A collection of common questions and answers – Cancun photographer Elena Fedorova.
- General FAQ
- Beach photosessions FAQ
- Editing FAQ
- Booking FAQ
- Wedding photography FAQ
- Boudoir photography FAQ
- Underwater photography FAQ
General Frequently Asked Questions
What equipment do you use?
I work with hi-end Nikon photo cameras and lenses. I must admit I am one of the biggest fans of this photo company! For underwater photography, I use professional Ikelite equipment.
How long do you do photography?
I graduated from Saint-Petersburg University of Culture and Art with a Master’s Degree in Art in 2005. Since then, photography has become my vocation, filling up my creative life with boundless possibilities of growth and fulfillment.
Where are you located?
Although I live in Cancun, I also do photo sessions in Isla Mujeres (Ahhh! I love this island), Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, Akumal, Tulum, and Holbox island.
What are your rates?
I offer different photography packages that are based on a type/style of a photo session, the duration, and the number of retouched photos. So contact me to get a personalized quote about my rates.
I just need one/two/five portraits taken. Can you do this?
I take lifestyle, candid photos in different poses and interactions, both of individual family members and all of you together. The result is a collection of images that tell the story of your relationships and personalities. Often, the best photos come at the end of the session when everyone is the most relaxed! Therefore, taking just one photograph wouldn’t likely give great results, and in general, photo sessions should not be rushed.
*The same applies to a couple (engagement/anniversary/honeymoon) and individual portrait photo sessions.
I found some random photos on the Internet, and I want the same because I like that photography style. Can you reproduce them?
Allow me to be honest with you. If you ask me this question probably, I am not the right photographer for you. And here is the answer to why.
I fell in love with photography many years ago because it’s one of the most influential visual arts with all the instruments to capture real moments of true love and happiness called life. Every moment is unique. Everyday light is different; white clouds scatter along the sky differently, the wind is stronger or weaker, sunrise and sunset are never the same. Yes, I sometimes do photo sessions at the exact locations, and although the sand, palm trees, rocks, and sea are the same, the light and other natural details are never the same. And you are different from the person pictured on that random photo you found on social media. And you are unique! We are all unique! It is impossible to reproduce a real moment that happened in someone else’s life days or years ago, as, in terms of the Universe, it is already past.
I am an artist (without being modest, well, maybe just a little!) And as an artist, I don’t copycat. I neither reproduce images created by other artists because of respect towards my colleagues. Also because I have my photography style, which represents me as a photographer and artist. And I don’t take photos. Instead, I create artistic images showing the individuality of every person in front of the camera and the beauty of Mother Nature. I will be happy to capture your real-life moments with my camera, so I invite you to visit my portfolio gallery to understand my photo style better.
Beach photosessions FAQ
What time do the photo sessions take place?
The best time for a family/couple/portrait individual beach photo session is either morning or late afternoon. That’s when the light is gorgeous.
September – November 7.00 a.m. – 9.00 a.m. / 4.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
November – March 7.30 a.m. – 9.30 a.m. / 4.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
April –August 6.15 a.m. – 8.00 a.m. / 5.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.
In Cancun and Riviera Maya, the sun is very bright and gets hot after 9.00 a.m. The eyes are sensitive to bright sun, and facing the sun can cause squinting. From my experience, I noticed that little kids (6 months-5/6 years old) are willing to collaborate and smile only when there is no direct sunlight. That is why I recommend scheduling a photo session on a sunrise or sunset.
Sunburn can happen! You don’t want this to be visible in your photos, do you? Then it is better to schedule a photoshoot on the first or the second day of your vacation.
Explain to your family that this is supposed to be a quick and fun experience, and there’s absolutely no pressure to be perfect!
What happens if it rains? Or what if my child is sick?
Both these situations would not make for the best photos. Therefore, I often book a backup date when the initial date is set. Otherwise, you can cancel, and we reschedule for another date.
Weather in Cancun and Riviera Maya from September-November can be a little unpredictable. These months are considered a rainy season, and any weather forecast usually shows rain every day. However, it doesn’t mean it rains every day, 24 hours non-stop, and in reality, there are still many sunny days. I say it based on my own experience. After all, I have lived in Cancun for more than seven years.
Can you come to the resort to do a photo session?
