Eloping Tips from Outdoor Elopement Photographers


Planning on eloping but can’t exactly picture how it will all go?

Want to be prepared for the photo sessions or are you nervous in front of the camera?

Our team of seasoned photographers took a few moments away from the mountains to share some advice that will help you feel super prepared – and relaxed – on your special day!

At Elope Outdoors, our photographers are a vital part of our photography-focused, close-knit team helping couples tie the knot in Asheville and the Western North Carolina area.

Read their answers to the top questions we get about the elopement process and photo sessions.


Preserving Authenticity


1. What tips can you give a couple who might be curious or nervous about the formal & couples photo sessions?

Meghan – Relax and be yourself, the photos will look the best if you let your authentic self shine! Try to ignore the cameras as much as possible and just be in the moment!

We as photographers will guide you along the way, giving you suggestions of things to do and where to put your hands, etc. But also feel free to give a kiss or a hug at any moment, laugh with each other, and enjoy the nature around you.

Maddie – I always tell my clients that 95% of people who get their pictures taken are nervous and feel they are awkward. So you are not alone in that nervousness!

It is my job to take all those worries away. I focus on you as a couple and getting to know you so you feel comfortable and like you’re talking to an old friend. Hearing your love story is always magical and puts couples in a relaxed mood. Along the way we take beautiful photos of you interacting and loving on each other. I give suggestions for natural poses + prompts to allow for flattering photos.

My biggest tip would be to focus on each other (try to pretend the photograph is not even there). Give your partner a hug or take in the view. Anything to get you relaxed and focused back on why you are documenting this beautiful moment in time in your relationship.

Amy – It’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable in front of a camera!  One of the many perks of eloping is a laid back vibe and not feeling the pressure of expectations.  As we gather and hike to the ceremony spot, we’ll have time to relax and talk.  During the ceremony, you’ll be able to focus on each other and enjoy the natural moments between the two of you.

After that, we’ll just have fun exploring  and taking photos as the two of you talk and enjoy the experience.  I’ll offer suggestions for flattering angles and where to put your hands (common question!), but I’ll also have the two of you moving, talking, hugging, etc. throughout the process so that it’s less about posing and more about having fun.


Candid vs. Posed


2. What makes your approach to photography unique?

Meghan – I like to capture you and your day naturally and authentically.

I capture a lot of candids of moments as they are happening, and also guide you and make suggestions to get some more posed photos, but I always like to keep them looking natural and not overly posed.

I am your photographer AND friend and there to help you get them most out of your elopement, and the best photos possible!

Maddie –  Photographing for Elope Outdoors always feels relaxed, fully present and focused on keeping the couples day about them! It’s a dream to take couples to all these beautiful spots in nature. The locations + amazing vendors make this the best company to elope with!

Amy – Elope Outdoors is special because of the wonderful team of people that work together to facilitate a beautiful experience, along with attention to detail and love for our couples!  As a photographer, I center my work around natural heartfelt moments, and what better way to create images that embrace those feelings than to adventure in nature together!  I believe that my images stand out because of my affinity to capture the true essence of a moment and the people that I’m photographing.

3. How does the experience/day unfold in regards to photography?

We will capture your elopement and all the little moments as they unfold. We will meet in the location and we will start documenting pretty much right away! We will capture the feel and the vibe of your day in different styles of photos: documentary, posed portraits, creative, and scenery.


Typical Elopement Schedule & Photo Approach


When we arrive on site we will introduce ourselves and wait for everyone to arrive. We’ll double check that we have the flowers (boutonniere pinned and bouquet handed over), the marriage license and anything else set before we start our hike/walk to ceremony site.  There’s no time pressure, and we usually take a few minutes just chatting and making sure that we have everything gathered for the hike to the ceremony spot. We take our time hiking and chatting along the way. We love to hear about how your day has been so far!

Photos of your First Look together

If you would like a First Look with each other, we typically organize this prior to hiking so that the two of you can finish the hike together.

A First Look is modern wedding ritual where you see each other for the first time on your wedding day, in your outfits, and before the “walking down the aisle” moment. It’s a beautiful, quiet moment before the ceremony to take in your partner in all their beauty.

Sometimes this happens where you ceremony is occurring, but often it happens along the trail in a different spot so you get a different look and feel. We try to choose the most private space when possible and get your input as well.

Hiking to Location

We may take some candid photos as we make our way along the trail, but no worries if you have on trail shoes or your dress gathered up for hiking because it makes for cute behind the scenes moments.

This might also be a good time to capture preparations like flower pinning, putting on shoes, etc.


Arriving at the ceremony site we’ll find a spot that is perfect, taking into account the lighting, how quiet the space is, elements, etc. During your ceremony we will photograph multiple angles and be sure to not intrude on your personal space – almost like we are not even there! Our cameras are quiet and we use a zoom lens to achieve the “up close” shots.

Post-Ceremony Celebration

After your ceremony we will photograph your marriage license being signed. We will document everyone celebrating and all the kisses and hugs if guests are present. Then we will take your family photos (if applicable) but those go pretty quickly and we offer suggestions for flattering angles.

We often like to take a few ‘looking at the camera’ photos after the ceremony, as it’s a great time to capture the natural smiles from the first moments of being married!

Couples Portraits

These are so special and are a mix of candids, sweet moments, posed portraits and creative couple shots. After the ceremony and license signing, we’ll have fun hiking around and exploring different photo spots.  We have a few ‘favorite spots’ at the locations that we love, but the trails, lighting, and conditions are different every day, so it’s always a unique experience.  Some of our favorite moments to photograph are the two of you just hiking around and laughing together.

While photographing we love hearing how you met and why you decided to choose western North Carolina for your elopement day. We will take our time and get all the photos you want, taking in the scenery and being very intentional with heartfelt images that really reflect your wedding day.

Picnic (Cake & Bubbly)

If you chose cake and champagne/bubbly we will carve out time for you two to connect and enjoy with a stunning view. We photograph the cake cutting but then step back so you have a quiet moment together. Take as much time as you want!

Your photos may include moments of popping bubbly, feeding each other, and picnicking together.


We will capture all of your little details including flowers, rings, vow books, or anything else you brought of significance. Please tell photographer any items like this you’d like captured!

Sunset & Exit/hike down

We finish with stunning sunset photos or any last minute photo ideas.

For the photo sessions, we always facilitate some ‘hang this photo on the wall over my couch’ moments where you are posed perfectly and the scenery is optimum, but we also love to capture all of the in-between moments with images that will take you back to the feelings of that day and make you smile for years to come.


Here’s a visual progression of a typical schedule!


Contact us today to book your Asheville Elopement. We are here to help you start your adventure!

Book Now


Our Photographers 



Meghan, Owner/Photographer

Elopement Photographer for Elope Outdoors ~ Asheville

Amy, Photographer

Elopement Photographer for Elope Outdoors ~ Asheville

Maddie, Photographer


Contact us today to book your Asheville Elopement. We are here to help you start your adventure!

Book Now