How to Book a Photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta

Couple smiling on a beautiful merry-go-round at a park in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
From finding local photographers to choosing ideal times and locations, discover the essential steps to book a photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta.


I. How to Find Local Photographers in Puerto Vallarta
II. How to Book Your Photographer in Puerto Vallarta
III. The Best Photoshoot Locations in Puerto Vallarta
IV. Ideal Times for a Photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta
V. The Details: Photoshoot Duration + How Many Photos You’ll Receive (and when)


Choosing the right photographer for your Puerto Vallarta photoshoot can be the defining factor between capturing okay moments and unforgettable memories. Whether it’s a wedding, engagement, family shoot, or a solo adventure, the scenic beauty of Puerto Vallarta combined with a skilled photographer can make it magical. Here’s your go-to guide on how to book your perfect photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta.



How to Find Local Photographers in Puerto Vallarta

Google: Start your photographer hunt with Google. Use specific keywords like ‘Puerto Vallarta photographer’ or dive deeper with ‘Puerto Vallarta wedding photographer’. Google Maps can also show photographers near your location, complete with reviews. These results depend on a photographer’s SEO capabilities. But remember, while SEO ranks can give you a starting point, delve into their portfolio on their website and Google reviews to truly gauge their style and reputation.

Instagram: Instagram doubles as a portfolio for many photographers. Use the search function with keywords like “Puerto Vallarta photographer” to find potential matches. While their profile can give you a taste of their style, ensure you cross-check them on Google reviews to ensure their professionalism and track record.

Wedding Vendor Sites: If you are searching for a wedding photographer, many wedding vendor websites allow you to easily search for photographers and videographers (and a variety of vendors, for that matter). Our favorite is Carats & Cake due to its user design and ease of use. As always, corroborate with Google reviews for a comprehensive understanding.

Referrals: Family and friends can be goldmines for references, especially if they’ve had firsthand experience. Your hotel can also provide suggestions, however, they might pitch their in-house or partnered photographers, which might not align with your preferences or budget.



How to Book Your Photographer in Puerto Vallarta

Once you’ve decided on a photographer, it’s time to lock in your date. Most photographers, including us at Chas Studios, require a deposit – generally 20% to 50%. We ask for a 20% deposit via Venmo, PayPal, or bank transfer, with the balance payable preferably in cash on the day of the shoot or through the aforementioned methods. This deposit ensures your chosen date is reserved.

Remember, some hotels might levy a fee for outside photographers. A possible workaround is to ask your chosen photographer about accessing the hotel beach via a public entrance or to meet at a nearby public beach. This approach is obviously not so simple for weddings as your photographer will need to enter the hotel to capture your big day. In this case, it’s best to ask your hotel if they charge for an outside photographer and decide if it’s worth it to bring in someone you like.



The Best Photoshoot Locations in Puerto Vallarta

Banderas Bay is not just a singular beautiful destination; it’s a myriad of locales, each bringing its own charm. Whether you’re seeking a serene beach backdrop or a bustling town vibe, the bay offers a diverse palette for every kind of photoshoot. Let’s dive deeper into these spots:

Conchas Chinas: Located just a short 15 km (around 9.3 miles) from the Puerto Vallarta airport, Conchas Chinas is often referred to as the ‘Beverly Hills of Puerto Vallarta.’ At Conchas Chinas Beach, you’ll discover tide pools and rocky outcroppings, creating a unique seascape perfect for photography. The distinctive rocky formations here are iconic, allowing for intriguing shots – from capturing reflections in the tidal pools to creating dramatic silhouette images against a setting sun backdrop.

Puerto Vallarta: Just about 5 km (or 3.1 miles) from the airport lies the beating heart of the region. Puerto Vallarta, with its vibrant streets and bustling beachfront, offers a mix of old-world charm and modern sophistication. The ever-popular Playa Los Muertos stands out, where the iconic pier provides an expansive backdrop for any photo session. Beyond the beaches, landmarks like Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and the cobblestone streets of the Zona Romántica provide rich photo opportunities. Imagine capturing candid moments against colorful murals, or romantic shots on the arching bridges over the Cuale River.

