Three families vacation at Banderas Bay, Nayarit

Families that vacation together stay together…

Can we make that a thing? Because let me tell you, every family that I have the honor of photographing is just amazing and when family gets together to vacation all in one spot, it’s even better.

Photographing vacationing families during these once a year, sometimes it’s more of a gap, makes the photos even more special!

Tracey, Bonnie, and Vicki: You three have such amazing families and thank you for trusting me even though it was super hot and really bright at midday!

Want family photos while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta as well? Email me and we’ll get it all set up!

Tips for the best photo experience

Writing tips for you has been such a great way for me to prepare you for your next portrait / wedding experience!

Not all photographers are the same, not all have the same style, personality, or way of doing things and these tips are where I explain a little of my process, shooting style, and you can get an idea of what the experience will be like.

I love helping clients to feel very comfortable and since many of my clients come from different countries on vacation, it also serves as a way for them to get to know me a little better ;).

I’m doing a master post so that you can view and click through the different tip posts that I’ve written over the years. I hope that they help you!

Big family vacation at Nuevo Vallarta

There are big families, and then there are BIG families! I love all families and big ones seem to be the norm around here!

I’ll never get tired of photographing these families because I feel like for a couple of hours, I’m a part of the whole clan. Seeing, playing, photographing moments that happen right then and there. Never being able to be re-created.

It’s a magical feeling when I can capture a family truly the way they are. Smiling, having fun, and enjoying each other. Families full of love.

And every family is unique which makes each session feel new and fresh! I’ve photographed several families here on this beach in Nuevo Vallarta, at the Grand Mayan resort and it never ceases to surprise me how each session can be so different from the next.

Thank you to all of my wonderful clients, like this family, who trust me with their memories and offer up vacation time to get photos taken! Makes it so special.

If you’d like to have your photos taken while on vacation here in Nuevo Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita, Bucerias, and surrounding areas, please email me at so we can set it up! Sessions last a couple of hours and then you can enjoy a fresh margarita after!

My editing style

I have been a photographer for about 13 years. When I was first starting out, Photoshop was getting into mainstream photography, along with digital. This meant that people, myself included, were editing photos like it was going out of style.

And then, it went out of style.

Over editing photos is not something I do anymore. I stopped over processing photos about 4 years ago because I just felt like the smoothing of skin and over editing colors and adding filters was just TOO MUCH.

My editing style is pretty close to the original image! This is because it keeps the photo timeless.

My editing style is pretty close to the original image! This is because it keeps the photo timeless.

I also realized that filters are part of trends, and that means that when a trend goes out of style, that editing also goes out of style. And then you’re left with photos that are out of style.

Of course, to each their own. Each photographer has their own particular style and I’m not here to say that it’s wrong or out of date or anything, it just isn’t for me or my clients.

I like to stick to a nice elegant and timeless look with the photos that I create. I feel like editing this way means that your photos will never look dated or out of style.


What do I do then? I color correct, bump up the warmth, take out blemishes, clean up the skin a bit and brighten and add contrast. It’s very minimal and takes me less time to edit which also means your photos get to you sooner.

Editing this way has revolutionized my time in front of the computer and lets me focus more on the creative part of my photography.


I love letting my clients see exactly firsthand what they can expect to see when they get their final images. So, I’ve pulled together some before and after photos so you can see exactly how I edit the photos!

What do you think? What kind of look do you like to have for your photos?

What is the best time to schedule my beach portrait session

Beach portraits are wonderfully unique because of the location! The beaches here in Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta are breathtakingly beautiful and offer long stretches of beach and sunsets like no other.

However, because you’re on a beach there are a few things to consider when you’re having your portraits taken.

Sunset Golden Hour is the best time

The best time to schedule your session is about an hour to an hour and half before sunset. I’m sure that you’ve heard it as it’s the infamous “golden hour”. This is when the sun is going down, making it less harsh but giving it such a beautiful golden wash to the photos.


The sun sets behind the beach here which makes any time between 11am and 4pm brutal to photograph in. The sun is still behind the water a bit however, the sand will reflect all of that light back onto you making it hard to see, often resulting in squinty or closed eyes.

