How Much to Invest In Your Elopement Photography

Adventure elopement photography captures the essence of intimate ceremonies amidst breathtaking landscapes, preserving these cherished moments for eternity. If you're planning an adventure elopement, understanding the diverse pricing tiers and the unmatched quality they offer is essential in making an informed decision. Often one assumes elopement photographers cost less than traditional wedding photographers, but nothing could be further form the truth. The truth of the matter is, is that elopement photographers still have the same amount of expertise and time spent working an elopement, if not more time, than traditional wedding photographers. The only difference is the activities, locations, and the people you share on your elopement day with are different. Here we we'll explore five distinct pricing tiers for adventure elopement photography.

Once you have read this post about "how much to elopement photographers cost", you will be equipped with the knowledge of for your own elopement photography.

  • How much do elopement photographers cost?
  • How much should I should spend on elopement photos?
  • Why do elopement photographers cost so much?
  • Do elopement photographers over charge?
  • What is included in elopement photographers packages?
  • A more in-depth look at elopement photography prices in Washington State.

How Much Does Elopement Photography Cost?

Brand New | $0-500

The "Brand New" photographer is typically just starting their journey in adventure elopement photography. They may offer affordable or even free services to build their portfolio and gain experience. Couples considering a brand new photographer should be aware of potential limitations in experience and equipment.

Photographers at this tier are at the early stages of their career and may still be refining their skills. While they can capture meaningful moments, the overall quality of their work, including editing and composition, might be less polished compared to higher tiers. This is honestly risky, it's kind of a gamble. Gear is entry level and most likely don't own a flash.

Entry-Level | $500-1,500

The "Entry-Level" photographer might have more experience than beginners and are gradually establishing themselves in the adventure elopement photography market. Photographers in this tier may have shot an elopement or two and can produce images with improved composition and editing compared to the "Brand New" tier. However, their style might not be as refined or consistent and are likely still developing their posing techniques. May also be inexperienced with lighting and other problem solving skills.

Enthusiast | $1,500-2,500

The "Enthusiast" photographer has gained more experience and honed their skills in capturing adventure elopements. They offer comprehensive packages and are often willing to travel to scenic locations. Photographers in this tier possess a deeper understanding of lighting, composition, and storytelling. Their post-processing skills result in captivating images with enhanced visuals. They should have some sort of portfolio, but will likely not be focused completely on elopements but will give you an idea on what to expect. Gear at this point should be professional.

Professional | $2,500-5,000

The "Professional" photographer will have substantial experience in shooting adventure elopements. They offer comprehensive packages and personalized services, ensuring a seamless and exceptional experience for their clients. Photographers in this tier exhibit a refined artistic vision, evident in their storytelling and compositions. Their post-processing skills result in stunning, gallery-worthy images. The professional photographer will be more than a photographer, often offering guidance to locations, trail research, timeline planning, etc. Couples seeking top-notch quality and exceptional services should consider this tier for an unforgettable adventure elopement experience.

Luxury | $5,000-20,000

The "Luxury" tier represents the pinnacle of adventure elopement photography. These photographers have an impeccable reputation, often limiting their bookings to ensure exclusivity and personalized attention for each couple. They cater to clients who desire the utmost in quality, luxury, and artistry. Photographers in this tier are true artists, renowned for their exceptional skill, artistic vision, and impeccable attention to detail. They deliver an unparalleled level of personalized service, including location scouting, multiple-day shoots, and exquisite albums. Expect photographs that not only capture moments but evoke emotions and transcend traditional photography, transforming your elopement into a timeless masterpiece.

How Much Should I Spend On Elopement Photography

When planning an elopement, hiring a skilled and experienced photographer is essential to capture those intimate moments and create lasting memories. The cost of elopement photography can vary depending on various factors. It can range from $0 all the way to $15,000 or more. The price can be influenced by the photographer's expertise, reputation, location, the duration of coverage, and additional services offered.

