It isn’t an easy task to wade through the numerous photographers that could be “the one.” So how to pick an elopement photographer? Price? Image quality? Editing style? Personality?
There are many factors to consider, so the key is to know the questions you should be asking before you pick your elopement photographer!
The right photographer will make sure they understand the feeling and story you want to capture in your micro-wedding or elopement and should be honest about letting you know what you need to do or think about with your celebration to help that come to life. If they don’t ask you questions and work to understand what your vision is for your wedding….run.
So here are 7 questions (and my answers!!) that you should be asking before deciding which photographer will best capture these important wedding memories:
1. Okay, I’ll be honest…this isn’t a question but it is a MUST when searching for your photographer.
Check out the work in detail of any photographer you’re considering. Look at their Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, AND website.
Consider intensely if their work looks like the style and vibe you want for your images. Is how they capture emotion, and how they edit their images and the resulting “look” consistent from one platform to another? Can they show you a full gallery of something they’ve photographed? Do they have any other parts of their business that give another view to their experience? (I’m an example–I’m an avid sporto, traveler, and adventurer and photograph SO many different types of clients beyond just elopements!)
AND, read the words on their website! 😜
How do they talk about elopements and their work with couples? Do they cover their principles in how they work and live? Do they share information that shows they are super knowledgeable about planning & photographing elopements and outdoor photography, or, is it more of a mention as something they do “sometimes?” Does what they say “feel” like you? Does it feel comforting and supportive?
Basically, you want to do your homework to help make sure you’re considering a good quality photographer who can do what they advertise and that you will gel well with! 👀
And here’s a couple of full elopement albums and examples other photography work I do to feast upon❤️️
Yes, I do elopements as a focus, but I also love adventures of all kinds, whether families, events, commercial lifestyle work, baby-to-be, engagements, personal branding, and more❤️️
2. How do you approach photographing an elopement? What’s your vibe? And, what types of customers do you work with?
This question gives you an opportunity to confirm your elopement vision is aligned with the photographer’s standard way of operating!
I work with all types of humans in love! But, truthfully, my heart is always so happy to work with introverts, because we come in SO many different packages and types❤️️ My style of candid wedding & event photography tends to be best for clients that like more natural type images that show the *experience* and the *story* of the event of instead of highly posed fashion/editorial type images.
What does that mean?!?! I means that I prioritize capturing images highlighting stunning locations, but, that show the experience of the people exploring the space. Real emotion. True connections. Gorgeous images that capture the fact that you’re beautiful just as you are, no uncomfortable and awkward posing required! 🙂
During your elopement, you’ll find that I’m a champion hype-gal, quick with random silliness, but equally, can fade quietly into the background to enjoy the sounds of nature, and to leave you uninterrupted in the calm, private, tender moments that really belong to the two of you…
And, l wish it wasn’t something that still needed to be noted, but, I believe absolutely that love is love.
I am happy to support *all* couples, *all* body types, *all* ages, *all* physical abilities, *all* races & ethnicities, and *all* families of any type in capturing their celebrations. All people deserve to enjoy the outdoors, and, to celebrated ❤️️
3. What is your typical process for working with a couple to plan & photograph their elopement?
You should absolutely know what your photographer’s process is like! Chance are, you’ve never planned an adventure elopement before, so understanding how a photographer works helps you pick who would be best capable of helping within your adventure the way that you want!😉
(PRO TIP: Not all Elopement photogs provide planning support, so ask LOTS of questions about what they do provide you!)
Unlike a traditional wedding photog who you chat with once or twice & then they just show up on your big day, we’ll spend a good amount of time together in calls and/or Zoom videos in prep for your adventure elopement. When we finally meet live on the big adventure, it honestly feels like we are long time friends who just happen to be meeting IRL for the first time!
In sum: Once you reach out to me to learn more, I’ll send you an email to set up a video chat so we can “meet” and talk about your vision, thoughts, worries, what you love. Then, if eloping with me sounds like something you’re interested in, I’ll send you a formal package quote and contract! Once you’ve got the documents, you’ll review and finalize with a signature + payment of a fixed amount from your package cost as a retainer to lock in your date!
A 90-page Elopement Prep Guide to give you tip/tricks/ideas + a questionnaire to help you decide what you value most for your elopement immediately follows your retainer payment!. Those answers + insights become the foundation of our elopement planning work together to build your perfect adventure wedding!
Still have way more questions than decisions on date, location, what to include/how much time you’ll want to book?!? YUP, you aren’t alone, and I’m here to help!!! Sometimes couples know the date they want right away and/or the package they want, but, not always. So, the order of resolution is typically:
🎯 Target date, locked in early to secure your date
➡️ Which package to use to start as the foundation for your elopement planning
🗺 🚁 Then, what location & all the fun for your adventure!
As we prep your adventure, I can help with elopement concierge support and detailed prep + day-of timelines to make planning way less stress! Obviously, a lot more happens after your elopement– sneak peek images, full galleries, album designs, display pieces, gifts, etc. but I’ll keep you in the loop on those details as we move through the process! 😊
4. What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
This allows you to make sure your photographer knows their stuff and is ready for your adventure, however it comes together!!
I’m real-world trained in 8+ years of photography business, constantly throwing myself into new opportunities for learning and photographing in a lot of different environments and types of locations.
I’ve taken continuing education with industry workshops, and trainings with some of the best coaches/mentors in the elopement world to keep my creativity sparked & technical shooting ability dialed in as I routinely upgrade my equipment. I also have set up & photographed inspiration sessions to test what is possible to create “wow” images during unique & fun elopement experiences. 🤗
All this helps me continue to fine-tune my skills so you can feel confident that no matter what the weather, activity, and/or or location throws at us, I’ll be ready to photograph it beautifully!
