How to Have Epic Elopement Photos: Best Practices

Best practices for authentic wedding photos

If you're eloping, check out these 10 tips to help you get prepared for your elopement, and to help you get epic photos from your day! This checklist will cover the little things to keep in mind for planning your celebration from your attire to deciding on an amazing location to celebrate your love.



1) Make sure you are comfortable!

Nothing is worse than having sore feet or feeling suffocated in your attire. Dress according to the environment, if it’s cold out make sure you’re warm enough! If you’re wearing a dress, make sure you can move freely and are comfortable. Pack extra socks and If you’re hiking to your ceremony location, I suggest wearing hiking boots. If you decide to buy special shoes for your day,  be sure to break them in the weeks prior!



2) Plan your timeline around the light

It’s important to factor in the sun when it comes to your day. For example Mid-afternoon on a sunny day will give you harsh light and make it hard for you to not squint. I always suggest sunrise and sunset (often less crowded too!) but a rule of thumb is avoiding mid-day if it’s sunny. Be sure to work with your photographer to create your timeline for the softest lighting. This will help you from having to squint in your photos as well as flatter your skin tones while giving you dreamy photographs!



3) Embrace nature

What I mean by this is don’t stress about the weather or elements at play. If it’s windy, let that dress fly! Nothing will make you feel uncomfortable about your elopement photos than rain when you’re most worried about getting your hair wet. Embrace all that nature has to offer on your day and get down in nature. Let it do its thang and you do yours!



4) Find the perfect location

There are so many options in the world to plan your epic adventure wedding. If you're thinking of eloping somewhere that you haven't been before, talk with your photographer about their thoughts and feedback on the area. Is the ceremony location accessible? How much time should you allocate for hiking or travel? What is the weather like during your elopement date? These are all questions to talk with your photographer about. Being an elopement photographer, I get to travel to some pretty awesome locations and I put in a TON of research if I haven't shot there before. From location scouting to hours of research, your photographer should be well prepared so that when it comes to your day, you won't have to worry about a thing. If you're considering eloping in a national park, check out this guide to help you plan your elopement!



5) Consider eloping at a secret location

Now when I say you should consider eloping at a secret spot, I don't mean just winging it! There are so many gorgeous locations that aren't well known and all over Instagram and/or social media. The plus side to eloping at a lesser-known location is that generally, you won't run into crowds. Trust me, there's nothing worse than eloping at a popular spot and having to worry about a bunch of tourists in your photographs. Some of the most epic photos of couples in jaw-dropping landscapes are captured in "secret" spots.



6) Pack accordingly

If you're going to be hiking a bit to reach your ceremony location, I suggest packing accordingly. Be sure your backpack is comfortable and that you have everything you need, especially the essentials! You don't want to overload your pack to where you're aching and in pain by the time you reach the location. Many couples choose to hike in their outdoor gear and change into their wedding clothes once they reach their destination. I have tons of suggestions for how to pack your wedding dress or your fancy shoes so you don't have to worry about trying to make it to the top while being comfortable.



7) Arrive in the area early

If you're eloping in a spot that's out of state or a destination (anything out of your hometown area), I suggest arriving at least 1-2 days before your big day. This will allow you time to relax, decompress and acclimate to the environment before your elopement. It's also helpful if you're going to an area in a different time zone, that way you can catch up on some sleep before the big day.



8) Be prepared that things might get a little dirty

If you've made the decision to break free of tradition and celebrate your love in your own way, HELL YEAH!! Keep in mind that an adventure elopement may get you a little dirty. From the weather, to mud and dirt.. chances are you might get your dress dirty and if getting dirty isn't your thing, that's something to keep in mind when planning your elopement location. While I do think that it's less likely to stay 100% while having an adventure elopement, there are plenty of locations depending on the time of year that may allow you to stay a little more tidy, such as a summer day on the Amalfi coast. Either way, it's your day and it's gonna be epic no matter how clean or dirty you get! That's the fun of it all!



9) Hire a "niche" photographer that you love!

Sooo what does this mean? When you’re looking for a photographer for your elopement, I always recommend hiring someone who specializes in elopements or intimate weddings. These folks have tons of experience in planning and guiding you on your dream adventure! This also applies to all types of photography, for example: if someone inquired about me photographing their newborn, I would refer them to someone who knows how to do it best. You want someone who is going to be your all-in-one expert on your day and who’s work you freaking love. It's important to note that your elopement is an experience and if the photographer you love is a little bit more expensive, consider what you're getting from them. Are they showing up and taking pictures and leaving or are they guiding you on a once in a lifetime celebration of your love? As an elopement photographer, I understand that a photographer can be an investment. One thing I do is offer flexible payment plans so couples can book me and not have to worry about their bank account taking a big hit all at once. If you find someone's work you're passionate about, be honest with them! Ask them about their payment options and more then likely, they'll be willing to help.



10) Read wedding blogs for inspiration

If you can paint the picture in your head but have trouble finding images that speak to you, I suggest doing some pinning and researching! One of the fun parts of planning your elopement is creating a pinterest board with all your ideas for your own elopement. This can not only help you find inspiration for the overall aesthetic of the day, but it can also help you find the type of landscape for your ceremony location! Here's a few of my favorite places to look for inspiration 🙂


Junebug Weddings

Green Wedding Shoes

Rock My Wedding

Wedding Chicks

Wandering Weddings

Instagram (using hashtag searches)




Don't forget to relax and enjoy your day!

Deciding to elope is such an exciting decision! Some couples have known they wanted to elope since they first talked about marriage and for others, it might be a decision that came up as a backup plan. Either way, it's gonna be freaking awesome. The biggest thing to take away is to relax and not worry! As an elopement photographer, I guide all my couples throughout their planning and help prepare them for their day.

While there's a lot that goes into planning an elopement, this checklist is here to give you some general pointers when planning your day. Whether you're familiar with eloping or it's all new to you, your photographer should be there to help answer any questions or concerns you might have. Most of us do this for a living and we know that not all couples are going to be as educated on the topic and that's totally okay! That's what we're here for 🙂

If this elopement checklist helped you plan your own epic adventure, I'd love to hear from you! Drop a comment below and share your feedback. 🙂 If you want to plan your own incredible and one-of-a-kind elopement, and want to learn more about what your experience could look like, get in touch with me to schedule a consult!

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