Nuevo Vallarta: A mere 12 km (about 7.5 miles) north of the airport, Nuevo Vallarta offers a more modern and luxurious ambiance. As a planned residential-resort community, it flaunts long stretches of sandy beaches perfect for those sunset or sunrise shots. The Marina Nuevo Vallarta, with its line-up of yachts and boats, is a perfect place for those looking for a touch of luxury in their photos. 

Bucerias: About 20 km (12.4 miles) from the airport, Bucerias is a blend of old Mexico charm and new-world amenities. Its golden beaches are perfect for capturing couples or playful family shots. The town square, with its authentic Mexican eateries and artisanal shops, offers vibrant backdrops. Picture capturing a couple sharing a moment over traditional churros or framing a shot against the backdrop of a local mural. The Bucerias Art Walk Plaza is another jewel, providing colors and textures to enhance any photograph.

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle: Situated 23 km (around 14.3 miles) from the airport, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is a small but lively fishing village. Its Marina Riviera Nayarit is a blend of color and life, with fishing boats juxtaposed against luxury yachts. The Fish Market offers a unique setting for those looking to capture the essence of daily life. And for those looking for a touch of history, the old tree in the town square, said to be over a century old, provides a rich, textured background.

Punta Mita: Located 45 km (around 28 miles) from the Puerto Vallarta airport, Punta Mita offers an exclusive ambiance with its luxury resorts and private estates. The El Anclote Beach provides a serene backdrop with its calm waters, while the Punta Mita Pier is perfect for those sunset silhouette shots. Landmarks like the Marietas Islands, known for their hidden beach, provide an adventurous backdrop for a photoshoot. Considering the distance, some photographers may charge a travel fee, but the unique locations and luxurious vibe make it worthwhile.

Sayulita: Nestled about 40 km (or 24.9 miles) from the airport, Sayulita, with its bohemian vibe, is a favorite among the younger crowd. The main beach, bustling with surfers and vendors, offers dynamic backdrops for lively photographs. Landmarks like the Sayulita Plaza with its vibrant flags or the Iglesia de Sayulita with its distinctive yellow hue provide varied backdrops. As you explore the town, the mural-clad streets provide countless opportunities for candid shots.

San Pancho: Located roughly 45 km (28 miles) from the airport, San Pancho, or San Francisco, is a serene village known for its cultural vibrancy.  It is similar to Sayulita in its bohemium vibe but in a smaller setting. The Playa San Pancho, with its golden sands and azure waters, offers a pristine setting for any photoshoot. Just north of the town’s center is La Patrona Polo Club, a luxurious equestrian club, and its sister-venue Tierra Tropica, a luxurious beach club with a beautiful restaurant.

Given the different locations and their distinct offerings, it’s essential to consider potential travel fees. For instance, while photographers based in Puerto Vallarta might not charge for local shoots, heading to places like Sayulita might incur around a $150 USD travel fee. It’s always a good idea to discuss this beforehand to avoid any last-minute surprises.


Ideal Times for a Photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta

When planning a photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta, timing is crucial to ensure the best lighting conditions, ideal settings, and a comfortable experience for everyone involved. Here’s our advice on optimal shoot timings:

Morning Sessions: We often recommend starting at 8:30 a.m. for morning shoots. The early hours offer softer lighting, which is particularly flattering for portraits and minimizes harsh shadows. This timing is especially ideal for families with young children who tend to be more energetic and cooperative in the mornings. An added advantage of an early start is the relative tranquility of the beaches. Puerto Vallarta’s beaches can get busy as the day progresses, so for clients who prefer a more serene and private ambiance, this is the prime time.

Sunset Sessions: Sunset, known as the “golden hour” in photography, provides an unparalleled warm and romantic glow. However, since the exact time of sunset varies with the seasons, we always advise starting the session one hour before the actual sunset to make the most of this magical light. This way, we can capture a range of photos in different lighting conditions as the sun dips below the horizon. Given the rapidly changing light conditions during sunset, preparation, and punctuality are essential to ensure we make the most of the available time.

