The day I flipped the switch and decided to make my wedding about my partner and I and who we authentically were is the same day my entire view on the wedding industry shifted. In that moment, I realized that no one other than myself and my partner, Ed, had the right to define what our wedding day should look like. I want the same for you.
My choice to ditch my big, traditional wedding (and a whole year’s worth of planning it!) and elope in my favorite national park instead allowed me to get back to what felt true and authentic to us. I’m a firm believer that eloping can do that for you, too. I deeply care about your elopement. I’m fully invested, because I’ve lived this experience, too. I’m with you, friend.
I’m Sheena, an elopement photographer based out of Fort Collins, CO. I live and breathe elopements, and it’s my job and joy to be your elopement advocate. I think the wedding industry is doing you dirty by force feeding you this idea of what a wedding day “should” look like. I don’t buy any of it, and I’m here to let you know it doesn’t have to be that way.
I want you to look back on your elopement day and think, “damn, I could re-live that a million times over.” I get to feel that feeling every day, because I chose to elope as well. I want that for you.
The reality is, your wedding day isn’t about the table settings, the catered meals, the wedding favors or any of the crap the industry wants you to believe it’s about. It’s about you, your partner, and celebrating your relationship. And my personal favorite part of this job is helping you find that authenticity; to be there when you have that “aha moment” that you, too, can have your wedding your way.
I’m here to help you make that bold decision of taking back your wedding day and planning your dream elopement adventure. Heck, I even host a podcast about planing your own elopement, because I don’t believe in leaving you to fend for yourself in this process. To put it simply, I’m here to be your elopement advocate.
I’m not that photographer with the typical story about growing up and getting my first camera and being hooked. I’m actually the photographer who spent most of her childhood running away from people taking my picture.
Let’s just say that my dad is shutter-obsessed, and he tried documenting basically every aspect of my childhood he could. And I remember hating that with a passion. I get it now, sure. But what I understand even more is the perspective of the people who are nervous about a camera being near them.
I get it, because that’s me too. And I promise, it doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable. Having your photo taken can actually be a lot of fun. Take it from someone who now actually goes out of her way to document her life.
Yes, I adore photography, but the camera is not my everything (although, if you’re curious about my philosophy behind how I shoot and the gear I use, I talk all about that in my feature on Shotkit).
You wanna know what my core purpose really is? It’s you. It’s your experience. Your adventurous love story. Your determination to break from tradition and elope.
Personally, I don’t believe in photographing outdoors elopements simply for the beautiful views (although, I do love a good alpine lake or mountain overlook). And I don’t do it for the sake of being trendy. I do this because I know how special these outdoors spaces are for my couples.
I believe in chasing that amazing feeling you get when you work your way up a trail in the Rockies in the dark to eventually see it magically light up when the sun hits the tips of the mountains at sunrise. And I do this so my couples can have that feeling on their day. I want you to experience THAT freedom during your elopement…not feel confined to some stale, indoor wedding venue.
Believe it or not, I wasn’t always the outdoorsy type. In fact, I was a total city girl for a large part of my life. But the outdoors quite literally changed my life for the better. Mountains became the place I escaped to when I needed to find peace and a sense of self. And at some point, I traded in my high heels for hiking boots, and I never looked back.
I believe the outdoors can and should be approachable for everyone, It’s okay if you’re just getting into hiking and maybe don’t know where to start. We’ve all been there at some point, and I want to meet you where you’re at.
Life’s about finding the joy in the small things, because the small joys in life can add up to something great (confession: this is a lesson I’ve learned from watching my dog be amazed by all the little things in life).
This is the same mentality I apply to photographing my couples’ elopements: find joy in the little things you want, whether or not they follow traditions. Those small things? Those are the ones you will remember.
Ya girl just can’t get enough of the outdoors. I’m a curiosity-chasing, mountain-hiking dork who’s pretty much always itching to plan my next camping trip. Favorite one so far? Our 22 hour trek from CO to Jasper up in Canada (with stops in Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks). Ask me about it, and I’ll pretty much talk your head off.
An odometer with a crazy high number of miles on it is a badge of honor in my book, and trust me when I say that our car has earned that badge.
I don’t just throw around the term “adventurous elopement photographer.” I make it a point of living that life. When I’m not shooting tiny mountain weddings, you can find me hiking the Rocky Mountains and the high desert with my husband Ed, and our pup Zari (scroll on down to the bottom if you’d like to see some photos of us in our element in the outdoors).
But beyond my love for the outdoors, I know what it’s like to feel like the wedding industry didn’t get me. I distinctly remember how crappy it felt when I kept getting told what my wedding day “should” look like, when all I wanted was a simple, adventurous day with a minimal guest list and maximum outdoors time. I literally spent a YEAR planning a large, traditional wedding I knew I didn’t want to have. And I spent most of that time dreading the whole process, until we finally took the dive and had the type of wedding we’d really been dreaming of: an elopement.
Ever since then, I told myself that I wouldn’t let any other couples feel the way I felt. You shouldn’t ever have to feel like your day is something you want to “get over with.” This day should be fun, and it should most definitely feel like “you”. There’s nothing I’m more passionate about than helping you have that day: your wedding, your way. Together we can start a movement and redefine elopements.
October 28, 2016
Sheena + Ed Get Engaged In Seattle
Ed proposes to me on a crisp fall afternoon in Seattle, Washington.
October 29, 2016
They Fly To Atlanta, GA
We begin planning a big traditional wedding, all the while dreaming of a more low key, adventurous day.
Ed and I pick up our lives and move to Colorado to live amongst the mountains. We take this as a perfect opportunity to ditch our traditional wedding and plan an elopement instead.
September 14, 2018
Our Colorado Elopement
After a few months of re-routing our plans, we elope at our favorite national park in Colorado: Great Sand Dunes. Only our parents and siblings are in attendance, and Ed’s childhood best friend officiates.
Background image of us at our elopement taken by Heather Wall
I’ve been lucky enough to have had my photography work featured and published internationally, from wedding publications, news sites, various feature pages and brands. Here’s a quick list of some of the places my work has been showcased:
I’m a firm believer that the places where I photograph elopements are more than just wedding backdrops; these locations are incredible ecosystems and homes to so many amazing animals and plant life. For that reason, I don’t just photograph in these places for the way they look. I also ensure that I’m an advocate for these special spots, too. Not only does leaving no trace help others enjoy these outdoors places long after we’re gone, but the LNT principles allow you to go back and visit your elopement location decades from now, knowing it’ll be just as beautiful as it was the day you said your vows.
Empowering You To Have Your Adventure Elopement, Your Way
Colorado Elopement Photographers + Adventure Wedding Photographers