How To Hire An Elopement Photographer

It’s no secret that you wanna save and preserve all the beautiful memories of your epic adventurous wedding day. But how do you hire an elopement photographer?

What is the process like and what are some things you might need to know before locking in your photographer. I’m here to cover all that.

This all may seem a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be and this post will have you feeling a lot more confident when you are ready to say ‘yes’ to your new bestie!

Elopement Photographer vs Wedding Photographer

Photographers are not all the same, and people often wonder why I’m always saying you need to hire an Elopement Photographer for your elopement rather than a wedding photographer who also does elopements.

What is the actual difference, and why does it matter? It does! Trust me, it does matter.

Wedding Photographer’s that shoot elopements are not the same as specialized Elopement Photographers

Ok, but why? Well a wedding photographer and an elopement photographer typically have very different vies on weddings, and a wedding photographer that shoots elopements probably does not offer all the same things that a specialized Elopement Photographer will offer.

Think of it like this, if you needed brain surgery and you had the option to go to a general surgeon it’s probably fair to say they could perform the surgery. But, I would be willing to bet my life, if you had the same opportunity to have the procedure done by a brain surgeon, you would choose them.

Not only are you more confident in their ability, but you will receive higher level of care! Not because general surgeons aren’t great at what they do, but because you have a specialized need, and a brain surgeon is a better fit for those needs.

Its similar when choosing a photographer for your elopement.

Elopement Photographers are a better fit for elopements

As an elopement photographer I offer extensive planning assistance and resources for clients. Blog posts like this one, detailed guides, and customized vendors and activities selections for each couple based on their dreams and their needs.

We’re also far more versed in the logistics of elopements. We do extensive research on locations, regulations, permits, and so much more. Things that wedding photographers may not even know are necessary.

Elopement Photographers are often avid travelers themselves, or at the very least spend a lot of our lives outdoors. I hike and travel in my free time, meaning I know the ins and outs of national parks, state parks, national forests, etc. You can rely on my outdoor knowledge to guide you and keep you safe for your elopement day too!

Elopement Photographers often have a deep rooted passion for elopements

I shoot elopements because I think everyone deserves to have a wedding day that focuses on their love story and honors God in a way I just don’t think traditional weddings can. It’s not that traditional weddings aren’t beautiful or the right fit for some people. But, elopements set my soul on fire.

I have dedicated my life to helping Christian couples have weddings days that speak to their soul and bring them together with God.

Things to Consider When You Hire an Elopement Photographer

There’s a few things you should think about before you start inquiring with photographers.

Specialties

It’s true there’s even subsections to the elopement category, and maybe for you it’s not enough that they are an elopement photographer. You can often find photographers who specialize in the exact kind of wedding day you are having. So, like, I am a Christian Adventure Elopement Photographer and I help adventurous Christian couples have adventure elopements all over the world. You might be having a desert elopement and be looking for a Desert Elopement Photographer. You might be getting married in Arches National Park and want to find an Arches NP Elopement Photographer. Whatever you are looking for you will find them and the more specialized you look, the happier you will be with your experience.

Shooting Style

Every photographer has a different approach to how they shoot elopements. Shooting Style refers to the overall ‘posing’ or aversion to ‘posing. For instance, I am a mixture of Documentary and Editorial in my approach. This is something you will want to consider when you start looking around.

  • Documentary – Laid back, observatory approach. Focusing on documenting things the way they are and how they naturally occur. Think fly on the wall.
  • Editorial – More focus on posing and positioning. Like what you see in magazines.
  • Candid – Similar to Documentary but may include more guidance or prompting.
  • Journalistic – This is a little more in your face, but similar again to the documentary style. This tends to capture more playfulness and personality.

Editing Style

This is what most people think of when they think of photography styles. We often glaze over the shooting style and focus on the editing style. I am a True-to-Life & Cinematic Photographer.

  • Light & Airy – Lighter and brighter colors, low contrast.
  • Natural – Little editing done to the image.
  • True-to-life – Moderate contrast, vibrant. Similar to how the scene appears to the naked eye.
  • Cinematic – Rich and contrasted. Warmer warm tones, and cooler cool tones. Lots of play with lighting.
  • Dark & Moody – Darker darks and reduced highlights.
  • Vintage/Filmy – Low contrast and matte effect. Similar to old film prints.

Take a look here, this is a representation of the TTL Cinematic Documentary & Editorial Style I have adapted.