There is no hard and fast rule of what percentage of your budget should be spent on your elopement photography. But couples who choose to elope tend to value experiences over things and connection over decorations, and an elopement photographer is one of the few vendors you will be hiring for your day. With that in mind, elopement photographers tend to be a part of the bigger part of the budget compared to traditional weddings where most of the budget could be spent towards the venue. While there is no magic number that you should spend on elopement photography, ultimately it's determined on what you value most and what you will be happy in the long run, and then determine your price range so that you get what you really want!

So what influences effect how much elopement photographers cost?

  • Location of the elopement and how much travel is involved for the photographer
  • Expertise and demand of the photographer
  • Experience
  • What's included in the base package (location scouting, planning, timeline creation, officiant services, hours, album, etc.)

Why Do Elopement Photographers Cost So Much?

Short answer is because we do exactly what wedding photographers do plus more. Long answer is because elopements are unique and special occasions often involving more planning that deserve to be documented with care and attention to detail.

Let’s take a look at the determining factors in elopement photography costs:

Location and Travel

Elopements are often associated with extensive travel, and it's not hard to see why. When couples choose to elope, they envision exchanging their vows in breathtaking destinations such as mountaintops or beside cascading waterfalls. Naturally, making such dreams a reality requires travel not only for the bride and groom but also for their chosen photographers. Many of these nomadic traveling elopement photographers include travel and lodging in their base packages no matter where they are located which increases their pricing.

Some photographers thrive on keeping things uncomplicated and don't follow a nomadic path. These photographers specialize in capturing the essence of a particular geographical location without extensively traveling. These dedicated photographers find their expertise by immersing themselves in a specific region, truly understanding its beauty, nuances, and hidden gems, but without the additional travel costs associated with traveling outside of the state or region.


Elopement photographers often take on a lot more planning work than traditional wedding photographers. Traditional weddings typically have a planner or day of coordinator (or both) and the venue is picked and secured often before a photographer is even hired. An elopement photographer becomes all of these things PLUS often does all the research to find the perfect location often involving permits, and backup locations. For reference, the average cost is approximately $2000 for a wedding planner and $800 for a day of coordinator. How much elopement photography costs goes hand in hand with how much the photographer can help plan your day from start to finish.

Experienced photographers in the realm of adventure elopement photography tend to command higher prices due to their exceptional skills, which are in high demand and sought after by prospective clients. To assess a photographer's expertise in this genre, there are some key aspects worth considering. Delve into their reviews and explore their adventure elopement portfolios as these provide valuable insights into their capabilities. Additionally, examining their social media presence can shed light on how adeptly they handle diverse lighting conditions and precious moments throughout an elopement day


Adventurous spirit is crucial – although not always directly tied to the photographer's technical skills or expertise. An elopement photographer with a rich history of capturing adventurous love stories has honed their ability to handle challenging scenarios, such as unpredictable schedules, daring environments, or ever-changing weather conditions. Drawing from their experiences, they have mastered the art of navigating your unique elopement plan, scouting picturesque locations ahead of time for intimate moments like your first look as well as multiple backup locations in case mother nature has other plans. While opting for an experienced adventure elopement photographer might come with a higher investment, the priceless peace of mind they offer will always remain their utmost priority.

What comes Standard in their packages

Within the realm of elopement photography, there exists a spectrum of offerings among photographers. On one end, certain professionals provide base packages that come with added benefits, resulting in greater value, but these packages usually start at a higher price point. On the other hand, some elopement photographers opt for lower starting prices while including minimal inclusions in their packages. For luxury photographers, their base collection is meticulously crafted to reflect their brand's essence and values. It encompasses not only a specific level of time and experience but also an exceptional standard of customer care, ensuring a consistent and premium experience for their clients.

If you are in search of a wedding package that perfectly suits your needs and preferences, here are some key factors to consider.

  • Is it a single photographer or a team with 2 photographers?
  • Do they offer unlimited planning calls/Zooms, timeline creation, and location scouting?
  • How do they deliver the photos?
  • Do they include and heirloom quality album?
  • What is the turnaround time?

