Bora Bora is a magical and romantic place. The pristine lagoon, the overwater bungalows, the peak of Mount Otemanu and the awe-inspiring sunsets will take your breath away. What better time to get professional pictures while conquering your bucket list? Bora Bora provides the dreamlike scenery for any kind of photographic session, from honeymoon, trash the wedding dress, vow renewal to family pictures.
And what about the investment? How much a photoshoot session cost? Should I fly a photographer to Bora Bora? In this article I will try to be impartial and give you an overall idea about pricing (for a more accurate quote, contact your favourite photographer).
From $450 to $600 for 1 hour and 50 edited pictures depending on the photographer. The price will decrease proportionally for longer sessions. Photography can also be included in wedding packages, providing even better rates.
The price is also going to depend on several other aspects : where do you want to shoot, if your wish to have specific underwater pictures, aerial drone pictures or wedding pictures.
Price for hiring a local photographer in Bora Bora
If you want a professional that knows the island like the back of his hand, but also to save some money, and lower the carbon footprint by reducing the number of flights to Bora Bora 🙂 you should hire a local photographer.
In google, you will find a list of all the freelance photographers living and working in Bora Bora. Be careful though, some photographers use the name “Bora Bora Photographer” on internet but they are not based in Bora Bora. This will result in extra costs. Ask directly the question to your photographer to avoid misunderstandings.
Local photographers offer a price range from $450 to $600 for the one hour package – 50 pictures delivered minimum. I can’t make public the packages of my colleges but I can be transparent with mines : my one hour package is at $570 and you get to select your favourites pictures
|1 hour – 50 edited pictures :||$570|
|2 hours – 100 edited pictures :||$1040|
|3 hours – 150 edited pictures :||$1510|
|4 hours – 200 edited pictures :||$1890|
A local photographer also offers the flexibility to postpone in case of rain . For example, in my case, there is no need of deposit and the shooting is charged directly to your hotel room so you pay only when you check out.
Although, I believe that the decision about choosing your photographer should be not only based on your budget. You should choose a photographer with a style that moves you. Don’t overthink it, you’ll naturally gravitate toward him or her.
Then, the quality of a photographer’s portfolio should be the second thing that captures your attention. For example, a good photographer should be able to offer clients a variety of styles and consistency in the quality.
For that reason, ask to see a complete gallery from beginning to end for at least one or two shootings. You don’t want to see only a few “lucky” shots.
Also, be aware that photographers have different editing techniques. I believe that edition should be elegant and timeless. Think about showing your Bora Bora pictures to your grandchildren 🙂
Finally, hire the services of a photographer with a personality that you think will fit the best to yours. I know it is difficult to do that without a face to face meeting, but you can check “Testimonials”, Facebook, Google Instagram and you will get an overall feeling.
I also believe that a good photographer, confident about the work that has been done, should empower the clients to choose their best pictures for edition. This way you will cherish each one of your pictures, at the end of the day you are the best one to decide in which pictures you look your best.
Price for a wedding photographer in Bora Bora
The prices for a wedding photographer in Bora Bora may be cheaper if you choose a wedding package that includes photography. The resorts negotiate with the local photographers special fees to make their wedding packages more attractive. You can see examples of packages below, the range of the wedding packages with pictures included goes from $900 to $6000 depending of how many extras you want.
Each resort in Bora Bora has an expert wedding planner, if you are planning an elopement, vow renewal or any kind of ceremony, I suggest you to contact the planner and enquire about the choice of the wedding photographer. If your favourite photographer is not include in the packages, you should ask to have him or her.
Price for over underwater photography in Bora Bora
Ever wanted to get photobombed by a parrot fish? Feeling like trashing the dress? Epic jump from your bungalow? Then Over-under water pictures can be a great add-on to your session! Some photographers ask for an extra fee for aquatic sessions but, as I’m all about getting in the water myself, I do it for free anytime. However, please ask ahead of time because special extra equipment is needed.
Price for drone photography in Bora Bora
Drone-Aerial Photography could look like an easy add on to your package, however the reality is not that simple in Bora Bora.
First, you have to know drones are strictly forbidden in all the resorts.
Why the no drone policy in the resorts? Flying a drone may be dangerous because most of the resorts are located in the airfield of airplanes, seaplanes and helicopters. Unauthorised use of drone can be punished by one year of prison and $85,000 fine following French Law (art. L6232-4 from the aviation code).
On top of that, the use of any video or camera recording onboard a drone is also regulated (art. L226-1 from the penal code, 11apr2012) for privacy protection. Any invasion of privacy is liable to prosecution by local authorities and can be punished by one year of prison and a $50,000 fine.
