Wedding + Portrait

Luminous Love: Keyhole Light Elopement Photography

July 3, 2024

By Abbey Pleviak

“Natural, organic, and genuine,” is how Mikalynn Amos describes her elopement photography. Based on her featured image today, we could also add sacred, private, and rare. Mikalynn and her elopement photography company Venturing Vows are one of Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars of 2024. The image she shares with us this week of sunlight pouring through a keyhole stone arch is only possible to capture on a handful of days every year because it requires an extremely low tide that corresponds with a sunset on a day with no clouds or fog.  

All these conditions magically came together for her clients’ elopement on the Oregon coast, where from a distance, she captured their dream shot of sunlight coming through a stone arch to illuminate them as they privately exchanged their wedding vows.  

© Venturing Vows

Small Couple, Large Landscape

Mikalynn exclusively focuses on Pacific Northwest elopement photography, saying “One of my specialties is landscape images with the couple featured as a small spot in the image. Being able to achieve these images means years of scouting the local area, experience with landscape photography, and careful planning.”  

Mikalynn considers the landscape a co-subject in her elopement photography. She and the couples she work with are drawn to epic locations where they can experience awe while being in nature. She says, “images like these only happen because of hours of scouting and exploring on this beach for years prior to the elopement.”  

Her deep love for the Oregon coast and discovering its secrets are the key to her magical images. It’s simply not possible to capture images like hers without knowing “which tides are best, when the hidden spots are accessible, what conditions cause the beach to create beautiful reflections, and when to find the best wildlife.” 

When Mikalynn captured this image, she was living down the road from this beach and had watched the light come through the arch on multiple occasions. When she showed the couple this beach, they fell in love with it, too, and chose it as the place to exchange their vows.  

© Venturing Vows

Capturing Natural Beauty as it Unfolds

This set of images is 100% candid, which is one of Mikalynn’s favorite things about them. The couple had requested privacy while they exchanged their vows, so Mikalynn used an 85mm lens so that she could be a good distance away from them. This is her go-to lens for landscape-focused portraits, which are a signature part of her galleries.  

She says, “The relationships and backgrounds I am capturing are already so incredible that my role is simply to best represent them.” For Mikalynn, this means taking lots of time to prepare and then being ready to capture natural beauty unfolding in the moment. 

© Venturing Vows

Elopements Full of Awe and Wonder 

Mikalynn says, “I started my photography journey as a nature and landscape photographer. I found my calling as a photographer when I discovered adventure elopements. I eloped myself in 2019, and I have not photographed a traditional wedding since.”  

Her main priority is to provide her clients with an amazing wedding day experience. That means focusing on their connection and celebration of this milestone in their lives together. Her elopements aren’t just about finding the perfect photo ops throughout the day, but rather about finding events to include on their journey together on the big day. While capturing stunning images is important to her, she says, “This is the couple’s wedding day first and foremost.” 

That these images perfectly capture those goals is another reason she loves them so much. She says, “I got to capture this couple in an authentic interaction, with no influence from myself, in one of the best nature views I’ve ever seen. It’s hard not to be in awe of nature when it puts on a light show like that.” And it’s hard not to be in awe of a photographer who knows how to capture such a rare display in nature so that a couple can have it as part of their elopement memory forever. 

Follow the work of Mikalynn Amos of Venturing Vows on Instagram. View the full 30 Rising Star Winners Gallery for 2024.

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