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What do you get with an elopement photographer?

February 11, 2020

Elopements allow you to have a more authentic and stress-free day. Having an elopement photographer with you is an essential part of the process.

When you’re hiring an elopement photographer though, you’re not only getting a professional photographer. You’re also getting someone who will help design and plan your elopement with you.

However, what should you expect when it comes to hiring an elopement photographer? With elopement being a relatively ‘new’ thing here in Australia, it’s easy to feel that a simple ‘wedding photographer’ would fit the bill. However, there are a few more moving parts in an elopement that require a bit more care.

In this article, I’m going to outline what the main things you should expect when hiring an elopement photographer.

Expectation 1: Your photographer will have a robust portfolio

First and foremost, you should have an elopement photographer who has a substantial portfolio which clearly shows their work off.

Making sure that your photographer has experience at capturing elopements is incredibly crucial as you want to make sure that they know what they are doing. You want to make sure that they are familiar with working in places outdoors which are the perfect spots for elopements.

Their Instagram feed should be concise, and elopement focused, with minimal diversion from this subject.

Many photographers may be adept at capturing people within the confines of four walls, which is all very well and good for traditional weddings. However, how would they cope with traversing and using nature as their background? A lot of stunning landscape based elopement locations will have slightly wild and unkempt areas which require creative thinking to use appropriately.

Some of the best elopement photographers will be experienced at capturing landscapes, with the view of having you both put into these stunning locations.

You should also make sure that you really gel and vibe with their style. Many photographers will have a lot of different styles. Some may prefer the very standard fare of standing and posing. In contrast, others prefer to have a more candid approach and to let the emotions run as they do. I’m the latter and believe that when it comes to capturing real moments that you’ll remember, this is key.

Having an elopement photographer with a robust portfolio and style you like will ultimately mean you’ll be getting art that you’re going to cherish for the rest of your lives.

Expectation 2: Your photographer should be experienced at creating and planning elopements, from start to finish

Being an elopement photographer is more than merely turning up to a location, clicking away on the camera, and heading home.

When you elope, you’re going on an adventure which encompasses and represents you both. Whether that means that you’re going to travel around New Zealand in a camper van or head up to a local mountain, you may not have the best idea of how the day could go.

I talk to many couples who know that they want to elope but don’t know where to start. They’ve subsequently asked me for recommendations of where they could go, and what adventures they could have. As such my suggestions have ranged from going to see the Northern Lights in Northern Sweden, to exploring the lakes of Tasmania.

Now you may be the type of couple who can get everything sorted in a heartbeat. If you are, more power to you. If you’re the type of couple who know that you want to elope and don’t know where to start, then your elopement photographer should basically be able to help you out.

They should know:

  • Scenic countries which provide a unique experience
  • VISA requirements / restrictions
  • Best attractions/ideas in the area
  • Recommended areas in the country you’re looking at
  • Local vendor recommendations

These are critical areas of knowledge that go into creating your dream elopement and adventure.

Having an elopement photographer who can give you a recommended list of the above will mean that you’re going to have a straightforward process at working out what you want to do.

[Just a quick side note: while your elopement photographer will be able to make recommendations for you, ultimately you must book the expenses yourself.]

Expectation 3: Your photographer should be aware of how to find epic local spots for you

Your elopement photographer should be experienced at finding locations which firstly suit you, and secondly are unique and different.

I’m not talking about the generic lookout spot that everyone in the area goes to. Instead, I’m referring to those locations which only the locals will know about, or that honestly give you that epic scenic vibe.

Why does this make a difference, and why is it something that you should expect?

Your connection is absolutely unique, and thus your adventure deserves the same treatment. Maybe you want to elope in Iceland but want something a bit more of a forest/grassland setting rather than the beaches and oceans? Your elopement photographer understanding this will make all of the difference when it comes to giving you a curated list of suggested areas.

Not only that but your elopement photographer should also be able to provide a list of locations with varying abilities to traverse. Do you feel comfortable going on a 3-hour hike, or are you after something a bit cosier where it may only take 15 minutes to walk to somewhere special?

Experience elopement photographers will know how to do remote location scouting through the extensive website and mapping tools. I have a set of tools I use to find unique and special locations for every couple I work with. This means I can provide an exclusive list of excellent places for the couples I work with.

Having an elopement photographer who is experienced at finding epic locations means that you’ll be getting a curated and personal experience which will say more to yourselves.

Extraction 4: Your photographer should be able to create a timeline for your day

Having a well-designed schedule of your day is essential. This can be very daunting to a lot of couples. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as:

  • When is the best time of day to have our ceremony?
  • What time does the sun go down where we may elope?
  • When should we start getting ready?

Trying to work this out with limited knowledge and experience can be mind-boggling. However, your elopement photographer should be experienced at listening to what sort of experience couples want and creating a timeline and adventure to fit the experience you want.

Maybe you love the idea of getting up at sunset and having a ceremony on a private beach hidden away, as the sun rises over the horizon. Perhaps you’d prefer to do some white water rafting in the morning and then get ready in the late afternoon for a sunset ceremony?

With so many different variations in what people are looking for, one size won’t fit all. Having an elopement photographer who understands this and who can be creative with their suggestions will mean you’ll get a bespoke design just for you.

Having an elopement photographer who will be able to create a timeline will mean that you’re going to have a much less stressful time.

Expectation 5: Your photographer should have top of the range gear to deal with weather conditions

If you’re hiring a professional photographer, you want to make sure that they are who they say they are. Not someone who may be doing this as a side hustle to fund their hobby of painting remote control cars.

When it comes to elopements, it can get dirty, muddy, dusty and potentially a little wet. The problem is that if entry-level camera gear is used, you’re going to have a considerable and real risk that their equipment will fail. Not a great feeling when you’ve flow tens of thousands of km, and you now don’t have a camera to work with.

Having an elopement photographer that uses top of the range gear will mean that you’re going to get the best quality images. It will most likely be weatherproofed to deal with any unseen conditions.

How to get started with your elopement being planned

If you’re looking to elope and want to have a chat about getting your dream elopement planned, let’s have a chat!

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@whoshotthephotographer