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Leave No Trace Photography: Sustainable Weddings, Elopements, and Engagement Sessions


Micro-weddings and intimate elopements are some of the most popular ways to get married these days; having an unforgettable experience over a traditional ceremony calls to a lot of couples, and can make an already special day even more memorable. It’s so exciting to see so many people looking for ways to experience the outdoors, but it can be easy to forget about making sure that your experience is sustainable. Adopting a leave no trace photography policy is how I make sure that all of my clients have the best experience possible! 

leave no trace photography: engagement session couple with their dog!
leave no trace photography: engaged couple explore the woods
leave no trace photography: close up of engaged couple

Leave No Trace & Your Wedding Day/Session

Let’s look at the seven principles of leave no trace:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

These are the basics of making sure that you and your partner have a great experience. But they also lay the foundation for each person doing their best to preserve that location for the couples or other visitors that come after you. Imagine – you can picture your perfect wedding ceremony in a dream location, and then you find out that location has been restricted, or closed completely, because the environment was damaged. 

Incorporating these principles into your wedding or elopement (and even your engagement or couples session!) guarantees that you’ll be able to have the wedding experience you want, and that others will be able to do the same. 

leave no trace photography: engaged couple dancing in the mountains
leave no trace photography: engaged couple dancing in the mountains
leave no trace photography: couple with their dog at engagement session

Why This is Important for Photography

I love watching the couples I work with experience a jaw-dropping location with me! A sunset over the mountains, a day at the beach, exploring the forest. And even if it’s the first time you’re visiting that spot, I’ve probably been there a lot! Over time, if I wasn’t conscious of respecting the land around me, picking up my trash, etc., that location would become damaged, lose its beauty, and even become closed off entirely so that no one could ever visit again. I want to be able to capture you as you experience the beauty around you again and again, and adopting a leave no trace photography policy is how I make sure these locations stay beautiful forever. 

leave no trace photography: couple share champagne at engagement shoot
leave no trace photography: engaged couple at sunset in the mountains

Preserving the Best Locations with Leave No Trace Photography

If you’re unfamiliar with leaving no trace, it can feel intimidating to start adopting these practices. But don’t worry – it’s not about doing it perfectly! It’s just about doing your best and encouraging everyone around you to do the same! Since it’s my job to show up to these locations again and again, it’s even more important for me to share these principles with everyone I photograph. And since I’ve been at it awhile, I’m there to walk you through the best ways to make your elopement, wedding, or session sustainable and eco-friendly. 

Here’s some of the things I do as a photographer to leave no trace: 

  • Always bring a bag to carry trash so nothing gets left behind
  • Stick to the trails so that no fragile plants or wildlife get trampled under my feet!
  • Check for any restrictions at the location I’m headed to before I go
  • Photograph the cool stuff I see! And then leave it for the next person to enjoy
leave no trace photography: engaged couple admiring the sunset, black and white

When you’re ready to start planning your adventurous session, I’m here to talk through all the ways we can make it sustainable! 

Elopement ready?

I would love to be your elopement photographer and guide!

My superpower is putting people at ease; whether that's behind the camera or on their elopement day solving problems calmly under pressure. I am passionate about building relationships with the people I work with. 


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