How to Become an Elopement Photographer (with Maddie Mae)

POSTED IN : Creative Rising


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Creative Rising Episode 405


With the majority of big weddings either postponing to next year or pivoting to smaller celebrations in 2020, wedding photographers have had to learn how to pivot their businesses to offer coverage for elopements and small intimate weddings – many for the first time ever.

However, the number of couples that have been ditching the idea of a big wedding and choosing an intimate elopement has been on the rise for years – and Maddie Mae noticed this in 2015.

After 5 years photographing big wedding days, Maddie found herself burnt out and jaded with the performance and production of big weddings, but that all changed when she photographed her first elopement. Immediately she knew that it was her greatest passion and she took the leap to go “all in” and created Adventure Instead, her high-end brand that specializes in adventure elopements only.

Now, 5 years later, she runs a Forbes-featured and Rangefinder-award-winning, kickass team of 3 adventurous female photographers (herself, Amber, & Tori) who travel around the U.S. and world helping eloping couples bring their vision of their own intimate & meaningful wedding experiences to life.

In this episode, Maddie shares:

  • Why so many couples have been choosing to elope (even before 2020)
  • The biggest myths & misconceptions about elopements and intimate weddings
  • How to pivot your business to become an exclusive elopement photographer
  • How to offer intimate wedding coverage if you DON’T want to become an elopement photographer, but need to book business NOW
Join Maddie’s FREE Facebook Group Here
Learn About Adventure Instead Academy Here
Learn About Maddie’s Leave No Trace Program Here




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We teach photographers to build life-giving businesses that they absolutely love.

About Us

We're Jeff & Erin

We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren – and it’s our mission to help you thrive not just as a wedding photographer, but as a business owner. It’s time to set aside the stress and comparison of a hustle mindset, and build a life-giving business instead.

We met in college, got married, and started corporate jobs before we discovered (and fell in love with) wedding photography. But like many creative entrepreneurs, we were booking anything we could, strapped to our laptops and living dangerously close to burnout.

So we dug in and learned how to build a thriving business that supports our dream life – instead of a joyless business that runs a stressed-out life.

Today, we photograph only 10 Dreamie weddings per year, but we also run two other wedding brands plus a commercial studio in San Diego, CA. And we do it by only working the hours that fit into our life. The other hours? We spend those living a joyful life raising our two beautiful sons, James and Samuel.


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