With so many couples forgoing tradition, destination elopements and engagement shoots are becoming more common than ever before. Couples are choosing to ditch the stress, and are instead opting for adventurous experiences with their partners. Some couples are even relying on their photographers to help them plan where to go and what to do. Whether you’re busy planning your own travel schedule for 2017 or you’ve been tasked with finding the perfect location for a client, be sure to check out our list of the coolest spots to adventure with your couples prior to finalizing any travel plans. We’ve got a feeling you’ll approve of our suggestions!
Dramatic scenery and sweeping views abound in the Isle of Skye. Explore the countryside’s lochs and wildlife with your couple in tow. If you’ve been searching for a remote location with tons of space to explore, look no further.
Located 1.5-hours from Lisbon, Portugal, Madeira is known for it’s striking scenery and wine. From Madeira, you can take a 2.5-hour flight to Azores, an equally beautiful island. Similar to Madeira in its rugged nature, Azores features a rocky coastline and lush forests. Both islands are fun to explore and easy to photograph.
Located on an island in the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island is comprised of 28,000+ acres of breathtaking scenery and tons of wildlife. The expansive views and mountainous backdrops are the real showstoppers of the park.
Lonely Planet describes Vis Island as a “captivating, bohemian getaway” and we couldn’t agree more! If your couple loves to swim, explore shops, and bask in the sun, Vis Island is the ultimate destination.
Tumbleweed and cacti photograph beautifully under the expansive blue sky of West Texas. Whether you’re into art galleries and tacos or dude ranches and mountain views, West Texas will steal your heart quicker than you can say “yee-haw.”
A romantic cityscape made up of canals and beautiful architecture, Venice, Italy, is and will always be a perfect spot to document love. Grab your couple and explore the sinking city’s culture and don’t forget to bring a beautiful gown!
Dress for adventure if you choose to trek through Yosemite National Park. The wildlife, surreal scenery, and downright magnificent sunsets will make your journey worth the hike. And while it may be illegal to fly a drone in Yosemite, taking photographs is more than welcomed.
If you’re searching for an out-of-this-world landscape, the Bolivian salt flats are where you need to be. However, we are warning you that conditions in and around the salt flats are rough, so make sure to do your research prior to buying plane tickets! You can read more about shooting in Bolivia by reading our behind-the-scenes with Ekaterina Mukhina.
Home to remote villages and jagged peaks, the Atlas Mountains are seriously cool. You can explore to your heart’s content in the rugged terrain, but just make sure to bring plenty of water and your hiking boots!
Located in the South Island of New Zealand, The Remarkables are just as magnificent as their name would imply. Take a helicopter ride to the peaks of this epic mountain range and let your couple experience what it feels like to be on top of the world.
Home to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona has become quite a popular spot for couples to elope and take engagement photos, and we predict that this trend will maintain it’s popularity in the year ahead!
An actual heaven on earth does exist and you can find it in Bali’s Bukit Peninsula. Well, at least that’s what we gather from the photos! Let your couple explore the world famous beaches, Ulu Watu temple, lively fish market, and more.
One of the least populated regions in the United States might be one of the most beautiful. Alaska is home to mountains, forests, glaciers, rivers, coastline, and wildlife, and one of our favorite spots to explore in America’s Last Frontier is the glacial Portage Lake.
Hardangerfjord is one of the largest fjords in the world and this area of Norway offers adventure around every corner. Waterfalls, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and of course the beautiful waters of the fjord await to be discovered.
Coral Coast, Fiji might be home to one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, as well as lush forests and crystal blue waters. If your couple has their heart set on a beach, the Coral Coast might be their newest obsession.
Known for her imaginative approach and far out concepts, Katya Mukhina (Ekaterina Mukhina Photography) is here today to give us an epic behind-the-scenes look into her work. Earlier this year, Katya traveled to Bolivia for a pre-wedding shoot with one seriously adventurous couple. The photos taken during Katya’s trip are beyond cool, and it’s so fun to finally understand how these surreal images were captured. Enjoy!
