riviera maya wedding photographer

Best Wedding Photographers Riviera Maya

  Here is the thousand(s) dollar question that brides who demand quality are asking: “Who is the best wedding photographer in the Riviera Maya?” The More »

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Fes, Morocco

We wanted to go to Morocco for three reasons: architecture, art and food. We didn’t expect more and we weren’t disappointed. But, first, you gotta More »

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Beautiful and Edible Spain

We were looking forward to our time in Spain for two reasons: the food and the architecture. Let’s face it, those two things are the More »

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Italy in the Summer

All of my previous trips to Italy have been in the off-season, usually April or October. I love that time of year since there are More »

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Holbox Dream Hotel

We recently spent a few nights at one of the newest hotels on the sleepy island of Holbox, off the north coast of the Yucatan More »

Best Wedding Photographers Riviera Maya

riviera maya wedding photographer

 

Here is the thousand(s) dollar question that brides who demand quality are asking:

“Who is the best wedding photographer in the Riviera Maya?”

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The easy answer – it’s M & J Photography! M & J is Michael and Jennifer Lewis, professional photographers who moved to the area in 2010, had a destination wedding, then fell in love with photographing destination weddings.

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Here is where we come clean, we (the writers) are M & J! This is why we think we are the best:

  • We meet every couple before we book the wedding and make sure that we have a connection with them. We are passionate about what we do and we want to help make the wedding day the best day ever. That is nearly impossible to do without an honest connection.
  • We bust our butts to make photos that tug your heart strings, bring tears to your parent’s eyes and make your friends envious.
  • With more than 30 years of experience as professional photographers and with photo assignments all over the world (including National Geographic), we are calm and flexible on your wedding day.
  • We photograph every wedding together, which means we miss nothing, we capture different angles of the same moment, and you’ll have a collaboration of two pros with different styles, but with one goal. To capture amazing images for you!
  • We love what we do and we love meeting new people. Don’t just take our word for it. Read what our past couples have said here.
  • We have searched for the best photo lab and the best album company in the world, which means you will have beautiful prints (giclee, canvas, metal, acrylic, etc) at reasonable prices and an album hand made in Italy.
  • We work from a place of honesty. For us to produce brilliant work, we must like you and you must like us. It’s not enough to simply like our images and think they are cool. We don’t want to be hired hands, we want to become your friends. It’s the only way that “amazing” happens.

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The Riviera Maya is home to talented photographers with many styles, different personalities and different ways to approach and document the wedding day.

How do you determine who is right for you? Meet the photographers who interest you and see if you connect.

Contact us, schedule a video call and see if we are right for you.

 

Fes, Morocco

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We wanted to go to Morocco for three reasons: architecture, art and food. We didn’t expect more and we weren’t disappointed. But, first, you gotta get there.

Our Morocco visit came at the end of our Spain visit. We both had always wanted to go, and since our boat trip ended in Gibraltar, we were close enough to see the country across the Straits of Gibraltar – so, why not? Why not, indeed.

After an easy ferry ride from Tarifa, Spain to Tanger, we changed money, bought train tickets to Fes and hung out in the train station awaiting our departure. The four-hour ride to Fes was uneventful and we passed the trip reading and watching the mostly agricultural scenery from the window of our compartment. First class ticket was about $10 USD.

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We had found a “riad” on Air BnB and invited friends to join us in Fes for four days, then travel to Marrakech for four days. Buying and rehabilitating old homes in the historic walled-centers (medina) in Fes and Marrakech is a popular endeavor for Westerners. Some live in their projects, while others rent them out. A “riad” technically is a home with a courtyard in the center, with the rooms surrounding the courtyard on 2-3 floors. Sometimes they have a pool and sometimes a rooftop terrace. Our riad in Fes was a “dar”, not a riad, since it did not have a central courtyard. Still, the Belgian owner had made a few nice upgrades to a home that had a lot of beautiful tile mosaics and wood carved balcony railings.

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The highlight of this place was the couple who were the caretakers. A wonderful breakfast was included each morning and we also chose to have the woman cook our evening meals for us. While we were in the medina, where alcohol is usually not sold, we slipped outside the city’s wall to the “new city” where Moroccan wine and beer was available. Dinner on the terrace, with a chilled bottle of rosé during the call to prayer was an unforgettable experience.

Some people may choose to spend countless hours wandering the narrow streets of the ancient town, but you would be wise to use a guide. With no signs, very narrow streets and a confusing array of markets, it would be very easy to get lost. Regardless, don’t miss seeing the beautiful buildings and tile work that are the hallmarks of Moroccan style.

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We chose to have a guide for the medina on one day, a driver and car to visit sites outside of the medina on another day Don’t protest too much about not wanting to shop. Any guided tour is going to take you to a leather shop, a carpet shop and a silk shop. Enjoy the tour, but have a good understanding of the prices back home before you enter into negotiations for that “bargain” carpet.

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Tile tables are created by placing the tiles in a mold from the back side

Tile tables are created by placing the tiles in a mold from the back side

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The highlight of our visit in Fes was the cooking class with Ouliya at her home. Her mother helps and the experience is not to be missed. Terrific food and a glimpse into the lives of a typical Fes family.