Is the Elopement Photography Market Overpriced?

Many couples often wonder why elopement photographers command high prices, questioning the need to pay a substantial amount for just 8 hours of work. However, the reality is that our job goes far beyond the hours we spend with you.

Before your wedding day even arrives, we invest numerous hours in extensive research on ideal locations, securing permits, and meticulously planning timelines. Then, during your special day, we dedicate ourselves entirely to capturing every precious moment. But our commitment doesn't end there. After the event, we devote countless hours to the post-production phase, diligently backing up all the images, carefully selecting the best shots through culling, and editing and retouching each of the cherished photos from your day. All of these efforts contribute to ensuring you receive exceptional and timeless memories that you can cherish for a lifetime.

Every photographer is different, but a single elopement day can account for the following direct hours of work:

  • 2-6 hours of meetings, planning phone calls and dealing with client emails everything stretching from before being booked all the way until after the elopement with album design.
  • 2-8 hours for engagement sessions (including travel for adventure engagement sessions). Not everyone does an engagement session but it can be included.
  • 10-20 hours for planning purposes. Everything from location research/scouting, permit gathering, timeline building, and preparing gear.
  • 1-10 hours of traveling the day of. Adventure elopements tend to be on the out skirts of cities or simply in a different location where the photographer is based.
  • 6-24 hours day of work (travel, set up, coverage during day or multiple days, driving to different locations).
  • 1-3 hours of backing up and storing images.
  • 1-3 hours of culling photos (going through and selecting the best).
  • 4-20 hours of editing photos depending on quantity of images.
  • 1-3 hours of album design.

So that's potentially 97+ hours of per elopement of actual labor, not counting expenses.

Keep in mind this doesn't include the time and money that goes into gas money, gear, education, software, hardware, advertising, business insurance, and the time it takes to keep up to date with blogging, social media, marketing, etc.

It's safe to safe to say that elopement photographers possibly spend 110-140 hours per elopement counting all above mentioned activities.

If a photographer needs to make $50k per year after business expenses (say 30% towards expenses or $15k), and they are willing to shoot 40 elopements a year (honestly that is ALOT and not a realistic number), they need to charge $1,625 per elopement on average.

That comes out to $11.78 per hour. And don't forget, we still have taxes after that (self employment tax is 15.3%).

If you are paying $1,625 for an elopement photographer, it is very unlikely that photographer is investing much into their business and they are most likely burnt out and working very hard for $11.78 per hour (before taxes). 40 elopements at 140 hours per elopement means one is working 116 hours PER WEEK! Not sustainable (or realistic) in the least.

Average Cost of Washington Elopement Packages

For the state of Washington, it seems most photographers get grouped in the following starting price ranges:

$0-500 | Those in the initial stages, possibly without prior elopement photography experience, not yet seen as professionals.

$500-1,500 | Individuals who might have covered a few elopements, possibly lacking high demand or a distinct style that commands premium pricing.

$1,500-2,000 | Photographers who likely capture elopements on a semi-regular basis, although not necessarily in high demand and may not be pursuing this full-time.

$2,000-3,000 | Those likely to possess a slightly higher demand due to their distinctive style, potentially reducing the number of elopements covered to focus on providing enhanced individual client support. Entering the realm of the "professional" category.

$3,000-5,000 | Generally acknowledged as full-time professionals, garnering demand due to their exceptional style, expertise, and other factors.

$5,000+ | Typically established elopement photographers with a well-defined and refined style, offering luxury experiences to their clients.

When considering a Washington elopement package and pondering the reasons behind the elevated costs of elopement photographers, it's important to recognize that the expense is justified. You're making a valuable investment in a skilled professional who not only captures your moments but also serves as a planner, guide, and coordinator. They dedicate numerous hours to ensuring your envisioned day becomes a reality. For Pine + Vow, elopements range between $2,500-$5,400