Tips + Techniques

Tips to Grow Your Elopement Photography Business in a Pandemic

October 6, 2020

By Jacqueline Tobin

© The Foxes Photography

The spread of COVID-19 has rocked countless industries around the world, and wedding photography has been absolutely no exception. Many photographers were not prepared for a global shutdown, and shortly afterward, they found themselves scrambling to come up with ways to make money while in lockdown. It became clear early on, as state health guidelines put restrictions on group gatherings, that the elopement photography business was going to be a more COVID-compliant way for photographers to earn money, particularly as more couples were shifting their plans to smaller, more intimate ceremonies, including micro weddings and socially distanced weddings.

In order to equip wedding and elopement photographers with knowledge that would help them generate as much business as possible in 2020, Rangefinder spoke with several photographers to find out how they were generating new business, from comforting clients wary of elopements to pivoting their brands and offerings to accommodate the influx of elopement inquiries.

An Elopement Photographer’s Guide to Business Amid Coronavirus

A photograph of a man proposing marriage to a woman by a lake
© Between the Pine

Photographer Mollie Adams realized fairly quickly in the spring that her expertise as an elopement photographer would be needed in the industry. She thought deeply about how she would respond to clients with logistical concerns and doubts about the viability of eloping during a global pandemic. In this article, she shares how couples are changing their plans, how photographers should react to and accommodate those clients in ways that strengthen their business, plus some practical tips for beginners on getting their feet wet in the elopement photo world.

The E-Mail All Wedding Photographers Should Send Their Couples in 2020

A couple being married during a micro wedding on a mountain trail
© The Foxes Photography

A couple months into the pandemic, elopement photographers Brandon and Gabi Fox noticed something interesting: They were not losing business—in fact, they were getting a lot more inquiries. Not only that, but many of them were coming from couples who had planned a big wedding for the summer, cancelled the event and rerouted to elope and hire a photographer who already specialized in documenting them. This was good news for the Foxes; bad news for all of those wedding photographers that were losing out on business. So the duo decided to dive into what wedding photographers could say and do to make sure that the perfectly capable wedding photographers could keep those clients instead.

How to Pivot to Elopement Photography When Couples Downsize Weddings

Elopement photographs of three couples by The Foxes Photography
© The Foxes Photography

Your clients decided to keep you as their elopement photographer, but the truth is, you’re a wedding photographer who is used to documenting big gatherings—not ceremonies where you’re likely the couple’s only witness to matrimony. You don’t know the half of what it takes to make sure your couple can get hitched without a hitch, no matter where they live or where you’re allowed to venture. As an elopement photographer, you often also act as the couple’s planner, Brandon Fox explains. You need to know how to guide couples who might not know the first thing about eloping. You need to take care of them.

Fox ensures you’ve got the elopement photography logistics down, including tips to pre-location scouting, the importance behind the eco-friendly concept Leave No Trace, how to properly photograph clients amid a jaw-dropping landscape and much more.

Navigating the Micro Wedding for Your Photography Business

An image of a couple being married during a micro ceremony
© Trene’ Forbes

As an increasing number of wedding photographers adjust their business angle to accommodate couples looking to exchange vows with a smaller guest count than planned, the micro wedding was born—a cousin niche to elopements. Micro-wedding couples might not be going on a full-blown adventure to get married, as is often the case during elopements. These couples have simply decided to accommodate health guidelines by paring down their guest list and shortening their wedding timelines.

Despite their minimized nature, micro weddings are still smart to book for photographers right now, as many of these couples also plan to host a bigger bash down the line when the world is safer to open up. A mélange of entrepreneurial wedding photographers shared their insights on the logistics and growth opportunities behind micro weddings.

Documenting Weddings in the Age of Social Distancing

A creative, socially distanced wedding photo
© Shannon Collins

Elopements and micro weddings aside, some wedding photographers are thinking up ways to accommodate clients who want to go ahead with a socially distanced wedding. There are a lot of considerations at play to keep clients and vendors safe. The “new norm” is a vision that will continually evolve for months and even years to come. It serves wedding photographers well to think about the ways that they can make their jobs easier during this evolution, and in this article, photographer Shannon Collins did just that. She validates concerns about the ability to photograph intimate interactions and connect with clients, and she offers a thoughtful perspective on what wedding photography could look like for photographers in the future.