Boardwalk in the Maldives with over water bungalows in the distance.

The best time to go to the Maldives for stunning photography

The Maldives is a stunning destination for travel photography, offering endless opportunities to capture the beauty of its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life. However, timing is crucial when it comes to capturing the best shots. The Maldives experiences different seasons throughout the year, each with its unique weather patterns, lighting conditions, and wildlife sightings. In this article, we’ll explore the different seasons in the Maldives and the stunning photography opportunities each one has to offer. Whether you’re interested in aerial shots, underwater photography, or moody landscapes, there’s a perfect time to visit the Maldives and capture the photos of your dreams.

Heron and dhoni boat the maldives.

Maldives photography: more than sandy beaches

While the Maldives is known for its stunning sandy beaches, there is much more to this tropical paradise than meets the eye. As a travel photographer, you’ll find a wealth of subjects to capture beyond the shores. From the vibrant local culture and colourful markets to the lush vegetation and unique wildlife, the Maldives offers a diverse range of photography opportunities. You can capture the daily life of locals, including fishermen bringing in their catch and women weaving mats and baskets. Learn more about the techniques of storytelling with photos. Or, explore the mangroves and capture images of unique birds and other wildlife. With a little bit of exploration, you can uncover the hidden gems of the Maldives and capture truly unique shots that showcase the depth and diversity of this beautiful destination.

Read more about The unique challenges of photographing in the Maldives

The dry season (December to April)

The Dry Season (December to April) is a popular time to visit the Maldives for its sunny weather, calm seas, and abundance of marine life. It’s also a great time for aerial shots and seaplane rides, as the clear skies provide excellent visibility. Here are some of the stunning photography opportunities you can expect during this season:


The Dry Season boasts warm and sunny weather with little to no rain. The temperature averages around 27°C (81°F), making it an ideal time to enjoy outdoor activities and capture the stunning scenery. The clear skies also offer a great opportunity for capturing sunsets and sunrises.

Aerial shots

The Dry Season in the Maldives provides perfect conditions for capturing stunning aerial shots of the islands’ pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. With clear blue skies, great visibility and little to no rain, drone photography can capture the beauty of the Maldives from above, showcasing the contrast of the blue waters against the white sand and the lush greenery of the islands.

Seaplane rides also provide an excellent opportunity to capture aerial shots of the Maldives, with their low-altitude flights providing an unparalleled perspective of the islands’ beauty. Whether you’re an experienced drone photographer or a first-time seaplane rider, the Dry Season in the Maldives offers an excellent opportunity to capture breathtaking aerial shots that will make your travel photography stand out.

Wildlife and bird photography opportunities

The Dry Season is a great time to capture some of the Maldives’ exotic birdlife. During these months, a variety of bird species can be found on the islands. Some of the common bird species on the islands during this time include:

  1. White tern
  2. Common myna
  3. Asian koel
  4. Oriental magpie-robin
  5. Red-wattled lapwing
  6. Grey heron
  7. Common sandpiper
  8. Little egret
Asian Koel with a striking red eye sitting in a tree surrounded by green leaves.
Asian Koel

These birds hand around in a range of habitats in the Maldives, including coastal areas, mangroves, and inland forests. Bird photography enthusiasts can capture stunning images of these feathered creatures in their natural habitats during the dry season in the Maldives.

Additionally, the season offers an excellent opportunity to photograph land animals such as giant fruit bats, geckos, and lizards.

Grey heron between two over water bungalows.
Grey Heron

Marine life photography

One of the most significant draws of the Maldives is its vibrant marine life, which can be best observed during the Dry Season. With crystal-clear waters and excellent visibility, this is an excellent time to capture the underwater beauty of the Maldives. Snorkelling and scuba diving are popular activities during this season, allowing you to capture stunning images of colourful coral reefs, schools of fish, and even larger sea creatures such as reef sharks, eagle rays, manta rays and even sea turtles.

Nurse shark in front on overwater villas.
Nurse Shark

Since the dry season offers low humidity, plenty of sunshine and plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities, it is also a peak tourist season. The prices are higher, and the most stunning places are more crowded. There are lots of people engaging in water sports as well if you are into action shots!

Windsurfer at sunset between the swings at Rannalhi resort.

Shoulder season (May to August)

The Shoulder Season in the Maldives, which runs from May to August and from November to December, offers a great balance between favourable weather conditions and fewer crowds. It’s an excellent time to visit if you want to avoid the peak season crowds but still enjoy good weather and stunning photography opportunities. Here are some of the things you can expect during the Shoulder Season in the Maldives:


The Shoulder Season in the Maldives is characterized by a mix of sunny days and occasional rain showers. The average temperature is still around 28°C (82°F), making it a great time to enjoy outdoor activities and capture the stunning scenery. The skies may be a little cloudier during this season, but the scattered clouds can provide unique lighting opportunities for your photography.