This unique location is not the easiest to get to, but moreover, it is difficult for people from lowlands to feel well there. At the height of 3700 meters, the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni desert are once in a year covered with a thin layer of rainwater. The air is thin and very dry, the sun is harsh, and conditions change drastically from +20 to -20 when the sun sets. The real adventure is to fly here to do wedding pictures both for a couple and a wedding photographer. In 2010, I made wedding pictures here for the first time and had to wait 6 years for the next adventurous couple to be ready to fly to Bolivia. The salt flats are not the only location to shoot in Bolivia. Over the duration of our trip, in a 4×4 jeep with an extra gas barrel aboard, we reached 4900m heights. Our aim was to take pictures with geysers, flamingos, llamas, pink and turquoise color lagoons, 6000m volcanoes, remote and harsh deserts with no one around. Our team was really small – two people: me and my backstage videographer & assistant. No make-up artists, producers, setup designers. We did everything all by ourselves.
In our behind-the-scenes video, you can see more pictures and the shooting process.
We had 2 days in La Paz, Bolivia (3700m) in South America to prepare all props for the session. I’ve been shooting weddings for 13 years, and have covered more than 30 countries during that time. With each location and couple, I am adapting my photography style to capture true emotions & adventure or classic portraiture & romance or surreal fine art photography. Here in Bolivia, I decided to add a surreal feeling to our pictures. So, we decided to prepare a minimalistic style ceremony set up – a white door and huge 2 meters wide mirrors for our photo shoot. I’m from Russia, so to realize this project, my knowledge of English and Spanish was essential. In two days in an unknown town at 3700 meters, we found mirrors, carpentry, a priest, and bought 5 last row seats on a bus and traveled 12 hours to Uyuni, hugging a package with mirrors. Maybe people will say I’m crazy, but I wanted to do something different and express my artistic vision.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/1250, f/8 ISO 400 shot at 26mm
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/500, f/5,6, ISO 400 shot at 16 mm
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/400, f/5 ISO 250 at 28mm
One of the difficulties about this location was the lack of wind, which made the water look like an endless mirror. Also, we had to be very careful with the salt water, as not to drop our cameras.
For our bride and groom to feel better we brought oxygen bottles from Peru with us. However, we all had stomach and headache problems, but I hope our sufferings were not in vain.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/1600, f/9 ISO 500
On the final day of our adventure, the bride wore a short wedding dress, which allowed for us to do some fun dynamic shots running, playing, using plastic balls in the air and toy T-Rex.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/200, f/22 ISO 1000 shot at 35mm
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/1600, f/9 ISO 500
At sunset, I used a monopod for better angles.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/640, f/9 ISO 400 at 28 mm
Adventures continued at 3700 – 4900 meters plateaus with surreal landscapes.
To explain what I wanted from the couple, I used radios so that I could create perfect movement and composition.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 70-200 2.8 L, ISO 2500, 1/1000, f/5 at 145 mm
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/1250, f/8 ISO 1600 at 16mm
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/400, f/11, ISO 400 shot at 16 mm
Light conditions were harsh during the day, windy, no shadows at all. At 4300 meters trees do not grow. So I had to use remote flashes as if shooting with the sun behind the subject.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, 1/1000, f/11, ISO 800
By night time, the temperatures got up to -20 C, so we did photos only in warm clothes.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 30 sec. f/ 2,8 shot ISO 3 200 shot at 16 mm
Unfortunately, we lost our matches, only 1 match was left and this is the only frame that I was able to capture with the help of my assistant and our driver and sparklers.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 30 sec. f/ 3,2 shot ISO 800 shot at 16 mm
Big thanks to Katya Mukhina for giving us such an in-depth look into her creative approach! Want to see more behind-the-scenes work? Check out our Behind the Photo series!