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Questions to Ask when Searching for a Washington Elopement Photographer

beautiful Washington elopement in the snow

When considering an elopement ceremony, the perfect Washington elopement photographer can make your day that much smoother. One vendor you want to be sure to still have for your dream day is someone who can not only capture all the beautiful moments, but work with you and your partner, along with whatever other vendors, and environment you choose. There’s a lot of little details to go into finding the right fit, but here are some starter questions to guide your search: 

Do you have experience photographing elopements?

While this might seem like a redundant question, there are so many details that the right candidate needs to be familiar with. You want to hire a professional who understands the desire to elope! You also want someone who wants to celebrate you and your partner’s love by capturing all the moments from the day. While it may not be a large event, it’s still a special and important day for you. And ideally, you’ll find a candidate who can showcase that.

You want to avoid any photographers offering a quick photoshoot and vow/ring exchange. The perfect fit for you will be looking to make the experience the best FOR you, and celebrating WITH you. Logistically, you want your elopement photographer to be invested in location scouting, vendor referrals, and timelines to make the day go smoothly. Most experienced elopement photographers are willing to help guide couples while making these decisions! While a typical big ceremony photographer would be hands off and focus simply on capturing your ceremony and guests.

With elopements, you want someone to focus with care on the intimate details that will make your day memorable. These are things like rings, outfits, florals, and food! A deeper communication with your photographer will allow all these moments to last a lifetime. 

couple who just eloped in Washington state holding hands

Do you provide planning or help with location scouting and vendor referrals?

Elopements tend to be small and intimate affairs, which can allow you to choose location spots for your ceremony that may not have been possible with a big traditional wedding.  Elopements are in unique locations, so you may have to scout while narrowing down to the perfect spot.

Having a photographer who is experienced in certain areas will go a long way. And someone who’s willing to help you research locations or scout them for you is even better! Things like learning the permit requirements for your location options will be a lifesaver to making sure everything runs smoothly the day of. 

If you are unsure of a specific location, your photographer can ideally help you find one. Even more important, they’ll make sure it’s legal. They also tend to know other local vendors from previous elopements like florists, makeup and hair artists, or small catering companies specializing in intimate meals or desserts. Overall, guidance from your photographer can help make the elopement day go by smoothly, while creating a ceremony that feels like you and your partner. 

Boho washington elopement with couple posing on the beach
golden hour Washington elopement couple

Do you work with LGBTQIA+ clients or BIPOC clients as a Washington Elopement Photographer?

Your elopement day is not the time to feel uncomfortable, and unfortunately there are those who are unwilling to work or celebrate couples that look or live differently than themselves. For LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC it is absolutely necessary to consider and ask this question to find someone who supports you and your partners love wholeheartedly. Love is LOVE, and everyone should be comfortable as themselves for one of the biggest moments of your lives together. 

What kind of packages do you offer? Do you require a minimum amount of hours? What is included in your packages?

When searching for a Washington elopement photographer, you may have already done some research. Maybe even enough to have a guess for how many hours you were hoping to shoot. Depending on the photographer, they could have a minimum number of hours they require for shooting elopements and weddings. Sounds like a strange requirement, but you’d be surprised how QUICKLY time can go by during your ceremony! And with so many magical moments to capture, it’s best to understand the time needed for each.

If you are unsure of how many hours to commit to or how to plan the day, be sure to talk it through with them during your initial phone calls. Chances are, the more details you give them for your vision, the easier it will be to translate them to reality.  Going off details you give, your photographer should be able to carefully curate the perfect amount of hours you’ll need. It’s crucial to understand what each photographer offers in their packages to see how they can best make your day go smoothly, and what more they can offer you.

Additional questions to consider regarding packages: Do they include officiant options? ( many professional elopement photographers are ordained, so if you want it to be as intimate as the three of you, that’s possible!).  Do they offer ceremony planning services? Do they include a second photographer or assistant for the day of, or could you add one if you wanted? Are albums and/or prints included? (this is a biggie!).

Do you have additional travel fees or are they included in your elopement packages?

Depending on your elopement destination, there could be travel costs in addition to their package. While some photographers include travel fees in their overall cost, that is not the case for everyone and some may add them in addition to the package. Always be safe and ask so that unexpected fees don’t pop up! 

black and white Washington elopement on the beach
boho style Washington elopement with couple embracing each other

Do you have examples of full elopement galleries that we can see?

Understanding the differences and needs between a traditional large wedding and intimate elopement are crucial when finding the perfect photographer. The traditional wedding photos typically aren’t the same for an elopement.

Instead, listen when talking to potential photographers about their experiences with previous elopements. For example, hiking to the location, capturing couples getting ready together, and the epic backdrops for ceremony and vows. What’s the easiest way know if their style matches the vibe you want to go for? By taking a look at previous galleries! Remember, you want their previous work to reflect your vision, not just great shots. 

Washington beach elopement couple celebrating just married

Lastly, what is the process to book a Washington elopement photographer?

Every photographer will have a different approach and workflow process for how they handle booking and working with clients. Look for a photographer who is clear with their process so nothing gets overlooked before the big day. Some photographers will be more hands on and communicative! Which can be great if you are looking for someone that helps with all the tiny details and planning. If you are more confident with your vision and planning, there are plenty of photographers who can be hands off, while supporting your planning style. Be sure to consider how you mesh with potential photographers communicative, planning, and work styles when choosing your elopement photographer. 

There are so many factors to consider when searching for your perfect elopement photographer. And the best way to narrow down the possibilities is by starting with these questions! Be sure to consider if there are any others important for you and your partner. 

Washington elopement couple in the snow standing on a tree stump

Ready to book your Washington elopement photographer?

Let’s get this party started! If you want some ideas, check out this blog all about eloping at Mt. Rainier. To inquire about your date, fill out my contact form and you’ll hear from me soon!

Boho Easton washington elopement with couple posing on the beach

Styled Shoot planned by Works by Sarah Jane Photography and Heather Carrillo Photography

Florals by Keira Grech Design Company

Gown Rental from The Kindred Soul

Suit by Steve Goodwin Haberdasher

Cake by Layered Cake Artistry

Hair by Patti Arthur Gomes

Makeup by Pacific Brides

Calligraphy and Watercolor by Watered Down Art

Jewelry by Leather & Wood

Models: Seth and Lisa

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