April 22, 2020

How To Become An Adventure Elopement Photographer

WASHINGTON, OREGON AND DESTINATION ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

adventure elopement bride and groom reach for each other while standing on a cliffside in Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii

How To Become An Adventure Elopement Photographer

Post Summary: Want to adventure elopement photographer? Whether you’re brand new to photography or seasoned in the way of traditional weddings, making the transition to a more adventurous wedding niche is totally possible! Below are some of the first simple steps towards getting you on the right track in the photography field you want to be in.


It’s no surprise that adventure elopements are on the rise and lavish weddings are on their way out. 

These days, couples don’t want to please the family and do a traditional wedding featuring a chocolate fountain, floral arrangements, a dance floor, and a top-dollar dress. Couples wanna make a commitment to one another without all the pressure! It’s about SO MUCH MORE than just a single day. Because it’s about having an adventure they’ll never forget in a destination they’re crazy about.

So how do you get in on the trend and become an adventure elopement photographer? With so many couples ditching the traditional route, it’s totally possible to get into the industry. But it’ll take some effort on your part. 

Here’s how to get in on the trend as a photographer and start working with your dream clients now.

bride and groom sit on the floor snuggled together after adventure elopement ceremony

1. Be adventurous yourself

If you want to be an adventure elopement photographer, it makes complete sense that you’d want to adventure yourself. Make a point of traveling on your own to the destinations you’d want to photograph for clients. Take photos and share your adventures. 

If that’s not possible all the time, spend your free time outdoors in nature & show it off! Instagram posts and stories are a great place to become known for what you do. It’s also a great place to get clients– these photographers are great examples of that! A mix of client work and personal adventures can make for a killlller Instagram feed or Facebook page that attracts the people you want to connect with. To get even more eyes on your work, do your homework to find the elopement hashtags that your couples will be using. 

elopement couple kiss under the starry sky at night

2. Be the expert on adventure elopements

To be a truly awesome elopement photographer who books consistent clients, you have to create trust with the people you want to work with. This means creating resources that make planning and executing their wedding even easier. It’s a good idea to educate couples on what an elopement looks like. Since there are still soooo many myths around what’s possible at an intimate or elopement wedding, couples find it reassuring when you can speak their language and share experiences especially when they’re coming up against opposition from family. Most of your clients have NEVER planned a wedding before and they need you to be the one to help them out. 

Go above and beyond. Be a resource & a guide so they trust you to make their elopement day just that much more amazing. This may take the form of blog writing. And okay, I get it. You didn’t start your business to write blog posts. But if you do it right, your blogs can bring serious traffic to your website.  Adventure elopements are such an unstoppable trend that even Pinterest reported a 128% increase in traffic to elopement photography searches while destination wedding queries are up by 32%! That’s super promising when you’re a photographer wanting to get eyes on your work. You can also submit to online wedding magazines to extend your reach to new readers.

adventure bride and groom holds hands far away while standing under an arch in Arches National Park

3. Practice landscape photography and be a pro at your craft

As an elopement photographer you need to be great at putting couples at ease and making their experience incredible. But you also have to be a pro at landscape photography. Cause, chances are, your couples will be eloping in the most gorg locations in the world. You’re totally not capturing their experience if you don’t bring the landscape into the imagery they’ll have in wedding albums fifty years from now!

When you’re not photographing clients, get outdoors and photograph in nature. It’s important to understand how to highlight and capture the environment, so make a point of visiting varied locations. Get really good at bringing that landscape to life, with or without people in the frame.

adventure elopement couple hikes up Iceland mountainside with bouquet

4. Create a website that shows your skills and attracts your dream clients

The elopement photography industry may be booming but that doesn’t mean you can get away with having a poor website. Plan on crafting a beautiful site that embodies your personality. Pay close attention to the design and the wording, especially on the about page (here’s mine, for example!). And don’t skimp on getting tech help or watching tutorials. SEO is a lifesaver, and it will get you in front of people searching on Google for you!

It’s competitive out there, and your brand needs to have a voice to stand out from the crowd. But, most of all, your website needs to be super easy to navigate so couples can find your contact form & get in touch. If it’s too hard to navigate your site, your dream clients will just bounce. Be clear and get to the point, but don’t shy away from telling a story. Your couples need to know your philosophy and why you do what you do if you hope to be their photographer.

man and woman hold disco ball while leaning against the wall not smiling

5. Build out your portfolio

If you’re going to have a website, you need to have work to show clients so they know you can give them the photography experience they’re looking for. Even if you only have a few sessions to show, put them out there! As you get more work, share only the sessions that you would like to attract more of. Because those are the clients that you’ll get!

Don’t have a lot of work yet? No prob. Styled shoots are a great way to create photos you’re proud of that will attract your audience. For example, if you don’t want ballroom weddings, then don’t post them on your site if you’d rather work with adventure elopement couples. Everything needs to speak to your target audience because couples only book the photographer who best matches their vision. Make sure it’s you so you can book those clients!

Want more amazing tips on how to become an elopement and intimate wedding photographer? Check out the mentorship opportunities I offer for some in-depth 1:1 learning and education!

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Essential advice for anyone who wants to photograph adventure elopements but doesn’t know where to start!

Such great advice for any photographers looking to break into adventure elopements!

As someone just gEtting into the elopement indUstry, this is genuinely so helpful. And holy cow, your photos are what i strive for One day!

Great advice and I love all the images you have alongside! <3

Ahhhh Katie! These are such great insightful tips for photographers wanting to really specialize! Thanks so much for this, it’s really great to get your perspective!

Definitely good advice for photographers wanting to get into the elopement field! I will add that photographers should consider why they want to get into adventure elopements; if they want to do it because it’s trendy and there’s pretty photos vs. something they actually enjoy doing.

Love all this useful info! Super helpful to someone wanting to get their foot in the door

Super helpful for someone just starting out and has no idea where to start! Awesome stuff KAtie!

This is such great advice! Thank you so much for sharing!

Amazing tips. I enjoyed reading them!

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