Are you planning a short-notice, small wedding or elopement?

Many couples don’t want to wait. They are planning to get married in the very near future, eloping, or rushing a small ceremony with their photographer, some close friends, and family but dispensing with or postponing the reception party. 

View WPJA photo stories from smaller weddings - WedElope | Choose love, not fear!

California - Central Wedding Photographers

Wedding Photographers of California - Central, United States

Central California Cities: Fresno, Central Coast, Visalia, Tulare, Madera, Modesto, Merced, Porterville, Turlock

California - Central Elopement Photographers

In recent days, some of our North America photographers have expressed their desire to accommodate couples who don’t want to wait to be married and are rushing the ceremony.

Many brides and grooms around the globe are planning to elope and deciding to reschedule their original ideas for a big event. They are getting wed on a whim, but dispensing with or postponing all else.

The WPJA has an abundance of top-ranked, documentary-style elopement photographers who are available right now who understand that some weddings can’t wait. Find yours today!

Most Recent WPJA WedElope Story Awards
August 13th, 2020
Marriage Photos from a Civil Ceremony at City Hall of San Francisco | The big moment when they were about to be announced as husband and wife
August 12th, 2020
Honeywood Farm - Western Cape Elopement Photography | The officiant gives the groom a hug after a personal joke
August 10th, 2020
Florence, Tuscany Romantic Elopement Photos | This couple chose to have an intimate wedding in the heart of Florence in light of COVID-19

Elopement Photographers for Small United States Weddings

Shooting an elopement or small California - Central wedding event is a wedding photojournalist’s dream: a fairly open schedule with lots of breathing space for creativity – it’s just the photographer, the couple, the officiant, and perhaps a few select companions.

Members are ready to document any city hall, town hall, courthouse, or elopement wedding, even if it is a Monday-Thursday ceremony. Search for the “Can Shoot Weddings on Short Notice!” message on the listings below.

We are anxious to create a picture story chronicling your modern, unique, boutique, small wedding from beginning to end. In this sense, it is no different from any other event that we have covered. The emphasis is on documenting key moments, capturing spontaneous displays of emotion, telling your real love story, as well as creating artistic portraits and details.

Map of Wedding Photojournalists Serving California - Central Couples

19 Documentary Wedding Photographers...

San Francisco Wedding Photography by Stephanie Secrest

Stephanie received her Master's degree in photojournalism from top-ranked, Ohio University. She was invited to attend the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop, a national forum for top photojournalists. She has also received awards in one of photojournalism's oldest, largest and most highly respected contest, the Annual Pictures of the Year competition of the National Press Photographers Association, among other organizations. [Santa Barbara Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
3300 (USD)

My name is Gingi Freeman. I am a photographer, artist, storyteller and mother of two adorable toddlers in Visalia, California. I often shoot alongside my husband Jonathan, where we love to capture real moments and raw emotions. My non-intrusive approach to weddings allows couples to relax and be present in their moments of happiness rather than focusing on posing. That’s what I want to deliver with each assignment, a meaningful and beautiful storyboard. I am a crazy cat person, adventure seeker, Christ follower and overall geek! Some of my hobbies include traveling, gardening, dropping random Mel Brooks movie quotes, going to comic book conventions and making frequent trips to Disneyland. I are located in Visalia, California but travel to many cities and states for wedding photography, my primary passion! [Visalia Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
1400 (USD)

Chris has had a great love for art since he was a young boy. At age of 15, he earned his first second-hand camera from his father. Since then, he was always “the photographer” among his friends and family. He finally turned this passion into his profession in 2007. Wedding is one of the events Chris loves to shoot. He believes it is one of the most beautiful and joyful event in life, and he understands how every moment, from engagement to the end of the wedding day, means to the couples and their families. Through his artistic eyes and un-obstructive approach, Chris documents these precious moments into elegant, story-telling photographic images that the couples can cherish. Chris is a destination wedding photographer based in San Francisco, California. [San Francisco Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
4500 (USD)
Los Angeles wedding and elopement photographer Annie Bang of CA

