Elopement Welcome Guide
Welcome to the Venturing Vows Family!
You've chosen a genuine, personalized day to celebrate your wedding. Congratulations on starting your marriage by putting yourselves first! Everyone deserves the wedding day of their dreams and I'm here to make sure you get nothing less than the best. We'll work together to craft the day of your dreams. You've chosen to trust me with this important day and I don't take that lightly regardless of the number of elopements I photograph.
When you let me into your wedding day, we have more than a photographer-client relationship. I'm here to capture your a genuine look into your relationship and establishing a friendship is part of that process. You're so much more than just another client.
Let the Planning Begin!
This guide is here to help prepare you for exactly what you can expect from me as your photographer. There's lots of information because I don't want to leave a single detail out! There's some fun stuff and some lame administrative stuff. I want to make sure everything is clear so there's no surprises on your day.
I highly recommend you thoroughly read below. In addition, if you haven't done so already, make sure you thoroughly read the contract you signed! Communication is one of the keys to craft your perfect day.
More Than a Photographer
My goal is to be more than just your photographer. I want to help you construct your dream wedding day. I've been where you are. I too chose to elope and throw aside everything my wedding was "supposed" to be. It's your day, since when did it become a party you throw for everyone else? I'm here to tell you picking yourselves is right because at the end of the day, this is your wedding. You built your beautiful relationship, through the good and the bad, and you should celebrate that in the way you see fit.
Everyone is unique and deserves a day as unique as your relationship. We'll work together to turn your wedding daydreams into reality. Your day should be an experience you'll never forget. I specialize in finding adventures and hikes that fit your skill level (If you can't hike 10 miles a day, don't worry! I can't either) and show off the scenery that speaks to your soul. I'm an avid outdoorswoman and I've spent hours upon hours exploring the beauty of nature. With these experiences, I've learned to respect the dangers of nature and taking special care to preserve our gorgeous planet.
There's not going to be a point during your day that I say, "That's not my job." Instead, I'm going to help you work through any situation that may arise. Whether that means I take care of it myself or help you find someone who can take care of it better, I'll be there to guide you every step of the way. Elopement photographers are often the only vendor you have there and I'm prepared to fill multiple roles to ensure a stress free day.
Before the Session
Communication: Our whole interaction begins with some kind of correspondence, whether that’s a phone call, email, or contact form. I firmly believe that the best way to run a business and create a pleasant experience for clients is clear and quick communication. I will always contact you within 24 hours of getting the message. I will happily clarify any questions you may have and will send as many emails as needed so you feel prepared for your session. I can assure you that I won’t be leaving your questions unanswered. Though the situation is rare, if I am out of service for more than 24 hours, I will update social media and my email to let you know when I’ll be able to get in touch.
Deposit and Contract: After our correspondence, we’ll select a date together. In order to secure this date, there is a contract for us both to sign and a 20% deposit. This may sound scary but it’s a safety net for both of us! It guarantees that I will not schedule another session on your date and outlines exactly what you will receive from me. So before money is even exchanged, we’ve both signed a document promising a certain outcome from the session. On my end, it protects me from things like if you roll your ankle while hiking, I get deathly ill, or other potential problems. The deposit you put down on the session is nonrefundable. This is simply because there’s only so many slots I can book that have the light I need to create great photos for my clients. If I reserve a date months in advance and there’s a sudden cancellation, I’m not able to book another session and I lose an entire photo slot.
Location Selection: Part of my job is finding the perfect spot for your photos! I’ll give you options and ask what kind of environment you want. With that information, I’ll scout the location in person before I take you there. You’re also welcome to pick your own spot if there’s a special location! I’ll still scout it out and make sure it will create the best photos for your session.
Elopement Timeline: As a photographer, I have a unique perspective on how to plan the best elopement day! I assume you’re new to it since the goal is to have only one wedding your whole life. I’ll take the idea of your perfect day and turn it into reality! Odds are, we’ll make some modifications before it’s finalized. It’s your day so it has to be the right schedule for you first and foremost. I’ll let you know pros and cons for ideas you have, but you make the final decision on how to use your time.
Vendor Recommendations: This is another place where working in the elopement business is helpful! I can help you fill in any gaps for vendors with those I’ve worked with in the past or those recommended by fellow photographers. You’re also welcome to just select the other vendors on your own!
Essential Photo List: I have a draft of this already that you can use, which you can add to or cut down. On an elopement day, it’s easy to get caught up in all the activities and forget to get a specific photo. We’ll work together before your day to make sure we get to every photo you want. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to remember that one photo you wanted in the middle of the best day of your life. I’ll have the list and make sure they all get covered from there!
During the Session
Payment: The first thing we have to deal with on session day is payment (bleh, lame). You don’t have to pay me the rest of the fee until I show up at your session. However, I will not take pictures until full payment. This is for my safety and also to make sure you get the photos I take! You’re welcome to pay in advance if you don’t want to worry about it or wait until the session if that makes you feel better.
Posing: I hear it all the time, “I’m not good in front of the camera,” and all the variations of that. Don’t worry, this is also my job. You don’t need to come in with a 50 pins off Pinterest and we run through that list for your session. I already have a set of poses in mind from previous sessions and my own Pinterest boards. I do recommend you check other photos before our session as well! Also know that I may not be able to replicate all pins from Pinterest. I’ll cover the bulk of the poses but if you find a unique one you want, I’m happy to add it in! If you know what you want before we start, we’ll guarantee we get all the photos you want.
Safety: As an outdoorswoman, I have experience staying safe in nature. If your adventure is outside my comfort or skill, I’ll be upfront and let you know. My first priority is to make sure you’re 200% safe. I carry a first aid kit with me, I am first aid certified, and I carry a wide array of safety equipment for the environment we’re in.
