November 20, 2022

Asheville Elopement Photographer : 8 Tips to Find Your Perfect Fit [UPDATED for 2024]

Your Adventure Awaits!
All it takes is finding the right photographer.

Every aspect of your Asheville elopement photographer can impact the success and tone of your wedding experience. From how they choose to capture your day (Do they pose you constantly or let your moments happen naturally?), to how comfortable they are in outdoor settings (Are they wearing the proper shoes or carrying an emergency kit?). You will want to consider their disposition (Are they bossy or carefree?) and the effect they have on your mood (Do they make you feel rushed or calm?).

Your Asheville Elopement Photographer can make or break your elopement experience.
Because your photographer will be with you your entire day and a part of your most intimate moments.

The reality is, that hiring a photographer, especially for an intimate elopement, isn’t just about the photos. It’s about finding the right person to be with you throughout your wedding day. 

Finding the right fit for you as a couple isn’t an easy task. A lot of websites can look the same, and everyone’s photos might look similar. Many photographers promise the same level of dedication and experience to your wedding. So this list is here to help you narrow it down (and see if I’m the perfect fit for you!)

Hey Y’all, I’m Kathryn!

An Asheville native who was born and raised here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Therefore, I know every trail and mountaintop like the back of my hand.

I’m an Asheville elopement photographer and videographer who helps couples have their dream elopement days in the outdoors. Let’s see if I’m a good fit for you with all the tips and info below!

If I do feel like a good fit, reach out on my contact form and we can chat more about your ideal Asheville elopement experience! Let’s dive in!

8 Tips for Picking Your
Asheville Elopement Photographer

Tip #1

Choose a Photographer Local to Asheville

A couple stands in front of their Asheville elopement photographer and poses in a hug in front of john rock at sunset

Finding a photographer who is local to the area makes a major difference for elopements. Not only are you supporting the local economy and community by finding a photographer who lives in Asheville, but you are also going to get much more reliable, informed information and insight every step of the way. A local will know the deets. These include the best local vendors and which destinations are best (and least crowded) for your elopement.  

I was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville. I have spent my entire life hiking and exploring their waterfalls, hiking trails, and swimming holes. That means I know every corner of the region extremely well. I know what roads are closed when, what trails are overcrowded, and what municipality owns the land where you want to get married (and therefore how to get a permit). Locals know best, and I’m as local as they come!

Tip #2

Choose a Photographer Who Specializes in Elopements

An Asheville elopement photographer takes a photo of a couple looking up into the stars with headlamps on. The mountain landscape is in the background

A traditional wedding is a very different experience from an elopement, and that means the photographers who specialize in these two events have very different skillsets. Hiring someone for your elopement that works solely with couples who are eloping is the best way to make sure your photographer is a skilled professional in the type of experience you want to have. 

Photographers who shoot big weddings might not be up-to-date on all the different aspects of elopements, like permit processes, guest count maximums, hike difficulties, elopement vendor recommendations, or even ways to celebrate that are a little outside the box. These photographers have their own specialties — like being able to get a crowd together for photos — but those aren’t necessarily what you need in an elopement photographer.

Plus, it’s just generally true that someone who focuses on one thing is usually the best at that one thing, whereas those who juggle multiple things don’t necessarily develop expertise in any one thing. A photographer who specializes in elopements has the most experience with them and is, therefore, the best option. 

I specialize in elopements only because I deeply believe that they are the best way to get married. I’ve witnessed it firsthand, and I know that as an outdoorsy, simple, non-traditional, stress-free, loving girl, I can serve couples best if they want that same experience for themselves.

Tip #3

Choose A Photographer That Helps Every Step Of The Way

An Asheville elopement is captured by a photographer where the couple was just pronounced married in front of a waterfall. The bride has her arm raised in celebration.

Even though an elopement is a much more relaxed experience than having a big, traditional wedding, that doesn’t mean planning it is an easy task. An elopement provides way more flexibility and choices than a traditional wedding, and with so many options on how to personalize your day, where do you even begin?

Rather than hire a planner who would structure your day, choose a photographer who walks with you through every step of the process. The photographer will already be with you throughout the day, so it makes sense to choose someone who can also help ensure every moment is exactly as planned. That way, when the day arrives, everything is ready to go and you’re able to have the amazing experience of your dreams. 

I support all of my couples through the entire elopement experience, from booking, to planning, all the way up to their elopement day and after, answering questions, walking them through ideas, and offering suggestions. Together we plan a day that involves all the experiences you truly want on your elopement day as a couple.

Tip #4

Choose A Photographer Who Values What You Value

The photographer is standing behind the couple walking out on a rock ledge as the sunrise is lighting up the mountains in the background.

