How to Choose the Right Elopement Photographer

So you’re wondering how on earth do you choose the right elopement photographer for your awesome adventure? The struggle can be real! Seriously! With elopements becoming so popular after covid and thousands of people with a camera claiming to be an elopement photographer, it’s hard to be sure you’re getting what you pay for! That’s why I’ve created this guide to help you choose the right elopement photographer for your epic elopement adventure! Not just ANY elopement photographer, but the right one for you! let’s get started!

Elopement couple at Horseshoe bend in Arizona

1- Know Your Budget

The first thing you need to do to choose the right elopement photographer is discuss what you two are willing to invest? As mentioned above, so many people who own a camera would call themselves “an elopement photographer” without any skill or experience. You might stumble across a photographer who’s prices are super low and you think you’ve found a deal! Chances are, they’re not an experienced elopement photographer and they might not serve you well. If your photos and the overall experience is really important to you, INVEST in the right elopement photographer. It’s worth it. Rather overspend on a day that is super important to you, than underspend and be disappointed in your photos that you cannot redo! The average cost on a US traditional wedding is $40K! An elopement will definitely save you a bunch of money already, but be sure to invest in your elopement photographer! They will help you plan everything and give super helpful suggestions as well! You can expect anywhere from $8K-$15K for your elopement photographer.

Zion National Park elopement couple at Angel's landing taken by Elopement photographer Heidi Straus

2- Find a Style You Absolutely Love!

When choosing the right elopement photographer it’s important to consider the different styles out there. Some photographers have a light and airy style, whereas others have a dark and moody style. Scroll through different photographers websites and instagrams and look for consistency in their style. Decide what you like most! Do you like classic, timeless photos that are true to life? Or do you prefer warm, vibrant styles? Maybe dark and moody is your thing? It truly depends on what YOU like! Make sure to choose a photographer who’s style you like! You cannot choose a dark and moody photographer and expect light and airy results if that makes sense? I will attach 3 different examples of different styles that photographers can have.

How to find the right elopement photographer with a warm and candid editing style
Warm & Vibrant
Light & Airy
Dark & Moody

As you can see, these three photos are clearly taken by 3 different photographers and edited in their own style. Warm and vibrant styles are usually…well, warmer and more vibrant, Haha! Light and Airy is often over exposed with washed out colors, whereas Dark & Moody is usually lower exposed with muted tones. There are tons of different editing styles! A popular one right now is the filmy, vintage vibe with lots of grain etc. So make sure you choose one you love! Also, consider how the location, time of day and outfit plays into this as well!

3- Inquire with an Elopement Photographer

After you’ve discussed your budget and decided on a style you like, you can now choose a few of your favorite elopement photographers who have met the criteria mentioned above and inquire with them! If you’re unsure about how to find an elopement photographer, consider trying one of the following ways to choose the right one:

  • Instagram– Search for elopement photographers on Instagram. For example “Utah elopement photographer” or “Italy elopement photographer”. You can also try searching “destination wedding photographer” or simply “elopement photographer” as many elopement photographers aren’t tied to a specific place and travel all over.
  • Google– Search for an elopement photographer on Google.
  • Facebook Groups– Find wedding or elopement facebook groups. There are tons of groups with great resources to help you find the right elopement photographer.
  • Vendor Recommendations– Many vendors have been in the industry for a long time and chances are they know exactly who to ask and who to recommend! Definitely ask one of your vendors for any recommendations.
Sedona elopement couple at Devil's Bridge taken by Elopement photographer Heidi Straus

4- Schedule a Consultation Call

It’s time to schedule a consultation call with an elopement photographer (or several)! It’s SO important to “meet” the person who’s going to be there on your special day! As awkward as you think a zoom call or video call might be, it’s crucial when it comes to choosing the right elopement photographer. It’s always nice to put a face to a name and to get to know the person’s personality. You want to make sure you find someone who is a good fit for you guys! This is also the fastest way to go through any additional questions you may have and get the answers back ASAP. It’s important to be open and honest about what you’re looking for. Here are some examples of what you can ask your elopement photographer during your consultation call:

  • Start with a little about their background and be sure to tell them a little more about you two
  • What is their preferred style and can they walk you through the process of working with them?
  • Do they offer payment plans and is there a booking fee/retainer required?
  • What happens if they cancel or something happens like a flight delay or being sick?
  • How long will it take to receive your photos and how will you receive them?
  • Have they ever shot at the location you’re considering?

You can ask any other questions that you’d like to know! Remember to be yourselves! 🙂

Grand Canyon elopement couple at Navajo point taken by Elopement photographer Heidi Straus

5- Evaluate Your Options & BOOK!

Okay, so you’ve gone through different photographers’ websites and instagrams. You’ve chosen a few that you really liked and are within your budget and you’ve had a consultation call with them. It’s now time to evaluate your options. When choosing the right elopement photographer for your day it is extremely important that you truly connected with your photographer! After all, you will be spending quite a lot of time together on your big day and you want to feel comfortable in front of them! So make sure when you evaluate on how to choose the right elopement photographer, you consider your budget, their style, their personality and whether or not they’ll be able to provide you with an amazing, stress-free experience!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on how to choose the right elopement photographer for your epic elopement adventure! My name is Heidi Straus and I’m an elopement photographer based in the US! I am originally from South Africa and go back there every year to host my safari retreats, capture some epic elopements and visit my amazing family! If you’re looking for a photographer to capture your special day, I would absolutely love to connect with you guys! Please reach out through my contact page HERE or visit my website HERE!

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