As your elopement day is approaching, you’re probably finding yourself dreaming about the beautiful photos your photographer is going to capture. You’re probably looking at elopement photo ideas for inspiration and getting excited! At the same time, you may find yourself a bit nervous about having a photographer following you around for several hours.

I get it! Having your photo taken can be an intimidating idea. But these photos are going to capture your memories from one of the most important days of your lives.

This guide is to help you prepare so you can have the best photo experience possible! I’m going to share with you the secret to getting beautiful photos, walk you through how to pose so you can feel confident, and even provide you with a photo checklist for your elopement day.

Let’s dive in!

How to Feel Comfortable in Your Elopement Photos

As an elopement photographer, one of the biggest concerns I hear from couples is feeling awkward in front of the camera. Couples often feel like they need to already know how to pose to get good pictures, but that isn’t the case at all! Good photos start with the photographer, and no matter how much (or how little) experience you have in front of the camera, you can get beautiful photos of the two of you on your elopement day!

Here are some tips for getting beautiful elopement photos and having fun while taking them!

Image of Bride and Groom Hiking in the Woods: Elopement photo idea showcasing a bride and groom hiking together in a lush forest, capturing their adventurous spirit.

Work with the right photographer

The most important part for having a great photo experience (and beautiful photos!) is to work with the right photographer. You’ll need to take their photography style into account when deciding on who you want to capture your big day, but perhaps even more importantly, you need to choose someone who will make you feel comfortable.

Every photographer has their own approach to how they work with couples. Some give lots of direction and posing instruction while others take a candid approach and rarely ask their couples to pose.

If you’re looking for an elopement photography experience that is laid back with a strong focus on capturing candid moments, we should talk! I love helping couples get beautiful photos that feel effortless but look amazing!

Get to Know Your Photographer Before Your Elopement Day

After you’ve found your dream photographer and booked them, take some time to get to know them before your elopement day arrives if you can. If they include an engagement session in your package, take it and use it as an opportunity to get to know each other. Get on the phone with your photographer before your elopement to plan your day and to chat a little. Little moments can help you feel more comfortable on your day, which will mean more natural photos!

Focus on Each Other and Having Fun

If you start to feel a little stage fright while taking photos, take a moment to relax and focus on your partner. As much as you can, just be yourselves and have fun together! The best photos really do come when you’re being yourselves!

Your photographer will walk you through posing

A good photographer won’t toss you in front of their camera without direction. Your photographer should walk you through posing and prompts. This will look different for each photographer, but I personally like to give my couples space while still giving them something fun to do with each other, usually with a lot of movement.

If you’re not sure what to do, ask your photographer for some direction! And if something doesn’t feel natural, shift to something that does.

Couple Kissing on the Beach at Golden Hour: A couple shares a kiss on the beach during the golden afternoon light, highlighting their romantic elopement moment.

How to Pose for Your Elopement Photos

As someone who spends most of their time behind the camera, trust me when I say, I understand how awkward it can be to have photos taken of you. But as a professional photographer, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks to feeling comfortable and confident having your photo taken! Here is my best advice for how to pose.

Be Yourselves

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your session! Make jokes, run around on the beach, or share a romantic moment together.

Put the Focus on Each Other, Not the Camera

As much as you can, try to ignore the camera (unless of course your photographer is asking you to look directly at the camera). Instead, do your best to pretend that it’s just the two of you and focus on the fact that this is your elopement day! Putting the focus on each other is the best thing you can do!

Movement is Key

You’re probably thinking, “aren’t photos still”? Yeah, but hear me out! Moving around helps create nature, fun photos and often ends up with lots of laughter! The perfect combination for beautiful, natural photos.


So don’t worry about being still for your photos. Keep on moving and enjoying your day!

Couple Holding Hands Walking on the Beach by the Mountains: Eloping couple walks hand-in-hand on a scenic beach with mountains in the background, emphasizing their connection and natural surroundings.

Follow Your Photographer’s Lead (But Don’t be Afraid to Make Suggestions!)

This may be your first time having professional photos taken, but it’s not your photographer’s first time working with a couple that doesn’t know how to pose! Follow your photographers lead and let them guide you. 

At the same time, don’t be afraid to speak up or make suggestions. If your photographer asks you to do something that doesn’t feel natural, let them know and they can help you. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions. I personally love when my couples come with ideas, and I always enjoy capturing photos that they ask for!

Tips for Getting Amazing Elopement Photos

Here’s my best advice for getting amazing and beautiful photos on your elopement day!

Include an activity in your photos

Photos don’t have to mean poses. For the most natural and fun photo experience, include an activity into your day! This can be any hobby the two of you enjoy and want to include in your elopement day.

Elopement Photography Activity Ideas:

  • Have a picnic together
  • Serenade your pattern by playing your favorite musical instrument
  • Dance together
  • Go on a hike
  • Skip rocks
  • Watch the sunset

Check out these epic Idaho elopement ideas for inspiration!

Select the Right Location

Location makes a huge difference in photos! When deciding on what location for your elopement photos, ask your photographer what they recommend. They will have insight on the locations with the best lighting at the right time of day, when the best weather is at a certain location, when will have the least amount of crowds, and more info to help get the best photos possible.

Check out these epic elopement locations in Washington!

