What do you need to photograph an elopement? Keep reading to find out – some of these are things you may not have thought of, but will make your clients gush over you in their reviews. Any time I shoot an adventure session or an elopement, I make sure I have all of these things on hand. Keep reading to find out what photographers should bring to elopements!
Keeping your gear safe is important – as you know, that stuff’s expensive! This Pelican Case is perfect for every photographer – you can fly with it (it’s got wheels so you can roll it around like a suitcase!), take it on bumpy car rides, or leave it at home to keep your gear in one place. I live in my camper van, so I use this case to keep my gear secure. It lives under my bed, and has a padlock on it so that even if anyone breaks in to my van, my gear stays safe! It’s shock proof, and even waterproof! Pelican cases come in all different sizes, so if this one’s too big for you, you’ll still be able to find the perfect one.
If you’re one of those people who stores their SD cards in the little plastic cases they come in and throws them in their backpack hoping for the best (not that I know anything about that…), stop it. Get this little pouch for less than $10, and it’ll make your life so much easier.
You’ll need some cards to put in that pouch. When choosing an SD card, it’s important to be mindful of the read/write speed – I used to buy cards that were too slow, and they would lag so much when I was shooting. The price difference is pretty small, and it’s so worth it to get a faster one. I always shoot with 64 GB cards – I find this to be the perfect size, because I find 32 GB to run out of space too quickly. You could get a 128 GB card too, but I prefer to play it safe – by using 64 GB cards, I’m ensuring that I’ll have to switch them out every so often, so if something happens to one, I will have lost fewer images.
For elopement photographers (and everyone, really), I super recommend the Sony a7iii – it’s a mirrorless camera, so it’s lightweight, as well as weather sealed. It’s the perfect camera for adventuring.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite lenses:
Sony: 24 – 70mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 (the 50mm 1.8 is also great, and much more affordable), 85mm 1.4 (or the 85mm 1.8)
Canon: Sigma 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.8 (super affordable!), 85mm 1.4
Okay, you don’t really need this one, but I love mine so much I couldn’t resist putting it on the list. Polaroids are such a fun way to take photos, and my couples absolutely love them. I take a bunch throughout the day, and at the end of a couple’s elopement, I put them in this little album. It’s always so rewarding to see their reactions looking through their photos, and that way they have something to take home right away, before they’ve gotten any of the digital photos.
Leave No Trace
One of the ways to really make sure your couples have an amazing time at their elopement is to bring snacks. A lot of people forget to eat when there’s so much going on, so your couples will be grateful when you pull out the snacks. These reusable bags take the place of zip loc bags – so you’re not throwing away any plastic! Just wash them when you’re done, and keep using them.
As adventure elopement photographers, it’s so important to do our part to keep the places we like to adventure clean, and to limit how much we waste. Beeswax wrap is an amazing alternative to plastic wrap. I use it to wrap fruits and vegetables that I haven’t finished – like this bell pepper that I used for tacos :).
When it comes to sunrise sessions, I love making coffee or tea (or even just grabbing some from a coffee shop) for my couples, either before or after. It’s just another little gesture that you can do to exceed their expectations and give them the best experience. I have reusable mugs that I use, to avoid wasting Starbucks cups. This particular cup was a gift from one of my sweet brides – I have no idea where she got it, but Yeti makes lots of mugs with lids and insulation.
Sometimes on adventure sessions or elopement days, I’ll play music to get couples to feel more relaxed and comfortable. This little speaker is amazing, because it’s so small and lightweight, you can clip onto your backpack, and it’s waterproof! Waterproof is a big plus when you’re an elopement photographer, because we all know that the weather can be unpredictable.
Wool socks are amazing, because they stay warm even when they get wet, making them amazing for hiking and being outdoors. I always carry extras for my couples, in case their shoes get wet or it’s extra cold.