Wedding season has officially begun! Well, kind of….
This summer is going to look quite a bit different from my last 6 summers (I say that every year, but I really mean it this time. No, really!). I have decided to completely switch the direction of my photography business after 6 years of photographing big, crazy weddings.
10 months ago, I had a woman email me and ask me if I would be willing to photograph her family-only wedding. She said there would be about 10 people in attendance and they only wanted to hire me for 2 hours. Oh yeah, and the wedding was next week. It was definitely not a normal inquiry for my services, but something in me told me to agree. So I said yes.
When her wedding day arrived, I hardly knew what to do with myself. No catering managers barking orders at me? No 14 bridesmaids running late and redoing their hair? No drama? No crazy timelines and drunk uncles? No stress? Nope. None of that. Just 10 happy people sitting on top of a mountain, enjoying the views and watching 2 people they love exchange vows and rings. We took about 5 family photos and the rest of the time was spent wandering through the forest in the snow, taking pictures of the happy couple and their sweet dog.
I left that wedding on Cloud 9. I couldn’t believe what a different experience it was from the other weddings I had photographed! I was calm and relaxed the whole time (all 120 minutes ha!), I had plenty of time to execute my vision for their photos, I didn’t have tons of people surrounding me while I tried to finish family pictures or wedding planners telling me to hurry up. It was an ideal day.
A fire had been lit in my heart. I knew I wanted more of this!
I did some research about the elopement industry in Colorado and it turns out that the Rocky Mountains are a huge destination for couples looking to get away and elope. I can practically hear them say “sweetheart, let’s just run away to the mountains and get married. Let’s elope! Just the two of us…” So I did a little search engine optimization for my website and created a portfolio for elopements and intimate weddings. I must have found God’s favor because I’ve been blessed to book 9 elopements and intimate weddings in the last 5 months. I’ve photographed a handful of them already and I am absolutely 100% hooked!
Everything about them suits me. It’s less stress, less drama. They’re more peaceful and quiet, more about the love and commitment and less about the details. They have all been in the mountains or somewhere with a natural setting, which makes my heart so happy. And I feel like I’ve been able to be even more creative with how I photograph them, which helps with the quality of the final images.
In photographing a few of these in the last few weeks, I’ve come to realize that really, this is what I am meant to be doing with my business. And so I decided that I’m going to solely focus on these intimate weddings and elopements. I’ll be referring most of my “big” wedding inquiries to my associate photographer and then I’ll be able to focus on what my heart really wants.
It’s a risky move financially because elopements don’t bring in nearly what big weddings do, but I will trust God to provide the clients I need, when I need them. Money is secondary to doing something that makes me happy. Plus, one of the best things about elopements is how last minute they often are. Sometimes, I get just a few days notice before a shoot. So if I ever start to worry about money, you just never know who is going to call and say “hey, we’re eloping tomorrow…can we hire you to photograph it?” 🙂
My favorite image from an elopement I shot this week