The Process of How To Hire an Elopement Photographer

Once you know what kind of photographer you want, and what styles you like its time to start the process. I break this down into a few simple steps for my couples. While every photographer is deferent this is the general process.

  1. Inquire – Send an inquiry to the photographer(s) you are interested in working with.
  2. Consultation Call – Get on the phone with them. This is a good time for you to get to know them and them to get to know you. (tips for questions to ask and red flags below)
  3. Deliberate – Take all the notes from your calls and choose the best fit for you.
  4. Book – Begin the booking process with the photographer of your dreams.
  5. Inform – Send a message to the other photographers you’ve spoken to letting them know you went another direction.

Inquire

Reach out to the photographers you are interested in and tell them a little bit about your day, what youre looking for and what your dreams are. From there you should get a quick response. All my inquiries get a response in 24-48 hours.

The Call

The call will serve as time for you and the photographer to both learn about each other and ask any questions you may have. I have put together a list of questions and will attach a link to download a free printable list!

  • Do you offer planning/how involved are you in the planning process? – I offer planning services for all of my elopements. From planning resources to full on all inclusive packages where I plan and book your entire elopement for you. But not all elopement photographers offer the same level of service. Standard inclusion for my services are: Planning assistance, Guides & Resources, Permit Assistance, Custom Vendor Selection List, Location Selection List, Activity Selection List, Custom Timeline
  • Do you charge for travel? Travel is included in all of my packages so clients never have to be shocked by any additional fees. Everything is included.
  • What is your shooting & editing style? You may have seen their work, but hearing how they describe their style may give you more info to go off of.
  • How do you handle bad weather? I always work with couples to prepare an extensive back up plan for bad weather or road closures. Really anything can happen and I like to be prepared and give my couples a heads up on what we will do incase of these things.
  • Do you have an associate shooter policy? Sometimes when a photographer can’t make it to an elopement for one reason or another they will hire an associate shooter to shoot your day, and they may or may not divulge this information to you. I have a clause in my contract that protects clients from this. If I have a reason I can not make it the client has the option to cancel for full refund, or have a selection of associate shooter. They will get to choose the photographer and meet with them on a call with my before the event.
  • Can you sign our marriage certificate? I offer both witnessing or officiating depending on the needs and wants of my clients, but not all photographers offer this. Just ask.
  • Can you send full galleries for viewing? It’s good to see a handful of full galleries so you can get a better idea of what your gallery will look like in its wholeness.
  • How will you deliver images? I deliver all of my images to couples through an online gallery. They have access to high res downloads and the gallery stays open for 12 months. The online gallery also gives them access to professional printing. Its a shop attached to the gallery for ease.
  • Do you offer prints? Not all photographer offer prints, and if they don’t you will need to ask for a print release to be able to print on your own.

Red Flags

Of course there are people out there who aren’t really as experienced as they may lead you to believe so I have put together a list of red flags you should be looking out for. I hope this helps you in your journey to hire an elopement photographer.

  • Poor or delayed communication – If a photographer isn’t getting back to you in a timely manor this should be a cause for concern. Most photographer have response times listed on their website. Mine for example are 24-48 hours.
  • Willing to work for free or cost of travel – Though we all start somewhere this is a sure way to spot an inexperienced photographer. They are likely trying to build their portfolio and may not have the level of experience you will need your photographer to have to feel confident in them.
  • Minimal Web Presence – An established photographer will have a website, a google listing, and should also have some forms of social media. They should also have a professional email address. Avoid booking with photographers that only use DM’s or have no reviews.
  • No Contract – A professional photographer will have a contract and it is required to book. This is as much for you as it is for them. You both need the protection, and make sure you read the entire contract before signing!
  • Willing to bend the rules -A photographer that doesn’t follow park rules or regulations is a major red flag, and they put the industry at risk. Don’t work with anyone willing to skimp the rules. And if you can find a photographer who is partners with Leave No Trace.

Book With Confidence

I hope this gives you all the tools you need to make an educated and confident choice when you hire an elopement photographer for your special day. Of course there is an endless number of things you could ask or be on the look for and feel free to ask anything that comes up. A great established photographer will be happy and eager to answer or clarify any concerns you have. Trust yourself and your instincts. IF something feels off just bail. (let them know, but bail)

If you are looking to hire an Elopement Photographer for your day, I would love to chat with you. Set up a call and see if we are a good fit for one another. You can click here to see my Packages & Pricing, or simply click to Inquire Now.