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Enjoy some of the street, market, dar and cooking class photos.

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Beautiful and Edible Spain

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We were looking forward to our time in Spain for two reasons: the food and the architecture. Let’s face it, those two things are the common threads for our journeys. Our visits to Valencia, Barcelona, Cartagena and Granada (with the majestic Alhambra) featured great food and amazing visual delights.

Room with a view.

Room with a view.

Why Valencia? Other than the fact that we had good friends living there, it’s one of Spain’s main agricultural areas. The Central Market was very impressive with an astonishing array of jamon, olives, fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. The jamon, and the proscuitto in Italy, are very different from the salty stuff we get in Mexico or the U.S. Rich, mild flavors are the hallmarks of good cured ham in Spain and Italy. That certainly goes for the olives, too. Why do we get these salty products in the U.S.? Are they dumping their inferior products or simply catering to the majority of Americans who love salt?

Olives at the central market.

Olives at the central market.

Beautiful jamon.

Beautiful jamon.

OK, rant over. The food was great, from the small padron chiles which were seared and lightly salted, to the wonderfully fresh and simply prepared calamari, shrimp and fish.

The architectural highlight of Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències) designed by world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava, a native of Valencia. Hire a bike and ride along the former Turia river bed which is now a park with sports fields, park spaces and jogging/cycling paths.

Calatrava in Valencia.

Calatrava in Valencia.

Barcelona's contemporary art museum, which reflects the city all the way to the port.

Barcelona’s contemporary art museum, which reflects the city all the way to the port.

Moving on to Barcelona, we kicked off our visit to that city with a five-hour walking food tour. Three neighborhoods, three tapas bars, four different Spanish wines (verdejo, rosado, tinto and cava) and a bit of history mixed in to the evening. Paul, from Taste Barcelona Walking Tours, was a great guide and offered the perfect insight into the food, wine and neighborhoods of Barcelona/Catalonia. In five hours we ate:

Gambas y calamares (Shrimps/prawns and calamari), Camembert crujiente (Crunchy camembert), Cangrejo (Crab, corn & pineapple montadito), Queso Castellano Curado (sheep) with our white Verdejo. White anchovies, potato croquettes and padron chiles with the rosado. The third stop featured Formatge Vall de Tenes (sheep – Catalunya), Formatge Brisat (cow with grape skins – Catalunya), Queso Mahon Seco (cow), Formatge Cabra del Bages (goat – Catalunya), Formatge Carrat (goat with ash – Catalunya), Pan con tomateCoca de recapte amb sardines, Escalivada (grilled/oven-roasted vegetables: eggplant, pepper, onion), Chorizo picante, Morcilla (black pudding, blood sausage), Longaniza, Morcon, Jamón ibérico de bellota de Guijuelo with the vino tinto Llagrimes de Tardor made with Garnacha, Samso, Syrah y Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Thankfully, the last stop was only sparkling wine/cava– no food. We certainly didn’t need it.

Stop #2 on the food tour.

Stop #2 on the food tour.

Artist in a small plaza in the Gothic Quarter.

Artist in a small plaza in the Gothic Quarter.

Lunch and mirrors.

Lunch and mirrors.

There are few words that can do justice to Sagrada Familia, the majestic cathedral designed by Antoni Guadí. Construction began in 1882 and will not be completed for another 20 years. All we can do is tell you that it is one of the most amazing buildings we have experienced.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Inside one of the towers at Sagrada Familia

Inside one of the towers at Sagrada Familia

The fascination with the work of Gaudí doesn’t have to end at Sagrada Familia. There are several residences and buildings in Barcelona that he designed, and there is the popular Park Guell, which was supposed to be a planned residential community. Surprisingly, it failed, but you can still visit to see a couple of the houses, walkways and common areas in what is now a city park.

One of Gaudí's designs.

One of Gaudí’s designs.

The entrance to Park Guell.

The entrance to Park Guell.

Last lunch in Barcelona near Port Vell.

Last lunch in Barcelona near Port Vell.

Moving on, we spent a few days around Mallorca and the beautiful city of Palma.

Gaudí worked on the cathedral in Palma, but his presence is minimal. Better to nap in the park.

Gaudí worked on the cathedral in Palma, but his presence is minimal. Better to nap in the park.

Further down the coast, we enjoyed the small town of Cartagena with it’s Roman ruins, but the highlight of our last days in Spain was undoubtedly the Alhambra in Granada. Built by the Moors as a small fortress in 889, it was then renovated and expanded by a Moorish emir in the mid-11th century. The design and craftsmanship are captivating, whetting our appetites for the palaces, riads and mosques of Morocco, which was our next stop and will be the next blog post.

In the palace of the Alhambra

In the palace of the Alhambra

Contemplating the beauty of the artwork.

Contemplating the beauty of the artwork.

