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How to Plan a Destination Photoshoot on Koh Samui

Date of publication: 31 Mar 2023

As a professional photographer, I've had the pleasure of capturing moments for clients around the world, and I’ve decided to stay and take pictures only here, on Koh Samui. This is my favorite destination. With its wide range of different beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant culture, it's no wonder that many couples and families choose this stunning location for their destination photoshoots. In this article, I will share my insights and experiences to help you plan an unforgettable destination photoshoot on Koh Samui.

Thus, here are the crucial steps to consider prior to your photoshoot.

Choose the right time of year

The first step in planning your Koh Samui photoshoot is selecting the right time of year. Koh Samui has a tropical climate, with the best weather typically occurring between January and September. During these months, the skies are clear, and the chance of rain is minimal, ensuring the perfect conditions for your photos. However, it's important to know that the period from January to April is high tourist season, so it could be higher prices and more crowded locations.

I have a detailed article for the weather on Samui here. If you still have any uncertainties, feel free to explore further.

How to Plan a Destination Photoshoot on Koh Samui. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1757
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

Hire a professional photographer

As a professional, I cannot emphasize enough the significance of engaging a local expert for your destination photoshoot. A local photographer will be well-acquainted with the ideal locations and times of day for capturing the perfect shot, along with any local customs or regulations that you should be aware of. Additionally, they can also provide advice from insiders on where to eat, stay, and see during your visit. I've written an article, “How to choose your photographer on Koh Samui?” that can assist you in understanding the important moments of choosing a photographer. Anyway, before you even think about it, better ask yourself a few important questions, such as "What do I want to get from a photo shoot?" etc. I explain and describe those questions in another article, “What should I know before asking a photographer for a price?

Choose right locations that align with your preferences

The island of Koh Samui offers a wide variety of picturesque settings, from beautiful beaches to lush jungles and charming local villages. I've detailed this in my article “Top 10 best locations for photo shooting on Samui”. You can use my list or ask your photographer to suggest you. Definitely they as local guides can help you much more than you will try to explore the area by yourself.

Discuss your ideas and wishes with your photographer

How to Plan a Destination Photoshoot on Koh Samui. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1244
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

Before your photoshoot, it's necessary to get a consultation with your photographer to discuss your photo shooting vision, preferences, and other questions. Consider the following factors:

  • Style of photos: Do you prefer candid, natural shots or more posed, traditional images? Each photographer worked in own style, and you need to figure out if it matches his style or not.
  • Outfits: What type of clothing will you wear? Will you have the opportunity to change outfits, and if so, how many times? Share your ideas and ask for suggestions from the photographer. They can recommend locations that would best compliment your chosen wardrobe.
  • Transportation: Inquire about the best way to reach your chosen locations. Ask if the photographer can recommend local taxi services, if they provide transportation themselves, or if you should arrange your own transport.
  • Makeup and Hairstyle: Inquire if the photographer provides makeup and hairstyling services or can recommend someone for these services. It's an important detail and here is why: “Why is it important to get professional makeup for a photo shoot?”

Choose the best time of day for your photoshoot

Koh Samui is known for its incredible natural light throughout any part of a day. And the pictures will turn out very good with almost any moment and even any weather. But each part of a day has different conditions that can impact your photos. Each time of day has its own pros and cons, so be sure to discuss this with your photographer to find the optimal lighting for your photoshoot:

  • Morning: The soft, golden light of the morning creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for your images. This time of day is ideal for capturing the peaceful ambiance of the island before it gets too crowded. But you have to wake up even before sunrise and be prepared and ready so early. Are you ready?
  • Noon: While the midday sun can be intense, it also provides bright and vibrant lighting for your photos. If you're going for a more energetic, dynamic look, this may be the ideal time for your shoot. However, be prepared to handle the heat and potential for harsh shadows.
  • Evening: As the sun begins to set, the golden hour provides warm, flattering light that can make your photos look magical. This is a popular time for romantic shots, especially on the beach. Keep in mind, though, that the window for capturing this perfect light is relatively short, especially on Koh Samui.

Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each time of day with your photographer will help you make an informed decision and ensure you capture the best possible images during your Koh Samui photoshoot.

Prepare for the photo shooting day

In the days leading up to your photoshoot, make sure to take care of the following:

  • Get confirmation from the photographer, makeup artist and transportation.
  • Pack appropriately: Bring suitable clothing, sunscreen, water, and insect repellent to stay comfortable during your photoshoot.
  • Relax: Get plenty of sleep and try to minimize stress, as this will show in your photos. Refrain from consuming alcohol or attending parties the day before your photoshoot, as these activities can potentially impact your mood and appearance.

What should you do if it's raining or the weather forecast is unfavorable?

This is a challenging question, particularly for lesser-known destinations. Speaking specifically about Samui, I can attest that weather forecasts are just as likely to be accurate as they are to be incorrect. I have been living here since 2014 and check the forecasts daily. In short, my advice is: "don't trust them." Proceed with planning your photoshoot as usual. Cloudy, sunny, or rainy weather each creates a unique mood, and each will undoubtedly offer distinct advantages. I have written an extensive article on this subject: "Forecast Looks Like Rain: Should We Cancel or Postpone the Photoshoot?". Dive into the topic to learn more!

Conclusion

Organizing a destination photoshoot is both thrilling and gratifying. By spending some time and investing some effort, you can create unforgettable memories that will be cherished forever.

photo: Dimas Frolov
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About the Author

Portrait photographer based on Samui, Thailand.
Originally from Ukraine, he has over 15 years of photography experience taking pictures around Europe and Asia. Multi-Award winner and author of many articles about photography.
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