How to Book Your First Elopement as a Wedding Photographer

Congratulations! You’re ready to take the plunge into elopement wedding photography. Before you start shouting it from the rooftops, let’s go over the basics about what makes an elopement special—and how you can ensure that each one of your couples’ dreams come true.



If you’re looking for engagement and elopement photography, then you’ve come to the right place! Elopements are a unique and intimate way for couples to tie the knot; a setting where only the immediate family and friends will witness the special moment. The experience is special, yet personal, and as a wedding photographer it is your job to capture it for years to come. Whether this is your first time shooting an elopement or you’ve been photographing weddings for years, here are some tips on how to make booking your first elopement easy and successful.

Before jumping into photography, start with the basics. Think about your audience – what kind of clients do you want to work with? Are they looking for something traditional or more modern? What are their expectations? Knowing who your ideal client is before searching will help you find elopements that fit within your current portfolio.

Once you have identified who you want to work with and what kind of events they might be interested in having photographed, it’s time to begin marketing yourself! Create relationships by networking with local vendors; this will increase your referrals as well as help build connections. Additionally, use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook as outlets for showcasing recent work samples so that potential clients can get an idea of what style photographer they’d be working with.

Now that you have searched for potential clients and created a portfolio of images showcasing what type of photographs engage them most, it’s time to source out venues and create agreements so everything has been laid down prior to shooting day. Take advantage of all available resources; whether speaking directly with management at venues or scouring websites such as Airbnb, researching options ahead of time allows everything to be planned ahead accurately so there are no surprises during event day — making sure everyone involved has fun!

Reasons to Elope

Eloping is an exciting way to create a unique, intimate and personalized wedding experience. As a wedding photographer, it can be a great opportunity to gain invaluable experience in the photography field, giving you the skills you need to book successful future events. Here are some of the reasons why couples might choose to elope for their nuptials:

  1. A desire for a simpler affair without all the fuss of a traditional wedding.
  2. For couples who don’t want to be too overwhelmed by the planning process.
  3. Those who may not have many people present at their wedding and preferring just close family and friends.
  4. An elopement could be budget friendly as there is typically less cost associated with an elopement than that of traditional weddings.
  5. It’s perfect for couples whose families may not approve of them getting married or don’t live nearby.
  6. Couples who just want something unique and not cookie cutter – an intimate gathering, exchanging vows alone or with family only could make it even more special!

Preparing for Your First Elopement

As a photographer, you are often thrown into unfamiliar situations. Preparing for an elopement can be tricky if you haven’t shot one before. To ensure a successful experience and beautiful photos, here is a guide to help you prepare.

Safety: Your client’s safety is always your first priority as a photographer. It will be important to research the location of your upcoming elopement and take necessary safety precautions. Knowing the boundaries and unfamiliar land ahead of time can help make your shoot run smoothly—you don’t want any surprises when you arrive! Also, make sure that your clients are aware of this process beforehand so they can adequately prepare for their big day.

Gear: It is essential to ensure that all of your photography gear is up-to-date and functioning properly in order to get stunning photos from an elopement session. Check your equipment beforehand to confirm everything works well—it would be extremely unfortunate if technical issues interfere with the shoot! Additionally, make sure that you are carrying enough memory cards and batteries in case there are any hiccups along the way.

Communication: Confirm with the couple around their expectations for how many shots should be taken during their elopement session and what type of shots they are looking for. Consultation meetings prior to confirmations allow the couple (and yourself) to get on the same page before proceeding with booking the session as it will determine what type of photographs they would like—whether it is more traditional posed shots or modern, candid photos capturing range emotions throughout their day together.

This guideline will help you confidently embark on your first elopement as a wedding photographer by ensuring smooth workflow when onsite at the shoot and beautiful results afterward!

Finding the Right Couple

Finding the right couple to work with as a wedding photographer is key when booking your first elopement. Start by researching and networking in the wedding photography community. You want to find couples who are looking for a unique, personalized experience from a photographer who isn't afraid to think outside the box. Use social media to reach out and start conversations with wedding planning groups or post about your interest and availability for elopements on your website and other outlets.

