Step one: You've decided to elope.
Step two: You have no idea what to do next.
Step three: Find a photographer.
Most elopement photographers (me included) are here to help plan your special day. Because you have decided to elope, there are no limits, no bounds. It is what you want!
To find out if your photographer is a perfect fit for you on your adventure, here are a few questions you should be asking.
"Do you know of the locations that fit (description here ex: mountains, lakes, etc)?"
Your photographer should know a couple of spots or some airbnbs that should allow for smaller elopements if you are at a loss of where. Just have a general location, such as by a lake, or mountain views. Aspens behind you? Let them know, they will be happy to offer any suggestions as to where!
"How many cameras do you work with?"
This is not an insult. This is a great question! When I was first asked this, I was like oh "light bulb!" because this owner has done research on what photographers should bring to the table. Back up. Back up. Back up.
I work with two cameras and 5 lenses. I can easily make a situation work if needed between one camera and three lenses. That's what should happen. It shouldn't be stressful to be a camera down.
"What is your timeline?"
What is your ideal time to get photos back? Looking for quick turn around time? Are you understanding in the busy schedule that it would take? Sometimes photographers can take up to seven weeks or two months getting photos back. Asking if they outsource their photos too can be helpful. Sometimes that can be even faster in your timeline.
"What is your photo editing style?"
Love this question. What are you looking for? You may see a few different editing styles, so maybe ask which one they do as of late. It also doesn't hurt if you ask if they can accomplish this sort of editing style. I like to call myself a timeless, true to color, and warm in my editing. I shy away from trends due to them going in and out of style.
"How many photos do you send?"
Some photographers go by hours + photos. Example: 50 photos per hour. Others will give you an album where you can choose which photos you want then they edit them. Some will just give you as many of the good edited photos as possible. That's my style. I never promise a specific amount, but I give all of the good photos that are not blurry or someones face isn't distorted or weird.
"Can we show you photos we like or inspirational photos?"
YES! Please do. Send your Pinterest photos. Send photos you are in love with. This will help with creativity for a photographer. They will have this one shot in mind hopefully for you. For your family. There is nothing wrong with grabbing inspiration, then making it into something that YOU love.
"Do you have packages?"
Most photographers should have multiple packages to choose from. They range from hours, photos, locations, etc. Usually, it is by hours. The more hours, the more photos, naturally.
"How do we get the photos? Can we print them?"
Each photographer is different with this. There are so many photo sharing sites that photographers use. PixieSet, SmugMug, TheKnot, and even their own personal site can be a system used to. Some photographers allow you to print them wherever, others will require you to order package photos through them. So remember to have this clarified during the interview process.
"How does payment work? "
If you need to have a payment plan, let the photographer know. If you want to pay all up front, let them know. Most photographers will require a 20% deposit to hold the wedding day, because that is essentially taking up the time of the photographer. I use HoneyBook for all of my payments. It is secure, it allows for payment plans. Most photographers, including I, will want the full payment due the date of the wedding. I am a little lenient, in a sense I will not send photos until the full payment is made.
"How well do you do under pressure?"
Each wedding is going to be different. Some surprises may happen along the way to throw the whole course off. An accident could happen that needs to be address, making the wedding a few hours late. This is where the ability to be versatile and let go of certain things has to be. The main thing is what you would want. This is when we have to work together as a team to decide what is best as far as safety, fun and what photos you would like in the end. Rain, snow, or shine. I am working to capture your day.
Hopefully some of these questions will help with your planning of your elopement. Finding a photographer is such an important part, because they will be able to capture your day in a way that you can't, but have in your mind. The photographer can just bring it to life for you.