I am a Leave No Trace certified Adventure Elopement Photographer, so I can help you make sustainable choices that help us preserve, protect and honor these amazing places we adventure.
And finally, I also keep an active Wilderness First Aid certification as well, to help me be prepared to support you & your crew for emergency health and/or safety situations we may encounter as we adventure. Luck always favors the prepared!
In sum? Everything I learn, practice, and do is to further enhance your experience as we work together😊
5. How did you get started photographing elopements and adventures?
It’s important to create an opportunity for a personal connection with your photographer. You want to make sure that your photographer makes you feel comfortable, safe, and encouraged. By opening the door to this connection can allow you to discover if you do feel that way with the particular photographer you’re talking to.
It was a slow and steady kind of realization that this was what I wanted to do! I’d always taken photos a lot growing up and through college. I didn’t really get serious about photography–especially starting my own business–until a little later in life at the encouragement of a friend who I’d helped out several times with images.
I officially incorporated my MAKE photography brand in 2014. Fast forward to this climbing elopement you see below… This. This request of “do you think we could…?” was my pivot point into elopements. I am forever thankful for H&W showing me how beautiful a wedding could truly be.
After this 💡 moment, I narrowed down to elopements, and only outdoor/adventure leaning portrait work in 2019. I am so stoked to have found my forever home, adventuring and experiencing with some of the raddest people out there ❤️️
6. Could you tell me about your pricing and payment process?
This might seem like an obvious one, but you need to talk in detail with your potential photographers about their pricing vs taking it at face value!
Pricing is not all equal! And–as in most of life–lower cost is not always the best option, as you do get what you pay for.
Some photographers do all-inclusive packages, so you can know exactly what your final cost is from the beginning. (PS–ask if customizing packages is available!) But, others do stripped-down base pricing where everything outside of the coverage hours is sold to you as an “add-on” item.
I’d make sure you clarify what they DO include in their packages/pricing (eg prints/print credit, albums, digitals for download, hours of photographic coverage, planning support & to what extent, travel fees, etc) and what they DON’T so that you can compare apples to apples when looking at different photographers!
Whatever your budget, it’s important to find a photographer that checks all of your boxes.
When I got married, my soon to be husband and I put most of our investment into an amazing wedding photographer.
Unfortunately, photographer didn’t offer split payments or credit card options, and it was a huge point of stress for me and my spouse. So, because I have the option to be flexible for my couples & other clients, I am.
That means that I offer split payments for your package cost (usually the retainer + 3 other separate payments), and, credit card payment as an option with no fees added. And, these are my normal way of doing business–you don’t even have to ask!
And, because I believe so strongly in the importance of bringing your memories to life, each of my wedding & portrait/engagement packages includes a credit to use toward prints, album upgrades, or framed & ready to hang display pieces. And, in all packages except my mini-elopement package, a beautiful, modern wedding album is included as well.
Why? My wedding photos are stuck on a CD. My album and my display prints are the only way that today I can really enjoy my images.
Your adventure you create for your wedding is too important for your stories & memories sitting un-viewed & forgotten in a computer or in the Cloud. Plus, I guarantee you will love how they look brought to life to enjoy every single day❤️
Last thoughts— You are likely eloping because you value experiences and are seeking an amazing wedding with way less stress.
So , in my all my packages concierge adventure elopement planning is included, and for all but my mini-elopement, my travel anywhere in the US or Alaska is included at no extra charge. Wherever your adventure is, I will meet you there❤️✈️
7. Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
By hearing your potential photographer gush about their recent project can let you get an insight into what makes them come alive. The priority while on the hunt for a photographer is that YOU feel comfortable, but this is a great way to make sure that you and the photographer are aligned!
Well, I recently helped plan & photograph a more “destination” type of intimate outdoor wedding that was a full year between our first conversation and the actual wedding day! It was fun to see the journey from idea to execution happen.
Just before that, I helped plan & photograph another small waterfall wedding with family that we planned in under 5 months, and the shortest timeline I’ve sone so far being 3 weeks! One of my themes in my own life is “don’t wait”, so quick timeline elopements are my jam🥰 They are so fun and keep you as a couple focused what actually matters. So, with a little creativity and flexibility on where, when, and who your “must have” guests are (if any!), your wedding planning period can be as long or as short as you want/need it to be!
Fun Fact: I am an ordained officiant for a non-denominational church, so can help you get “official” if you want more options in how your elopement can happen😉 I love the flexibility it gives you to go where you want, doing what you want, and with whom you want! 🙌🏼
PS—And, I recently photographed an “elopement” inspiration session on real horseback trail ride in North Carolina! I wanted to show another kind of elopement activity or experience that is possible if you think outside the box!
One final piece of advice on how to pick an elopement photographer:
Before you even get to google searching, insta scrolling, or Facebook stalking…you have to think about what kind of story do you want your wedding to tell. Is it all about the tiny, fancy details and the look, or, the people, the moments, and the experience?
Photographers tend to have a specialty that emphasizes a style, editing/color preference, story, vibe, and, skill set. You will want to make sure that vibes with your preference!
Why? Photographing a ballroom with $5,000+ worth of flowers and details and a crowd of 200+ people with formal indoor photography lights is NOT the same as a day out on the move, filled with intimate, sweet moments and technical, unpredictable sun/moon/cloudy lighting 😉 One isn’t better than the other, they are just very different technical, storytelling, and social skills!
The answer to that one question will dictate all the others…
All the other things (indoor/outdoor, adventure/traditional, crew/no crew, travel needed/local, etc) will become clear as you meditate on the story you want for your wedding experience.
Now if you read all my answers and your heart is tugging on our potential connection…
I would LOVE to be your elopement photographer. Use this link to book a call with me so we can get your party started! 🤗