10 Things Your Elopement Photographer Wants You to Know

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I'm a Colorado-based destination elopement photographer who helps couples have unforgettable elopements in the Rocky Mountains and destinations worldwide.

I'm Jen Dz

Getting to do elopement photography as a living is a dream come true. We get to spend our days deeply connecting with adventurous, bold couple in incredible places and taking the photos that will help them (and us!) remember this day forever!

There is SO much that goes into being an elopement photographer that I think not a lot of people now about. It may look like it’s all gallivanting on mountain tops (ok, it IS a lot of that!) but there is so much more to it than that! Here are 10 things your elopement photographer wants you to know:

1. We get SO excited when new couples reach out

Ask any photographer and they will tell you that every time we get a popup on our phone that a new person filled out our contact form we get a little (or sometimes big!) rush of adrenaline. The speed at which inquiries come in ebbs and flows throughout the year but there has never NEVER been a time, even during my busiest months, that I haven’t done a little happy dance every time a new inquiry comes through. Knowing that someone could maybe see us being a part of one of the biggest days of their lives is a MASSIVE privilege and it makes our day every single time.

2. When you book us for your elopement photography it makes our WHOLE DAY

Even when I’m super busy and already overbooked (anyone else have a hard time saying no to awesome humans?!) hearing those magic words of “We’d like to go ahead and move forward! Does this date work for you?” makes us SO happy. As cheesy as it sounds, every time I book a new couple I feel like I’ve made a new friend and it feels SO good. Sending out contracts and officially beginning what we know is going to be one hell of a journey together NEVER gets old!

3. We get nervous too

I’ve been helping couples elope for five years now and I still get nervous every single time! Elopements are WAY less chaotic than big weddings but they come with their own unique set of stresses. It’s pretty rare for a wedding photographer to also plan the entire day but as elopement photographers, that’s exactly what we do! This means that we don’t just worry about you loving your photos, we worry about you loving your ENTIRE day! Planning a couple’s elopement is one of the most fun and rewarding parts of this job … but it’s also the most stressful. We just want you to have the best day EVER!!

couple elopeing at jokulsarlon iceland diamond beach

4. Literally everyone tell us they will be awkward in front of the camera – you are NOT alone!

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard some version of “we’re super awkward!!” from pretty much every couple I’ve worked with. The truth is that being in front of the camera is super nerve-wracking and NOT something most of us are comfortable doing. My job as an elopement photographer is to help you be comfortable (and I have tons of ways to do it!)! A good photographer will help you feel awesome.

5. A lot of the elopement photography you see on Pinterest is *not* from real elopements

A lot of photographer use what we call ‘styled shoots’ to build their portfolio or transition into a new area of photography. That is COMPLETELY fine but it can sometimes set unreasonable expectations for what an actual elopement day looks like. It’s awesome to use those styled shoots for inspiration but remember that they should just be that – inspiration. Your actual day is going to be much more than just a pretty photo shoot! While some photographers clearly indicate that something was a styled shoot on their Instagram/blog, not everyone does this – remember that if something looks to good to be true, it may not have been! (For what it’s worth, I don’t do styled shoots – every photo you see is a real couple on a real elopement day! Authentically representing what elopements look like is really important to me).

6. The time spent with you on your elopement day is just a teeny tiny bit of the work that we do

Running a photography business is like 10% doing actual photography and 90% running a business. We’re not just photographing elopements – we’re also planning them, editing them, doing consults with new clients, designing albums, marketing, managing taxes, booking travel, working on SEO, networking with other photographers, staying fit enough to hike a mountain with you (while carrying 20+ pounds of photography gear and a bottle of bubbly!), and making endless calls about permits. The part that you see is just an itty bitty piece of what we do.

7. Sending out your gallery is exhilarating – and terrifying!

Hitting send on your elopement gallery is SO exciting and also completely nerve-wracking. We are SO excited to get your photos into your hands (and on your walls!!)! When we hear back from you about how much you love them? We do another happy dance … and breathe a huge sigh of relief. During that time between when we hit send and when we hear back from you? We are 100% convinced that you are going to hate your photos – every. single. time. (even if it has NEVER happened!)! If you love your photos, tell us! We’ll sleep much better that night!

8. Elopement photography is about more than impressing friends on Instagram! We really want you to print your photos

We’ve been in this business long enough to know that posting pictures on Facebook is cool and all but the magic doesn’t really happen until those suckers are printed. We know that a lot of digital images go on to die on a hard drive somewhere and that your memories deserve so much better than that! Please print your photos – hang them on your wall, put them in an album, whatever! The story of your day deserves to be more than pixels on a screen!

9. You may be stuck with your elopement photographer for life!

Most elopement photographers (myself included!) are introverts at heart (we leave the big weddings for the extroverts). We don’t love big groups of people but we’re all about forming deep relationships with the folks we really love. In other words, you may be stuck with your elopement photographer as a friend for life. Choose wisely. 😉

eloping in Telluride Colorado

Hopefully this helps you get a better idea of what is going through your photographer’s head as they lead you towards the best day of your life! This is so much more than just a job to us – it’s all about helping you have an unforgettable experience in some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

10. You inspire us more than you’ll ever know

Getting to hear your stories and be part of your day is really one of the greatest privileges of our lives. I’ve found that couples who elope put so much intention into how they get married – right down to choosing the photographer who captures it all. This isn’t lost on us. I started photographing elopements as a way to make a living but quickly realized that what I get out of it is SO much more than a paycheck. I’m infinitely grateful to all of my couples for letting me in, being themselves, and giving me the opportunity to be there for some of their biggest moments!

For more elopement advice and inspiration, check out the blog!

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