It’s no secret that you wanna save and preserve all the beautiful memories of your epic adventurous wedding day. But how do you hire an elopement photographer?

What is the process like and what are some things you might need to know before locking in your photographer. I’m here to cover all that.

This all may seem a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be and this post will have you feeling a lot more confident when you are ready to say ‘yes’ to your new bestie!

Elopement Photographer vs Wedding Photographer

Photographers are not all the same, and people often wonder why I’m always saying you need to hire an Elopement Photographer for your elopement rather than a wedding photographer who also does elopements.

What is the actual difference, and why does it matter? It does! Trust me, it does matter.

Wedding Photographer’s that shoot elopements are not the same as specialized Elopement Photographers

Ok, but why? Well a wedding photographer and an elopement photographer typically have very different vies on weddings, and a wedding photographer that shoots elopements probably does not offer all the same things that a specialized Elopement Photographer will offer.

Think of it like this, if you needed brain surgery and you had the option to go to a general surgeon it’s probably fair to say they could perform the surgery. But, I would be willing to bet my life, if you had the same opportunity to have the procedure done by a brain surgeon, you would choose them.

Not only are you more confident in their ability, but you will receive higher level of care! Not because general surgeons aren’t great at what they do, but because you have a specialized need, and a brain surgeon is a better fit for those needs.

Its similar when choosing a photographer for your elopement.

Elopement Photographers are a better fit for elopements

As an elopement photographer I offer extensive planning assistance and resources for clients. Blog posts like this one, detailed guides, and customized vendors and activities selections for each couple based on their dreams and their needs.

We’re also far more versed in the logistics of elopements. We do extensive research on locations, regulations, permits, and so much more. Things that wedding photographers may not even know are necessary.

Elopement Photographers are often avid travelers themselves, or at the very least spend a lot of our lives outdoors. I hike and travel in my free time, meaning I know the ins and outs of national parks, state parks, national forests, etc. You can rely on my outdoor knowledge to guide you and keep you safe for your elopement day too!

Elopement Photographers often have a deep rooted passion for elopements

I shoot elopements because I think everyone deserves to have a wedding day that focuses on their love story and honors God in a way I just don’t think traditional weddings can. It’s not that traditional weddings aren’t beautiful or the right fit for some people. But, elopements set my soul on fire.

I have dedicated my life to helping Christian couples have weddings days that speak to their soul and bring them together with God.

Things to Consider When You Hire an Elopement Photographer

There’s a few things you should think about before you start inquiring with photographers.

Specialties

It’s true there’s even subsections to the elopement category, and maybe for you it’s not enough that they are an elopement photographer. You can often find photographers who specialize in the exact kind of wedding day you are having. So, like, I am a Christian Adventure Elopement Photographer and I help adventurous Christian couples have adventure elopements all over the world. You might be having a desert elopement and be looking for a Desert Elopement Photographer. You might be getting married in Arches National Park and want to find an Arches NP Elopement Photographer. Whatever you are looking for you will find them and the more specialized you look, the happier you will be with your experience.

Shooting Style

Every photographer has a different approach to how they shoot elopements. Shooting Style refers to the overall ‘posing’ or aversion to ‘posing. For instance, I am a mixture of Documentary and Editorial in my approach. This is something you will want to consider when you start looking around.

  • Documentary – Laid back, observatory approach. Focusing on documenting things the way they are and how they naturally occur. Think fly on the wall.
  • Editorial – More focus on posing and positioning. Like what you see in magazines.
  • Candid – Similar to Documentary but may include more guidance or prompting.
  • Journalistic – This is a little more in your face, but similar again to the documentary style. This tends to capture more playfulness and personality.

Editing Style

This is what most people think of when they think of photography styles. We often glaze over the shooting style and focus on the editing style. I am a True-to-Life & Cinematic Photographer.

  • Light & Airy – Lighter and brighter colors, low contrast.
  • Natural – Little editing done to the image.
  • True-to-life – Moderate contrast, vibrant. Similar to how the scene appears to the naked eye.
  • Cinematic – Rich and contrasted. Warmer warm tones, and cooler cool tones. Lots of play with lighting.
  • Dark & Moody – Darker darks and reduced highlights.
  • Vintage/Filmy – Low contrast and matte effect. Similar to old film prints.

Take a look here, this is a representation of the TTL Cinematic Documentary & Editorial Style I have adapted.