Most of the all-inclusive resorts (but not ALL! There are still some outside vendor-friendly resorts!) in Riviera Maya and Cancun have an outside vendor fee. In general, it’s around 150 to 500 USD depending on the resort. I do many photo sessions outside the resort areas because there are many beautiful places available for the photography sessions in Cancun and Riviera Maya. If you choose to make the photoshoot outside the resort at the moment of booking, I will recommend the most convenient locations, considering the resort location.
What should we wear for a family/couple photo session?
Exactly what you like – you all want to look and feel like yourselves. As a guide, simple clothes tend to work best, and avoiding logos and stripes is preferable. Layering works well for creating different looks, and a change of outfit can be a good idea for tiny ones. Think texture over print. Big, bold, and crazy patterns distract from your face, especially in photos. Textures, however, are photographed beautifully. Textures are: cable knit, denim, lace, tulle, chiffon.
Regarding the colors of clothes, white always looks fantastic in front of the Caribbean Sea and other bright colors like red, yellow, green, blue, etc. I would recommend avoiding black, grey, or brown color, as such clothes look more formal, and beach photo session is done in a casual style. Also, pay attention to the texture of the clothes (especially man shirts). Since it is humid and hot here, try to choose shirts/t-shirts made of light fabric and resistant to water/sweat.
Can I bring food or sweets to the family photoshoot?
Yes! You all need to keep up your energy, especially kids, so snacks are a good idea. However, please bring snacks that can be eaten relatively quickly and don’t mess outfits.
How much do you edit the photos?
My goal is to edit your images as close to how it was on the day of the photoshoot. This includes a color correction to look natural, your skin tones look great, and the colors sing. I avoid thick vintage or faded presets and take an editorial approach with a slight touch of film feel to make your photos simply timeless.
Do you give out RAW (unedited) photos?
“Chef’s don’t serve raw pork, and photographers-artists don’t serve RAW files. Because – safety” (quote Unknown)
My editing is part of my product – photos; it’s part of my photography style. It’s one of the reasons why you hire me. It takes time to find your style and years to enhance it. Many aspects had formed my photography and retouching style: the way I see the world, my life values, art education, creative mindset, work, and life experience.
All of my packages include professionally retouched pictures. It means that every single image you will receive is meticulously checked with special software to ensure that brightness, saturation, color balance, contrast, shadows, and highlights are perfectly in harmony to create a fabulous image. And until the moment I deliver you the finest images, the order cannot be considered accomplished and cannot be called professional photographs. You wish to have beautiful professional photos at the end of the photo session experience, which includes enjoying the photo session process and after admiring the photographs. And retouching the pictures is the work for the photographer.
In my article “Why you don’t need all the unedited images,” I explain in detail why I don’t give RAW files.
How long will it take to receive photos?
Depending on the season, the turnaround time is 2-6 weeks. For example, November-May is usually the top season in Cancun and Riviera Maya. It takes me 4-7 weeks to deliver the photos.
What can we do with digital photos?
All of my packages include printing rights. That means all of your photos can be used for personal printing, to share with your parents/friends or to make a photobook. The images cannot be manipulated or utilized commercially (contests/publications/third-party vendor blogs). You can use the photos for Christmas cards, calendars, prints, canvas, frames. Or make a beautiful slideshow or photo book.
After receiving digital images, I recommend downloading them on your laptop and making a copy on a USB/external hard drive.
Are the digital photos watermarked?
No, all the photos you receive will not contain any watermarks.
Do you deliver only digital photos, or can we also get prints?
Yes, you can also get prints, and you can order them separately after you view all digital photos and choose the one you like to be printed.
How do I book a photo session with you?
Just get in contact, and we’ll find a suitable date. All I need then is a signed contract and the deposit fee. This payment is non-refundable.
Consider booking about 3-4 weeks in advance, and if you plan your vacation in December-January 6-8 weeks.
What is your cancellation policy?
I know how life works. Sometimes it is overcast, kids get sick, or you change plans due to work schedule. Sometimes 2020 happens…ufff but let’s not talk about this “famous” year.
I require a 20% deposit to save the date. Then, if anyone gets sick or bad weather, we can reschedule a photo session within 7 months (it’s subject to availability!) as long as I have 72 hours notice of cancellation. In this case, I will transfer the deposit to the next chosen date.
A higher rate may apply if your photo session was subject to a seasonal promotion and you need to reschedule to a time outside the promotional window.
Do you travel outside Mexico for photo sessions?
I’m open to it! However, I charge a travel fee for locations outside Cancun and Riviera Maya. Send me an email, and I can give you all the information.
Wedding Photography FAQ
Have you done a wedding photo session at my venue?