Ieva walking along a wooden promenade with dramatic clouds in the background.


The Shoulder Season in the Maldives offers unique lighting opportunities for photography, with the scattered clouds providing a softer and more diffused light for your shots. The light during this season can also provide dramatic sunrises and sunsets, with the sun peeking through the clouds and casting a warm glow over the islands.

Sunset above the horizon.

Wildlife and bird photography opportunities

The Shoulder Season in the Maldives is a great time to capture some of the islands’ exotic birdlife and marine creatures. With the warm waters and calm seas, this season offers excellent opportunities for whale shark and manta ray sightings. The season also sees the arrival of Humpback whales, which migrate through the Maldives during this time, providing an excellent opportunity for whale watching and photography.

Oriental garden lizard on gravel.
Oriental garden lizard

Underwater Photography

The Shoulder Season in the Maldives is a great time to capture the underwater beauty of the islands, with the calm seas providing excellent visibility for snorkelling and scuba diving. The season also sees the arrival of the hammerhead sharks, which can be seen in schools during early morning dives. Additionally, the season offers an excellent opportunity to capture the vibrant colours of the coral reefs, as well as the diverse marine life that inhabits them.

In particular, the period between June and August is considered the peak season for whale shark sightings in the Maldives. During this time, the waters are calm and clear, which makes it easier to spot these massive creatures. Many dive and snorkel operators offer whale shark excursions during this time, and there are several locations around the Maldives where you can see these amazing animals up close.

two deck chairs on a balcony with the ocean in the background.

Wet season (September to November)

The Wet Season/ monsoon season (September to November) in the Maldives is characterized by heavy rainfall and the likelihood of tropical weather, including storms, strong winds and heavy rains. However, the season also has its unique photography opportunities, particularly for landscape and creative photography. Here are some of the highlights of the Wet Season in the Maldives.

Lush greenery and vibrant flora

The increased rainfall during the Wet Season brings about lush greenery and vibrant flora, making it an ideal time for landscape and nature photography. The islands’ vegetation comes to life during this time, creating a lush and verdant backdrop for your shots. The rain also brings out unique flora, such as tropical flowers, making it a great time to capture macro and close-up shots.

View along the beach with green trees along the shore.

Unique lighting conditions for Maldives Photography

The rainy season in the Maldives also creates unique lighting conditions, particularly with regard to reflections and interesting cloud formations. The rain and overcast skies can create dramatic and moody lighting conditions, perfect for capturing creative and atmospheric shots. Reflections on the wet sand and water can also create stunning mirror-like effects, adding a unique touch to your shots.

Overall, this time of the year in the Maldives may not be the ideal time for every type of photography, but it does offer unique opportunities for landscape and creative photography. The lush greenery, vibrant flora, and unique lighting conditions created by the rain make for stunning shots that capture the essence of this tropical high-humidity paradise. And you can certainly enjoy lower prices!

Interested in Maldivian culture photography?

The best time to go to the Maldives to photograph culture, local traditions, festivities, and celebrations is during the traditional Islamic festivals such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. These festivals are celebrated throughout the Maldives and provide a great opportunity to capture images of local customs, food, and clothing. The dates for these festivals change yearly based on the Islamic lunar calendar, but Eid al-Fitr usually falls in May or June, and Eid al-Adha falls in July or August.

In addition to the Islamic festivals, the Maldives also celebrates its Independence Day on July 26th, which is a good time to capture images of patriotic parades and festivities.

It’s important to note that you will not see many of these celebrations if you are staying in tourist resorts. If you are aiming to take photographs of major festivals, and plan to go to bigger inhabited islands, like during these celebrations, locals may be more willing to participate in photography, but it’s still essential to respect their privacy and cultural traditions.

Thatch roof being redone with workers throwing the thatch.


In conclusion, the Maldives is a tropical paradise that offers a variety of photography opportunities throughout the year. The Dry Season (December to April) is ideal for capturing stunning marine life and bird photography opportunities, while the Shoulder Season (May to August) offers great lighting conditions, just enough sunny skies and fewer crowds. The Wet Season (September to November) may bring challenging weather conditions but also creates unique opportunities for landscape and creative photography.

As a travel photographer, it’s important to plan your trip based on your photography interests and goals. Whether you’re looking to capture stunning underwater shots or moody landscapes, there’s the best month in the Maldives that will cater to your needs.

With its turquoise waters, lush greenery, and pristine white sand beaches, the Maldives is a dream destination for many photographers. By planning your trip ahead of time, you can choose the best time of the year based on your specific photography goals and capture stunning shots that will stay with you for a lifetime.

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