Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hiring a photographer for an elopement?

holding handsNot everyone wants to walk down the aisle with onlookers on both sides of the aisle. Or maybe they do want that but can't afford it. Whatever the case may be, some couples end up eloping -- packing their bags, or at least some undies, and hitting the road.

But since it's still their big day, many couples who elope want to have keepsakes in the form of photographs.

In comes New York City elopement photographer Katie Parker.

Parker spoke to Wedding-Scoops.com about why people elope, how there is time to book a photographer when you're skipping town and the costs of snapping photos at a hideaway wedding.

Why do most couples elope?

I'd say a lot of the reason right now is money. In this economy, I've found a lot of couples are opting for a small elopement, and then plan a big reception for their friends and family down the road -- often on their first or fifth anniversaries. For some people it's not about money, though. Some people just prefer to keep their marriage ceremony private for personal reasons. They may be on their second or third marriage, or they just don't want all the attention and pressure that a huge wedding brings. 

If eloping is a spontaneous thing, how does the couple have time to hire you? 

The good thing about being an elopement photographer is  that I can be ready with 24 hours notice if need be. Many elopements take place on a weekday and since my scheduled portrait sessions usually take place on the weekend, there's a really good chance I'll be free when you call. Elopements can definitely be spontaneous, but I find that they're not as spontaneous as you would think a lot of the time. People do still take a few weeks or months to "plan" their elopement -- to find the right dress and hire a photographer. I think that some of these details are still important to brides and grooms, even if they're not having a huge wedding.

What is the shortest amount of time you have had to prepare for an elopement job?

One day. I had clients who called about 24 hours before they were planning to elope. I could definitely be ready in less time, though, but most people who go to the trouble of hiring a photographer to capture their elopement, have done at least a little planning. Usually I have a few weeks notice.

photographer's brother and his wife

What has been your favorite elopement?

My favorite elopement was my brother's (see photos above and below), for sentimental reasons. I was so honored to photograph his seaside elopement in North Carolina. It was a sweet little ceremony on the first day of summer last year, and I was so happy to be there to both capture the wedding for them and support my brother on his special day.

photographer's sister-in-law

How does the price of an elopement photo shoot compare to that of a more traditional wedding set up?
 My elopement packages are a la carte, which isn't usually the norm for more traditional wedding packages. Every elopement is different. Some are true court house elopements, and some are more like very small, intimate weddings in the park, so there's no really "one size fits all" elopement package. You can get something very basic with only a few hours coverage -- no frills -- for around $500, or you can build on that and have a full day of coverage, albums... everything you would find in a traditional wedding package, and spend $3,000 or more.

How are the services you offer for an elopement the same, and how are they different from a more traditional wedding?

They're the same in that I do try and get some of the same types of shots you would have at a traditional wedding -- the ceremony, any details such as the bouquet/shoes/etc. I'm even happy to come over and document the bride getting ready, which is something you usually find in more traditional wedding photography. If you have a few family members present and want to do formal shots, we can do that too, but that's pretty rare. I also offer all the same things that a traditional wedding photographer offers when it comes to products -- DVDs of your images, albums, prints, canvasses... etc.

And they're different because you usually don't have a reception immediately after the ceremony, which is really great, because then we can go out into the city and get some beautiful shots of the new husband and wife in their first few hours of marriage. In a lot of ways, it's like doing an extended engagement session.

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