You vote with your dollars. That’s why hiring a photographer whose values align with your own is such a powerful act. Not to mention, you have to hang out with this person on one of the most special days of your lives. Finding someone who you want to be around and chat with is such a big factor in your experience! If your photographer doesn’t share what they believe in much at all or have a “why” for what they do, there’s no way for you to know ahead of time if you are going to get along.

I am particularly passionate about eco-friendly practices(click here to learn more). I am also a full-hearted supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and hope to create a space where all couples can come and feel welcome and celebrated on their elopement day (more on that here). I’m a big believer in life being an adventure and some of the most “imperfect” moments being the most memorable. Being in nature is my happy place, and I feel most alive when I’m outdoors.

Tip #5

Choose An Asheville Elopement Photographer Who Cares
About Your Experience As Much As Your Photos

Photo of a couple with s’mores around a campfire with your pup nearby and the photographer just taking pictures of what naturally happens.

Sometimes an Asheville Elopement Photographer cares more about the final photos than the actual experience of the day. It makes sense, in a way: Since their job is photography, they don’t want anything to get in the way of capturing the most epic photos. But the reality is, you’re together to get married, not to take photos. You want to enjoy your day! You definitely won’t enjoy photos that remind you of how constantly directed you were by your photographer. Your feelings and desires for how your day feels matter the most. You’re eloping for a reason, and that’s not to be poked and prodded for good photos.

I believe your elopement photos exist solely to beautifully and professionally capture the day’s moments as they happen naturally. These images are meant to be honest so that they retell the story of your elopement (not re-create some fairytale that didn’t actually happen). Putting your experience first is my priority; the photos and videos are just a bonus.

Tip #6

Choose A Photographer Who Can Also Provide Video

A shot while a couple walks through a rhododendron tunnel after taking a swim in the river in their wedding clothes. They kiss and are holding up their boots while they walk barefoot.

So this isn’t a necessity, but personally, I think it is in a way. Having your day captured on video (and especially your vows recorded fully) is incomparable to only have photos from the day. Photos capture a moment, but video captures an entire experience in vivid detail. 

It’s pretty rare that a photographer can provide both photography and videography without another team member. It’s actually a really tricky thing to do! But my extensive experience in both photo and video allows me to be able to provide both as one person. That way you can re-live the day both ways with more easy and comfort.

Tip #7

Choose A Photographer Who Actually LIVES
an Outdoor Lifestyle

A couple is standing on a mountain at sunrise during their elopement while their photographer takes a photo

If you’re planning an outdoorsy elopement, you want to choose a photographer who gets it. A lot of people view the outdoor experience as “trendy”. Photographers want to capitalize on this without actually living a life that is outdoor-centered. These photographers probably won’t know how to treat the land respectfully. They don’t know what to pack in your backpacks for a day hike, how to start a fire, what types of permits you need, etc. 

So sure, most photographers can follow you down a trail. However, one with an outdoor lifestyle will recognize your passion and capture it with a knowledgeable eye. When you hire a photographer who authentically lives a life that reflects the values you want to embody on your wedding day, you can trust that they know how to make that day happen and capture every moment of it. 

I am the absolute happiest when I’m in the outdoors. I love these moments because, even though they might be uncomfortable at times, they make me feel fully alive! I’ve spent my life hiking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, camping, and doing all the things we will plan to do for your own elopement day!

Tip #8

Choose A Photographer Who Is Wilderness First Aid Certified

Kathryn Ray is an Asheville Elopement Photographer who is wilderness First Aid certified!

Being with someone who knows their stuff on how to protect you in the outdoors is invaluable. If you’re hiking into the forest where there are bears, snakes, bees, and big rock cliffs, anything can happen. How much safer would you feel if you knew your photographer was Wilderness First Aid Certified? That way they know how to take care of you in most situations that might arise on the trail?

I am Wilderness First Aid Certified (as you can see above). I have a lifetime of experience in the backwoods! From week-long backpacking trips to consistent hiking trips, I have done it all. Your safety is my priority. While we hope we never have to employ these skills, I’m ready if we do!

Meet Your Asheville Elopement Photographer

An Asheville elopement photographer stands on a mountain with golden light smiling at the camera with a camera around their neck.

Hey Y’all, I’m Kathryn!

An Asheville native who was born and raised here in the Blue Ridge Mountains and knows every nook and cranny like the back of my hand.

I love helping couples through every step of the elopement process from location scouting, vendor recommendations, timeline creation, and photo and video to re-live the experience forever.

If you’re looking for the perfect adventure elopement photographer around Asheville, I’m your girl.

Let’s chat about your DREAM
Asheville elopement!