Tulum Wedding Photographer: A Complete Guide

October 24, 2018

If you’ve been on the search for a wedding photographer in Tulum, you’re at the right place. Tulum will always be special to me because it was the first place I ever visited in Mexico. The experience I had here was a big reason why I decided to leave the US and become a Tulum wedding photographer. Go beyond the beaches and you’ll find incredible nightlife, a town brimming with Mexican culture, and nature unlike anywhere I’ve been in the United States. For those who want to experience the Riviera Maya without the tourism in Cancun, Tulum is the perfect alternative. Whether you’ve just found Tulum on Instagram or have already booked a wedding venue, here’s a quick guide for having a wedding in Tulum straight from a Mexico wedding photographer!

Why You Should Get Married in Tulum

 

tulum wedding photographer

I’ve never been shy about why I advocate for more couples to choose Tulum for their wedding. Tulum is located in the perfect spot on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, full of gorgeous beaches and lush jungle. Being 2 hours from the main airport helps it maintain the perfect balance of tourism. It doesn’t hurt that you’ll likely spend half of what you would for a similar environment back home. To top it off, Tulum makes the perfect honeymoon destination. If you’re on the fence about Tulum but still haven’t been convinced, check out 5 reasons to have a Tulum wedding.

Hiring a Tulum Wedding Photographer – Local or Foreign?

 

For those having a destination wedding, the same question always arises when it comes to hiring a destination wedding photographer. Should I hire from the country I’m getting married in or bring one from my home country? In my experience, there’s pros and cons to both but I’ve noticed that in the case of Tulum, there’s an option of the two that stands out as the best. I’ll explain some of the pros and cons and allow you to come to your own conclusion about hiring a wedding photographer in Tulum!

Local Tulum Wedding Photographer

Hiring a local Tulum wedding photographer comes with a lot of upfront advantages. When I say local, I’m referring to all of Mexico. Tulum is a considerably small town so trying to find someone there would be quite the challenge. I advise looking into bigger cities like Cancun, Merida, or Mexico City, where I’m based. In any case, a Mexican photographer will have the immediate advantage of knowing the language. Additionally, many photographers living in Mexico have already been to Tulum which provides hugely important knowledge of the location.  Hiring locally also helps your budget because it means no travel fees to add to an already expensive occasion. It used to not be as easy to find a local who you could completely trust. Luckily, with Instagram, couples now have direct access to the portfolios of photographers that weren’t as easily accessible before.  

Foreign Tulum Wedding Photographer

I understand the temptation to want to hire a foreign wedding photographer. Bringing someone with you from your home country seems easier at first, but presents lots of hidden hurdles. Some drawbacks present themselves upfront like added travel cost. Others, you don’t notice until it’s too late, like lack of experience shooting destination weddings. Tulum isn’t necessarily hard to get to, but I’m not sure I would feel comfortable shooting a wedding there if I hadn’t already been several times. Living in Mexico has prepared me for communicating with cabs, asking questions about where to get the best photos, and general tips from locals. I can only imagine a handful of destination wedding photographers in the US who would be equipped to deal with the same. For these reasons, I suggest hiring someone in Mexico. 

Where To Get Married in Tulum

 

tulum wedding photographer

My time as a wedding photographer in Tulum has taught me that there’s no bad place for a wedding here. Whether you’re getting married in close proximity to one of the many Mayan ruins that are still accessible or one of the many gorgeous beaches, you’re bound to end up with an incredible ceremony. The recipe for great wedding photos is a beautiful backdrop, and Tulum has a multitude of options for that. If you’re looking for luxury resorts or bohemian-chic hotels, Tulum has enough of both to fit the tastes any couple. I’d also suggest Tulum for a stripped-back beach elopement or small ceremony for those considering an alternative route. There’s something beautiful about an intimate ceremony surrounded by nothing but sand and the sound of the waves.