I don’t put my couples in dangerous situations or on sharp cliffs under any circumstances. Even if you are okay with it and want to be a daredevil, I don’t have the depth of training to assure you that you’ll be safe in that situation. So even if you want to do it, it’s still a hard no. I’d rather lose a job versus put someone’s life in danger. There’s lots of SAFE places we can get epic overlooks and lots of angles I can use to make it look like you’re on a cliff. Your safety comes first and photos come later.
Leave No Trace: During our session, we will be practicing leave no trace (LNT). If we’re going to use public land, we’re going to take care of it and make sure everyone else that follows can enjoy it as well. This goes from picking up garbage to staying on established trails to making sure other people can still enjoy the area. You can read up more on LNT here! I’ll help guide you through as well if you’re new to LNT.
Adventure You’ll Enjoy: I might be an adventure elopement photographer but I too do not feel like hiking 10 miles. I also have short legs and totally understand the keeping up with a tall person struggle. To top it off, you’re going to be in wedding gear. I say all of this to emphasize that we’ll do an adventure at a level you’re comfortable with at a speed you’re comfortable with.
After the Session
Preview: The first thing you’ll get after our session is a preview of your photos within 24 hours. I totally understand that you’re excited to see your photos and I want to let you see them ASAP! You can expect around 5-10 images in your preview. I’ll send you full resolution digital files to download. No watermarks, logos, or low quality images.
Timeline: It will take around 4-6 weeks to get your photos back. The turnaround depends on how many sessions I have at the time, but I will always get them to your as soon as possible. For elopements, I will send you a larger preview online and you will receive the rest of your photos on a thumb drive in the mail.
Unedited Photos: Part of my art is how I chose to edit your images. If someone else edits my images or if I don’t add my special flare, they’re not my work anymore. For this reason, there is no option for you to receive the unedited images. Make sure you check out my photos closely before you hire me to make sure my art matches up with what you like! I can assure you that I’ll include all the important photos of your day and not skip on those small moments.
Posting Online: When you post your photos online, I just ask that you keep them as is (no Instagram filters!) and tag my photography account, @venturingvows. It helps us out so much! You’d be amazed how much work I’ll get from you simply tagging me.
Leave a Review: If you have the time, leaving a review is another huge way to help small business owners! The one thing I ask is that if you have a problem with the photos you received, talk to me about it first! Odds are, I don’t even know there was a problem and I can help you out to solve it. My main goal is to make sure you’re happy with the final product you receive. Your elopement is important and I’m here to make sure it’s everything you hoped for.
Getting Your Photos Later: Let’s say you lost all your elopement photos when a hard drive crashes (ahhhhhh!). I have your photos stored if I’ve taken them within the last 5 years (unless I’ve had some kind of technical or theft issue - unlikely, but possible!). Feel free to reach out and I can help you get those photos back. I just ask that you cover any charges associated with me resending your images.
Here's a bit about me to help us start to get to know each other! I'm Mikalynn but I go by Miki (like Mickey Mouse). I'm originally from North Idaho and recently moved to Oregon to follow my soul to the sea. I have two dogs (Sophie the corgi and Ellie the beagle).
I personally eloped on the Oregon Coast and deciding to elope was the best decision I could've made. Since I've been where you're at, I have a personal investment in your day. I remember how perfect my day was and I hope to create a day as perfect as mine was for you. I've heard too many sad stories of couples feeling as though their wedding was just okay because they chose to listen to what everyone told them to do. I'm here to tell you to screw that.
I'm an avid adventurer and lover of nature. I have a degree in biology and will happily explain all the science if you want. I have a special passion for being a good steward of nature and using adventure to cultivate a respect for nature.
I so looking forward to getting to know you better and finding all the things we have in common.
What I'm About
Your wedding day is so special and personal. It's your day, your rules. I want to help you plan a day based on your relationship and what fills your soul, not what everyone says your wedding should be.
As part of this, I strive to capture your day in its most natural form. I skip the forced poses and give you actions that will let you be yourself. You're more than just another client. Your day is important to me as well and you deserve the best.
Discrimination is not accepted or tolerated here. We're all people which inherently makes you worthy of love and respect. All walks of life, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientation/identification, and abilities are welcome here.
I don't want anyone to feel unclear about whether they're welcome or question if they'll be denied service.
Come as you are and feel free to be 100% you.
Love nature and adventure? Me too! Being outside has a special way of speaking to your soul. I think everyone deserves to experience that. The great outdoors belongs to all of us. We will practice proper stewardship of natural areas to ensure generations to come get to enjoy these areas. We'll carefully practice Leave No Trace and leave places better than we found it.
Don't know how to do all that? That's okay! I've got you covered and I can help you through the process.
What You Can Expect Next
Let's Craft Your Perfect Day
Now that we've started getting to know each other and your perfect day, we're going to work together to create your dream experience. I'm here to help you with the location selection, the schedule for the day, and providing ideas for how you can fill your day. I can also optionally assist you find vendors or you are welcome to pick them yourself.
Worried about the weather? Figured out a new question? Stressed about hiking in your dress? Can't figure out the local marriage license? Well then let's chat! Even if it's not directly photo related, I can help you out. Elopement photographers have to wear many hats and I'm here to make your day as stress free as possible.
Live Your Best Day
This is where you get to sit back and enjoy the product of all your planning. I'll serve as your personal stress buffer to make sure your day is everything you hoped. Within 24 hours of your session, you'll get a few preview photos. You'll get the rest of your photos in 4-6 weeks to relive your favorite day.