Elopement Photography Tips and Inspiration
Are you considering venturing into the world of elopement photography? It was life-changing for me and I want that for you! But there are still some things to consider when starting your journey to mastering elopement photography and I’m here to give you my best tips for photographers starting on their adventure!
This article is written by Sean Oblizalo of Vows and Peaks Photography, Colorado Elopement Photographer.
First, I want to talk about why elopement photography has been so important to me and my life and that starts with how I define success. My success comes from being able to combine my love of landscape photography with elopement photography by simply working with couples in the already gorgeous scenery I was already photographing! Of course, success is different for everyone, but in my opinion, being able to go to work every day and do something I’m passionate about goes beyond all of the other perks and benefits. There is a huge difference between “looking” successful and “being” successful as an elopement photographer and these are my top tips for photographers looking to break into the world of elopement photography.
Elopement photography might sound like it’s in a niched-down market already but the truth is, you can still niche down even more to attract your ideal clients. The term elopement has evolved so much in the last few years and it’s allowed photographers the chance to niche down their skills and passions. You can really hone in on a number of different elopements including urban, adventure, micro, Airbnb, destination elopements, and much more!
Personally, I am an avid hiker and backpacker in Colorado, so Colorado elopements were a natural transition and fit when I started my business. If you are looking to start your elopement photography business, then start with the niche that is the right fit, style, and vibe for you.
BECOME AN EXPERT IN SELECT LOCATIONS
When I first started out as an elopement photographer, I dreamt of the epic places I could go and travel to for work. I realized pretty quickly that working in these places was fun but I didn’t have the knowledge or expertise that I had back home in Colorado. I was flying blind on a lot of elopements without really knowing the best trails, how the lighting was going to unfold, and who the best vendors were amongst other things. Really hone in and become an expert in a place you are passionate and knowledgeable about will shine through to your couples. Being able to confidently create an epic elopement in an area you’re an expert in will leave you feeling uplifted and confident leading up to and after each elopement! For elopement photography locations, see these resources:
CREATE AN EPIC EXPERIENCE
A lot of photographers can capture amazing images but creating an epic experience from A to Z will really take your business and client experience to the next level. What does that look like on a tangible level? It starts at the very beginning of the booking process in the initial consultation. How are you actually making this truly personal experience? Being able to listen to couples and hear their needs and fulfill their needs is customer service 101. Next, think of ways to elevate the couple’s experience like giving them vendor suggestions and timelines, and being prompt and informative in your communications. Show them that you are willing to do what is best for them and tailor a plan that gives them the most perfect day. Trust me, couples will value the front end of the year elopement experience just as much as you photographing their big day! Some of my best reviews are from couples talking about how much knowledge and information I shared with them that helped along the way to creating their stress-free elopement.
AVOID IMPOSTER SYNDROME
I think the biggest thing I had to tackle at the very beginning of starting my photography business was trying to not compare myself to other photographers. And let’s face it, when you’re building a website and building a company, the first thing you do is go look at people who are already successful and then see what’s working for them. But really, you should start with ways that you are different from other photographers. How do you sell yourself and your brand? I’m at the point in time where I’m not trying to sell my photos. I’m trying to sell myself as a person! This is the sweet spot for elopement photography. You and your couples will value yourself way more when they’re working with you because of YOU! Bonus tip: Ask your couples after booking why they booked you versus someone else. This will go a long way in working past that imposter syndrome.
AVOID USING COUPLES AS CONTENT CREATION
What defines your success as an elopement photographer? A lot of my success is rooted in giving couples an amazing experience. And with that being said, it’s super important to not think about couples as content creation. Your portfolio is never more important than the experience you are giving couples on their biggest days. Stick to the process of matching couples up with the perfect spot versus trying to pigeonhole them into something that they’re not looking for.
My process starts with a general location and then I ask each couple to tell me what they’re looking for in their elopement. What kind of scenery do you enjoy? If you want to hike, how many miles? Do you prefer sunrise or sunset? I take these answers into consideration and try to match couples up with the perfect spot for their big day! Do I overlap with a lot of the same locations throughout the year? Of course! But each day brings new challenges to each elopement, so use the different seasons and weather to your advantage when looking to be creative!
Elopement photography has certainly blown up the last few years and is definitely a trendy thing to jump into but it’s important to think about what niche you’re passionate about and how you’re going to create an awesome client experience. These two things will go a long way in being successful as an elopement photographer!