national park elopement photography

5 Ways to Prepare for your National Park Elopement Photography

Last time on wedding planning advice, we shared 3 Simple Steps for Planning a National Park wedding. We covered permits, timing, logistics, and other wedding planning details specific to getting married in our national parks. Today, we’re heading away from the traditional to talk about preparing for your National Park elopement photography.

For elopements, often the biggest thing couples are planning for is their photography. (Woot woot!) They recognize they need a way to share the experience with the friends and families back home and a way to remember the joy and adventure of the day. So that brings us to our first subject, the experience.

the experience

The best photos come from those instances when you’re having a jaw dropping or heart swelling moment in an incredible place with your best friend. Perhaps for you this means visiting your favorite National Park that you know intimately. On the other hand, maybe it means traveling to a place that has been on your must see list for a novel adventure. Either way, plan time to explore and enjoy the beauty of the place. In the meantime, we’ll create photos to remember it by. Often this means planning enough time to explore a handful of different locations for your National Park elopement photography. You don’t have to chose just one iconic view, experience a few. We can help you plan an itinerary to hit both the popular and secret spots.

national park elopement photography

sunrise and sunset

I addressed the topic of lighting and timing in the previous post on National Park weddings and it’s even more important when considering your National Park elopement photography. Chances are one of your priorities is dramatic photos. If that’s the case you should absolutely consider sunrise or sunset. There is something magical about seeing the first beam of sun hit the ridgeline or the alpine glow of a sunset. It may not be the most convenient timing for your day, but this isn’t just any day! Sunrise and sunset photos are anything but commonplace, you’re likely to get vibrant colors for your dramatic views. It’s also a bonus that the National Parks are generally less crowded during these times. Shooting your National Park elopement photography at sunrise or sunset might mean making special arrangements for when you’ll eat breakfast or dinner so pack snacks!

be prepared

Every wedding has a checklist, this one just happens to be different than your standard wedding day. Don’t forget your National Parks pass and reservations for where you plan to stay. Consider comfortable shoes for hiking. Find that balance of cute and comfort, bring something to change into, or let your dress hide your shoes. Bring layers that you can wear if it rains or if the temperature drops after sunset. Throw a headlamp in your bag if we’re hiking somewhere for sunset and it might get dark during our hike back. Wind blown hair is a real thing, not an effect we create, so consider your hairstyle accordingly. More on these sorts of topics on our blog post on engagement shoot planning.

the storyline

Epic fairytale setting? Check. What about the storyline? Often couples focus on getting one epic portrait for their wall or announcement, which can definitely be key. We encourage you to think beyond that to the rest of the day and what other memories you might want to immortalize. Elopements can still include getting ready photos, a first look, the ceremony, signing a marriage license, toasting with champagne, or cutting a cake. There is nothing that you have to do for traditions sake, it’s more about how you want to celebrate. Most of our elopement packages include a wedding album so it’s nice to tell the story of the day from the last minute wedding dress malfunctions, to hopping over a stream in a wedding attire, to getting complimented by random tourists or that lucky wildlife sighting.

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know the rules

Lastly, when it comes to your National Park Elopement photography, it’s important to know the rules. Your photographer should be clear on what the photography specific rules are and can help guide you and inform you of the ones that affect your. We can’t always go wherever we want to, even if it’s just an officiant and us. The rules are often more lenient for small weddings and elopements but the National Parks are always considering impact on the environment. For most parks, you need a permit and for some of them your photographer does too. There might be rules for what flowers and food you can bring in so just be sure to check in with for whichever park you’re considering.

5 ways to prepare for your national park elopement photography

Consider these things:

  1. Focus on the experience
  2. Plan around sunrise and/or sunset
  3. Be prepared for wind, snow, rain, dirt, and other adventures
  4. Consider the storyline of the day
  5. Know the rules

Below are specific tips for planning your:

FREE comprehensive e-guide: Prioritize your planning so your wedding is a memorable adventure.

Hope you enjoyed our tips for planning a national park elopement. Stay tuned for more tips for adventurous brides like invitation wording and check out these wedding photography tips for adventurous brides! You can also view more of our current and most popular wedding planning advice. If there’s a question we can answer, reach out. Most of our content is built from questions from our readers such as these tips for planning a remote wedding in a wilderness location.

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We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in outdoor weddings and other adventures. Capturing people in nature and the mountain lifestyle is a passion that became a dream that became a life.

Based in Evergreen, CO we travel throughout the state as Colorado adventure wedding photographers and videographers. We also frequently travel to California and other wedding destinations to document love and adventure in a variety of memorable settings. Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help! Be sure to follow us (weddings instagram & adventures instagram) and/or like us (facebook) to stay tuned.

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