I’m a moment junkie. I studied Journalism in college and I once was a journalist based in Seoul, including for The Associated Press. I strongly believe that the absolute best way to re-live the most special day is by looking at your photos of real moments and emotions. Both my academic and professional backgrounds have influenced my documentary and photojournalistic wedding and elopement photos. And these timeless and priceless photos define who we are and nothing makes me more thrilled than documenting our lives as they are. Life is a series of moments, and those moments are fleeing away from us instantly; that is why photography is incredibly powerful and important to our lives, and I feel extremely honored to be part of every moment. I do what I do, coming from my heart, passion, and love. I love listening to all kinds of music nonstop. I love eating/cooking food - especially noodle soups. I lived in Panama for about 6 years when I was a kid. But my Spanish is really embarrassing. I visited the most secluded country North Korea twice when I was a reporter. I love wandering around and reading books about why we are the way we are. [Los Angeles Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
2500 (USD)

I fell into my passion for photography at a younger age and used it as a means to document the world around me. Having been fortunate enough to be trained by photographers such as American Photojournalist Ed Kashi, I continually push my storytelling and photojournalistic eye each year. Fascinated by human expression and interaction, I began photographing weddings and elopements and haven't looked back since. My goal is to create a relaxed atmosphere for my clients so that they can feel comfortable, be in the moment and enjoy themselves on their wedding day. I don't want to just take photos for my clients, but instead, I want their photos to speak for themselves. I am a California based documentary wedding photographer who also travels anywhere. [Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
4600 (USD)
Brenda Bergreen: Colorado Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer

Being a wedding photographer allows me to combine my passions for art, creativity, photography, adventure, love, and people. As one half of a husband and wife photography team, I have the honor of witnessing as couples commit to their relationships alongside my own husband. We specialize in capturing people in nature and in documenting the stories of adventurous couples. [Denver Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
5000 (USD)
Lake Tahoe wedding and elopement photographer Matt Theilen, of California

We are Matt and Tara Theilen–just two people in love with life and passionate about what we do. We met in 1998 when Matt was living in his VW van, spending winters rock climbing in Joshua Tree while Tara was finishing up graduate school in Tucson. Over the next 9 years we were friends living our lives in different places. We would see each other and hang out from time to time, mostly high up on a rock face or on some long, mosquito-ridden approach in the Sierras. We were both rock climbers and sought out the solitude and adventure of the mountains. We soon fell in love with each other and naturally, we united forces photographing weddings and building this amazing business together. [Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
5500 (USD)
Taiwan and Taipei wedding and elopement photography by Will Tee - Asia WPJA

Will is the co-founders of SW Photo Studio. He is a passionate photographer who has grown up and resided in many different places such as Malaysia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, the USA, Japan, and China. The rich experiences of traveling and crossing between those different cultures have made him a fully open-minded person. Will has not only appreciated those lessons life had taught him but also tried to get inspired and fulfill them into his photography works. [Taipei Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
2000 (USD)
Denver wedding photographer Jenae Lopez serves couples in Colorado

Based in the gorgeous state of Colorado (Native here!), I spend my days roaming mountain-tops with Clients, and exploring all that this state has to offer with my little fam (Twin boys, hubby and the coolest German shepherd EVER.)! Being a wedding and elopement photographer in one of the most beautiful states in the country allows me to really pull together my love for documenting the adventure, real-time moments, as well as creating some Epic Environmental portraits! I love problem-solving lighting and all the "think on your toes" aspects of weddings, and thrive on the fact that no two weddings are ever the same! I love the spontaneity of emotions, weather, and all unscripted moments! I have been many times referred to as a "photo-ninja" (probably my most favorite compliment ever...), so you can bet I will be jumping in Rivers, climbing on rocks....or whatever it takes to get the shots! If there are kids at a wedding too...you can also bet I'll take 7689 photos of them...because kids do funny stuff. (Fun fact: Top notch service and experience for my clients is a must! I was a Catering and Events Manager for a high-end hotel chain for years before becoming a photographer...so weddings and service are ingrained in my blood! I like to offer that little "extra" service and experience to all my clients...helping keep planning and the day running absolutely smoothly and just as intended!) [Denver Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
2000 (USD)
Kristina Cazares Neri, San Diego wedding photographer of Anza Foto + Film

Kristina knew she wanted to be a photographer since before she knew how a camera works. She ruined countless rolls of film as a child because she wanted to take photos but had no idea how to operate a camera. Luckily for you, her passion for photography continued on into her professional career. Her idea of a perfect day is being in a beach house in Baja with friends and family eating Mexican food and sipping on margaritas. She loves being a wife to Eric and mother to their little boy and girl, [San Diego Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
3500 (USD)

