The tolerance to low water availability is a decisive factor for growth and survival of orchids in their natural environment. The objective of this study was to characterize the photochemical traits of two epiphytic orchids (Cattleya warneri and Miltonia spectabilis) under water deficit (WD). Chlorophyll a fluorescence signals were recorded from young and fully expanded leaves of 5 plants/ species after dark-adaption for 60 minutes, between 6-9 a.m. after 0, 30, 60, and 90 days of WD, using a Handy-PEA fluorometer (Hansatech, UK). Increases of O-J and J-I phases and L and K-bands and decreases of I-P phase were observed after 30 days of WD, especially in C. warneri. Decreases in the capacity to photochemically reduce quinone A (QA) and the kinetic properties required for redox reactions of the plastoquinone pool, the loss of energetic connectivity between units of PSII, inactivation of the oxygen evolution complex, and decrease of the overall rate of reducing the electron acceptor pool of photosystem I were observed in M. spectabilis, a more tolerant species. The greater ability of this species to maintain higher relative water content (RWC) in photosynthetic tissues allows greater photochemical activity.