As an elopement photographer, it’s important to be present and mindful during each photoshoot to capture the essence of your clients’ connection.
This is how I approach my photo sessions. If you are a prospective client, exploring styles that resonate with you, this will be helpful for you. After reading it, you may decide you love this approach, and make finding a photographer with a similar mindset a priority. Or you may realize you want to focus on other aspects entirely.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a photographer for your elopement or wedding is whether you mesh well with them. If you like their artistic style and their vibe, they’re probably a good choice.
My personal photography approach comes from an emphasis on storytelling and composition. And both of these things do require mindfulness and awareness.
Mindfulness helps you stay focused, stay engaged, and create a sense of purpose and meaning in your work. And my job is to capture the story of the day. Being focused and engaged in the process is essential in creating and curating a photo gallery that accurately captures the feeling and emotion of an elopement.
There are so many small yet significant moments during an elopement day. These are special and deserve to be documented. These are the moments that really tell the story.
Incorporating mindfulness into Elopement Photography
With all that in mind, here are some of the practices I incorporate for more mindful elopement photography:
Set an Intention
Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve from this session? Setting an intention helps you stay focused on what’s important and ensures that you capture the moments that matter most to your clients.
This is why really getting to know your clients is essential to this process. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, intention-wise. Everyone has different values, everyone has different expectations, and everyone is unique. And everyone deserves photos that reflect that.
Be Fully Present
When capturing moments, it’s important to be fully present. This means minimizing distractions and focusing on how to capture their unique personalities and love for each other.
Take the time to listen to their stories and connect with them on a deeper level. This will allow you to capture more authentic and meaningful photographs that truly capture the essence of their relationship.
For me, an essential part of this is scouting locations out beforehand. I explore the elopement or wedding site and visualize different images I’d like to create. I figure out things like lighting and where people need to be positioned (myself included). If there’s any unique terrain or flora, I think of effective ways to incorporate that in the images and story as well.
Scouting ahead, and doing this reconnaissance allows me to be fully present, because I’ve already done much of the mental and technical footwork.
Pay Attention to Details
Mindfulness means paying attention to the details of your surroundings. When shooting an elopement, it is easy to hyper focus on bigger aspects.
Those sweeping landscapes are beautiful, and they definitely have a place in the gallery, but it’s the little details that bring the story to life.
The bride’s hiking boots are untied. They spilled coffee on their vow books. There’s sand in the veil. They have meaningful matching tattoos. A child’s adoring gaze. The dew glistening on tent walls in the morning sun. These are all details that should be chronicled.
It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to recharge and regroup. Elopements can be long and emotionally intense.
So taking a few moments to breathe deeply, appreciate surroundings, meditate or snack on granola can help you stay energized and focused.
Everyone will be at their best. No hangry parties.
Inside a Mindful Elopement Photographer’s Brain
There are countless beautiful locations for elopements, and each one presents its unique challenges and opportunities for photographers. Here are some examples of how to incorporate mindfulness into your elopement photography in different settings:
- Mountain Elopement –
For a mountain elopement, location scouting is key. Light changes dramatically throughout the day. Be aware of the unique angles and backdrops that will showcase the couple most attractively.
Which boulder do they need to scale?
Oh, they love the Indian paintbrush, I definitely need to get a few shots with those in them.
Damn, they make such a cool silhouette up on that ridge.
- Beach Elopement –
At a beach elopement, pay attention to the changing tides and the way the light reflects off the water. Look for ways to incorporate the natural elements of the beach, such as the sand, bluffs, and driftwood. Take breaks to listen to the sound of the ocean and feel the wind on your face.
How do I capture the feeling of cold ocean water running over their feet and sand between their toes?
I need to include the shells they found beachcombing in some photos.
The way they run from the waves together is so cute!
- Forest Elopement –
In a forest elopement, pay attention to the textures of all the different trees; their leaves, their bark. Look for patches of light and dark to play with. Take breaks to breathe in the fresh forest air and listen to the sounds of the birds… don’t even get me started on birds… I love birds.
Where should I stand to capture the light rays coming through the leaves?
I want some shots of them touching the soft, spongy moss.
I wonder if she knows how many twigs and pine needles she’s picked up in her dress train…
Incorporating mindfulness into your elopement photography is essential for capturing the essence of your clients’ love and connection. By having clear intentions, being fully present, and paying close attention, you can create an authentic and meaningful gallery of images that truly captures the magic of the day.