Elopement Photo Coverage: How much do I need?

Deciding how much elopement photo coverage you need is a whole different beast than a traditional wedding. Elopements are so much more personalized, often including activities you don’t think of at a traditional wedding that couple’s want to remember just as much as the vows. Making sure that your photographer is there to capture every important moment starts when deciding how long you should book them for. Let’s talk about everything you need to know to make sure you have the right amount of elopement photo coverage. 

Why are you eloping? 

Knowing the ‘why’ to your elopement is going to help you discern how much elopement photo coverage you want in a big way. If you are eloping because you want to keep your budget really small, or because you don’t want to make a big deal of getting hitched in general, an hour or two of coverage for your ceremony and not much else is likely to be perfect for you. If you are eloping because you want to have a super epic, adventure filled weekend with your lover, and spend money that would’ve gone to catering on super fun activities, a full day, or even weekend package will really suit your needs, and capture every memory. 

What kind of elopement do you want?

No two elopements are the same. There are some big categories that most fit into. There are city hall elopements (which are spectacular here in San Francisco), adventure elopements, and intimate weddings, which are elopement sized weddings at more traditional venues.  You can have any amount of coverage with any of these types of elopements, but they do tend to lend themselves to different amounts of coverage. Adventure elopements, for example, are often going to naturally require more coverage than a city hall wedding when considering a minimum number of hours. Adventure elopements often require an amount of hiking, or traveling to the ceremony destination you won’t need if you are going to city hall.

Don’t think you can’t have full day coverage with a city hall elopement however. You can just get away with less, if that’s your goal. 

How much of your day do you want documented? 

Here’s the really important question: what moments do you want to remember? If you can’t think of a part of your wedding day that you would be alright not having photos of, we need to be looking at a full day package. That way I can capture everything from getting ready, to hanging out on Pier 39, to a picnic dinner on the beach.  

Think about your elopement day schedule. Does it start at 9am with hair and make up and end at 1pm, with your post-ceremony lunch? Then you need a maximum of 4 hours of photo coverage. 

More elopement photo coverage however, allows for more time for all photos. Couples portraits, sweet candid moments, capturing activities you plan to do, and more. The longer your schedule or itinerary is for your wedding day, the longer you are likely to want me there clicking away on my camera. 

What are the most important moments to you?

Believe it or not, not every couple prioritizes the same moments when thinking about their elopement photos. For some couples, the actual ‘I dos’ are the most important photos. For others it’s the first look. Many couples most want photos of all the super fun things they have planned for their day or weekend. Knowing what moments are important to have captured professionally, and where they land on your schedule will help you get an idea of how many hours you should have for elopement photo coverage. 

How comfortable are you in front of the camera?

Often couple’s forget to consider how they feel in front of the camera when booking their photo package. If being in front of the camera makes you clam up and struggle to relax, having me follow you all day as your personal paparazzi could really remove some of the enjoyment! Now on the other hand, if you come alive in front of the camera, it might make the most sense to have me follow along everywhere, all day long. I would never want someone to book for me too long, and have it take away from their enjoyment of their elopement. 

That being said, I am also GREAT at helping camera shy folks have a blast taking photos. We should definitely chat if this is a concern of yours. 

What will your budget allow for? 

Elopement photo coverage is an investment. You need to know how much you want to spend on it before you even start thinking about how many hours of coverage you want. Luckily elopements tend to allow for more flexibility in budget. Couples aren’t spending money on as many things. For example, if your venue is a national park, you could be saving upwards of $10k there alone. This might leave you more to allocate towards a photographer.

Don’t get sticker shock when you start reaching out to photographers. Personally, my packages start at $1500 (find more information here), and photography coverage in my area can easily run up over $5k for half or full day coverage. Understanding how far your budget will go can really help you decide how much coverage you want for your day.
As you can see, there is no cut and dry answer to how many hours of coverage you need when you elope. Most couples struggle to know exactly how much coverage they want! That’s why I love getting the chance to talk with you in depth about all of your elopement plans to really help you suss out how long I should be there for. Hopefully you have a better idea of what would make sense for your day, but if you still have questions, I’d love to help you figure it out! Click here to learn more about my work, and here to get in touch.

Ashlynn Shelby

May 29, 2023

Hi! I'm Ashlynn. When you choose me as your photographer, I promise to extend everything I have into your experience and your photos. You deserve the best experience possible and that's what I plan on providing.
My blog is where I share love stories I've been a part of, and resources for couples planning their engagement , wedding or elopement. I hope you can find some helpful information here to help you plan your big day. 


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