Why start so early before sunset, isn’t it still too bright?

Having enough time to photograph your family fully is always the best bet. I want to make sure you have lots of photos that you can revisit time and time again. If we only photographed during sun set, we’d have only about 10 minutes to photograph your family.


This way, we can also walk around, have fun, splash in the water, and get individual photos and candid photos of your family being themselves. It also gives me time to hang with you and get to know you better!

Don’t worry if we photograph at a different time than sunset!

Maybe you have a tour scheduled and won’t make it in time, or perhaps nap times have to be considered and I can definitely understand with my 2 year old!

Don’t worry, I got you covered. If we do photograph your session at a different time than sunset, we can still get absolutely stellar images that you’ll love for many years to come!


The difference here is that there will be less posed photos and more interactive photos. This is because the sun is pretty bright any time after 9am and so rather than having you cringe and squint trying to look at the camera, I’ll have you play and interact with each other.

But don’t worry, if there is shade, we’ll definitely use it! If there isn’t, I’ll try and position you so that the sun isn’t so harsh.


Keeping you comfortable while still photographing your family interacting make for the most emotive photos! These are my favorite type of photos to create!

Do what’s best for you and your family

Choosing the best time for your family is always the best way to schedule your session. I am comfortable and experienced in photographing at any time during the day so that you have the most beautiful photos of your family on vacation.


So if we need to photograph at 10am because of a nap time, I’ve got you covered. After lunch time when tummies are full and every one has lots of energy, let’s do it.

The time that is best for you and your family is when I want to photograph you. This is a sure way to get the best expressions, energy, and have the most fun during a session that everyone will love!

Have you had a family vacation session before? Are you interested in scheduling your next session while in Puerto Vallarta? Contact me so I can send over all of the info and get your family photographed!

Turning 2 on vacation in Puerto Vallarta - Garza Blanca Resort, Puerto Vallarta

I love when people come to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate, relax, and just immerse themselves in the beauty of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! I love it even more when I get to spend time with amazing people and cute families!

It was a true honor to spend time with this little cutie on her second birthday! We played, jumped, sang, ran, and had so much fun during our session!

Toddlers are so fun because they’re coming into their own and letting them play and have fun while taking their photos best shows their personalities! We can see how adorable this little girl was and she gave the best hugs!

If you’re looking to get your photos taken, please click here to get in touch!

Minnings Family Destiladeras Beach Portrait Session, Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Destiladeras is a tiny stretch of beach just before reaching the famous Punta Mita and about 10 minutes from Bucerias, where I live.

This beach stretches so long and wide that it is hands down my favorite beach to have portrait sessions. Because of the long shore and the sun setting behind the ocean, it’s a perfect backdrop for your photos.

I always recommend this beach and I’m glad that the Minnings family decided to do their portrait session there!

It was so nice to get to know this cute family and photograph them being them. Not overly posed and just a family hanging out on a beautiful beach in Mexico. Even got to throwing around a football.

I’m excited to showcase this family today on the blog! Take a look :).

What you need to know about having your wedding in Puerto Vallarta

Are you ready for the mega huge post today? This is going to be a long one but I’ve gotten a few people asking me to help them with more info about having a destination wedding here in the Puerto Vallarta area.

I was thinking of putting all of this into a really nice PDF and sending it out into the world for all to have and share. But who am I kidding, that takes time and design and honestly, with a toddler and potty training and work, I just don’t have the time. Maybe in the future I’ll make a more comprehensive guide but for now, grab your coffee, tea, or whatever because this will be a long one!

Quick disclaimer: I’m only providing you with personal experience as a wedding photographer and by what I have noticed, learned, heard, and witnessed myself. So please leave a comment if I’ve gotten something wrong or am misinforming people! Other than that, enjoy!!!


Okay, when it comes to destination weddings here in this area, there are really two main types of weddings to choose from. The first is having your wedding at a hotel. The second is having your wedding at a private location, be it a private villa, Airbnb home, or a specific wedding venue with no room accommodations.