Choosing a Tulum Wedding Photographer

 

I’m writing this fresh off a 45-minute conversation with a friend about her upcoming wedding in Seville. I’m booked for her dates but I offered to help her with any wedding planning questions that came up. One of her biggest issues was uncertainty about how to find a destination wedding photographer. She went on to ask whether she should hire a team or an individual and how far out of her budget she should go if she found someone she really loved. Answering her questions gave me additional insight into how much consideration goes into choosing a destination wedding photographer. I thought I’d go into detail about the same questions when it comes to choosing the right Tulum wedding photographer.

Budget

Let’s say you’ve found a photographer who checks off everything on the checklist. Their work is phenomenal, they’re friendly and accommodating, overall a perfect fit. The only catch is, they’re a few hundred dollars higher than budgeted, more if you include travel. How do you decide whether or not it’s worth it to spend more than anticipated? In my experience, it’s totally worth it to be willing to stretch your budget for the right Tulum wedding photographer. I get messages from brides years after their wedding telling me how much joy they still get from looking back at their photos. The same simply cannot be said for catering and silverware. If you need to, don’t be afraid to share your budget with a photographer. There’s no risk in trying to see if they’ll accommodate your budget, or at least meet somewhere halfway.

Solo or Team

The reality is, you don’t need to hire an agency or an entire film crew to capture a beautiful wedding. There are plenty of instances I’ve seen when a single Tulum wedding photographer deliver higher quality photos than a team. I’ve also noticed that too many people trying to get the same shot can actually be worse for photos. For high-budget weddings, I’ve seen too many photographers lead to a dip in quality and frustration about getting in each other’s way. For photography, the most you’ll ever need is a second shooter. I recommend hiring a second shooter if your guest-list is over 100 or you care about a second perspective throughout the day. Anything beyond that is frivolous and could do more harm than good.

How to Find a Tulum Wedding Photographer

Whether or not you’ve decided to hire local, finding a Tulum wedding photographer can begin with a simple Instagram search. A few simple hashtags like #TulumWedding or #Tulumweddingphotographer can give you a pool of candidates to choose from in seconds. There are also Facebook groups of brides and brides-to-be asking for and giving relevant information based on their own Tulum weddings. If that doesn’t work for you, a quick Google search will bring up dozens of good options, with varying styles and personalities. From there, I still recommend doing a deep dive on their portfolio, including their Instagram. In 2019, there’s plenty of ways to find a wedding photographer that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Best Time For A Destination Wedding in Tulum

 

When planning to get married in Tulum, one of the first things you need to consider is the date. The climate makes a huge difference when you’re planning a beach wedding. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, don’t you want to make sure you’re going in the dry season?  Have you looked into if the beaches are going to be covered in seaweed while you’re there? There’s plenty of variables when it comes to each season, so make sure to examine each one closely to find out which is best for you.

Spring Wedding

If you’re looking into a Spring wedding, you’re on the right track. You’re guaranteed to have warm and tropical days with lower chances of rain to sour your day. Spring crowds, with the exception of Spring Break, are also much smaller than during Summer. Plus, if you’re coming from up north, it’s likely that you’re fresh off a long winter. There’s nothing quite as good as taking a break from the cold to celebrate with everyone you love with warm sand at your feet.

Summer Wedding

The first time I visited Tulum was in late Summer, and it was amazing.  In Miami, where I’m from, summer weddings are usually way too hot for comfort. In Tulum, you can still expect bright sun and humid days but when your hotel room is a 60-second walk to the shore, you don’t mind as much. One slight disadvantage is that you’re likely to encounter more crowds but it’s nothing compared to Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. On top of all that, most people plan vacations in the summer, so it’s less difficult for your guests to travel if you’re having a destination wedding. Just keep in mind that Summer is very rainy and is the bulk of hurricane season.