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Italy in the Summer

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All of my previous trips to Italy have been in the off-season, usually April or October. I love that time of year since there are fewer tourists and the weather is nice. However, this time, the stars aligned for an August visit. We did find several restaurants in Rome closed for August vacation and it was hot during our 11-day visit. However, we still managed to eat and travel well.

Don’t forget that visiting in August means getting a hotel room with A/C and if you rent a villa or apartment make sure they have a pool, or at least A/C.

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One of the many fountainsin Rome with good drinking water.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

Fresh rain in Piazza Navona

Fresh rain in Piazza Navona

We started in Rome, staying at Navona Suites, one street away from the Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most popular piazzas. Gelato, exquisite fountains, loads of street performers, and selfie-stick salesmen. But, the location is also close to one of Rome’s best coffee roasters, Caffe Sant’ Eustachio, and an easy walk to the Campo di Fiore, lined with better restaurants (with better prices) than Piazza Navona. We loved Obicá with several types of fresh mozzarella and local organic foods.

Art in Piazza Navona

Art in Piazza Navona

No TripAdvisor, no food app, it just looked good so we stopped.

No TripAdvisor, no food app, it just looked good so we stopped.

One of the highlights of Rome was taking the Panorama Bicycle tour of Rome with Top Bike Rentals and Tours.   Visiting the hills of Rome is easy with a mountain bike, but even easier with an electric bike. We chose the electric option and were glad we did. Smooth sailing up hills!

Passing St. Peters and the Vatican.

Passing St. Peters and the Vatican.

Finishing the bike tour by riding past the Coliseum.

Finishing the bike tour by riding past the Coliseum.

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Clear nights for a walk home.

Moving to Tuscany, we rented an apartment at the I Veroni Winery and Olive Oil farm in Pontassieve, which is along the Arno River about 10 miles west of Firenze. The location offered an easy train ride into the city with free car park, a good market, a tranquil location on a hill above town, and a good base for visiting the towns and vineyards of Tuscany.

Sangiovese at I Veroni.

Sangiovese at I Veroni.

I Veroni near the town of Pontassieve west of Firenze.

I Veroni near the town of Pontassieve west of Firenze.

We visited Arezzo, Lucignano, Castellini in Chianti, and a must stop for any wine and food lover, Montalcino. We wound up our trip to Italy with the best meal of the visit at Ristorante Buca Mario (since 1886).

Here is a small portfolio of some of our visit. Coming next is Spain and Morocco.

Statue at the Cathedral in Arezzo.

Statue at the Cathedral in Arezzo.

Between Montalcino and Montepulciano.

Between Montalcino and Montepulciano.

Hill town of Lucignano.

Hill town of Lucignano.

Lunchtime in Firenze

Lunchtime in Firenze

Accademia and David

Accademia and David

Oil and balsamic

Oil and balsamic

Holbox Dream Hotel

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We recently spent a few nights at one of the newest hotels on the sleepy island of Holbox, off the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

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Holbox Dream is a project by successful Playa del Carmen-based hotel group, Xperience Hotels. Their comfortable properties in Playa include Hacienda Paradise, Aqua Luna and Illusions Boutique Hotel.

The Holbox property involved a complete remodel of existing rooms, and the addition of a restaurant, pool and new rooms. The two-story units are on the beach and feature a great Italian restaurant, two pools, hammocks or chairs on each balcony, bicycles to rent and a friendly, accommodating staff. Another big plus is that it’s pet friendly.

Rather than carry on about it, check out the photos and see for yourself.

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Shells used for faucets and natural soaps and shampoos in all of the bathrooms.

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The rooms are stylish and comfortable.

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Mumbai, India

Jennifer and I are working on a project in India for a couple of weeks. While we are not able to share the details of that project due to contractual restraints, we can share some of our photos with you that are not related to the project.

It has been 26 years since my first visit to India, when I traveled through the north and visited Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Ranthambhor National Park (tigers) and Varanasi. Jennifer visited for the first time in 2008 working on a book project with Brooks Institute.

Mumbai is a large city (16 million or more), that sprawls from the shores of the Arabian Sea inland to the Ghat Mountains. It has everything that you would expect of a mega-city in a country that is experiencing upward mobility. Rather than blather on with facts and figures, we’ll share some images from our first week here in the downtown area of Colaba and Fort.

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Area where the city’s hotels and hospitals send their sheets for washing.

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Chicken berry pulao at the Iranian restaurant Britannia & Co. Founded in 1923

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Son of the Britannia & Co’s founder, still working the floor at 92.

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Boss of Britannia & Co likes to nap near the cashier.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Station is the main RR station built by the British in the 1880s.

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Breakfast along the street outside the train station.

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Normal morning street scene near the train station.

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Gateway of India was built along the harbor and was the embarkation point for transatlantic ships. Now it’s a local spot.

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Locals and tourists gather in the area all day, but especially at sunset.

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Inside the Taj Mahal Palace, one of the most exclusive hotels in Mumbai.

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Carriage rides near the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace.

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Roasting corn on the street.

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Jennifer loves the mehndi and the Indian salwar kameez.

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The Gateway of India with the evening lights playing off of the facade.

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View of the Worli neighborhood from the 38th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel.