How to be a Great Elopement Photographer
What does it take to be a great Elopement Photographer?
Hey buddy, every teacher starts off as a student!
Let me share my journey with you… and I swear it’s very valuable to you.
I’ve always loved photography since a young age, but 10 years ago a camera was given to me as a present for my birthday. It had been years since I owned one, and almost instantly my interest was resurrected like never before.
Then right after, when I thought it couldn’t get more interesting, I saw a photograph of a young couple on a mountaintop. Only then, It was breathtaking and romantic. At that point, I knew I wanted to become an elopement photographer. Elopement is such a fun and exciting experience for the couple and photographer.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you understand exactly what I mean.
From the deepest depths of my heart, I think that the act of eloping is pure magic—the kind of magic that keeps the world rotating. Elopement photography is a growing industry, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. This is an art form that people all over the world respect and admire. Inherently, very talented elopement photographers make a great living.
My excursion to becoming an elopement photographer hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination. But, it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, for anyone interested. That’s why I created this easy-to-follow guide!
The Best Equipment for Elopement Photographers.
This is what I personally own, and love! I’ve recently switched to a Sony mirrorless camera, which I highly recommend over fuji or Nikon. Especially if you’re just starting off.
Elopement photography is not as easy as it may seem. You need to make sure you can carry the weight, without any straining. Also, it’s important to protect your gear from falls or harsh weather. Here are a few items that make such a big difference. This way, you can focus on what really matters, the photography.
Here is a list of creative accessories that will take your elopement photography to the next level. In addition, will list a few more items that will make your job much easier. From, comfort to functionality, it allows you to work smarter. With all of these tools listed below, you are definitely taking amazing pictures.
Just a few more worthy mentions like which computer I use and software. Not all photo editing software’s created equal.
How to Become an Elopement Photographer
Are You Struggling?
Creating a good portfolio is critical if you want to seriously be successful. Nobody will hire you if you don’t have any way to showcase your skills.
If you’re reading this and are struggling to pay the bills, then please build a portfolio. You might have to give away a few photoshoots at first in order to create one. Ask your friends or post on Facebook, this is a great way to start. This way you can practice and fully develop your unique style of photographing. You will always find people that would love to be photographed for free!
Keep going until you have at least 1,000 photos in your library. That might sound daunting to a beginner, but trust me, it’s not. And even then, you should never stop building your portfolio no matter how big it is. I myself, have been photographing for 10 years, and I’m still building my portfolio. The process never stops its constant work like everything else in life. When customers see your elopement work that invokes emotion, they’ll hire you for sure!
Never be afraid to ask— someone will say yes.
Remember every teacher first started off as a student!
Tips for Building a Portfolio
Don’t shoot the same boring angles! Get creative and drop on the floor or climb a ladder for the perfect shot.
Ask people to work with you. They can be your normal joe or local models that you find on Instagram. Clear communication is key, make sure you both understand the agreement. The truth is, you are extremely valuable and in time people will see it. Your body of work will increase in size the longer you stick with it. who doesn’t want a free photoshoot?
Make sure your portfolio has a range, nobody wants to eat the same flavored donut. I’m talking about race, sexual orientation, fashion traits, and everything in between. Show them your versatility by photographing the entire world! This way you can reach all kinds of people with different interests. The world has a plethora of sounds and colors therefore, your photography should represent that as well. At the end of the day, that’s what makes life interesting right?
One of the most important keys to great elopement photography is posing. Most of the people you’re going to photograph are not models. So naturally, they don’t know how to pose or stand. Your job is to direct them and tell them how to pose. For example, play with your hair or touch your neck. Or even better, wink at the camera, whatever it might be they need assistance. Depending on the pose the models do, will drastically change the feel of the image.
The differencing factor between the norm and the excellent. Instead, make it a habit of trying new things like angels and compositions. What makes certain people stand out from the rest of the sheep is their ability to innovate. There is always a new approach to an old scheme no matter how difficult it might seem. Once you master the technical side of photography, that is when your creativity wings expand and you fly.
Truth is, the learning aspect is the last piece of the puzzle. The man and woman that keeps on learning will reach the highest levels of achievement. I’ve been doing elopement photography for 10 years and I’m still learning something new every day. There are literally millions of ways to skin a cat and so is true in photography.
How to Take Stunning Photos
Lots of people believe that taking beautiful photographs takes no effort. It’s just about holding the camera and pressing a button, we photographers know that’s not the case. You must understand ISO functionality, and how it drastically controls the quality of an image. OR, how shutter speed will determine the sharpness of your image.
Also, white balance, how it single handily is the most important setting for color accuracy. In order for you to become a talented elopement photographer, you need to master the science of light and color. How is light manipulated to control shadows? Or, how over-exposing an image will be a post-editing nightmare.
Have you ever caught yourself drooling over a photo so profound that it stole your attention? The secret is light… this can arguably be said to be the most important step in photography. Lighting is the reason why movies look cinematic or why her photos seem to look magical and almost three-dimensional. Soft light is generally best depending on what look you’re going for.
As for the lighting direction: The front light is best avoided because it tends to produce very flat, bland images. Instead, try placing the lights to the side, which will add dimensionality. You should also backlight the person to separate them from the background, which creates a more pleasing image. A pro elopement photographer has mastered the art of lighting, and therefore their images take away your breath.
For beginners, this makes people cringe because learning software can seem too complex. The truth is learning a new software definitely comes with a learning curve. But, once you learn how to use all the bells and whistles, you can run free. The editing process is crucial to producing satisfying images. You want your customers to be blown away by your work, not underwhelmed.
Editing the photos gives you the power to change every single detail about them. From, the tint to the color curves, you can even remove the background if you like. Editing photos is a form of graphic design as it allows you to introduce elements that weren’t there before. Boost the vibrancy a little and the image will drastically change. Change the color temp or add a filter and walla you now have a superior photo than before.
Always keep these 3 tips in mind when photographing. This guarantees you’ll produce jaw-dropping photos in no time!
How to Create a Memorable Brand
When we first start, we see our company as a one-man show. Yes, at first that might be true but not for too long. Your goal should be to be a recognizable brand and more than a single-person staff. When you build a strong reputation, you no longer will have a slow month ever again. Photography can really make you millions of dollars a year if, and only when, you grind really hard. People are more likely to go with a company that has a reputation and is established. Don’t worry it all starts with the first step, make a logo and then a website.
Once you design the look of your brand, then it’s time for the advertisement. Hire an SEO expert to help with the Google ranking aspect or do it yourself. It took me 3 months to learn how to design a really nice website. And, another 3 months for the SEO portion, there is a free academy online called youtube! Youtube is your best friend to learn all the skills you need to succeed in this business.
All of these years, I have understood the importance of brand power. This is why Gucci can charge $1,000 for a cotton t-shirt.
Did you know the business of photography goes hand and hand with customer service? You will have people satisfied with your work and others not so much. It’s a universal truth that you can’t make everyone happy. keep this in mind when creating and protecting your brand.
What is the purpose?
When building a memorable lasting brand, you must ask yourself these questions. What is the purpose of your company? Who are you targeting and how do you plan on reaching them? Elon musk said something that I’m truly fond of. “If a company has no solution to a problem, then it shouldn’t exist”. Simple yet profound, make sure to bring a whole lot of value to your customers. Elopement Photography isn’t just a service, it’s an artistic expression of mankind.
It will take time-just like everything else in life.
Become a Marketing Pro
Okay, so first you become a photographer..then a branding mogul… and lastly a marketing monster!
Yes that is correcto mundo!
Unless you have lots of money saved up for this excursion, then you must learn all of the skills. It might sound daunting but the truth is, anybody can learn anything they set their mind to. The reason most people don’t is that they lack commitment and motivation.
My well-being is what helped me get through the grueling process of learning something new. By me keeping my health in check, I was in a better mood and was eager to learn. When I feel good I have such an intense laser focus that allows me to plow through large amounts of work. So please, make sure to eat the right way so you can make the process much easier on yourself.
I recommend Jack Lalanne, his work is inspiring to say the least. Thanks to him, my body and mind are in much better shape than ever before. I owe him my life, and forever grateful for people like himself. Another great man that is still alive today is John Rose, you can see his youtube channel for a better understanding of your health.
SEO marketing is defiantly not an easy task… but if you stick with it, it will change your life. Competition is fierce when trying to rank number 1 on google, but the rewards are worth it. Any business that is ranking high on google is making millions of dollars annually. This alone should motivate you to master the Google algorithm.
Push yourself to become an SEO and social media guru. Knowing the most popular platforms in the world will give you an infinite amount of business. For a beginner, it definitely feels impossible when you don’t know anything about the subject. But, just like anything new it will eventually become natural to you.
I know when I first started, I pulled my hair out multiple times and wanted to quit many more. You will make mistakes and a whole lot of them, there is no easy way out. If it was so easy everyone would be successful right? There is so much free information online that learning SEO and social media marketing become a breeze.
You don’t even have to buy a course from anyone. Just scavenge the internet and you’ll find gems here and there. I personally recommend youtube and blogs. Youtube gives you the info in a nice video presentation that can be easily learned. Blogs, on the other hand, are much more in-depth, yes you need to read a little bit more but totally worth it. Just google any question like elopement photographer, and walla the answer appears.
Marketing is the ultimate key to growing your elopement photography business. Google gets about 3 billion visitors a month, I know that’s crazy! I would like to mention some tools that I highly recommend that really helped me grow. For keyword research and backlink building, there is no one better than Semrush. They are on the pricy side at $120 a month but their amount of useful tools is unmatched. Next, Ubbersuggest, they are a really great alternative but with fewer functions, but way cheaper at $30 a month.
With these tools in your arsenal, you will become successful so as long as you want to.
Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.
It’s not about money or connections – it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.
Give an Amazing Experience
The experience you give your clients is more than the photography!
When a client hears about you, you need to make sure you give them a fun and exciting experience. From the moment they check out your website to the moment they call you, the user experience needs to be memorable.
Being a great elopement photographer means you are great at connecting. Become the go-to guide. Listen, brainstorm, find locations, and make sure that everything runs smoothly.
In the end, it’s all about making your clients happy and eager to recommend you! The elopement style is popular because of the lower stress load and breathtaking landscapes. It’s a more intimate celebration of love and unification.
Make sure to respond to your client’s enquires in a reasonable time. Don’t be the one that responds 3 hours later. Your clients will appreciate you tremendously when you make their life easier.
Make sure to give the couple space when photographing them, I recommend a 24-70mm lens. This way they don’t feel uncomfortable with a camera in their face.
Relaxation is very important in a photo session, in fact, it’s crucial. The clients become more relaxed and happy which in turn gives a better experience. Don’t be afraid to crack some jokes to get the flow of good energy going. Besides, comedy is king, and this is why Will Ferell gets 80 million dollars to make people laugh.
Yet, another important thing to mention is please don’t make it feel like a robotic business transaction. Instead, get to know them first, and ask questions like how they first met. This way you can essentially become friends first and the photo session will rock!
The Power of Learning
The business of elopement photography never stops growing and changing. This is why it’s critical for you to never stop learning new tricks and techniques.
Don’t Stop Learning
I’ve been doing this for 10 plus years and let me tell you, I learn something new all the time. The truth is even if you reach the age of 100 years, you still won’t know everything.
The beautiful thing about learning new things is that it keeps your life exciting. You don’t want life to become mundane as this creates depression and stagnation. Depression is an internal signal that tells you that your life is boring and no new horizons to explore.
Your mind has the infinite capacity to save more data than a supercomputer can. Why squander that cosmic gift? The more skills you acquire, the more valuable you become to society and so, you get paid well.
If you are a visual learner then youtube is the way to go. There are literally thousands of helpful videos on elopement photography. You can learn so much in 30 days by consistently studying video tutorials. Now, if you like reading and you want to dive in even deeper, then articles and blogs are the way to go.
You can find even more info on google by searching specific questions and I personally prefer this way. The best thing about these two approaches is, that it’s completely free! You don’t have to pay anything to become an expert in elopement photography; thank god for the internet!
Here is a list of people that I personally learned from, during my elopement photography journey. These people are experts in their field, and the best part is, it’s totally free!
– Jack Cao
To become a great elopement photographer, you need to study way more than anticipated. Most importantly, Nothing worthwhile comes easy, right? You have to wear many hats from being a photographer to also being a marketing expert. As well, if you don’t have money to hire a website designer then you have to do it yourself.
It took me 6 months of study to learn all the necessary skills to succeed in the photography business. What are 6 months? How many years have you wasted on trivial things? In order for your photography business to pick up, you will need to rank Google’s first page. And, that is much easier said than done.
The elopement photography business is a wonderful way to make a living. You become friends with your clients and they respect and appreciate you. The quality workmanship you give with your photography will open lots of doors for you. Being a photographer is being an artist, and so you can charge whatever you please for your artwork. Some people will appreciate and respect your price and others won’t. These are the universal laws of life that you must live by.
When you’re starting off you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy camera. I first started off with a $400 camera and made lots of lovely memories with it. There is a lot to choose from Canon, Nikon, Fuji to Sony, I personally recommend Sony. The color palates you get from a Sony are jaw-dropping, it’s no wonder why landscape photographers prefer them.
Get in Contact
Are you in the Las Vegas area and are in need of a photographer or videographer, please send me a message here!
Want to know the most frequently asked questions by customers in the photography business, click here!
If you want to learn more about photography tips and tricks, then please check out our blog here!
Eat healthy to have a laser-focused mind. This way you can be the productive machine you always dreamed about!
Interested in learning more about nutrition and health then please check out these amazing guys!
I wish you guys and gals the best of luck on your journey. Rember there is no substitute for hard work!