I’m sure I’ll get some planners who will cringe at what I’ve just typed, but these are the two main options that I’ve personally photographed here in the area. Of course, you can always talk to a wedding planner or someone you know who can help you with more options if there are any.

Let’s dive into the hotel option.

Now, I don’t know much about the planning process since I usually show up to take photos, however, I do know that many hotels offer options where you can cut costs if you book a certain amount of rooms.

Photographed at  Sunset Plaza Resort , Puerto Vallarta

Photographed at Sunset Plaza Resort, Puerto Vallarta

Some include other upgrades and such, it just really depends on the hotel. There are hotels expanding a huge area, of which we’ll get into a little bit later, and so that can also determine what your wedding will look like.

Hotels have wedding coordinators that will help you to plan your wedding from afar. This is great because they have all of the options already set for you as far as linens, centerpieces, and food. They also have vendor lists where you can choose from your pick in dj, photographer, videographer, etc. Even Mariachis. These are people they have a long working relationship with and all of these vendors just know how things roll on the day of the event.

Photographed at  Costa Sur , Puerto Vallarta

Photographed at Costa Sur, Puerto Vallarta

However, you have to be watchful because sometimes the staff moves around or changes and this can leave some things by the wayside. But in my experience, every wedding I’ve photographed at a hotel always goes off without any problems! This is because no matter who is working your wedding, they all know how things work.

Another thing that the hotels have in their favor is that most have their own beach. This is especially important if you’re looking to have sunset photos or a ceremony on the sand.

Photographed at the  Hard Rock , Nuevo Vallarta

Photographed at the Hard Rock, Nuevo Vallarta

The best thing, but really this goes for any options, is that your guests will be able to book 3 days minimum at a hotel (which is the norm) and have a mini vacation. Or they can book the whole week and really go all out. Many hotels are all inclusive which also cuts down costs when you factor in food and other expenses. Essentially, you don’t even have to leave the resort.

And, depending on where you chose to have the wedding, if you’re closer or in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, everything like restaurants, nightlife, adventure, is literally walking distance. Or at least accessible close by, such as the tours to the Arcos or the famous hidden beach, Isla Marietas.

Taken at Sunset Plaza Resort, Puerto Vallarta

Taken at Sunset Plaza Resort, Puerto Vallarta

Word to the wise: Some hotels will charge you if you choose a vendor outside of the ones that they provide. This can include food, dj, or photographer. There is a loophole with photographers, as I have been known to use it ;). If you are serious about a destination wedding and would want to know the loophole, contact me and I’ll share the secret!

One con to hotel weddings: is that many have more than one wedding at a time. You may run into another bride or cross paths with other guests from another wedding. This isn’t really a problem but if you want exclusivity, private would be the better option. Or choosing a date that is not really popular.

Private destination wedding options

Ok, so the private options are very similar to a local wedding in your city. This means that you’re choosing the venue because you personally love the location or want something a little more exclusive and personalized.

This wedding was held at  Villa Paraiso , Puerto Vallarta coordination by  Beautiful Vallarta Weddings

This wedding was held at Villa Paraiso, Puerto Vallarta coordination by Beautiful Vallarta Weddings

For example, booking a private villa along the Conchas Chinas highway is very private and exclusive. You will be the only wedding there overlooking the ocean. It is not for large weddings, yet you will be able to enjoy your first dance around the pool, or if the villa has a private beach, on the sand.

Many villas have 6 or more rooms and can accomodate your family and closest guests. This can also lower the cost since you’re sharing the whole villa. Some have private wait staff and a chef. It all depends on the villa you choose, of which, there are many!

Another great advantage to going the private route, whether villa or at a private restaurant/venue, is that you are able to decorate as you wish! Have the centerpiece of your dreams, the dance floor you always envisioned, and catering the exact food you want your guests to enjoy.

Villa La Mansion,  Puerto Vallarta coordination and planning by  The Wedding Mexico

Villa La Mansion, Puerto Vallarta coordination and planning by The Wedding Mexico

However, your remaining guests will have to book a hotel nearby in order to attend and you’ll have to arrange transportation for them to arrive at the villa. This is where a wedding planner/coordinator comes in and can help exponentially with the logistics of your wedding day.

