Six Great Reasons to Choose Philippines for Family Photos

A few months ago, we hired a professional photographer for the first time in Davao City, Mindanao. While the photographer took some magical family photos, we felt somewhat disappointed with our clothing, make-up and posture. We learnt that preparation is key, which is why we recently published an article called 9 tips for your first family photo shoot; to help others learn from our mistakes. However, those tips also helped us think about how to approach our second Philippine family photo shoot. Yes, just a few months after our first shoot we decided on a second one, this time in Cebu City, Visayas.

There were a few reasons why we decided to book a second family photo shoot so soon after the first. Although some of the pictures from our Davao photoshoot were great, we wanted a second chance to really get it right. But more than that, this was our last opportunity to have a Philippine shoot for a long time and it’s just such a great place to have family photos.

If you ever decide to visit the Philippines, we really think you should consider a family or couple photo shoot with a professional too. Our six good reasons for choosing the Philippines for family photos, and some photographer recommendations, are listed below.

1. It’s a cheap investment for lifelong memories

Professional photography is surprisingly affordable in the Philippines. A family shoot with a western photographer costs at least US$300. In the Philippines, the starting price is only US$100. This is a tiny investment, little more than a family meal, for lifelong memories in a frame or photo book.

2. The photographers are more fun in the Philippines

Despite the challenge of poverty, almost all Filipinos are fun-loving, happy, and always smiling. Therefore, you can pretty much guarantee your Filipino photographer will be laid back, grateful for the work, and eager to have a lot of fun in the process. This will put you all at ease and make for a far more enjoyable experience.

Also, photographers in western countries are quite pedantic about number of hours too, whereas Filipino photographers are happy to put in an extra half hour to get the perfect shot.

3. The Philippines has so many perfect locations

Whatever location you’re looking for, the Philippines has it all: swanky hotels, infinity pools, white sand beaches, tropical islands, shanty towns, Muslim districts, markets and city scapes.

4. Professional hair & make-up is affordable

Like the photography itself, professional hair & make up (H&MU) artists charge a fraction of their western counterparts. Expect to pay US$40-US$50 (P2000-P2500) for hair-styling and make up. Usually the photographer can arrange a reliable make-up artist that he or she usually works with to come out to your hotel, so there’s no need to go to a salon beforehand.

5. It’s a great excuse to buy a new wardrobe fit for the tropics

Like photography and H&MU, fashion is inexpensive in the Philippines too. Why not treat yourself to a brand new wardrobe just before the shoot? Something fit for the tropics like linen or another light fabric that won’t show sweat.

6. The morning and afternoon light is usually perfect

While the daytime light is harsh and washed out, the early morning and late afternoon light in the Philippines is often perfect for photography. Creative photographers can position you with the light glaring into their lens and your soft skin tones and the blurred out background combine to make magical family portraits. Make sure you avoid the wet season (June-October on the west coast, December to March on the east coast) or you might face prolonged, heavy rain and dark clouds.

Follow in our footsteps (recommendations)

– In Davao, we hired Raphael Banta, aka The Organic Studios. Raphael brought his colleague Jomar with him. The two of them are superb photographers and really know how to work with children. Contact Raphael via his website, Facebook page or Instagram.

– In Cebu, we hired Ritchie Lanao, aka Dodzki Photography. He is a fine arts photographer. He takes stylish shots, has plenty of ideas and is open to your input too. We cannot recommend him enough. Contact Ritchie via his website, Facebook page or Instagram.

– Expect to pay around P5000 (US$100) for a family shoot in the Philippines This payment will not include printing or photo books.

– In Cebu, Ritchie arranged make-up for us with Liz Cinco, a famous hair and make-up specialist. She is super friendly and one of the best make-up artists in the Philippines. Contact Liz via her Facebook page.

– Expect to pay P1500-P2000 (US$30-US$40) for a two-hour hair styling and make-up session in the Philippines.


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