Are you newly engaged and planning to elope? Congratulations! One of the most important steps in your planning process is going to be choosing the perfect elopement photographer. This guide will help you navigate the process of choosing a photographer that fits your style, budget, and vision for your special day.

The Difference Between A Wedding Photographer & Elopement Photographer

The main difference is the type of service they provide and how involved they are in planning. A wedding photographer takes great photos, they might meet you in person once for your engagement session, They might do some work with the timeline (but that’s not guaranteed every time especially if you have a wedding planner), they show up on your wedding day to document everything and they deliver your gallery back to you once edited.

 An elopement photographer is much more involved in the planning process since elopements are a much more personal and intimate experience that requires a lot more customization. They should guide you through the entire planning process from beginning to end to create your unique elopement day.

Traditional weddings and elopements, at their very core, are vastly different. An analogy I like is equating traditional wedding photography to a general surgeon and elopement photography to a neurosurgeon. Both are doctors and surgeons but they have very different specialties and for good reason. When you’re looking for a specific service, hire a professional who specializes in that service.

Why You Should Hire A Wedding Photographer Who Specializes in Elopements

Any photographer can take great photos, but only an elopement photographer will have an exact workflow set in place to guide you through the entire planning process to make your dream elopement come to life. When you throw out the rules of a traditional wedding, it can feel overwhelming of not knowing where to start. That’s where an elopement photographer comes in. Elopements are a very personal and intimate experience and they require a lot of attention to detail. Eloping couples require a much more personalized experience and means an expert in elopements. That’s exactly why choosing the perfect elopement photographer is essential to your day!

Some Of The Special Services Elopement Photographers Provide:

  • Inspiring you to brainstorm and dream up all the possibilities for your elopement day 
  • Location research and suggestions 
  • Permit assistance 
  • Vendor Recommendations
  • Activity Ideas
  • Provide packing list and weather/climate info
  • Is well versed in their locations

Hiring Your Elopement Photographer Is Your First Step

Since your elopement photographer will be the one to help you through the planning process, it’s important to hire them as early as possible so there’s enough time to get all the details squared away. Depending on your timeline and desired date, you can hire an elopement photographer 4-12 months in advance. There are a few times when hiring someone within 2-3 months of your date works out but you might have trouble finding an elopement photographer available since we do tend to book out in advance. Plus, we want all of our couples to have enough time to fully plan, so depending on what you want to do and where you want to go, 2 months might not be enough time. For example, certain location permits are required months in advance, and travel might be more expensive last minute.

What Do I Need In Order To Hire An Elopement Photographer

You only really need 2 pieces of information to hire an elopement photographer: Your general desired location and a date (or at least a time of year if you’re flexible). An elopement photographer can book you only with those details and then work with you to dream up your perfect locations and day overall to flesh out the details and timeline. 

So, how do I choose my elopement photographer?

1. Determine Your Budget & Style Photography Best

Budget is important in knowing who you will hire and for how many hours. Elopement photographers can cost just as much or more than traditional wedding photographers and prices can vary depending on location and experience. However, you can expect to spend at least $3,000 for a professional and some can range upwards of $8,000+. Photography styles also vary across the industry in the way photographers actually photograph their couples and in their editing style as well. Take some time to look around online at different styles and determine if you like brighter photos, darker photos, more true to color, etc. Do you want more candids or posed and editorial photos? When you do inquire with photographers, ask to see full galleries so you can see how they photograph the entire day from beginning to end in different lighting situations to make sure their photos are consistent.

2. Inquire & Schedule A Phone Call

Most elopement photographers offer free consultation calls to get to know each other and to start the planning process right there on the phone with a general outline of what your elopement day could look like. They should also send you their full pricing guide to talk about which package works best for you. Pay close attention to how well you get along with every photographer you talk to because you’ll be spending a lot of time with them during the planning process and on your elopement day as well. Ask them to walk you through their booking process (what’s required to officially book them like a retainer and contract) as well as their planning process. How involved are they in the planning process? Do they book vendors for you or simply send recommendations, are there extra travel costs, do they help with permits, do they offer prints and albums, and what is the turnaround time for your final images?

Love From Past Clients

Juliana is an awesome elopement photographer! I cannot express my gratitude enough for how professional Juliana is. Her photos are stunning. She knows how to work with different people so you won’t be awkward around her! I cannot believe how beautiful both of us looked in our photos, and she even managed to get our cat in the elopement too! It was such a fabulous day with her.” – Kristina

“Working with Juliana was an incredible experience! From her care in communication in planning and understanding our vision for our 5-year vow renewal/anniversary photos to scouting the perfect location to hiking with us and even her boyfriend watching our toddler so we could take couple photos on a cliff, she was amazing in every aspect. And then, we saw the photos, I’m completely blown away. These photos are more beautiful than I ever hoped for! My husband is pretty comfortable in front of a camera, but I’m not. Juliana intuitively knew how to make me comfortable and gave clear posing instructions. I 100% recommend Juliana for your elopement or engagement session and subsequent wedding photos. She absolutely over-delivers.” – Keturah

Traveling Elopement Photographer

Choosing an elopement photographer can seem overwhelming at first, but by focusing on these critical considerations, you can confidently choose the perfect elopement photographer that fits your style, budget, and vision for your special day. I would absolutely love to help you plan and capture your dream elopement! Please reach out to me here to get the planning started! Also, head over to my Pinterest to get even more inspiration for planning your special day.

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