a collage of a few elopement photos

Elopements have become more common over the years, and now, with COVID taking over the world, they’ve also emerged as one of the safest ways to get married in 2020. With just a few people in attendance, those who love the idea of getting married in a super intimate and low-key ceremony turn to elopements. Even though the whole point is to have a private ceremony, some couples do plan for a photographer to be present on their big day.

Read our blog on Elopements and Small Weddings to get familiar with the basics.

Elopement photography is all about documenting the love between your couple. Whether it’s an on a whim kind of situation or a pre-planned ceremony, as their photographer, having a shot list ready to work from would help you be fast and efficient. Pinterest and Instagram are proof that even with just two subjects and minimum decor, you can capture breathtaking photographs. While you may already be a pro at wedding photography, there are some tips and tricks that can help you ace your elopement photography game.

Top Tips on Acing Elopement Photography

Adventure elopement photography featuring a couple posing on top of a cliff with a sunset sky backdrop

Elopement photography is just as special as taking pictures at any other wedding, so, try to prepare a shot list in advance to make the most of the time that you get with the couple. Getting an idea about their plan, location preferences, and what they require from you could help you prepare. Here are some other things that you could consider when planning for elopement photography with your couples.

1. Reach Out to Your Couples

Candid image of a bride and groom posing with soap bubble guns

With COVID in the picture, you might want to proactively reach out to your already booked couples and suggest the idea of an elopement. The pandemic has forced many couples to push pause on their wedding plans or even cancel the wedding. Of course, many have had to modify their wedding plans due to safety concerns and government regulations, but some are also canceling weddings due to economic reasons. You could suggest an elopement not just for the safety aspect, but also the economical aspect. Try to assure them that it’s an equally special ceremony that deserves to get amazing photographs too.

2. Get to Know Your Couple

A couple posing with the sky as a backdrop

Just like you’d get to know your couple for any other wedding, getting to know a couple who is choosing to elope is just as important. Elopement photography is all about those intimate photos of the couple, so they need to be comfortable with you. If COVID is stopping you from meeting each other frequently, you could connect over a virtual meeting. Get to know what they like, dislike, how they first met, and other things that really bring out their personalities as a couple and as individuals.

You are going to be one of the few people present for the ceremony, so building your relationship with them ahead will help them feel more comfortable with you!

3. Finding the Perfect Spot

A couple posing on a boat in front of a hillside landscape colorfully lit by sun rays

Elopement ceremony locations are usually outdoors and you can take stunning photographs while working with nature in these spots. Finding the perfect spot to take photographs totally depends on what the couple is looking for. They might ask you for your opinions when it comes to finding the right colors, backdrops and light, so you could also try to get involved in the planning process. This is another reason why getting to know your couples could be good for you. It would be easier to find a spot they like if you know what they prefer.

When you are photographing a wedding, everything is usually planned in detail. But with elopements there may not be as many details to coordinate, so you be a bit more creative, taking time to explore and be adventurous.

4. Elopement Photography is All About That Perfect Timing

Elopement photography typically covers less time and is more focused on getting amazing photographs, so that means, with less to coordinate, it could be easier to time the photographs for the most epic times of day – beautiful sunset or first light if your couple wants to do a morning ceremony. Essentially, elopement photography allows you to plan the moment around the best times of day. Plan your session around your couple’s availability on the day, and figure out the time of day that would work best. Speak to them about what their day looks like and also what they really want out of the day. If you already know the spot, try to figure out the time of day that would get perfect lighting. Discuss your ideas with the couple so you guys are on the same page, and there’s enough flexibility to work with your vision and their comfort. Also, since these pictures will tell a story about their romance, try to think of how you can make the spot look even more dreamy and romantic.

5. Carry Extra Gear

Bride with a bouquet in hand and groom holding the bride pose for a kiss in the wild

This goes without saying, but you can never be over prepared for an elopement. You are most likely to be outdoors, so try to bring all the essentials, and then some! with you. Your couple is depending on you to document their special day, and since you are probably going to be the only photographer there, there won’t be other cameras to capture what you miss. So, it would be ideal if you packed more than what you deem necessary. Take enough batteries, memory cards, and other equipment that could also protect your devices against weather damage or accidents.

Making Elopement Photography Special For Your Couples

Try to make sure that your couple has fun on this adventure. They’ve decided to make you a part of their super-private ceremony, so try to capture every special moment from their elopement. Try to treat it like any other, with a bit of adventure in it. Try to help your couple get comfortable with you and get involved in this celebration with them. And don’t forget to carry backup equipment!

At ShootDotEdit, we believe in helping pro photographers with tips that enable them to hone their skills further. But if editing is taking up most of your time, let us give you a hand! Check out our price plans to know more about how we team up with wedding photographers.

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