I use a documentary approach with a fine art style to my wedding photography capturing real & raw emotional moments.  I don’t see photographs as just a job. I have the desire to create beautiful images that tell love stories through photos, I can help you tell your own special love story in a way you’ll remember and cherish forever. [San Jose Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
2500 (USD)
Sacramento Wedding Photographer Raymond Nguyen - CA

I have had a passion for photography for as long as I can remember. Since a child, I was delighted in how a moment can be captured through the lens of a camera, and how time stands still within the frame of a photograph. I approach every project with professionalism and a will to deliver quality and value to my clients. I believe that exceptional photographs can only be taken in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, and so I make every effort to make sessions as enjoyable as possible and to put clients at ease. ​When I first used a camera, several years ago, I would never have imagined I could become a wedding photographer. Bang and I opened our first studio in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, experimenting in different styles and adapting to the needs of the local clientele. Little by little, we realized what we were looking for in our photos was emotion, which still life or classical studio photography could not offer. Real people, their expressions, their emotions, this is what we wanted to capture. Choosing wedding photography was a natural consequence, as it offers the unique opportunity to capture human emotions in all their shades ​I believe it is in the nature of humankind to be attracted, and sometimes, upset, by what is different from us, as in a way it represents our opposite, our contrasting personality. I never found it easy to show my emotions and my sensitivity, to express my real self and let go completely, displaying my vulnerability. I guess this is why what attracts me most in weddings: the ability to capture the emotions expressed without filters, with no fear of showing what you really are and what you are feeling. A smile, a hearty laugh, tears you’d like to hide, an emotional hug, these intimate moments fascinate and seduce me, and this is what I base my photography on. Static poses created with affected emotions are not my cup of tea; I want true spontaneity. [Sacramento Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
5500 (USD)

Doug is an award-winning photographer based out of San Francisco Bay. His style is documentary with drops of lifestyle. He is known for his peaceful and positive demeanor, and ability to easily connect with family and guests. Doug has shot near 450 wedding events since 2002 from San Francisco to Seoul and Big Sur to Bangkok. Seen as an extension of the family, he gets in close and comfortable, being quickly accepted and forgotten, while framing the perfect shot at the height of the moment. Departing a bit from his days as a photojournalist, Doug prefers to photograph from 'inside the circle' instead of out... often ending up as a longtime family photographer and friend. Published in leading blogs such as NPR, Brides, Style Me Pretty, Snippet and Ink and Le Magnifique, his images are treasured by the professional community. Doug is listed as one of the top 30 photographers in the world by the Wedding Photojournalist Association and is a preferred talent on premiere venue and coordinator lists along the California coast. [San Francisco Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
3750 (USD)

Devon is a photojournalist with years of experience working for newspapers such as The Aspen Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Malibu Times. He has won numerous Colorado Press Association Awards. He currently splits his time between southern California and Aspen, Colorado with studios in both areas. When not photographing weddings and news events, Devon plays guitar and sings in his band. [Los Angeles Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
3400 (USD)

My love for photography had long since began. For me, photography was simply a hobby that transformed into a passion. For several years, I would take a lot of pictures of my relatives and friends. It was more then just a snap of the shutter; it was capturing memories that could be cherished and passed down forever. I am more of an observer than a talker, I believe the most important element to be captured in a photograph is emotion. The more emotional the shot is, the more it appeals to our senses, and the greater the connection we feel to it. If a picture conveys emotion – whether it’s happiness, surprise, sorrow, disgust – then it stands out! I find a moment and then tell a story. For me, photography is all about capturing authenticity, movement, spontaneity, and mood.. we can help you feel and preserve your emotions more vividly. As a photographer, I can make a unique impact on how your wedding is remembered, not just in pictures, but in emotions. [San Francisco Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
2000 (USD)

