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Modern weddings come in all sizes and often vary in nature too. They could be as big and vibrant as a traditional wedding or an intimate celebration between just the couple on a hilltop. Whatever the scale – it is the couple that takes the call on their wedding vision. But as a wedding photographer, if you have built your brand to attract clients seeking adventure elopements, it helps to be equipped to cater to their requirements. Therefore, we present the ultimate adventure elopement photography guide that will help you understand how to work on creating a wonderful customer experience for your adventure-seeking couples.

What Are Adventure Elopements?

a wedding couple in a boat in the middle of a beautiful lakeImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @looyengaphoto

Think of an adventure mixed with the sole purpose of celebrating the union of two people in holy matrimony. That’s an adventure elopement in a nutshell. In simple words, these are elopements that also seek some adventure as a part of their wedding celebration. However, what really “adventure” caters to here could differ from couple to couple. Even though most adventure elopements photographs will lead you to believe that it is all about hiking or camping, we want to assure you that it is just the tip of the iceberg. An adventure could be any activity or experience that the couple decided to incorporate into their celebrations. This way, they get to add in a bit of fun and adrenaline rush to make their wedding day memorable and create memories together. And if your couples have the budget and heart for it – the sky is the limit.

Suggested Read: Elopements And Small Weddings

Adventure Elopement Ideas

infographic stating ask your couples how they envision their elopement

In the list below, we have explored a list of epic adventure elopement ideas that you can suggest to your clients for an experience of a lifetime.

  1. Hike to waterfalls
  2. Leisurely hike in the meadows
  3. A picnic theme in the wilderness
  4. A vacation in a treehouse
  5. Explore trails in national parks
  6. Give glamping a try
  7. A jeep tour
  8. Go off-roading
  9. Explore mountain lakes
  10. An early morning hike
  11. A hot air balloon ride
  12. Explore a new distant beach
  13. Go skiing
  14. Try dune bashing in a desert elopement
  15. A scenic sleigh ride
  16. Private boat excursion
  17. Visit places to witness fall foliage
  18. A bonfire while camping

Note: There are multiple things that you can suggest to your couples. However, always get to know their perspective first. Ask them what it is that they are really seeking or how they envision their elopement to be. Be open to their suggestions and guide them on how to turn their vision into reality.

Suggested Read: 5 Tips To Ace Elopement Photography

Best Places To Elope: Some Popular Choices Around The Globe

infographic stating there is a place for every mood, couple, and budget

Top adventure elopement locations around the world that you can refer to your adventure-seeking couples.

  1. Oregon: The Oregon Coast; Crater Lake; Steens Mountains
  2. Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald; Logan Pass; Many Glacier; Polebridge & Northfork; West Glacier; East Glacier; Two Medicine
  3. Yosemite National Park: Taft Point; Glacier Point; Half Dome; Tunnel View; El Capitan Meadow; Sentinel Dome; Bridalveil Falls; Yosemite Falls
  4. Colorado: Guanella Pass; Brainard Lake; Sapphire Point Overlook
  5. Alaska: Crow Creek Historic Gold Mine; Portage Pass Trail; Mount Healy; Hatcher Pass; Matanuska Glacier
  6. Redwoods Parks: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park; Sequoia National Park; Muir Woods National Monument; Big Basin Redwoods State Park; Forests of Nisene Marks; Redwood National Park
  7. Hawai: Na Pali Coast; Waimea Canyon; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Waipi’O Valley; Haleakala National Park; Red Sand Beach; Honokalani Black Sand Beach; Makapu’u Lookout; Crouching Lion Hike; Kalolohia Beach; Pu’u Pehe; Kalaupapa National Historic Park
  8. Argentina: Torres del Paine; Parque Nacional Los Glaciares; El Chaltén; Puyuhuapi’s Bay; Queulat Glacier; Uco Valley
  9. Greece: Milos island; Venetsonos Winery Santorini
  10. Canada: Lake Louise; Sunshine Coast; Jasper; Banff
  11. Turkey: Cappadocia  
  12. Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni
  13. Peru: Huascaran National Park

Tips For Photographers To Get Adventure Elopements Right

1. Discuss Expectations

As hinted above, it is crucial to set clear client expectations. Ask them what they expect out of this experience, whether they have a theme or a place in mind, and what their priorities for the same are. This will help you build an expectation roadmap to analyze and work on. The next step would include sharing with them a suggestive timeline as per their plan and initiating realistic talking points. These could include your logistical requirements, best time, alternative plans (if required), budget, etc. Discuss with them every step of the process, what they can expect, what to pack, and what to wear (guide them on the fact they are likely to get their clothes dirty, but that’s just part of the fun), setting clear expectations. Asking them to fill out a questionnaire could also help you learn more about their expectations and vision.