Fall Wedding

There’s a lot of similarities between Fall and spring weddings for Tulum. Both the rainy season and hurricane season taper off in October, so you’re statistically safe from heavy rain. By October, the crowds have also seemingly vanished. The low season not only means more beach to yourself but savings on accommodation, vendors, and flights. My friend who is also a Tulum wedding photographer usually works in the United States during these months because there aren’t as many weddings on the Riviera Maya. The weather doesn’t cool down much in the fall, but a few degrees does make a difference, especially when it comes to the cooler, breezier nights.

Winter Wedding

With the exception of New Year’s Eve, winter has all the right elements for a great Tulum wedding. No chances of hurricanes, minimal rain, and unspoiled beaches. Cruise ships drop off thousands on the Riviera Maya from October-March but they usually don’t make it down to Tulum, so no need to worry about crowds – at least not yet. When I was there for New Years’s Eve, it was chaos, but the town had already started to go back to normal by the 4th of January. The best part is that winter is when you’ll get the best weather, with warm days in the 80s and comfortable nights in the low 70s.

What to Look For in a Tulum Wedding Photographer

 

Tulum Wedding Photographer

My work as a destination wedding photographer has taken me all over the world. I’ve come to realize that every destination has a few variables which require a skillset not every photographer has. Tulum is one of those places that not every photographer could shoot in successfully without experience in a handful of important areas. Here are 3 important factors you should be on the lookout for when hiring a wedding photographer in Tulum.

Experience With Beach Weddings

This may seem like a small component but for Tulum it’s everything. Having experience with beach weddings needs to be something you consider when looking for a wedding photographer in Tulum. Beach weddings are more unpredictable than people think, especially in tropical environments. Has the photographer you’re considering ever had to deal with the powerful ocean breeze blowing a bride’s hair all over the place? What about when the tide is so high that the couple starts to stress out about their clothes getting wet? An inexperienced photographer might hit a wall with these obstacles but the right Tulum wedding photographer will have dealt with them before and have a solution ready for when they strike.

Ability to Improvise

In a tropical environment, being able to improvise is one element brides tend to overlook when hiring a wedding photographer. Having grown up in Miami, I’m used to how fickle tropical weather is. It’s not uncommon for a blue-skied sunny day to turn into a near-tropical storm within an hour. Being able to get the right shots no matter what unpredictable tropical weather may roll through is crucial. In the case of Tulum, the weather isn’t the only factor that might throw off a less-seasoned photographer. I know from first-hand experience that leaving valuables in the car isn’t the best idea, especially camera gear. Someone coming from a different country or city may not have the same awareness. Make sure to ask these tough questions to find out if the Tulum wedding photographer you have in mind is up to the task.

Knowledge of Location

This is really where hiring local comes in handy. No amount of research can beat the intimate knowledge of the location that an experienced Tulum wedding photographer has. Knowing how bad the traffic gets, for example, is a small but massively useful piece of information. It’s usually a short drive from the town to the resort area but it can turn into over an hour when the traffic is bad. The right photographer should also know the best spots for portraits, when golden hour starts, and have no problem with specific requests for the type of photos a bride envisions. Marilyn Rice couldn’t have been more right when she said, “There is no substitute for experience.” Even with Pinterest, there are still secret spots out there that only the experienced photographers will know about.

Tulum Wedding Photographer – Final Thoughts

Once you swim in a crystal clear cenote, the magic of Tulum starts to set in. It continues after some time with a drink in hand on a beach as the sunset turns the sky pink. The bohemian energy of the town and the friendliness of the locals is infectious, completing a feeling of truly getting away from the rest of the world. As a wedding photographer, I can’t help but support couples considering Tulum as a location for their special day. I live in Mexico so I’m completely biased but I think Mexico is always a good idea for a wedding. I love to be a resource for anybody planning out their wedding, so reach out if you have any questions about your Tulum wedding. Fill out a form submission or email me at donnairenephotos@gmail.com for anything related to your Tulum wedding photography needs!

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