FAQ | Sam Starns Adventure Elopements | Western US and beyond

frequently asked questions

Below are some of the most-asked questions when thinking about hiring an adventure elopement photographer.

What are your COVID policies?
We have rescheduling policies for COVID lined out in every booking agreement, but also require that any unvaccinated individuals we work with be masked indoors, as well as masked outdoors when social distancing is not possible. We appreciate your cooperation to keep everyone safe.
What's the difference between working with Sam and working with an Elope Your Life team member?
Not much, if anything! While Rachel's elopement photography collection prices are slightly lower for a limited time, your experience will be the same, and your images will have the same style, composition, and editing.
So, do you and Rachel both photograph our elopement?
It's very rare that an elopement needs two photographers! Rachel and I are team members and both help with planning, but only one of us will be photographing your day.
Why is it important that both of us be on the initial consult call with you?***
This photography process and experience is ALL about relationships, which includes the both of you. I don't go into this thinking it's just "the bride's day" (or similar sentiment), and want to hear from BOTH of you about your hopes, wishes for the experience, and who you are as people. This is a collaborative experience, and I've found my best work (and Rachel's), and your best experience happens when we're all on the same page from the get-go. This doesn't mean a partner has to be incredibly involved in the rest of the planning (I often end up predominantly talking to one person over the other), but I want to make sure we all vibe! If there are extenuating circumstances (long distance, etc.) where both of you can't talk, there are alternatives we can set up! But in all honesty, if one of you just doesn't care to be on the call (or what I hear frequently: "He's letting me have the wedding as long as he doesn't have to do anything"), we likely aren't the best fit.
We don't plan on booking you but would like some vendor recommendations. Can we just shoot you an email?
This is an email I get more often than you'd think! I'm able to provide all my booked couples with customized and tailored vendor referrals, including officiants, florals, planners, HMUAs, instrumentalists, and more. If I'm not your cup of tea, I highly suggest leaning on the photographer or planner that you book for customized resources.
Can you share some of your locations with me?
While I love showing people new and beautiful locations in person, it wouldn't be fair to booked clients or myself to provide info that I've spent countless hours collecting. Often people inquire wanting lots of info and resources when they plan on going with someone cheaper who doesn't provide any of that (likely part of the reason why they are cheaper) Booked couples get a full range of location planning, though! Again, I'd encourage you to lean on your photographer for location inspiration, since that's what most good elopement photographers provide, whether they've been there before or not.
What is the difference between an adventure elopement and an adventure session?
While both are adventurous and outdoorsy, an adventure elopement is intended for those getting married. An adventure session is more like an anniversary or engagement session. Or just because! Adventure sessions require less in depth planning, but can last from 2 hours to an overnight backpacking trip.
Do you photograph larger weddings?
Probably the most frequently asked question I have when people first inquire. I currently do not book any weddings with more than 20 people or those in traditional wedding venues. While I'm jazzed about any two people starting their life together, my photography and soul really come alive when capturing intimate weddings and elopements. I'm also able to provide so much more to my couples that way.
How do I book you?
Shoot me an email via my contact form so we can get to know each other! We'll hop on a quick phone call so I can get a better idea of what you're needing! It's SUPER important to have a relationship with your photographer (I mean, I'm gonna be with you all day), so getting to know each other is key.
Can I see a full gallery?
Of course! Before booking, all peeps get a link to one or more full galleries. That way you are able to see the full spectrum of a typical day. The stuff you see on social media is not reflective of any photographer's full body of work.
I'm awkward in front of the camera. Is that an issue?
Most of my couples say this. I use a combination of posing and prompting to get you interacting, playing, and having fun. Oftentimes, it already feels like we know each other before photographing even starts. It's why CONNECTION between the two of you (as well as myself) is so important!
How many images will my gallery have?
It all depends on how many hours you have for coverage but the best answer I can give you doesn't have a number: your gallery will have enough images so it can effectively tell your unique story. A good estimate is 200-300 minimum fully edited images for a full day elopement. From there, it's on more of a sliding scale, since many traditional wedding images are of the reception or family portraits.
How long will it take to get my gallery?
Waiting sucks. I know. Within a week, you'll receive some sneak peek images to share and use for elopement announcements. I always work to get you your gallery ASAP, but a full gallery of hi-res images can be expected to be delivered in 5-7 weeks.
Do you have anyone to order prints or other "cool stuff" from?
For sure! Via your online gallery, you're able to order through my professional lab (your friends and fam can too!). They have amazing heirloom products on top of your typical prints, like canvas wall art, calendars, beautiful albums, and more.
It looks like you do some level of planning. Are you a planner too?
Good question! I know the permits you need, the marriage license details, and have top vendor recommendations I can refer to you. All you have to do is make a quick call and tell the vendor what you'd like. I'll send you all the permitting info you'll need so all you have to do is fill it out and send it in.
Who owns the copyright?
While you'll have personal printing and sharing rights, I'll retain the copyright to the images themselves. This is standard with 99% of photographers, since copyright really means "I took the photo".
What's your travel schedule like?
That's a good question! Some dates are reserved for personal adventures, but most of my schedule revolves around couples and when their elopements are. So in reality, the sooner you book, the more likely your date is available!
Do you photograph anyone?
I hate that this has to even be said today, but: You bet! The outdoors is for everyone, and everyone has a beautiful and unique love story. So let's doooo it!!
So you officiate, is that extra?
Nope! If you're wanting someone to just pronounce you married and sign the paperwork after you read personal vows/letters, I'm your gal. I include this as an option for all my elopement couples with absolutely no more than 2 guests. Though I HIGHLY suggest hiring an officiant who can bring magic into your ceremony.
Is travel included?
Based on the location of your elopement, any collections I send you will have my travel included unless it's a unique situation.
How far in advance do people book?
I have couples book anywhere from 3 weeks prior to their date to a year and a half out. In general, I say the sooner the better, because once you and I are in cahoots, the more time you'll have to book lodging and activities that may be booked up once the day gets closer. It also means your preferred date and location is locked in! I've had couples wait and my availability gets booked up. And that's not a fun convo to have.
We want you and want to make sure we snag a date. Can we make payments?
Firstly: yay! Secondly: YES! I set most of my couples up with monthly payments after their initial retainer. Everything is just due 30 days before the big day. That means the sooner you book, the lower monthly payments will be.

"We were just overwhelmed with Sam's help in finding essentially our wedding location. She planned out several different places for our actual portraits. I knew from the moment we met in Crater Lake for our engagement photos that she was gonna HAVE to be the one who captures our wedding day. She’s everything rolled into ONE."

Choosing adventure has never been so easy.


We’ll be in touch up until your elopement day to coordinate locations, timelines, and make sure everything’s kosher. This process is an experience, not just another thing to check off your to-do list.

Let me know when you’re ready to book, and I’ll send you an agreement and retainer to remit. Once we’ve got you booked, I’ll send over your elopement guide, location and vendor information, and you’ll have full access to my list of resources.

Shoot me an email via the contact form!

We’ll hop on a quick phone call and

I’ll answer any questions, we’ll get to know each other.

I’ll send over collections that fit your vision.