Related Read: Managing Client Expectations: Wedding Photography Tips

2. Location Scouting

a couple having a romantic moment on a hill overlooking a large lakeImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dianenicolephoto

Location scouting plays a crucial role in the life of an adventure elopement photographer. However, the way and form of doing it might differ from the usual, depending on the location choice. If it is a nearby national park or beach/lake, chances are you can still scout it out before the event. However, for most adventure elopements you cannot always access the location beforehand. But you can change your means of location scouting. This includes doing extensive cross-platform research to get accurate information.

Take the help of various location scouting tools such as Lonely Planet guides, AllTrails, Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Earth Pro, and different social media hiking forums. Moreover, you can also suggest locations where you have already photographed some elopements. This gives you a better sense of place and the logistics required.

Pro tip: If you are still skeptical about the location, one of the safe choices could be to hire a local guide to help you around the place.

Related Read: The Importance Of Location Scouting In Wedding Photography

3. Sort The Logistics

It goes without saying, there is a lot of logistics involved in planning a successful adventure elopement photography experience. Starting with the officiant, planning a travel plan, flights, and accommodation to arranging licenses and permits, there is a lot that requires the attention of you and your couple. Discuss with them all these important factors and how things will be unfolding. If they have a planner or someone who is helping them plan these details, connect with them to get a better idea of how the day is going to pan out.

4. Photography Licenses & Permits

infographic stating research about the permits and licenses a place might require for photography

Imagine you reached the elopement location ready to shoot only to find out you can’t photograph without a permit – what a huge bummer! To avoid such situations, it helps to plan ahead. In order to photograph in some national parks or restricted areas, you are often required to have a permit. These are things that your couple might not be aware of; however, as their photographer, it is your responsibility to research in advance to arrange all the required permits and licenses.

5. Try To Plan During The Weekdays

Taking time out during weekdays could be a bit tricky for your couples – yes! However, it could save them from being stuck in traffic and spare them from the curious gaze of teeming tourists in crowded places. Moreover, what good is an elopement experience if your couple is getting married with a hundred other strangers crowding the background? It is supposed to be an intimate experience, and weekdays allow you the window to keep it more private.

6. Watch The Weather

infographic stating try to plan your sessions around the best time to visit a place for adventure elopement photography

Weather can make or break your adventure elopement photography plans. Therefore, try to plan your sessions around the best time to visit the place chosen for the celebrations. With the weather Gods on your side, your couples will have a better chance to make the most of their big day and immerse themselves in the moment. In addition to that, always keep a watch on the weather forecast. In case of a bad weather prediction, try not to force the plans on your couple just to stick to the schedule, as it could turn out to be not only a flop for the session but also unsafe. Have a conversation with your couple about what will be your action plan in such cases.

Suggested Read: How To Photograph A Wedding When It Rains

7. Plan To Detour (And Accept Change)

When it comes to giving yourself to natural surroundings, things don’t always go as planned. But if you learn how to pivot and adapt yourself accordingly, sometimes those deviations in plans can turn out to be better. For example, if your couples were hellbent on following a specific trail, and it is closed for some reason, respect that and look for a different route.

8. Respect Nature’s Boundaries

As an adventure elopement photographer, it is essential to learn how to respect nature’s boundaries. While scouting the location or photographing the session, learn to leave no trace around and follow proper elopement and outdoor etiquettes. Most importantly, do not damage, litter, or alter your natural surroundings just for the sake of that one perfect shot. 

9. Customer Experience Is Key

More than the love for adventure, landscapes, and even photography, adventure elopement photography is about weaving a remarkable customer experience. What brings great reviews and more word-of-mouth referrals? It is the experience you build for your clients during the entire course of their elopement. From the process of booking to sorting the logistics and photography to the adventure itself, your clients’ takeaway is probably going to be how you made them feel during this entire process. Elopements are supposed to be fun and intimate. This is one of the main reasons why your couples chose to go for it in the first place. However, if they come back from it feeling more stressed and on the edge, then the whole purpose of opting for this wedding style is defeated. Always remember that purpose in mind and curate everything to ensure a great customer experience.

A Word Of Caution: Safety Is Paramount

a couple kissing on a hilltop sitting on a rockImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @melissafechapmanphotography

Before you head out into the wilderness, make sure you have a plan. This will help keep you safe and ensure you have everything you need to capture those special memories. Keep yourself equipped with essential items such as guides, compass, essential gear, route tracker, ample water supply, and something to eat (to energize), first aid, etc. If you find that your couple is skeptical about a certain activity, do not push them to leap out of their comfort zones. Remember that the goal is to help build a fun and safe experience for your couples – always be mindful of that.

Further Read: How To Include The Landscape In Your Portraits

At ShootDotEdit, we aim to help you grow your wedding photography business. We also look forward to helping you lessen the photo editing load by taking it off your workflow. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.

1 comment

  • Yusuf

    This is a great article. Very insightful. Thanks for the post.

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