I have done photo sessions at many venues, so there is a good chance that I have. However, if I have not, I will get to the venue early on the day of and be sure to perform a thorough walk-through to scout out the best photography locations. I also do extensive online research before your wedding!
Do you provide video service?
I do only photography for weddings, but I can recommend a professional wedding videographer who does a good job and provides drone videography.
Do you have an assistant?
Yes, I do. She/he is with me only during 9-hour weddings to help me with light equipment and take additional photos during the ceremony, reception, and cocktail hour. However, the main photographer in charge of all creative processes is me.
What if we need you to stay for an extra hour on a wedding day?
Yes, I can do this. When you book my photography service for your wedding, I lock this date only for you, so I can easily adjust if any minor changes interfere with the original wedding plan. So whether it’s extra half an hour, an hour, or two hours that you need, I am always ready and the camera in hand.
Can we provide you with a “shot list” or “must-have pictures”?
Other than family groupings, I would prefer you don’t give me a “shot list”. I understand the importance of taking photos of you with everyone present at the wedding, but the longer the line is a “shot list,” the less time I have to capture genuine, unique, and candid moments. “Must have pictures” inspired by Pinterest or Instagram limit artists’ creativity. These social media is an excellent way to look for a general understanding of wedding venues and locations, but they will make your photo album look similar to someone’s else. And one of my artistic goals is to create exclusive, individual photos that will tell a story of your special day in detail, pictures that no one else will have.
Can our family members and friends take photos with their cameras?
Yes, I don’t mind them using cameras or cell phones during the reception, first dance, cocktail hour, cake cutting. However, when I am one on one with you, while you are getting ready or we take “couple portraits” photos after or before the wedding, I will ask them to put down their cameras because creating unique photos of this moment requires concentration, and that means less distraction for me and you as well. And having 3, 4, 5 … (and counting) cell phones facing you can be more than distracting. Although I can’t prohibit the usage of mobile phones during wedding ceremonies, just so you know the consequences, take a look at the images in this article “What is the worst danger during a wedding ceremony?” and decide on whether or not to opt for an unplugged wedding.
Boudoir photography FAQ
Boudoir? Do people really do this?
Yes, absolutely. There are so many aspects to boudoir photography. Some women do it to reclaim themselves, others as gifts for their beloved ones, and others to have a new experience, which is empowering. It takes guts to break it down like that, and for those of you that haven’t experienced it yet, consider what it must feel like to take the time and care into putting yourself out there, exactly as you are. To embrace your femininity and define your beauty on your terms. I feel grateful that I get to help bring that joy and strength to many women.
I’ve never done anything like this before, and I’m super nervous! How could these photos possibly turn out well?
As a woman, I truly understand how you feel! And believe me (as a photographer), your photos will turn out super nice! It’s okay to be nervous when you are about to experience something completely new. Let’s schedule a phone call and plan a photo session together. You can ask me any question that makes you feel nervous, and together, we will turn them into simple solutions. All my boudoir clients had told me that even though they were very nervous when we started, they became very comfortable once the photoshoot got rolling. I make the photo session as fun as possible, and I am here to help you create exquisite boudoir photos.
Can we schedule a phone call?
Yes, absolutely. First, contact me via email, and let’s agree on the most appropriate time that suits us all for a phone call.
Who will be photographing me?
Only I, Elena Fedorova. Although I take boudoir photos outside, in nature (as shown in my art project “Tropical Boudoir photography”) at the beach or cenotes, I always choose locations as private as possible. This is why I schedule boudoir photo sessions in the morning when most people are still at their hotels sleeping or enjoying pool time.
Do you do nudes?
Yes, I do, upon request. There is nothing like a true artistic nude in black and white. If you decide to or decide not to, that is entirely your decision during the photoshoot.
Underwater photography FAQ
Where do you usually do underwater photo sessions?
In islands like Isla Mujeres, Cozumel or in cenotes.
I am not a good swimmer, but I still want underwater photos?
You don’t need to be a professional swimmer or diver to do an underwater photoshoot in a cenote. However, you need to know how to hold your breath for a couple of seconds and feel comfortable doing this. There are more than 6000 thousand cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula, and among them are the one that is not very deep, and stones in the water make it easy because you can stand on them.
Is the water cold in cenotes?
I would say it feels fresh. If you want numbers, the maximum water temperature in cenotes is +24 °C.
How long does a photo session in cenotes last?
Be prepared to spend 2-3 hours in a cenote if you want creative, various photos.