Finding a photographer is usually one of the first things couples do when planning any wedding. It’s also one of the most important things you can do for your wedding day! Finding a photographer for your elopement is no different. This is the person who will be responsible for documenting your most precious memories and who you’ll be spending the entire day with! It’s no secret that this is a pretty big deal. This guide is all about how to find an elopement photographer so that you can be sure you’ve found the right person for the job.
1. Narrow Down Elopement Photography Styles
Before you start looking at specific photographers to document your elopement day, I recommend spending a little bit of time figuring out what you’re looking for. Pinterest and Instagram are both great places to start. First look at some elopement photos and see what you’re drawn to when it comes to both editing and composition.
Those words may seem a little scary if you aren’t a photographer – but don’t worry, I’ll help you figure out what it means!
Elopement Photography Editing Styles
One of the first things you’ll likely notice when you look at a photo is the way the colors look. You’ll likely also notice the way the photographer uses light. Don’t worry! You don’t have to be an expert in color theory or a Photoshop aficionado to figure out what you’re drawn to! Save a few photos that you like, and see how they compare. You’ll usually find that you’re into one particular style.
Photos can usually be broken down into three categories. These categories are dark and moody, bright and airy or true to life colors.
Dark and moody photos typically use dramatic shadows and unique contrasts between light and dark. Photographers who edit in this style tend to like dark colors. This style typically works well for forested settings or locations with deep, dark tones.
Bright and airy photos use a lot of natural light to make the photos look bright and happy. Think beach locations with clear skies, sparkling white tones and an almost airbrushed feeling.
A true to life editing style enhances the natural colors without altering them too much. This way, when you see your photos, they’re an accurate reflection of how everything looked in real life.
Elopement Photography Posing & Composition Styles
Before any editing, a huge portion of photography happens in the moment it’s shot. This part is all about the posing and composition. This refers to how the couple is posed and what’s actually in the photo. Look at the photos you like best, and notice what the couple looks like. Do you like shots where they’re smiling directly into the camera or ones where they look more natural and candid?
Traditional wedding photography (like the kind you’ll likely see in your parent’s wedding albums) used a lot of poses and a lot smiling directly at the camera. While this may be what some couples are looking for, I find that it usually feels pretty awkward to hold stiff poses all day!
On the other end of the spectrum is photojournalism. This is a type of photography where the photographer is just a fly on the wall, taking photos of moments as they naturally unfold.
When you’re looking for the right elopement photographer, it’s important to consider their style and how they take photos. Their posing and directing style will contribute a lot to how you feel throughout the day!
My favorite approach is somewhere in between these two extremes! I think the best photos are the ones that truly show how a moment felt, and the ones that capture your personalities and how you really are together. But along the way, I’ll help you out with the best lighting, tell you where to put your hands if you feel stuck and ask questions and give prompts to make sure you’re having a blast – not feeling like you’re posing for a long photoshoot. Your elopement photos will include a lot of candids of you exploring, a few formal shots (parents tend to like these) and plenty of those small in between moments that you may have missed when they happened!
2. Come Up With an Elopement Photography Budget
Creating a budget can help you narrow down your search. While I’m all about being realistic and sticking to what you want to and are able to invest in a photographer, keep in mind that these memories are pretty priceless. You’ll never regret being able to look back at your photos and relive every magical moment.
Talk with your partner. Being honest about priorities and decide on a ballpark figure for your elopement photographer. A photographer who has all the gear, the know-how, and the experience required to make sure your elopement day goes perfectly will range from around $3,500 to $8,000+, but this can also depend on your location.
3. Start Looking for Elopement Photographers
Once you’ve figured out what kind of photos you like, it’s time to find an elopement photographer! It’s totally okay to keep your options open and look around. Pinterest, Instagram, and Google are good places to look for elopement photographers, but here are some tips to narrow down your search!
Finding Elopement Photographers in Your Location
A good place to start is typically to look for elopement photographers in your elopement location. Search for things like “Glacier National Park elopement photographer,” or expand your search to towns, states, or even countries. While it can be helpful to find someone local or someone who’s worked in your elopement location, don’t be afraid to look around! Us elopement photographers usually love to travel!
If you’re in the US and planning a destination elopement abroad, I recommend finding an elopement photographer based in the US too. This is usually much easier when it comes to international visas and it’s easier to coordinate with someone local to you!
Make Sure You Get Along With Your Elopement Photographer
Liking their photos is important, but another important thing when it comes to finding an elopement photographer is that you like them as a person! You’ll be spending pretty much all day with them – and they might even be the only other person there – so it’s important that you get along and can envision yourself hanging out with them and feeling comfortable.
Read through their website and social media and see how you feel! It can definitely be hard to tell from text on a screen, so in the next section I’ll talk more about this.
4. Send Inquiries and Schedule Phone Calls
After you have a few photographers in mind (or one who really stood out), it’s time to send some emails! Fill out the contact form on their website and get in touch about pricing, availability and more.
It’s super important to schedule a phone call with every photographer you’re considering. This is the best way to get a feel for their personality, and to make sure the two of you will get along! It also makes it easier to ask questions, get to know each other, and talk about what you’re dreaming of for your unique elopement day.
It’s totally okay to talk to multiple photographers before you make a decision. Just be upfront and honest. Let them know that you’re still deciding and need time!
5. Book Your Elopement Photographer
Once you’ve considered pricing, photos, personality, and everything else that you have in mind for your elopement day, make a decision! Trust your gut, and book a photographer that you truly believe will make your day even more incredible.
Most photographers will require a date and general location to make things official. Then you’ll sign a contract, pay a deposit and you’re booked! After your photographer is booked, the rest of the elopement planning process will be a breeze and you can relax knowing that they’ve got your back with all the tips, advice, and elopement resources you need to plan an absolutely unforgettable day.
I hope this blog helps make finding an elopement photographer easy. Also, if you’re ready to get started, I happen to know an elopement photographer (wink, wink) – contact me, and let’s see if it’s a good fit!