If you’re planning you’re elopement, you might be starting to book vendors and be wondering “how much does elopement photography cost?” Naturally, elopement photography has become very different than traditional wedding photography. That being said, the average person might assume it would be less costly to document far fewer guests. Alternatively, couples might assume it could be more with all of the travelings. As well as the locations elopement photographers hike to, and the weather conditions they take on.
Truthfully, elopement photography costs are based on a few key things: the experience of the photographer, additional services included in their packages, their cost of doing business, travel, and how much work they spend per client.
Right off the bat, this might not seem like a clear answer to how much elopement photography costs. That’s because there are a lot of moving parts, and understanding them will help you make an educated decision to get the best photographer for your elopement or intimate wedding.
Does Elopement Photography Cost More Than Traditional Wedding Photography?
In brief, no. Again, this might surprise couples choosing to elope who plan on having close to no extra guests to be photographed. So let me explain. Most of the time, a traditional wedding photographers books their client. They get a schedule from a wedding planner. Following that, they likely make a shot list for the day. Day of the wedding, they show up a shoot everything on the shot list, as well as all of the candid moments happening around them. Finally, they go home and spend hours editing and delivering a beautiful wedding gallery.
So, how much does an elopement photographer cost? Generally speaking, you can expect prices to be the same and sometimes even higher. This is because many of us elopement photographers have a ton of additional services built into our packages. This might sound odd at first, and you might be wondering what extra services you could even want besides photography from a photographer. While that makes sense at first, let me explain.
What’s Included in Elopement Photography Packages?
It is well known in our industry (of elopement photographers) that we take on a lot more planning work than traditional wedding photographers. Most traditional weddings come with a planner. And if not, a lot of venues have a day of coordinator. All of that aside, picking an indoor venue that you can tour is far easier than finding the perfect outdoor location. A location that requires permits could be subject to bad weather, or if you’re in California, maybe even just straight up burn down. But how does this play into elopement photography cost? Read on.
All of that being said, a lot of us in the industry have included location scouting in our packages. Elopement photographers are people full of wanderlust. And we are GOOD at finding beautiful locations for your elopement day. Not to mention backup locations in the same area to ensure security in your wedding day plans. Here is my personal process: After booking, I send you a questionnaire. This questionnaire helps me figure out everything you want out of a location. I then send you a customized list of vetted location options. Following that, I, and many other elopement photographers assist in getting your permits for that location.
Getting permits is a bit challenging, but we’re here to help. These are two major things traditional wedding photographers don’t have to include in their workflow. Personally, I pour hours into my location guides. Finally, a traditional wedding at a venue normally follows traditional activities. Ones that most eloping couples don’t partake in. Such as a huge sit-down meal, or 100 guests dancing and drinking all night. So, what activities can you do as an eloping couple?
How Elopement Photographers Help Craft Day-Of Timelines
You’ve seen those elopement inspo pictures on Pinterest and Instagram. Couples in their wedding gear taking a kayak ride. Picnicking in a beautiful meadow. Or even taking a helicopter ride to a glacier in Alaska. How much elopement photography costs goes hand-in-hand with how much they help you plan. Once again, my personal process includes yet another questionnaire. Once we have decided on your location, I send you another questionnaire to figure out what amazing things you might want to be included in your day. After filling that out, I send you a ton of awesome options.
Once decisions are made on what fun things you’re going to add to your day, I curate your timeline. This becomes a first draft that you and your partner will look over. I help you make changes until everything is perfect. Furthermore, I also recommend vendors that can make the things you want to happen. Also, I help you find whatever tour company or rental companies you might need to include your selected activities.
Considering all of these additional services, elopement photographers spend around 60-70 hours per client. And that does not include travel time.
So How Much Does Elopement Photography Cost?
If you read this and think having all of those additional services sounds extremely valuable, expect to be paying on the higher end of your photographer. Elopement photographers who include these services, likely have also invested in their education, have nailed their editing style, and are pros and posing. Most of them also include travel in their packages as well. So how much does elopement photography cost from the pros?
Experienced Elopement Photographer Starting Rate: $3500-$4500
Maybe you’re thinking you want a more simple day. This being said, the planning help seems excessive to you. It’s important to understand that experienced elopement photographers do this to ensure you have a perfect day. But also to ensure that everything goes smoothly for the photographer. So trying to ask them to remove extra services from their packages won’t work. Although, there are photographers who don’t offer these services. Whether it be because they just aren’t that experienced yet, or haven’t learned how. But these photographers can still easily create capture great photos for you.
Professional Photographer Starting Rate: $2500-$3000
How Much Do Ameture Elopement Photographers Cost?
We also have photographers that have some experience. But, they just aren’t there yet. They still might have inconsistent workflows. This can make planning harder for you, because, how are you supposed to know what the photographer needs from you? They might also not be great at posing and awkward to shoot with. Finally, they might still have an inconsistent editing style. All of that being said, they’ve still been doing it long enough to charge something. So how much does elopement photography cost from amateurs?
Amateur photographer Starting Rate: $600-$1200
Finally, we have those right off the boat. 10/10 don’t recommend. Everyone learns somehow, but if you want high-quality photos, and to know for certain your photographer has a handle on your day and won’t miss anything, I would skip out on the cheap option. And if it makes you feel any better, these photographers have so many different ways to learn. Such as second shooting for a pro. So don’t pity hire either. It might be tempting as they might even offer to shoot your wedding for free. I’d still advise against this
New Photographer Starting Rate: $0-$500
In Conclusion, How Much Does It Cost?
Looking at the starting rates above gives you a good gist of what it might cost to hire someone for a few hours. If you’re looking for half-day or full-day coverage, expect to pay more like $6000-$8000. To summarize, elopement photographers do just as much work as traditional wedding photographers. Most of us could argue we do a lot more. Traditional wedding photographers rock, but don’t expect to be paying less for your photographer just because of your elopement plans. (Unless you’re comfortable with the more amateur route.)
That being said, if you’re looking to start planning your elopement, get in touch with me! As stated above, I help with all of the planning and want to make your day a dream. Let’s chat! Want more info on the cost of an elopement? Read more here