Elopement Photographer vs. A Photographer for your Elopement

Elopement Photographer vs. A Photographer for your Elopement

February 29, 2024
February 29, 2024

Sounds like the same thing, right? An elopement photographer vs. a photographer for your elopement? Spoiler alert- there’s a huge difference! For the same reasons you wouldn’t book a photographer who specializes in newborn photos to shoot your wedding, you shouldn’t book just any photographer for your elopement!
Here’s 4 reasons you should book a photographer who specializes in elopements, and not just anyone with a camera:

Smoky Mountain Elopement

Reason #1: An Elopement Photographer Understands You.

Did you know that there are over 35,000 wedding photographers in the United States? Over half of those photographers market themselves as a “Wedding and Elopement” photographer. Elopements are so different from traditional weddings. They align with a different group of people, who value and look at things a lot differently than traditional wedding couples. When you book someone with a ball in both courts, you miss out on the connection between you and your photographer. As an elopement photographer, I fully understand my couples who ditched the traditional big wedding. I can connect with them on what they prioritize. I can understand what they really want out of their elopement that a traditional wedding didn’t provide, and I can fully prepare my couples for what to expect out of their elopement. When you book a photographer who offers both, they often overlook the values and the meaning of an elopement, often looking at elopements as something “small,” and “less.”
That’s not what your elopement is, and it shouldn’t be view that way.

Reason #2: An Elopement Photographer Understands Elopements.

When you book a photographer who specializes in elopements, you book an expert. You book a photographer who understands that elopements never look the same between two couples, and yet they can help plan something unique and memorable! While a photographer who shoots weddings can surely take photos of your elopement, they typically don’t know or offer the extent of planning that an elopement photographer will provide you. Traditional wedding photographers may step in to assist in creating a timeline, but they pretty much go with the flow of plans that are pretty much already established for a big wedding when they’re booked. An elopement photographer is fully prepared to help you from the very beginning- even if you don’t know the when or the where. They can help you find epic locations, and they know how to shoot in any lighting or weather condition outdoors.

Elopement in North Carolina

Reason #3: An Elopement Photographer Understands that Eloping Doesn’t Mean Less.

If you do a quick google search of “Wedding and Elopement Photographers,” I can guarantee that the photographer has 2-4 hour packages as an “Elopement.” Want to know why? Most don’t realize that eloping doesn’t mean less. As an elopement photographer, I don’t offer anything under 4 hours. I never book my four hour collection- because I know that your elopement deserves no less than a traditional wedding.
If a traditional wedding gets coverage for 8-12 hours, why shouldn’t your elopement?
Your elopement can be so much more than a quick ceremony in a courthouse, or at a park. It can be an opportunity to check things off your bucket list. You can plan experiences and go to scenic locations- your options for your elopement are limitless! An elopement photographer specializes in creating epic, elaborate elopement experiences, where as a “Wedding and Elopement” photographer just views elopements as something short and sweet. (Which it can be, but could you live the perfect day in 4 hours? Probably not.)

Reason #4: An Elopement Photographer is Prepared for an Epic Adventure.

Realistically, anyone with a camera can take photos, and any wedding photographer can take photos of your elopement. However, I don’t know many wedding photographers who are fully prepared and equipped to shoot an epic, all-day adventure for an elopement. As an elopement photographer, I have an in-depth guide for eloping couples that covers things such as safety precautions, Leave No Trace principles, back up plans in case of inclement weather, and so much more. Most elopement photographers also have the equipment and precautions necessary for hiking, being in/ near water, and working in extreme heat/ cold. They also have the ability to scout locations other than the “well-known” tourist areas. (Even if they haven’t been to the destination!) While a traditional wedding typically has a venue as a backup plan, creating plans for an outdoor elopement is a completely different game.

Elopement in Urban City of tennessee

Don’t Get Me Wrong…

Any photographer, realistically, can take photos for anything. However, there’s usually a fall off somewhere in the experience or the work when you opt for a photographer who doesn’t specialize where they are their strongest. (Just like an Italian restaurant wouldn’t be your choice if you craved a steak.) I’m included in this too. I never felt like my experience or my work was the best it could be when I was shooting photos for families, or even traditional weddings. I knew that the freedom, the adventure, and the intimacy of elopements was exactly where I, as an artist, thrived. I was more comfortable, excited, and dedicated to my eloping couples because elopements aligned with me and my values.
It’s so important that the person you choose to document the biggest day of your life understands you. They are responsible for creating an experience and images that will last beyond your lifetime. Choosing someone who understands something as limitless as eloping will guarantee that you not only love the photos, but that you enjoy being with them on your special day.