Featuring Tips and Photos by Unleashed Elopements
As a destination couple heading to the Southwest, it's very likely you'll meet your vendors face-to-face for the first time AT your wedding. For many couples, finding the right wedding photographer that's located near their destination venue feels overwhelming-- unless you know what to look for. We interviewed one of the pros in the wedding industry, Sharlee from Unleashed Elopements, and asked her what her advice would be for couples asking the question, "How do I find the best photographer for my destination wedding in the Southwestern United States?"
For those who are meeting Sharlee for the first time, she's a traveling elopement photographer who believes in creating the wedding day as the couple envisions it. She's knowledgeable, experienced, and a must-follow on Instagram where she provides even more tips regularly. We'll dive into her top advice when you're selecting a wedding photographer.
#1. What Should Every Couple Know Before Booking a Wedding Photographer?
This trait is more important than you think...
"Finding a photographer that really fits you and your partner's personality is more important than you think. Your photography experience is intimate and when you can really open yourself up in front of the person shooting the camera --- that's where your authentic selves will shine.
I recommend chatting on the phone or setting up a Zoom call BEFORE you book a photographer. It's the KEY to getting the experience you want. Not only will you get a feel for their personality, but you'll get to ask questions and see how they guide you through the photo experience. "
#2. What's a common question Couples Usually Have When They Meet You?
This is especially common with adventure elopements or outdoor formals
"A common question I hear from brides eloping in the desert, is how do I keep my makeup and hair looking beautiful all day? My top suggestions would be to hire a professional makeup artist that understands what type of weather and activities you'll be encountering, bringing a supply bag of retouch makeup, setting spray, and tissues!
Lastly, if you don't do well in the hot sun vs. rain/snow -- discuss this with your photographer from the beginning so they can find you the best locations and time of year where you'll feel amazing all day long!"
#3. What's something that makes a great Wedding photographer?
This is a big one!
"Flexibility (something that comes from experience) -- your wedding day almost never goes without a few hiccups. It's critical to find a photographer who is knowledgeable in rearranging timelines and locations due to things like sickness or weather. You don't want a photographer who panics when things don't go according to plan.
I feel your photographer should be confident in helping you sort through your day when things aren't going as perfectly as they should be. This includes making sure he or she educates you about backup locations, checking in on you throughout the day, and rearranging time-based on unexpected delays."
Bonus Question: What are your 3 Favorite Locations to Photograph in Southern Utah?
My top 3 favorite areas I recommend to couples getting married in Southern Utah are...
1.) Bryce Canyon when it's snowing - yes, the snow looks amazing on the red rocks and there's hardly any visitors
2.) Moab - absolutely SO many options to escape the crowds of inside Arches National Park that has just as amazing views.
3.) Dead Horse State Park - a very iconic spot to experience Canyonlands at sunrise or sunset, but this area is known for its dark skies, which produces amazing stars!
One of my favorite experiences with a client was altering their original plans of an "all-day" adventure into a "day-after" session. Their original plans were to spend all day in Bryce Canyon, but the snow was a little more severe than intended.
They ended up wanting to cut the day short (totally understandable!), but I still wanted to give them the experience they were hoping for. So, after our little snowstorm wedding with family -- the next day they woke for sunrise and hiked for their 2nd adventure, as a married couple in the sunny, cloudless sky.
I loved watching the two of them really soak up that "just married" feels after they recovered from the day before. It really gave them the best of both worlds! I cannot encourage 2-day adventures enough."
We're thankful to Sharlee for her time to help us answer some useful advice around booking a wedding photographer. Nothing makes us happier than knowing you'll have the resources needed to find the right wedding vendors for you. After all, the more you know, the more ideal your wedding day or elopement will be. Congratulations on your engagement and we wish you all the best from Zion Brides!
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Elopement Photographer Sharlee of Unleashed Elopements