I would describe my style of wedding photography as photojournalistic. While capturing formal portraits are important, I also believe that catching the ambiance of your day and the life-force of your invited guests is of equal priority. With a gentle eye, I will steer your formal photographs to best reflect your personalities, while simultaneously documenting those subtle yet profound candid moments that make up such an important day. I keep a keen watch as the day naturally unfolds so you have a document long after the day has passed you by. High school introduced me to photography and there I spent my waking hours deep within the dark room. Upon graduating, I set off to art school to study Fine Art Photography (2001-2005), where I was introduced to art theory and artist's studio practices. After college, I flexed my logistical side and worked with art fair companies (2004-2012) to share contemporary art to communities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and New York. Soon I transitioned into a small business owner and realized my goal of becoming a full-time photographer. So if you will, find comfort in knowing that art and photography are a part of my physiological make-up and the path I've taken shows this. Photography is more than a passion for me, it is the frame in which I have chosen to live my life. My camera and I stay vigilant throughout your day, which no doubt will have many moving parts, while maintaining an unobtrusive and honest presence. Stay in the moment and I will do the rest. KIVA LOAN PLEDGE — I pledge to make a Kiva loan for every wedding that I book. This is something that has been important for me to integrate into my wedding photography business model early on. It hasn't escaped me how becoming a small business owner has changed my life for the better and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see my goals through. I believe when you are given a chance to work hard towards a goal that leads to a better quality of life, a life that you deliberately design for yourself, it can be transformative and ripple positively outwards. The empowerment that results is truly priceless and I believe that all people have the right to choose what they want for themselves and see their goals come to fruition. Struggle is real, I've been through my share, and I feel it's time to do my part to help fellow builders and dreamers. [Los Angeles Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
1250 (USD)
California Bay Area wedding photography by Dana Todd

Hey! I'm Dana Todd and I'm the owner and lead photographer of Dana Todd Photography Despite what most people think a photographer's bio should say, I was not born with a camera in my hand, nor had an interest in photography until my daughter was born. My dream as a young one was to work for Disney as an animator. When that was shot down quickly, I scrambled to find out what I was going to be doing in my life. That led me to finish my AA in fine art, and pursuing any job, which landed me at Walmart for two years, Costco for 9 years, Victoria's secret for a day, and a lab manager working for my Dad for nearly 8 years before calling the W-2 shift quits to pursue photography full time. Though it's not the final destination of my career (my current dream is serving up the brewed coffee bean in some form in my own coffee house), it has been an awarding one so far. What I will say though is as long as I can remember, and the stories my parents and grandparents told me, was that I have always been creative in some way. From detailed drawings at the age of 4 to create a heavens bliss in one's home with decor and ideas, I know that I do carry that artistic string through my blood. I love upcycling home decor and furniture items, but since Joanna Gaines has taken that spot of glory, I'll stick to it as my hobby. I cannot resist an amazing homemade chocolate chip cookie and am one of the few that cannot eat ice cream because of the carrageenan. My friends say that I'm artistic, determined, funny, outgoing, bold and: My sister though calls me Martha Stewart. [California - Northern Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
4500 (USD)
Nayarit wedding photography by Erin Parker of Mexico

Our lives are all collections of moments and I am a photographer because of moments. Capturing and sharing them is my joy. I'm an award-winning photojournalist available to shoot your wedding or family gathering wherever it is. My documentary approach is unobtrusive, honest and subtle. I blend in. I make my subjects feel comfortable. I watch, I wait and work hard to never miss a moment. I have a master's degree in photojournalism from Ohio University. I worked for newspapers in New Mexico, Maine, Delaware, Virginia, Montana & Washington. My domestic & international photography has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, Women in Photojournalism & College Photographer of the Year. My little family summers on Bainbridge Island, WA and we spend the rest of the year living a life less ordinary in San Pancho, Mexico. [Nayarit Wedding Photographer]

Starting Price:
2500 (USD)

2 more photographers available for your wedding...

250/hour US Dollar

David Jon Photography: David Jon

Clovis in California, United States

David Jon Photography is a modern wedding and portrait photographer. It started in Philadelphia, now based in Los Angeles, California and available for events around the world. My passion is to get to know you while capturing the joy and happiness...

3800 US Dollar

Derek Wong Photography: Derek Wong

Honolulu in Hawaii, United States

Hawaii’s very own renowned wedding photographer, Derek Wong, has captivated his audiences with his inspiring editorial wedding images. Derek thrives on creativity and explores every wedding to capture honest and romantic images. His...

Wedding Venues from California - Central

Please select a venue below to view all associated winning photos.