Choose the Right Time of Day for the Best Lighting

Lighting and time of day are a big part of creating beautiful photos, so take your timeline into consideration when planning photos. Typically, the best time of day with the best lighting (and least amount of crowds) is going to be the first few hours after sunrise and the last few hours before sunset.

Couple Playing with Their Horse in Wedding Attire: Elopement photo idea featuring a couple in their wedding attire interacting with their horse, adding a personal and playful touch.

Embrace the Adventure (Your Dress is Going to Get Dirty, and that’s Okay!)

Have fun and accept the fact that your dress is likely going to get a little bit dirty if you’re eloping out in nature. And that’s okay!

Avoid Peak Times to Avoid Crowds

Crowds can make taking photos harder, not only because they’re hard to keep out of the photos, but also because having an audience can feel awkward for some couples. If you’ll be eloping at a busy location, I recommend avoiding peak times to avoid crowds as much as possible. 

You can avoid peak seasons by eloping in the off season instead of summer, choosing an elopement date on a weekday instead of a weekend, having a sunrise or sunset ceremony, or a combination of these things!

Dedicate Enough Time for Photos

You might not think so, but feeling rushed can affect the outcome of your photos. Make sure to dedicate enough time to your day for photos so you can enjoy the moment and be relaxed. The more time you have for photos, the more natural and effortless they will feel.

Reasons you should consider an all-day elopement experience.

Elopement Photo Ideas

Now that you know how to get great photos, let’s go over some elopement photo ideas to inspire you! I’ll include a checklist at the end that you can send to your photographer.

Elopement Detail Photos

This is a great way to preserve the details from your elopement day in beautiful photos. You can ask your photographer to capture any details you want. Here are some ideas if you don’t know what this would include:

  • Florals
  • Rings and ring box
  • Shoes
  • Perfume bottle
  • Invitation or elopement announcement
  • Vow books
  • Jewelry
  • Memorabilia from elopement location (i.e. map from a National Park, or a postcard, etc.)
Detail Photo of Rings with Yellowstone Park Map and Postcard: Close-up of wedding rings placed on a Yellowstone National Park map and postcard, illustrating the couple's elopement destination.

Getting Ready

These intimate moments leading up to your wedding will go by so quickly, which is why photographing them is so important! Whether you get ready together or separate, adding some getting ready photos can include getting into your wedding attire, some individual portraits, and some detail photos of your accessories.

Watching the Sunrise or Sunset Together

Whether it’s before your wedding ceremony or how you end the day, watching the Sunrise or Sunset is a romantic way to start or end your elopement day. It also makes for some beautiful photos!

Pop a bottle of champagne

What better way to celebrate being married than popping a bottle of champagne? Tip, for a budget friendly (and eco friendly) option, bring a bottle of sparkling water instead of champagne!

Hike together

Some of the most fun and beautiful elopement photos (at least in my opinion) include some hiking! If you plan to include a hike in your day, make sure to grab some photos of the journey together.

Blue Hour Lantern Photos

This is a fantastic way to end the day. Purchase some electronic lanterns off of Amazon (or ask your photographer if they have some you can use during your elopement) and explore a location by lantern. These photos are some of my favorites to shoot because they’re so dreamy, plus it’s the perfect way to end the day!

Check out this blue-hour shoot in Spokane, Washington for lantern inspiration!

Couple Holding Lanterns During Blue Hour: An elopement couple explores together while holding lanterns during the blue hour, creating a dreamy and intimate atmosphere.

Elopement Photo Checklist

Use this checklist as a starting place when planning out your photos with your photographer. Use this list as inspiration and add your most important moments you want documented and customize it to fit your elopement and activities you plan on including.

Bride Getting Ready

  • Brides dress on a hanger, over a chair, or on a bedpost
  • Bride doing her makeup
  • Bride in her gown, checking herself in the mirror
  • Details of the brides accessories
  • Details of the brides footwear, garter, gloves, veil, etc.
  • Brides rings
  • Hair accessories
  • Bouquet
  • Bride with family (if present)

Groom Getting Ready

  • Groom tying his tie
  • Groom putting on cuff links
  • Groom putting on vest
  • Grooms boutonniere
  • Grooms shoes, watch, ring, any other accessories
  • Groom with family (if present)

Pre-Ceremony

  • First look between the bride and groom
  • Couple portraits
  • Ceremony décor
  • Ceremony location
  • Detail photos of rings, bouquet, invitation, etc.

Ceremony

  • Bride walking down the “aisle”
  • Grooms reaction
  • Shot of ceremony showing the location
  • Exchanging vows
  • Exchange of rings
  • Signing the marriage certificate
  • The first kiss

Post-Ceremony

  • Champagne Pop!
  • Just-Married portraits
  • Photos with family and friends (if present)
  • Photos of couple celebrating
  • Photos of first dance, cake cutting, or whatever events the couple decides to include in their elopement
  • Food detail photos

Family Photos (if applicable)

  • Couple with each set of parents
  • Couple with both sets of parents
  • Couple with siblings
  • Couple with friends
  • Group shot with whole family
  • Group shot with everyone

I hope you feel empowered for your elopement photos! If you want to work with someone who has a candid, casual approach to photography (and also helps plan your elopement!), I would love to work with you! Contact me, and let’s plan your elopement together!

Happy eloping!

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