How to pick your elopement photographer
Elopements have emerged the last few years as a popular option over traditional weddings. They no longer mean 'running away to Vegas' as they used too. Instead they are about embracing nature and doing something that feels totally authentic to you. Many couples have welcomed this experience by finding views on incredible mountains, snow caps, even by hiking or camping. It's especially been a great encouragement to those who love the outdoors, that they can get married doing something they love.
I want to stress that eloping is not 'less,' it is 'less is more.' Eloping is about narrowing it down to those few things that truly get your heart excited, and involving them on your day. It can be just the two of you, or you can invite some of your closest friends. It can be on a mountain, or on a rooftop or in a gorgeous Airbnb. At the end of the day, it's limitless because it's all about you (and nobody else gets to rain on your parade).
So the big question is, how do you go about picking an elopement photographer to come along on your day?! I have 3 simple tips to help you know you've found 'the one.'
1. Someone you get along with
Getting along with your photographer is a golden KEY. Remember how they'll be along for your day at every possible minute. They'll witness some pretty intimate moments in the lead up to your ceremony, and they'll be the ones making you feel comfortable for your portraits, which goes a long way in how your photos turn out.
Someone can take amazing photos, but if you just don't 'gel,' you will have no prediction on how your day will go. It can impact on how natural your photos turn out and can change how you feel when they are around if you are hyper aware of them. Having someone there who is going to make you feel at ease is a priority.
Even before you meet them, you can suss them out a a few ways. If they have a website, or Instagram, have a look at their recent posts. What do they write in their captions: do they post anything about themselves on their page? If you find yourself enjoying their writing you may likely get along. Dig through a few blog posts on their website, see how they write their content, this will always give away a bit of who they are and how they express themselves.
Then finally, there is direct communication. Fill out an inquiry form and see how their initial response is. You want to feel like they have made an effort to be themselves. You don't want a cookie cutter response that sounds standard, it should really give you and indication of who they are. This will ease you into picking an elopement photographer as you can eliminate anyone that feels too 'stuffy.'
Finally, the ultimate test (if you are confidant you'll get along) is that a good photographer will want to hop on a call, or video chat, with you when you inquire. It will help you to suss them out and ask any questions as well! You can usually tell pretty early into any call if you'll bounce off someone naturally. The obvious key in this is to also be completely yourself so it really is a true indication.
2. You like their work
The whole reason you are here, their stunning photos. If you're considering inquiring with someone, you probably like their work (duh). So ask yourself these few questions when you scroll through their website again to help you with picking an elopement photographer.
- Can I see myself in these images?
- Do these images make me excited for my own elopement?
- Do I like they style of filter (colouring) they use?
- Do these photos show couples relaxed in front of a camera?
Ask these questions and see how you react now. You should be able relate so much to their images that you could be the couple in them! You also must love the way they colour their images - this is a BIG one. Photographers will not change their colouring style if they are established, it plays a large role in their branding and will set them apart from many others.
The obvious one is that someone who is good at their job will be good at making their couples feel relaxed in front of a camera, so as you scroll through their images check if you feel that in the couples expressions, this is especially important if you are someone who is good at candid and natural photos.
Like Marie Kondo would day, 'does this spark joy?,' if not, probably best to keep looking.
3. They are trustworthy
This means you know they'll show up and do the job you hired them for. You can pick this up many ways including if you've had a call with them, or you've conversed a bit already! Chatting face to face is always a great indication.
A huge one to test this out is reviews - check out if they have any on facebook, google etc & see what couples have to say about them! If other couples have had a positive experience and gladly posted about it online - it's a good sign!
And finally - galleries. From the galleries they have posted up on their site, do you have a good indication of the images you'll receive? Do they have a variety of lighting scenarios and formalities for you to know they'll be there for the important moments. The internet is a tempting place to only put the 'best of the best' up there - just ensure you get a wholistic view of how they photograph a wedding as well! This will solidify your decision in them even more.
So now you've got three tips to help you along your journey of picking an elopement photographer perfect just for you! Time to get going.
Mel is an Australian based elopement and intimate wedding photographer intent on capturing authentic moments for the carefree.