WPJA Communiqué: Features
jperlman elk cove inn ceremony
Everyone always says that your wedding day is all about you. But let’s face it; that’s not always actually the case. Many couples stress over guest lists, planning, expenses, and all the frills and traditions of your standard large wedding that they may or may not even be interested in. Fortunately, though, the concept of small weddings is becoming increasingly popular for couples who either want to be able to completely customize their day where and when they want with the option...Read more
While some of us were fortunate enough to be born as extroverts, not everyone feels the same way. For a good chunk of the population, any number of the typical wedding day traditions can inspire anxiety and existential dread. This day is all about you, yes, but does that mean all the attention has to be on you as well? FROM VOWS TO CHITCHAT, WHICH REMAINS SACRED? Traditional weddings often require some degree of performance on the part of the couple, whether that is in the form of reciting...Read more
It’s no secret that these are strange times we’re going through right now, and there are many couples out there with weddings set in the near future who are left feeling uncertain and concerned about their futures. While that’s understandable, it’s also important to remember the reason you’re getting married in the first place; not for the grand celebration, but because you love each other and want to be together. REMEMBER WHAT'S IMPORTANT You’re in this position now, about to get married, for...Read more
While some people live for the hustle and bustle of a big wedding with extravagant décor and an impossibly long guest list, others find these kinds of weddings to be too much hoopla, preferring instead something simpler and quieter, allowing for more intimacy between them and their fiancés on this special day. So how do you infuse your wedding with all the romance but none of the fuss? ALONE AT LAST Many couples these days are opting to elope rather than planning a large wedding. For the no-...Read more
Not everyone has a lagoon or glacier next door, but there's no rule saying you can't have a small wedding in the great outdoors. Take advantage of natural sunshine and that open, airy feeling and give your guests some room to breathe! LESS IS MORE Instead of hemming your guests in on all sides, give them some elbow room, and legroom, too. There's no need to induce claustrophobia when you've got a wide, open space. Let your guests take in the view, especially if you've got a spectacular one. You...Read more
Oftentimes when people are considering a venue for their weddings, they search for a location away from home, whether that be ten minutes or ten hours, all just to find what they already have: a place that holds meaning for them, that feels comfortable, or that they find special and memorable. But what could hold more memory, meaning, and importance than your own home? For those looking for that perfect venue, it may not be any further than beyond your threshold.Read more

RAVES, REVIEWS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Eleanor & Dave

Photo by Douglas Despres

Doug you did the most FANTASTIC job! The photos are all so beautiful I can't even make a favorites list because they're all so great. I confess that I even teared up looking at them it was such a happy day and you captured everything. We're so grateful for all your efforts, we really can't imagine having had a different photographer there to share our day with us. Thank you so so much!

Christina & Jeff

Photo by Devon Meyers

Dear Devon, It's been so wonderful meeting you and getting to know you a bit. I can't thank you enough for all you did to make my wedding memories perfect. The pictures are lovely and I can't wait to see the rest. I hope we have occasion to work with you again but most definitely to see you. I really can't thank you enough! xo & love, Christina

Christine & Bryan

Photo by Douglas Despres

"Doug these are amazing!! I can't even tell you how much I'm in love with them! You did such an incredible job and I cannot thank you enough! They're unreal!"

Kiley & Josh

Photo by Douglas Despres

Dear Doug, Thank you so much for sending these images, and for the images themselves which are outstanding. We love so many of them, the hard part is going to be selecting the ones that go in the album! We'll have more time to look and select over the weekend, so we'll probably write to you then or early next week. Again, many thanks for your work -- we are very impressed :) Best, Josh & Kiley

Christy & Stuart

Photo by Gina Clyne

We wanted to drop a quick note and tell you how awesome you are. You got in the spirit and came prepared, and brought so much happiness from behind the camera to whoever was in front of it. We're so grateful to have had you as part of our day, and can't wait to recommend you to everyone we know. (And everyone we don't -- so please let us know any and all sites where we can leave you reviews!) Much love, Christy + Stuart

Lauren & Jason

Photo by Gina Clyne

Gina these are so great!!! It's so fun seeing them after time has gone by and the weather is cooling off. Such an awesome summer day that you captured SO well. We love these, I cant wait to comb through all of them. Thank you for your amazing craft. The family pictures are so special!