This is a question I get all the time! “What is the best time for a photoshoot in Punta Cana?” It’s a great question! And completely understandable. Especially if you’ve never visited us in Punta Cana before.

My answer to this question is always the same: It absolutely depends on what style you like because the time of day will completely change the colors in your photos.

To put it simply: If you like bright, vibrant colors, earlier in the day is best. If you like soft, warmer colors, the late afternoon is best. But there is so much more to say! So let me walk you through each time of day, step-by-step.


Early Morning Photoshoots

Photoshoots in the early morning are my favorite! The light is bright and beautiful. It’s warm, but not too hot yet. And the air still feels fresh. Usually, a pick-up time around 7:30 or 8am is the best time for this type of photoshoot. And that will be the same all year round. 

The beach is quiet and there aren’t too many people which makes for a more intimate session for you and your sweetheart. I mean, just take a look at these two – so happy and in love!

The early morning is a great time for a couple’s photoshoot or a surprise proposal! With less people on the beach, you’ll really be able to enjoy the moment and focus on each other. No distractions. I also recommend this time for engagement photos, honeymoon photos, and Trash the Dress sessions. The lighting will be completely different than in your wedding photos (if you’re getting married in the afternoon) so this will be a great way to get something different and have a good variety of photos overall!

Colors are bright and vibrant in the morning. The ocean almost always looks spectacular. Even if it’s a cloudy day, the colors are still amazing. Actually, the colors seem to pop even more when there’s a rainstorm coming in. Just check out these photos from a dark, cloudy morning at Macao Beach!

Beautiful, right? And the best part about an early morning photoshoot is that once the photoshoot is over, you’ll still have the whole day to enjoy back at your hotel. Grab a cocktail, lounge by the pool, and relax knowing that you’ll receive your edited photos very soon!

If you’re not a morning person, an early morning photoshoot is probably going to be a tough time for you. Whether you just want to sleep in because you’re on vacation, you know you’re always grumpy in the morning, or you take a long time to get ready in the morning, it’s probably best to book an afternoon photoshoot instead. 


Late Morning Photoshoots

I consider “late morning” to be a 9am photoshoot. You may consider that “early” for vacation standards, but when it comes to the sun and heat in Punta Cana, it won’t feel that way. If it’s a sunny day, the colors at this time will be amazing! This is when you’ll get those bright blue tones of the ocean and the sky.

When the clouds roll in, the ocean won’t be quite so blue (colors will look more muted and gray), but the lighting is still beautiful. And the good thing about Punta Cana is the clouds are always moving so the weather can change in an instant. It could be cloudy and rainy one minute, and bright and sunny the next. This will get you tons of different photos with different lighting. Just check out this photoshoot to see what I mean:

The colors of the ocean will also change depending on the time of year. In the summer, the sun is stronger so the ocean looks a lot brighter. In the “winter” it’s still a beautiful shade of blue, but it’s not quite so bright since the sun isn’t as intense. During the typical spring and fall months, the colors can fall somewhere in between. Take a look at each of the different seasons below. (Disclaimer: The Dominican Republic doesn’t really experience seasons like the rest of the world. Temperatures are mild and warm all year round.)


Summertime (June-August)

In the Winter (December-February)

Spring Photoshoot (March-May)


Beautiful Fall Photoshoot (September-November)

As you can see, they’re all a little different. And yet, they are all beautiful!!

Now, don’t get me wrong… While you can get some very gorgeous photos during late morning photoshoots, there are a few drawbacks. First, the sun is bright and the light can reflect pretty strongly off the sand and the ocean. It can be harder to keep your eyes open at this time. If you know you have sensitive eyes, this is probably not the best time for you. You don’t want to be squinting in all of your photos or to be uncomfortable throughout the shoot.

Another drawback is that it will be pretty hot during your photoshoot. You’ll feel the heat from the sun as you’re walking around, and you might start sweating. If you don’t mind a little heat, then don’t even worry about it.

Keep in mind that we’ll take a variety of shots in different areas around the beach, so no matter what, you’ll get some time in the shade to cool down and rest your eyes. 


Afternoon Photoshoots

If you love bright, vivid colors and are looking for that Instagram-worthy beach shot, then an afternoon photoshoot is going to be the best for you. Between 11am-3pm is your prime time.

But here’s your fair warning: It is hot! It’s humid! And you will definitely be sweating! There is no way around this. The afternoon in the Dominican Republic is always hot. The summer months will definitely be hotter and more humid, but even in the winter, you can expect the heat.

The sun is at its highest point in the sky, and it is the brightest at this time. It will be difficult to keep your eyes open in the photos. And if you sweat a lot, I would discourage you from booking at this time. Your clothes will be drenched, and you won’t be comfortable. Not to mention, there are a lot of excursions that go to the beach during the day so it’s not the most private photoshoot time.

Honestly, I don’t recommend the afternoon as the best time for a photoshoot in Punta Cana, but if you don’t mind the heat, and you really want those bright, vibrant colors, then we can make it work!


