What to bring hiking for your adventure session or elopement day

It should be no surprise to anyone, that I think adventure sessions are the best. But I’m also the person that loves making itineraries and lists, and planning everything out before they take a trip or travel. I want to get to my destination and be prepared to have fun, and eat good food no matter what the day brings! It is with that spirit I bring to you my tips for being prepared for your adventure session. We can’t control what nature will bring, so here are some things you won’t want to forget!

Don’t Forget!

  • Hiking boots. Weather appropriate footwear. Please, please, please, do not show up without real hiking boots to protect your feet. And do not attempt to wear new hiking boots for the first time at our session if we are covering more than a couple miles. It’s okay to bring shoes for that you’d prefer to wear in the photos that are the style you are looking for. But while on the trail, your feet will thank you if you are wearing shoes that fit comfortably, and won’t leave you wanting to hike back barefoot. 

  • Coats. It’s not for the photos, it’s to keep you warm between photos! If the weather is going to be cooler, or if rain is predicted at all, bring your rain gear and coat. If you want to wear outerwear in some of the photos consider attractive wraps and outwear. 

  • Snacks and water. No one needs to get hangry or dehydrated. If we are in a remote location, or if we are finishing our session late in the summer after sunset, it’s going to be hard to find somewhere to get a meal after your adventure session. So plan ahead and pack food and extra water. Maybe even consider a picnic break into your adventure session, it could make for some really great candid photos!

  • Blankets. For sitting on, and keeping warm. They add some variation and personality to your photos. 

  • Headlamps. We may plan to hike back in the dark after a sunset session, or sometimes timelines just go a little longer than originally planned. It’s really hard to drag a photographer away from good light and a stunning view haha, so have this in your pack. 

  • Winter garments for warmth! Fleece/wool leggings and under-layers, gloves and hand-warmers, toe-warmers, wool socks, a thermos of hot tea, etc. I’ve been known to show up with hot toddy supplies for everyone during winter sessions ;) 

The Legalities

And while I have your attention, let’s not forget the legalities! You should have

  • ID and Wallet
  • Permits | In Washington you most likely will need some type of Recreation Pass or Permit depending on the location you choose. Additionally, places like National Parks require permits for photography. You’ll want to make sure you have the correct one with you, and I can help with that!  You might need a Discover Pass, Northwest Forest Pass, America the Beautiful Pass, or maybe even a Seasonal Permit for Washington's Sno-Park trails in the winter. 

If eloping you’ll need these wedding Items:

  • ID and Wallet
  • Documents for Marriage License 
  • Permits
  • Wedding Attire
  • Wedding Rings
  • Vows

Leave No Trace

These guidelines will always be respected and recommended when we are outdoors. 

Leave No Trace Seven Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces 

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

4. Leave What You Find

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

6. Respect Wildlife

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Visit https://lnt.org to learn more.

This fact sheet was originally created by and is reprinted with permission of American Hiking Society www.AmericanHiking.org

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Photography by Betty Elaine is a Seattle Adventure Wedding and Elopement Photographer in the Pacific Northwest. Servicing weddings throughout Washington and National Parks, including Snoqualmie Pass, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic Peninsula, North Cascades, and San Juan Island. Betty's professional work features beautiful editorial wedding photography, elopements, and anniversary sessions. Travel is available to other locations outside of the Washington area for local, national, and international wedding photography. As a wedding photographer with a passion for adventure and travel photography, Betty has photographed across the United States, and Europe.