The Process of How To Hire an Elopement Photographer

Once you know what kind of photographer you want, and what styles you like its time to start the process. I break this down into a few simple steps for my couples. While every photographer is deferent this is the general process.

  1. Inquire – Send an inquiry to the photographer(s) you are interested in working with.
  2. Consultation Call – Get on the phone with them. This is a good time for you to get to know them and them to get to know you. (tips for questions to ask and red flags below)
  3. Deliberate – Take all the notes from your calls and choose the best fit for you.
  4. Book – Begin the booking process with the photographer of your dreams.
  5. Inform – Send a message to the other photographers you’ve spoken to letting them know you went another direction.

Inquire

Reach out to the photographers you are interested in and tell them a little bit about your day, what youre looking for and what your dreams are. From there you should get a quick response. All my inquiries get a response in 24-48 hours.

The Call

The call will serve as time for you and the photographer to both learn about each other and ask any questions you may have. I have put together a list of questions and will attach a link to download a free printable list!

  • Do you offer planning/how involved are you in the planning process? – I offer planning services for all of my elopements. From planning resources to full on all inclusive packages where I plan and book your entire elopement for you. But not all elopement photographers offer the same level of service. Standard inclusion for my services are: Planning assistance, Guides & Resources, Permit Assistance, Custom Vendor Selection List, Location Selection List, Activity Selection List, Custom Timeline
  • Do you charge for travel? Travel is included in all of my packages so clients never have to be shocked by any additional fees. Everything is included.
  • What is your shooting & editing style? You may have seen their work, but hearing how they describe their style may give you more info to go off of.
  • How do you handle bad weather? I always work with couples to prepare an extensive back up plan for bad weather or road closures. Really anything can happen and I like to be prepared and give my couples a heads up on what we will do incase of these things.
  • Do you have an associate shooter policy? Sometimes when a photographer can’t make it to an elopement for one reason or another they will hire an associate shooter to shoot your day, and they may or may not divulge this information to you. I have a clause in my contract that protects clients from this. If I have a reason I can not make it the client has the option to cancel for full refund, or have a selection of associate shooter. They will get to choose the photographer and meet with them on a call with my before the event.
  • Can you sign our marriage certificate? I offer both witnessing or officiating depending on the needs and wants of my clients, but not all photographers offer this. Just ask.
  • Can you send full galleries for viewing? It’s good to see a handful of full galleries so you can get a better idea of what your gallery will look like in its wholeness.
  • How will you deliver images? I deliver all of my images to couples through an online gallery. They have access to high res downloads and the gallery stays open for 12 months. The online gallery also gives them access to professional printing. Its a shop attached to the gallery for ease.
  • Do you offer prints? Not all photographer offer prints, and if they don’t you will need to ask for a print release to be able to print on your own.

Red Flags

Of course there are people out there who aren’t really as experienced as they may lead you to believe so I have put together a list of red flags you should be looking out for. I hope this helps you in your journey to hire an elopement photographer.

  • Poor or delayed communication – If a photographer isn’t getting back to you in a timely manor this should be a cause for concern. Most photographer have response times listed on their website. Mine for example are 24-48 hours.
  • Willing to work for free or cost of travel – Though we all start somewhere this is a sure way to spot an inexperienced photographer. They are likely trying to build their portfolio and may not have the level of experience you will need your photographer to have to feel confident in them.
  • Minimal Web Presence – An established photographer will have a website, a google listing, and should also have some forms of social media. They should also have a professional email address. Avoid booking with photographers that only use DM’s or have no reviews.
  • No Contract – A professional photographer will have a contract and it is required to book. This is as much for you as it is for them. You both need the protection, and make sure you read the entire contract before signing!
  • Willing to bend the rules -A photographer that doesn’t follow park rules or regulations is a major red flag, and they put the industry at risk. Don’t work with anyone willing to skimp the rules. And if you can find a photographer who is partners with Leave No Trace.

Book With Confidence

I hope this gives you all the tools you need to make an educated and confident choice when you hire an elopement photographer for your special day. Of course there is an endless number of things you could ask or be on the look for and feel free to ask anything that comes up. A great established photographer will be happy and eager to answer or clarify any concerns you have. Trust yourself and your instincts. IF something feels off just bail. (let them know, but bail)

If you are looking to hire an Elopement Photographer for your day, I would love to chat with you. Set up a call and see if we are a good fit for one another. You can click here to see my Packages & Pricing, or simply click to Inquire Now.

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