images from your wedding weekend.  We can photograph other things too, such as your welcome dinner, an engagement session, a family session for your bridesmaids, a group excursion, swimming with the dolphins, trash the dress, etc. 


Dreams Los Cabos Wedding Photos


Is it legal for you to photograph in Mexico?

As long as the proper paperwork is filled out and you abide by the limits and restrictions Mexico has in place, yes.  This is why hiring an experienced destination wedding photographer is key.


Dreams Los Cabos Wedding Photos Fire Dancers


When do I get images back?

We spend hours going through your images and providing you with the best images and edits.  We touch up and enhance every image.  It takes awhile.  Images are typically delivered in 4-6 weeks.

Barcelo Maya Palace Wedding Photos



How does payment work since I'm not located near you?

Common question!  We accept cash, check, credit card, paypal, and money order.  We have a signed contract.  The amount due at booking is the amount due to the travel agent.  The remainder is due just before your wedding.  We have accepted payment from Canada, Seattle, Illinois, Australia, etc.


If you have any questions that I can help answer, please don't be afraid to ask!

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