Not all private weddings have to be in a villa though, you also have the option of having your wedding at smaller wedding venues right on the beach. I’ve seen many rent an airbnb for the weekend and set up the ceremony right on the beach with the reception around the pool area or at a local restaurant. Definitely for smaller weddings with about 50 guests or less.

This wedding was held at  Le Kliff  in Puerto Vallarta. A small and intimate restaurant overlooking the ocean.

This wedding was held at Le Kliff in Puerto Vallarta. A small and intimate restaurant overlooking the ocean.

There are many venues that have beach front access and can provide catering for your wedding. These require more research on Google but they make for the most private and relaxed weddings.

For locations like Sayulita and San Pancho, including the town that I live in, Bucerias, the private home beachfront wedding is perfect. Some smaller bed and breakfast hotels can also accommodate your guests.

Hire a planner

As I said before, I would strongly advise that you get a local wedding planner to help you set up and create the most beautiful wedding of your dreams. They can help you from the most simple like renting chairs for the beach ceremony to hiring the best caterer in the area. Planners know their stuff and can really give you the best options depending on what you’re looking for.

Coordination by  The Wedding Mexico

Coordination by The Wedding Mexico

Planners also help you to set up meetings or get you in touch with vendors so that you can personally get a feel for who they are and how they work. And because they know that you are planning from afar, they are really great at moving things along and taking care of all the small details that arise during the planning process.

Honestly, they are worth gold and you’ll thank the stars that you hired someone to help you. Especially if you go the private route. Since you’ll have to essentially plan every single detail.

If you need referrals, email me and I’ll send you a list of planners that I have had the privilege of working with and are great people!

Best areas in Puerto Vallarta for weddings

Each hotel and venue is different and each of you are planning a different wedding. So rather than put the links to hotels and such, I think what serves you better is to get a better idea of the different areas in and around Puerto Vallarta so you can narrow down the look and feel of the wedding you are envisioning!


You can choose the area that best speaks to your kind of wedding dream and you can start looking in those areas rather than searching the entire area and being overwhelmed.

Riviera Nayarita

The Riviera Nayarita is north of Puerto Vallarta. We’ll start here and work our way down. This area encompasses the following areas:

  • Punta Mita: This is semi private as it’s at the tip of the bay. It is also a little higher in pricing as far as I know. The most prominent hotels there are: St. Regis, the W, and Four Seasons. It also has lots of time shares and private villas inside of gated communities. There is one venue that I know of which sits on Destiladeras beach to the side of Punta Mita called Nahu’i. It’s absolutely gorgeous, private, and is used specifically for weddings.

  • Sayulita: This famous town is the epitome of surfer in the area. It is a little hippy mixed in with a little hipster. Lots of b&b’s and cool shops. It is what you would think of when in Mexico. Here there are lots of private options but definitely more options as far as accommodations for guests.

  • San Pancho: This is next to Sayulita and less famous and a bit more quiet. Lots of private options for weddings here and places to accommodate guests.

  • Bucerias: I love my little town! There are both hotel options and private options. Lots of private homes and condos with a beach front for weddings. It’s a small town but close enough to Puerto Vallarta so that you can get in a taxi, public transportation, or Uber and be there in less than 30 minutes. There are a couple of all inclusive hotels but mostly condos and homes for rent. There are plenty of restaurants and the beach is considered one of the cleanest in the entire area.

  • Nuevo Vallarta: This is closer to Puerto Vallarta’s airport but more secluded. There are many more hotel options here like the Hard Rock, The Grand Mayan, Vidanta Group, Marival, etc. It is modern and close to the marina as well. This is a great option for those who want to be a little removed from the hustle and bustle of a tourist town but still close enough to all the good stuff. You’ll also find big chain hotels that offer all inclusive and non all inclusive like the Marriot. Here you can rent condos as well to accommodate guests who want a different experience than staying at a hotel.