Winter Months (November to February): Sunsets are earlier, typically around 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Summer Months (March to October): Sunsets can be as late as 8:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.



The Details: Photoshoot Duration + How Many Photos You’ll Receive (and when)

Photoshoot Duration: Standard photoshoots typically last for about an hour. As an example, at Chas Studios, we recommend one hour for couples and small families. However, for larger families or groups, we recommend considering an extended session. For medium-sized groups of 8-15 people, a 1.5-hour session is advisable to ensure everyone gets their moment in the spotlight. For larger gatherings, especially those with more than 16 participants, a 2-hour session is ideal. This extended time allows for various group combinations, individual shots, and ensures that the session is relaxed and unhurried.


How Many Photos You’ll Receive: For those booking a photo session in Puerto Vallarta, it’s essential to know what to expect in terms of deliverables. Typically, for a one-hour photo session, the standard in the industry is to deliver around 60 selected and edited photos. This ensures that clients receive a broad range of shots capturing the essence of their time in this beautiful location. If you extend your session to two hours, you can generally expect to receive approximately 120 carefully chosen and edited images. While the exact number can vary depending on the photographer, these figures provide a good baseline for what’s common in the area. Always confirm with your chosen photographer beforehand to set clear expectations. Furthermore, you should receive your photos within one month of the photoshoot, if not sooner. 




Navigating the process of booking a photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta can initially seem like a task, but with a structured approach, it’s entirely manageable. Start with meticulous research on platforms like Google and Instagram to discover local photographers. Make it a priority to identify those who resonate with your desired style.  Reviews are an invaluable asset in this journey; they shed light on the experiences of others and offer insights you might not find elsewhere. Remember, timing can make or break a photoshoot. Those magical hours during sunrise offer not just perfect lighting but also fewer crowds, while the golden hour before sunset bathes everything in a warm, ethereal glow. As you finalize your plans, ensure you have a crystal-clear understanding of your chosen package: how many photos you’ll receive, the duration of the shoot, and any additional costs or logistics. Armed with this knowledge, you’re well on your way to the perfect Puerto Vallarta photoshoot!


How do I find a local photographer in Puerto Vallarta?
There are several methods to find a photographer in Puerto Vallarta including Google, Instagram, wedding vendor websites, and recommendations from friends and family.

How much does a photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta typically cost?
Costs can vary based on the photographer’s experience, duration of the shoot, and specific requirements. It’s best to contact photographers directly for accurate pricing, however, a general range is $250 USD – $500 USD for a one-hour photoshoot for a couple or small family.

What is the best time for a photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta?
Early mornings, starting around 8:30 a.m., are ideal, especially for families or those wanting more private settings. For evening shoots, starting an hour before sunset is recommended. Sunset photoshoots are great for those with a preference for the “golden hour” that provides a creamy light.

Which locations in Banderas Bay are best for photoshoots?
Banderas Bay offers a plethora of picturesque locations ranging from Conchas Chinas to San Pancho. The specific ambiance and iconic spots of each city provide a unique backdrop for photos.

How many photos can I expect from a one-hour session?
Typically, a one-hour session will yield around 60 selected and edited photos. However, this number can vary based on the photographer.

Is there an additional charge for photoshoots in remote locations or other cities in Banderas Bay?
Some photographers may charge a travel fee for locations further from their base, especially for more distant cities like Sayulita.

Can I choose a specific beach or landmark for my photoshoot?
Yes, you can usually choose a specific location, though it’s wise to consult with your photographer for their recommendations based on lighting and scenery.

How should I prepare for my photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta?
Wear comfortable yet photogenic attire, consider the setting (beach, urban, or nature), and discuss any specific shots or ideas with your photographer beforehand.

How soon after the photoshoot will I receive my photos?
Delivery times can vary, but most photographers in Puerto Vallarta aim to deliver edited photos within a week or two post-session.

Do photographers in Puerto Vallarta offer drone shots?
Many photographers, especially those specializing in real estate or large event photography, offer drone shots. Always inquire in advance to ensure availability and pricing.

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