So you’ve decided to elope – congratulations! Now, you just need some guidance on where to go from here. The main essential that you need is a photographer. One could certainly argue that this is the most important decision you can make regarding your elopement. But how do you know which photographers are right for you? Hiring a photographer who is passionate, whose editing style you are in love with, and understanding your budget and what you’re paying for are all things to look at. You should also consider the legitimacy and experience of their business as well as if you naturally get along with them. This blog is designed to give you as much information as possible to help you learn how to choose your elopement photographer. This should help you identify and learn more about what your needs might be.
Having a mutual connection with your photographers is critical. After all, these are the people you will be spending part of the best day of your life with! Naturally, exchanging your vows is a vulnerable space as is the day around your vows. Being able to trust and feel comfortable in front of the camera is absolutely vital because this will show through in your images.
When talking to potential photographers, feel free to ask questions that go beyond photography. Having similar interests and/or values can be a great metric to helping you reach your final decision. It should feel like you are talking to friends who are thrilled to dream about your elopement with you!
Legitimacy, Specialize, & Experience
Your needs as an eloping couple are different than that of a couple getting married at a traditional wedding venue. Thus, when choosing an elopement photographer, it’s important to choose an experienced professional who understands these needs and specializes in what you are looking for.
For example, outdoor elopements can be vulnerable to unplanned inclement weather, unforeseen construction, populated trails, unexpected visits from wildlife, and many other variables beyond a photographer’s control. What does one do when facing these obstacles? Sometimes, experience is simply the best teacher. Hiring a photographer(s) who has experience handling these types of situations will provide you with great assurance and confidence. Experience also creates consistency.
Furthermore, protecting the land should be a top priority along with your experience and capturing your portraits. A photographer who specializes in elopements should be familiar with where you decide to elope or have the resources necessary to do the research. Knowing the landscapes will help everyone prepare as well as have an idea about how to properly protect that land. Your photographer should help prepare you and be able to articulate what you can expect.
Lastly, it is important that your photographer(s) operates a legitimate business, particularly when it comes to destination, outdoor elopements. It is imperative that all of the necessary permits are obtained to perform photography, elopement ceremony services, and anything else you may desire on the land where you have your elopement. You and your photographer should also have an agreed upon contract signed by both parties. This will outline the terms of service, cover all of the possible scenarios, and protect both parties to ensure the best possible outcome.
Ultimately, you want to know that you can trust your elopement photographer to be prepared for any situation that might arise and know that they can help take care of you during their photography services. From carrying first aid kits to bringing backup supplies, the overall success of your elopement can be attributed to the preparation. Having things like a lint roller, sewing kit, stain removing pen, extra jackets, gloves, hats, etc. all help in assuring your comfort and safety.
Understand Your Budget & What You’re Paying For
Elopement budgets look different than traditional wedding budgets. With large weddings, a photographer typically arrives and documents the day. They spend some time capturing newlywed portraits as well as family and friend portraits. They don’t really have a need to plan much of the day.
Elopement photographers are much more involved with you. Oftentimes, they will help you find a location, research permits, get to know you two as a couple more thoroughly, suggest a timeline around the best natural lighting, suggest appropriate vendors, provide packing lists, answer your questions throughout the process, officiate your ceremony, and more!
Furthermore, your elopement budget should be built around you two and what you enjoy doing as a couple. Most, if not all, of your budget is there to propel you to the best day ever. Essentially, your budget is spent on your experience and not hosting a party for others. Not only is it your budget that you spend on making the happiest day of your life, it is also your time. Spend time doing the things you need to do to ensure your spirit can be as free and present as possible.
Thus, when it comes to your elopement photography budget, a good rule of thumb is 40-70% of your total budget should be allocated toward your photographers. Elopements value your personal experiences in relation to your vow exchanges. Because of the involvement in creating this experience, an elopement photographer does a lot more than show up and take pictures. When comparing photographers, identify all services being provided before evaluating numbers. Understand what services you need and how much personal value each service will provide you.
We’ve come to find that roughly 60% of our work goes into preparing ourselves and our clients for the day of, and the other 40% is in the execution of our plan. If everyone is properly prepared, then great results become probable.