What to Ask Your Elopement Wedding Photographer

May 17, 2020

What to Ask Your Elopement Wedding Photographer

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re looking for an alternative wedding experience. Elopers aren’t your typical folk. Naturally, the people that photograph these special ceremonies aren’t your everyday Joes and Janes with fancy cameras. 

If you have an exciting adventure planned for your wedding day, it just makes sense to seek a photographer that is also thirsty for adventure. When planning an adventure elopement, it’s important that the photographer is in lockstep with the vibe, pace, and demands of your unique day.

So before you go googling and hiring a “ wedding photographer near me,” for your elopement, remember to ask some important questions first. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, there are no do-overs. Book the best photographer for the job who not only has a bomb portfolio, but also a go-with-the-flow attitude and flair for off-the-cuff creativity.  

Test out these questions to help narrow down your contenders.

bride wading into a river in her wedding dress

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“Hey, tell me about yourself?”

This sounds rather simple, but getting to know your elopement photographer at a personal level is crucial to finding someone who will really fit in with your day. After all, adventure elopements are usually a small crowd, meaning the photographer can’t just slink into the shadows unnoticed. Elopement photographers play an active part in creating an awesome experience, and nailing that vibe requires hiring someone you trust, ideally someone you consider a friend.

Here are a few followup questions to ask yourself in your head after you’ve chatted.

  • Could I imagine grabbing a beer with this person?
  • Does this person make me genuinely laugh?
  • How would this person act if faced with spontaneous circumstances? Excited, jazzed? Or nervous and thrown off-guard?

 

Have you photographed in my location before?

If you have a specific elopement location in mind, ask if the photographer is familiar with it. If they know your spot, great, but don’t discount them if they do not! Often times a fresh perspective on a place can provide new angles and ideas, instead of the same cliche Instagram photo-ops. 

If a photographer knows your elopement spot or has at least scouted it out, this can be a good sign. This shows they are comfortable with the location and its rules and regulations on ceremonies and photography there. They may also know of hidden corners or lesser-known trail stops that provide unique photos.

What is your process for capturing an elopement?

Drop this bomb of a question and step away. Let the photographer show their expertise in how they plan, prepare, and execute an elopement. Every adventure wedding is different, but it’s important for a photographer to have some savvy skills in their back pocket like:

  • Creative games or movements that create good photos.
  • Innovative ideas when inclement weather strikes.
  • Other vendor recommendations with adventure elopement experience (like makeup artists or florists).

groom lifting up bride on beach as both are smiling

How many photos will I get in my package?

This is an age-old wedding photographer question. Whether eloping or not, this question is an important one to ask so both client and photographer are clear on expectations.

Some photographers give couples their entire un-edited cache of photos. Others select and curate the best images to tell a cohesive story. Although it might sound appealing to get thousands of photos from your wedding, the truth is many of them will be teensy-weensy variants of the next. This is why letting a photographer select the best images to represent a specific moment is often the better option. This way they can focus their editing efforts to making these special photos shine, instead of trying to edit a sweeping amount of images.

wooden box with photographs in and around it and also a USB.

What are the legalities of eloping here?

This question loops back to whether your photographer has shot at your specific location. Regardless, the photographer should take the initiative to know the law on hiking and photographing on that land. More than that, they should also emphasize Leave No Trace principles to you, the client. An elopement photographer who truly respects the land will emphasize packing everything out. If your flower arrangement is non-native, for example, it’s important to pick up any dropped blossoms and hike them out. 

What is the plan if there’s inclement weather?

Mother Nature often has spontaneous plans when it comes to adventure elopements outside. But, it’s still your wedding day and the ceremony must go on. It is the photographer’s responsibility to come prepared with the right gear to pivot on a dime. If it starts raining they should have waterproof casings so they can keep shooting. If the lighting abruptly changes, they should have the lenses, lights, and gear to make the most of it. 

Oftentimes an unforeseen weather change can be a really fun and memorable moment to an adventure elopement. It all depends on how you roll with it. As a photographer, keeping the mood light, optimistic, and playful is crucial to keeping the day fun and joyous. 

black and white photo of bride and groom kissing under umbrella in rain

Why are you an elopement photographer?

If you have decided to hike up a mountain to get married, then there’s obviously something special about that mountain or that experience. Perhaps you love the outdoors and all of the beauty and perspective it brings to your relationship. If you want that captured in your photos, your photographer should share a similar mentality. If your photographer has transitioned away from shooting traditional banquet hall weddings, ask them why they made the switch?

Being an elopement photographer is no easy feat, requiring physical dexterity, endurance, and an eternally optimistic attitude. A drive and passion for nature most often at the root of why wedding photographers niche down into adventure elopements. Ask for their portfolio of landscapes to get a glimpse of how they view the great outdoors.

Do you feel this photographer has a genuine familiarity and love for being outside? Make sure that passion is there. No one wants a whiney photographer complaining about too many mosquitos.

How will you help me plan, and execute the day?

Some clients love planning an elopement down to the minute and ask photographers only for occasional suggestions when relevant. Other clients prefer to be hands-off, allowing the photographer to take control.

Do you want your photographer to provide a suite of vendor recommendations or choose the day’s hike? 

Depending on your personal preferences, ensure your photographer is ready to step into the role of your choosing, be that the Head Honcho or Unflappable Photographer Along for the Adventure.

Choosing a photographer for an elopement wedding can be intimidating. Elopement photographers play such an active role in making you laugh, calming your nerves, and staying safe. But, by asking yourself and your vendor a few simple questions, you can find yourself outfitted with a talented photographer and maybe even a lifelong friend.

Find my answers to many of these questions Here… and get to know a little bit about me by check out my ABOUT page!

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