How Many Hours Should You Hire an Elopement Photographer?

How long do you hire an elopement photographer? I think initially, people really sell themselves short on their elopement day. What do you think? How long should YOUR elopement be? Keep in mind, this is your actual wedding day. The goal is that this is a ONCE in a lifetime experience – one you’ll never forget. So let’s get into it. We’re going to tell you why you should plan an all day elopement.

How Long to Plan an Elopement

So you finally get engaged, and you decide you not only want to get married, but you want to do it in an epic and adventurous way that makes the ultimate sense to you. You thrive in the outdoors and there’s not a single other place you could imagine saying your vows. Remember – you’re choosing to elope because it’s what you WANT to do. It’s what makes you feel excited, so MAKE THE MOST OF IT. It’s ONE day out of your life, where you are choosing to celebrate your love with your soulmate. Don’t skimp out on a rushed 4 hour day where you feel like time just flew by. Don’t wonder what else was out there for you to experience. Experience the whole thing – your relationship deserves that. YOU deserve that.

How Long Should I Hire an Elopement Photographer?

The MINIMUM amount of hours we recommend (and what literally ALL of our couples have minimally booked us at) is 8 hours. Back in the day when we were shooting more traditional weddings, 8 hours would be a stretch to actually fit everything in. When you’re thinking about “how long should I hire my elopement photographer,” think about everything that actually goes into the day. Things like getting ready, first looks, reading vows, finally experiencing this place on the map you’ve been dying to see, portraits, hiking, meals, hanging out with friends. Then think about how you want all of those moments to feel. Do you want to race through them and feel drained at the end of the day? Or do you want to be able to enjoy each moment as it comes, staying in the present, without worrying about rushing to the next moment?

Elopement Photographer Time Frame

We’ll plug some example timelines below, but there’s a few things you should know before we get there. It comes down to this – things take time, and not everything goes according to plan 100% of the time. Take getting ready for example. This is the “build up” part of the day. We’re there photographing you doing your hair and make up, all of the details like your dress, jewelry and hiking boots, the possible tears as you see yourself transforming into a bride in the mirror. DON’T rush it – allow yourself to feel the feels, and process the emotions that come with preparing to say your vows. This can easily take 1.5-2 hours.

Then there’s a first look. Do you imagine yourself driving somewhere remote? Count in the driving time. Hiking out for your vows? We budget one hour per mile of hiking (even if you’re fast hikers like us). This isn’t a race. It’s a celebration of love that deserves space. The more remote you want to be, the farther we’ll most likely hike out (and back).

Remember – you’re in a location you’ve been dying to see. Embrace that by actually experiencing the location. Immerse yourself in the landscape by seeing all it has to offer because that’s just the kind of people you and your parter are – you get amongst it.

Why You Should Plan an All Day Elopement

This isn’t about an all day photoshoot. This is about creating an EXPERIENCE that will never be forgotten. We’re not there to scream at you and tell you to “STOP! Now SMILE!.” (although we will let ya know when the light looks great on you!) We’re there to capture you both as the day naturally unfolds. What you choose to do on your elopement day plays a big part on how your day unfolds. Hiring an elopement photographer for 8 hours does not equal an 8 hour posed photoshoot.

So what can you choose to fill your day with? Hike. Get out there away from the crowds and spoil yourself with a vast landscape all to yourself. Take a helicopter tour. Have you seen the Na Pali Coast in Kauai from the air? It’s INSANE. Have you flown out to a glacier that few have literally ever chosen to see? Again, it’s wild. Go floating down a river that winds through the mountains with a bottle of champagne. End your day at a natural hot spring (like Weir Creek!) under the stars. (Star photos are so sick!)

Don’t rush it, don’t regret it. Create the time and space that your relationship deserves to celebrate your love in the best way possible for YOU. The possibilities are endless.

Example Elopement Timelines

There are a lot of Misconceptions of Eloping – the biggest (in our opinion) is that the day needs to be rushed and crammed into four hours. Here are a few example timelines of elopements we’ve shot. So how long do YOU hire an elopement photographer for? This should give you a solid idea on what your day could look like.

8 Hour Jeep Elopement

1pm – meet at Jeep Outfitter

1:30pm – hit the dirt roads

2pm – arrive at first location with sweeping views of desert rock

2:15pm – get dressed and ready!

2:30pm – first look at the edge of a canyon overlooking miles

3pm – read handwritten letters from your family + lunch

4pm – continue down jeep road, hiking around several new spots + photos

5:30pm – arrive at final destination for vows with towering martian rock formations towering above you

6pm – head back to Jeep Outfitter

7pm – drop Jeep off and head to arch

7:30pm – sunset photos at arch

8:15pm – head back to Airbnb for family dinner

8:30 – dinner and pop that champagne!

12 Hour Sunrise Elopement

2:30am – Meet at the trailhead and start hiking

4am – Take a break, photos with the stars

5:30am – arrive at summit and get ready

6am – first look as the peaks begin to glow and the alpine lakes reflect the mountains

6:30am – soak in the views while exploring the area and finding the perfect spot for your vows

7am – say your vows in the alpine wilderness

7;30am – first dance together to your fav song downloaded through our BT speaker

8am – share a picnic breakfast and hydroflask mimosas under the warm sun rays

8:45am – hike back down taking photos

11:45am – arrive at trailhead and drive to a scenic riverside picnic area

12pm – meet family and friends at picnic area for photos

1pm – picnic with friends and fam

2pm – champagne toast and CHILL!

2 Day Backpacking Elopement

Day 1

8am – meet at the trailhead ready to go!

8:15am – start trekking: pass by multiple alpine lakes, through old growth forests, gaining altitude (and hopefully seeing wildlife!)

11am – stop for a break on an alpine lake and eat lunch

11:45pm – continue trekking: climb over a mountain pass with 360 panoramic views

2pm – arrive at campsite. Set up camp.

2:30pm – find a quiet place and write your vows

3:15pm – get ready and first look at cascading waterfall

4pm – hike out to glacial lagoon + snow fields to exlpore and photos

5:30pm – say your vows in the alpine tundra

6pm – campfire dinner

7pm – head out for sunset photos at base of mountain

Day 2:

3am – wake up for star/milky way photos!!!

4am – trek to top of mountain pass #2

6am – arrive to top of mountain pass surrounded by peaks bathed in alpenglow

6:15 am – change into dress/different outfit and alpenglow photos in the alpine tundra

7 am – breakfast picnic

8am – descend mountain pass and head back to trailhead taking photos along the way

12pm – arrive at trailhead and drive to town to grab ice cream (necessary)

1pm – depart for hot springs

1:30 pm – arrive at hot springs and soak because you just gained and lost 6,000 feet of altitude

2:30pm – pop a bottle of champagne because you just got amongst it

How Many Hours of Coverage for YOUR Elopement?

The ultimate decision is up to you. We really encourage our couples to live this day to it’s full capacity. It doesn’t take much encouraging, because the people that come to us are the kind of people who go after big things anyway.

The BEST part about having full day elopement coverage, is that a) we help you plan your whole day (unless you know exactly what you want!) and b) you’ll be able to relive the whole thing over, and over again. Your day will be filled with so many unpredictable moments that we’ll freeze for you. Check out what it’s like to work with Dan and I here – Process & FAQs.

We just truly want to create the most amazing adventurous experience for you on your elopement day. People like us don’t get married in a building with four walls, we get celebrate our love lost in the remote landscapes that we call home. We’d love to help you experience that. Contact us here so we can start making this thing real!


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