If you want some aerial photography in Bora Bora, the best option is to hire a private boat, that takes you away from the airport or any airfield route for helicopters or seaplanes, to a beautiful private motu with a nice view on the mountain and clear water. But be aware, only a pilot with official license from the French Federal Aviation Agency will be able to commercially fly the drone, and will need to provide a flight plan to the Airport Control Tower prior take off and never fly above 150 meters.
As per today, nobody living in Bora Bora owns this license. That means you will have to fly a certified pilot from Tahiti.
For that reason, the price of Drone Photography additional service can start at $800 and the price of renting a private boat could start at $1000 for two hour trip.
I personally don’t provide drone photography for all the above reasons.
The price for a photoshoot in Bora Bora might depends on the location
The first thing you want to consider : where do you want to have your pictures taken.
Price for a couple photoshoot inside your resort
Most luxury Bora Bora Resorts are built on their own tiny island, or “motu“, Four Seasons, St Regis, Intercontinental Thalasso, The Conrad, Le Meridien and The Pearl Beach Resort are located in the outside ring atoll surrounding the main island of Bora Bora.
The resorts provide the postcard backdrop that you have seen hundreds of times, with views on the iconic mount Otemanu and the overwater bungalows in the background.
Their beaches are secluded and pristine, allowing you to shoot without any crowds, the lagoons are full of aquatic life, perfect for over-under water photography, and you have manicured lush gardens and palm threes everywhere.
Talking about top notch service, pick-ups in golf cars are provided to change from one location to the next, possibility to change outfits in the privacy of the spa, you can trash your wedding dress in the beach and have a towel and a drink waiting for you. Or you can have some epic pictures jumping from your overwater bungalow.
Considering all the services you get, is totally worth it and I will always recommend it over anywhere else.
Last but not least, resorts will offer 24 hours cancellation policy without any fees, plus no need for a deposit to secure your booking. The shooting is billed directly to your room, you only get charged when you check out.
Price of a Photoshoot in the main island of Bora Bora
If you want to have great pictures taken in the main island of Bora Bora, your choice will be limited. In fact, Bora Bora only has one public beach in the south of the island, Matira Beach. I’d recommend to shoot early in the morning to avoid crowd of tourists and kids playing.
The price can range from $300 to $500 for one-hour photo shooting, with a local photographer. If you are on a budget or not staying in a resort, this could be an option.
Price of a boat lagoon tour excursion with photography included in Bora Bora
Some boat excursions can provide photographic services. This option is interesting if they provide underwater photography. However, the photographer might be limited by the space inside a boat (compared to the playground of a whole resort with an infinity of background variations)
The prices range from $400 to $850 depending on the duration of the tour and the company.
Price of a family photo shooting in Bora Bora
As a father of 2 young girls myself, I strongly believe that long sessions should be avoided for families with little kids. No matter how playful you make it, they have an attention span limit that can not be overstretched. One hour is my recommendation if you want to keep it fun and stress-free.
Again, local photographers offer a price range from $450 to $600 for the one hour package – 50 pictures delivered minimum.
Price of flying a photographer to Bora Bora
Flying a destination photographer from outside French Polynesia can be very expensive, especially if you need to take into account accommodation, flight tickets, boat transfers and photographic fees.
There are great photographers living in the island of Tahiti, and they cover different islands. Their prices to shoot on Bora Bora are going to increase then as you have to cover not only the photographic fee but also the flight ticket (Tahiti to Bora Bora round trip is about $300). Keep in mind that they probably won’t flight for small sessions.
Also, If you decide to fly a photographer to Bora Bora, you will most likely need to pay half of the price in deposit and you won’t have the flexibility to re-schedule in case of rain or bad weather.
If your photographer flights to Bora Bora the same day of your shooting, you may end up taking pictures under harsh midday light, instead of the soft beautiful and flattering light of the early morning. And if your photographer wants to leave the same day, even with the last flight of the afternoon, that will mean missing the sunset. Be sure to check your contract and enquire about the policy in case of cancellation, bad weather and talk about the best time for the shooting.
This is why I choose to live in Bora Bora! Before you decide to fly a photographer in, check the quality of the local photographers. And if the local photographers don’t meet your expectations, then fly your dream photographer to Bora Bora!
Finally, Bora Bora is an expensive island, but I believe a photo session is not that expensive. Considering that it is a “once in a lifetime” experience, those memories are priceless and you will cherish them forever. And let’s be honest, selfies won’t do justice to the breathtaking backdrops of Bora Bora.