The luxury elopement experience by Rochelle Cheever is a boutique design and photography studio based in San Diego, California and Rome, Italy.

How to have natural, authentic elopement photographs

Your intimate wedding is meant to be enjoyed. Every. Single. Moment. 

You won’t want to be distracted by the photographer or be jollied into unnatural poses. For the perfect Elopement Experience you’ll want to be fully immersed in the moment, without having to worry about how you look in the photographs. And you definitely won’t want somebody telling you to raise your chin, stand here or stand there. You want to have natural, authentic elopement photographs that captures your true essence and story.

I believe that a good elopement photographer is never invasive. I can’t stand the overly posed wedding photos I see all over the place. Your wedding day should not to be reduced to a fashion show or an editorial shoot.

This is your life, so your photos should be real.

A good elopement photographer has an experienced eye to capture fleeting moments intuitively. The photographer should do all the moving around while you simply immerse yourself in the experience.

Most couples tell me that one of the reasons they book me is that my images are natural and unposed. That’s because as a photographer, I respect the importance of the day and the intimacy of the couple. This is especially important when capturing an elopement on film. 

How to have natural, authentic elopement photographs

Seven Top Ways to Get Natural Looking Elopement Photos

  1. Choose a photographer you like and trust and get to know them ahead of time. If possible schedule a pre-wedding meeting or Skype call. Ideally, you would book the same photographer for your engagement shots, so that by the time your elopement rolls around, you’ll feel comfortable.
  2. Way before your elopement day, communicate with your photographer what you’d ideally like and what you don’t like photography-wise and maybe even create a Pinterest board to generate ideas and share it.
  3. Enjoy your day and try not to think about the camera, in fact, don’t even look at it. (When I shoot an elopement, I talk to the couple while I’m photographing them so they are relaxed and not worried about what I’m doing. I’m looking for that precious moment, and often, my subjects don’t even know that I’ve captured it).
  4. If you’re having fun and enjoying the day, the camera will pick that up. If you’re stressed about how you look, the camera will pick that up, too.
  5. Try to think of your photographer as a friend or guide. (I love to talk about the location while I’m shooting, giving the couple details about the culture, the landscape, so they won’t be worried about the photograph). A good photographer will know how to get the most beautiful shots without having to draw attention to what they’re doing.
  6. If you can, choose a photographer who shoots film. There are many reasons for this, but be aware that a photographer who shoots digitally is always looking at the back of the camera, checking his last shot, so he doesn’t have time to engage with his subject. A film photographer has to know what she’s doing because she won’t get to see the shots until she develops them. She is always there with you, in the moment.
  7. Beware of photographers who direct the photograph. They have set shots and they’ll manipulate you into them. They are shooting in the hopes that their photos will wind up in a magazine, so they’ll tell you to put your hand here or there, look this way or that way. The shots you’ll treasure forever are captured in the moment, naturally, with no direction at all. Yes, some formals are important but more than 30 minutes is unnecessary.


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wedding for you and your partner.

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