Next, make sure you are aware of the typical contract structure for an elopement versus a traditional wedding shoot. Elopements tend to require fewer working hours, so you will likely not be required to commit to long days when working with these couples. Think about what is needed from a photographer in these cases – from shooting details before the ceremony, setting up lighting while they say their vows, all the way down to capturing night portraits afterwards!

Finally, create an ideal package that fits within your budget — tailoring it specifically for elopement shoots — making sure it complements what couples are looking for without stretching your pocketbook too thin! By understanding basic contract language and packages offered in different service tiers you can successfully book clients without breaking your business budget.

Planning the Elopement

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming – now picture planning its elopement version in the same amount of time! Whether you’re an experienced wedding photographer or an absolute beginner, planning your first elopement can be a tricky task. Elopements are becoming more and more popular, so it is important to understand the process of how to book one in order to properly serve your clients.

When discussing with couples what kind of elopement they would like to have, where they would like it to take place and what professionals they need, it is important to create a timeline which works for both them and yourself. From obtaining permits that could be necessary for the ceremony location, all the way up to their send off - every moment should be taken into account.

Take into consideration that location scouting is also very important when planning an elopement, keeping in mind the aesthetics each couple would like while ensuring accessibility as well as safety of all those involved– this includes being informed on any possible regulations that may need to be respected (e.g protected areas). Considerations such as these need to be taken into account prior booking the experience either yourselves or through third parties (e.g tour services).

The key when booking an elopement is answering all questions with care and precision - both yours and theirs! Although daunting feeling preparing for an ambitious event such as this one may feel at times- rest assured you won’t regret it in the end!

Shooting the Elopement

Shooting an elopement comes with its own unique challenges. When you have a couple who has chosen to tie the knot away from the traditional celebration, you’ll need to be prepared for all possible scenarios. With just one or two people at the ceremony, it is essential that you don’t miss a single moment!

When you are getting started remember to make contact with the couple ahead of time. Talk about their vision for the day and find out if they have any specific requests or locations in mind. It might help to offer advice on what type of shots they might want while still remaining open and flexible to their ideas.

On the day of the shoot, arrive early and prepare your equipment. A well-packed bag will increase your chances of success at capturing all of those important moments as they unfold! Make sure that camera settings are adjusted accordingly so that no details are missed during shooting. Finally keep in mind how light can change throughout different parts of a day so adjust accordingly. As always, stay alert and focused while shooting so not one moment is missed!

Editing and Delivering the Photos

Now that you and your couple have had their special day, it’s time to focus on the final step— editing and delivering the photos. Even though elopements often have less people in attendance and less activity happening, the photos from a well-executed elopement are often some of most beautiful wedding photos— so it is important to take the delivery step seriously.

Upon receiving all of your raw images from your shoot, it’s time to get to work. Make sure that each image looks exactly as you want them, ensuring that colors are as accurate as possible and blemishes like dust or scratches are removed. Most professional photographers prefer to use Lightroom Classic when they edit in order to achieve consistent color correction across all images and make sure they appear similar throughout an entire set.

Once you’ve edited all of your images, you may also want to consider adding any finishing touches, such as additional filters or textures or preparing collages for printable products for your client. Finally, when everything looks perfect and ready for display, deliver the completed images via a file transfer service— preferably within 3 weeks after their session date so that the newlyweds can relive the experience right away! If you prefer working with physical products such as albums or canvases, be sure to include these in their packages too!


Congratulations on considering taking the steps to booking your first elopement as a wedding photographer! This is an incredibly rewarding experience that can be incredibly impactful for you and for your couple. A well-planned and successful elopement involves creating meaningful connections with couples, researching locations, dealing with permits, selecting vendors and building strong relationships with them throughout the entire planning process.

Even if your first few elopements do not go exactly as planned, don’t give up — keep learning from every experience and use it to continuously improve. By networking with other professionals in this field, reaching out to potential clients and setting clear boundaries before taking a job, you will gain more confidence to deal with any challenges that might arise while working on an elopement. By doing the above steps, you will be able to use what you learn along the way to grow as a wedding photographer in no time.