Late Afternoon Photoshoots in Punta Cana

This is what they call the “golden hour.” When the sun starts to set, and the light begins to soften. The clouds put on a show; changing colors, and revealing those stunning pink, orange, and purple tones. It’s that romantic lighting. Smooth. Warm. Colorful. The sun will be setting towards the end of your photoshoot which is a great time to get those gorgeous silhouette photos. (Just keep in mind: the sun does not set over the ocean in Punta Cana.)

Because colors are softer at this time, you can’t expect those bright bright blue ocean pics. It’s just not going to happen at this time of day. But if you’re looking for a sunset photoshoot, then this is the time for you. While it’s still fairly hot outside, the sun is lower in the sky so it’s not as bright. It’s easier to keep your eyes open at this time, which is great for older adults or families with young kids.

If you’re having a family and/or a maternity photoshoot, I’d definitely recommend booking in the late afternoon. It can also be a great time for couples to get their engagement photos or to have a romantic session on the beach.

The exact time of your late afternoon photoshoot will depend on the time of year as the sun sets later in the summertime and earlier in the winter. It’s usually best to book about 1.5-2 hours before sunset. 


Sunset Times in Punta Cana

Here you can see what time the sun sets each month of the year.

sunset times in punta cana

You don’t need to worry about this too much. When you’re ready to book a photoshoot in the late afternoon, just get in contact with us and we’ll help you plan the perfect time depending on your travel dates!

nighttime photoshoot


Nighttime Photoshoots

I don’t get too many inquiries about nighttime photoshoots, but there are a few curious people, particularly when it comes to surprise proposals. I’ll talk about surprise proposals in the section below if you want to scroll ahead, but first, let me tell you why I’m not a huge fan of nighttime photoshoots. 

Generally, when you’re taking photos at the beach, you want to be able to actually see the ocean. You want your photos to feature that beautiful blue water. The white sand. The gorgeous green palm trees. And sadly, when you take photos at night, that entire background will disappear into the darkness. Sure, we can use an external flash, but that’ll be used more to capture your faces than it will be for the scenery. Any scenery will be more of a silhouette shape, and all of those beautiful colors will be gone.

Now don’t get me wrong, those photos are very beautiful too, but if your goal is to get the ocean and the scenery, I definitely recommend that you choose an earlier time in the day.

With all that being said, there are a few instances when nighttime photography looks great! Wedding receptions are one of these instances. If your reception is indoors, you’ll likely have lots of glowing candles and soft, romantic lighting throughout your venue to set the ambiance. If you’re on the beach, decorative string lights, illuminated dance floors, and LED signs spelling out LOVE or FOREVER, not only create the perfect space to party, but they also provide enough light for us to capture exciting images of you and your guests dancing the night away. (Or getting sloppy drunk 😉 )

wedding at jellyfish


Do You Still Love the Idea of A Photoshoot at Night?

If that’s the case, then I’d recommend taking photos at your resort or an outside venue (like Huracan Cafe or Jellyfish Restaurant) as opposed to taking photos at the beach. Someplace with good lighting. Be advised that at the resort, you will have to arrange for the photographer to be allowed onto the property to take photos. You may need to pay for a night pass or a vendor fee depending on your resort.

Wherever you choose, you’ll want to pick an area that’s well lit. Someplace with dramatic lighting and/or different colored lights. Whether that’s by the pool, at one of the restaurants, or in the gardens, you’ll want a spot that stands out for its beauty at night. 

Check out this Surprise Proposal at Royalton CHIC Punta Cana for some inspiration. However, let me tell you that even though this particular surprise proposal worked out nicely, there are way better options for your big proposal moment.


Surprise Proposals at Night

While I totally get the idea of doing a surprise proposal at night, I always recommend against it for a few reasons. (And I apologize in advance if this sounds a little harsh.)

First of all, I know what you’re going for… You’re picturing a romantic scene. A candlelight dinner on the beach. The waves lightly crashing in the background. The moonlight giving off just the perfect amount of soft lighting for you to propose to the love of your life. And as soon as they serve dessert or that bottle of champagne, you drop down on one knee and pop the question. Does that sound about right?

Well, proposing at dinner on the beach is romantic… Isn’t it a little cliche? I mean you want the whole thing to be a surprise, right? So why do the one thing that they seem to always show in romantic movies? Not to mention, coordinating that moment with the photographer can be a nightmare. There’s not an easy way for them to meet you, get to your table at dinner, and then to know the exact moment that you’re going to propose.

Many people want us to be hiding in the background, just capturing the moment. But it doesn’t work out so well that way. And when you try to add cues or plan too much, it usually ends up looking cheesy, very obvious, or in the worst-case scenario: something goes wrong. And we definitely don’t want that!

Instead, let’s do something unique. Something she’d never expect! Check out some past surprise proposals for some different ideas and contact us to plan something special just for you.

surprise proposal photoshoot


Closing Thoughts

Now that we’ve made it to the end of the day and discussed every possible time to have a photoshoot in Punta Cana, it should be easier for you to decide which time is best for you. Do you want bright, vibrant photos with the turquoise ocean in the background? Or do you prefer soft, warm colors with a more romantic vibe? Both are beautiful!! It just depends on the style you’re going for. Either way, you’re going to love your photos!

Ready to plan your photoshoot? Get in contact with us today!