Wedding and Elopement Process

Yosemite Elopement Photographer

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! You are getting married!! ALKHGSLKFHLKSDJFLKSJF! Don’t worry, nothing is wrong. I am just SO excited for you. I am happy dancing on my keypad!! Okay, so. Let’s chat all about the process and how it should/could look with me as your photographer! Time to learn all about the wedding and elopement process.


So, you recently got engaged and have started your search for all your vendors. It is time to look for a photographer. WHOEVER your dream photographer is, I want you to do a few things before you book with them. First, look at their reviews. Facebook, google, etc. Make sure they have clients to back them up. If they have a bad review, read it, take it with a grain of salt, and look how they responded or see if it was corrected in anyway. How a business handles bad reviews or experiences says a lot about how they will handle things in the future. If they don’t have a bad review, that it completely okay too, obviously!

Next, get full, complete galleries from your photographer to review. One that vibe with according to style and one that would be the most like your wedding in terms of location, lighting, and season. You have to make sure that you like the photographer’s style in all lighting situations.

Lastly, before signing on the dotted line, make sure you have really vibed with your potential photographer. Do they have a personality that will mesh well with you and your fiancé? If you are not sure, check out the about me page on their website, see how they present themselves in their social media posts, hop on a phone call with them, meet for coffee, or even FaceTime. Really get to know them. You are trusting this person with a very special day in your life!


Okay, you have signed the dotted line and paid the retainer. A non-refundable retainer of $700 is due upon booking for me. Now, let’s talk about what the process between now and your wedding will look like with me. So, first off, I will be sending you a little “thank you” gift. You will receive this a few weeks after booking with me. Next, we will get engagement photos scheduled if your package includes that! Almost all of my sessions I do during the week around sunrise or sunset for best lighting! Not sure on when to plan these? Well, turn around time for your gallery is typically between 3-4 weeks. If you are sending out Save the Dates, you do not have to send these out until about 4-6 months before your wedding. You wedding invites can be sent out 2-3 months before your date if you are needing RSVPs back for food counts.


Getting ready for engagement photos. If you need help with outfit ideas, check out my guides on Instagram, my board on Pinterest, or reach out to me! I am always happy to help. Another option, you can bring multiple outfits along and we can decide together! For location, you can choose or I can send you my favorite places and you can choose from those! Now, it is time for our session. Check out how a little behind the scenes of a session goes (scroll to bottom) on my website! Sneak peeks will be posted a few days later on my Facebook page!

After the 2-3 week turn around time, you will receive a gallery that looks like this! It will include the print release with my suggested places, directions on how to use it, and even a print shop where you can order your prints. You can also send the gallery to your parents, friends, siblings, by scrolling to the bottom and clicking share gallery.


Now that engagements are done, we will plan a timeline for your day together. I will send you a questionnaire all about the details of your day. You will tell me the main times, such as ceremony, reception, etc. and then I will create a rough draft timeline of how photos will flow. I will send it your way, and then you will approve it or let me know if there needs to be a change.

Wedding Week

Okay, it is wedding week. I will check in with you at least once this week and make sure we are good to go with the set plans. Maybe even offer you a drink or two! Haha! I will let you know (even though you will already know from the timeline) what time I will be arriving and where I will be arriving at on your day. That way, we are on the same page and everyone is ready to go. If you are eloping, we will go scout locations together the day before if you want and then chat all about your day and how you want it to go.

Wedding Day

Finally, it is wedding day. I will come in, say hi, be girls for two hot secs, and then go off and do all of those beautiful detail photos. Then we will get you both dressed, have out little moments, and then go do our first look (if you are doing one). 10/10 would recommend doing one. We can chat about this as well! After your first look, we will do the bride and groom portraits. Then comes wedding party, family and any additional photos. After all photos are said and done, we have a nice break between 30-60 minutes before your ceremony. This gives you time to go to the bathroom, touch up, and relax.


Ceremony time. Make sure you smile, cry, or just show any emotion! Do not just walk down the aisle or go the whole ceremony without smiling. If you are reading your vows to each other, look up at least once and smile at your hunny. Soak in how they are looking at you. It is a very surreal feeling. If you are having a traditional wedding, tell your hunny to look over at you, and you at him, every once in awhile during the ceremony. Another tip, always be touching. Holding hands, arm around each other, something. It looks much better! YOU’RE MARRIED! Make sure you hold that kiss! It is your first kiss as a married couple, so enjoy it! Once you have walked down the aisle, I will have you kiss again! This is one of my favorite photos! You see everyone you know in the back of your start of forever together.


If you decided to have a reception, here are some tips/tricks that I have seen that I absolutely LOVE. When entering, the couples/parents do their first dances right away while everyone is still there and watching! After the first dances, they do speeches/cut the cake right away! Again, everyone is still there and is actually quiet and listening! This is such a unique and cool idea that I have seen. More people are watching, listening, and being respectful by not being by the bar, talking, and not paying attention. Tip if you do this: have some type of snacks/apps for people to munch on before or during the dances, speeches, and cake cutting!

After you have eaten, I grab you while some tables are still getting served/grabbing food for sunset photos. I promise, it is so worth it! Just to have a 10-20 minute break alone together. To enjoy the last moments of sunlight on your special day. These will be some of your favorite photos of the day. Simply because of the intimate and fun moments you are having now that all of the pressure of the day is off.

Then we go back, we dance, and I head home to edit a sneak peek to have to you the next day! These will be posted on my Facebook page! So, make sure you keep your eyes peeled there!


Your day is over. The dress has been put away, the flowers have dried, and the cake has been eaten. BUT, your photos are still alive and well! My turn around time is 2-3 months! I will put them all on an online gallery. Just like I did your engagement photos! Once you receive your gallery, there will be a package ready for you to pick up at my studio. It will include a special gift, a customized box with prints, and a customized flash drive with all photos.

Wedding and Elopement Process

So, now that you know what the process of before, during and after your wedding day looks like, are you ready to do this thing? I want to be YOUR wedding photographer! Reach out now and let’s chat all about your day! I cannot wait to hear from you!



Elopement, Featured, Wedding

  1. Katelyn Nelson says:

    You’re working is absolutely stunning!! So happy I found you on Instagram. Can’t wait to book with you!

  2. Katie Horn says:

    You and Hailey were such an amazing team at Karlie’s wedding. So excited to watch your business grow ❤️

  3. Emma Gulker e says:

    You simply fantastic at what you do. I love all things creative and you have so much creativity put into your work. Brides if you are considering Sydney for your wedding/elopement and engagement photos—DO IT!!

  4. Briana says:

    Your photos are gorgeous! Anyone would be lucky to have you capture their special day!

  5. Ashton/JP says:

    We are so excited to have Sydney Leigh photography capture our big day! Our fall session with you was such a fun, cozy date night😍

  6. hannah ricard says:

    Hi Syd! i found your page through a friend of mine. over the past few weeks i couldn’t help but scroll through your entire instagram 😂 literally the whole thing. i’d be stoked to win the giveaway. i love creating photo and video projects. either way tho, so happy to have found your page!! xoxo hannah (@sustainable_yogi)

  7. Stephanie Kimpe says:

    It’s so wonderful that you put so much effort into informing your clients! It truly shows that you love what you do and care for your clients!

  8. Emily says:

    You are absolutely amazing!! Love your work!

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