Puerto Vallarta

Okay, so the zones in Puerto Vallarta include the following. All a little different depending on what you’re looking for.

  • Zona hotelera: This is the hotel zone. You will find a hotel probably every 10 steps, ha! But really this is the heart of Puerto Vallarta. Here you’ll be able to find a huge range of options from all inclusive, Airbnb, and large hotel chains. In this area, your options are pretty endless as far as price goes too. This area can accommodate any type, size, and budget for weddings. This area is also closer to the famous oceanside boardwalk and nightlife, restaurants, and shops.

  • Old Town/Barrio: This is the older part of Puerto Vallarta down by Los Muertos Beach and the huge spiral pier that is often seen online. Think of the historical district in your town and this is very similar. The buildings are a bit older, the streets a little more narrow, and lots of small shops and local restaurants mixed in with the modern. You’ll find lots of hotels and condo options here too.

  • Conchas Chinas: Going further south of Old Town, you’ll find yourself winding towards Conchas Chinas. This is probably my favorite area because of the jungle that surrounds both banks of the highway’s winding road. Lots of large hotel chains like the Hyatt, Costa Sur, Fiesta Americana, Grand Pelicanos, and more line the highway beachside. Here is where you’ll find all of the private villas too! I’ve photographed at a couple and they are absolutely beautiful!

  • Mismaloya: This is really the last point of the Puerto Vallarta map before going further south into another state. This is a rural town with private options like private homes. Really only one hotel, Hotel Barcelo, which sits at the bottom of the valley on a private beach. I believe it’s all inclusive. I’m not really sure of many more options but this is a great option for guests to stay at if you have your wedding at a private villa minutes down the road.


Those are the main areas. Of course, if you research deeply into the area, there are lots of great options that I myself even aren’t aware of! But at least this can give you a bit more insight as to the areas and perhaps the look or feel you are going for for your wedding.

For example, if you want something more secluded out by the jungle with access to the beach, Conchas Chinas is perfect. If you’re looking for something closer to the boardwalk and nightlife and major points of interest, then the Hotel Zone is more for you. If you’re looking for something private but close enough to the city on the beach, maybe Sayulita and Bucerias are for you.


By the way, Sayulita is not the same as Sayula. Different places. Just fyi when you’re doing your research.

Also, Nayarit and Jalisco are two different states but there is no problem going from one to the other. They are basically connected through tourism and so it’s not far nor a problem going either way.

Best time of the year to have your destination wedding

This should have been the first point because it can determine the entire outcome of your day! There is definitely a high season and a low season.


High Season is between end of October to the end of May. These are the months after the rains and are usually the cooler months out of the year. Also, the most expensive as far as hotel pricing and hotels get booked really quickly.

If you are thinking of having your wedding during those months, plan at least a year in advanced as most venues and vendors will be booked.

Low season is between June and September. During these months it’s really hot and humid and rainy season begins around July. It rains every day which means you’ll have to speak with your venue about different options for your wedding.

Some hotels have indoor reception areas and some have tents for when the weather is not ideal. Ask before booking, you won’t want to be caught off guard if you book during rainy season and there is no indoor space or tent!

Can I still have a church wedding?

Of course! The process for church weddings is a bit different depending on which church you decide to get married in. I have photographed many Catholic ceremonies at churches that are both close to the wedding location and available to hold the wedding ceremony.


Just like planning a wedding at home, it’s crucial to begin the process early, as in a year in advance because dates fill up pretty quickly and you may want to make sure you have the date and time the church can hold your ceremony available.

Having said that, I do know that Catholic churches also need some time for a transfer of the ceremony from the corresponding church to the new location which also takes time so just plan for that.


That was a super long post but I hope that I covered most of the information! I get asked often about destination weddings and how to go about planning, having one, and other recommendations.

Puerto Vallarta is a top location for destination weddings in Mexico, and it truly is a one of kind experience to have your wedding set against the most beautiful backdrop of the pacific ocean. Even more magnificent during sunset ;).

Leave a comment below if you’ve had any experience with destination weddings, I’d love for more brides to have all the information out there available!