We’re Maddie Mae, Amber and Tori, the team behind Adventure Instead. We’re adventurous elopement photographers with a passion for helping couples create ideal, intimate, and epic wedding experiences that are entirely unique and true to who they are.
We’re there on a couple’s day to capture bad-ass, jaw-dropping photos of their amazing adventures, but we’re so much more than that too! We pride ourselves in being a couple’s wedding planner, travel guide, adventure buddy, and support system.
Whether a couple needs help picking out the perfect elopement location or they simply need someone to show them how to pack up a bouquet in a hiking backpack, we’re there for it all.
What we do isn’t just about shooting amazing photos (although, we do love that part of it, don’t get us wrong), it’s about being the resounding resource for a couple who wants the unforgettable and meaningful wedding day they’ve always dreamed of.
We’re not there to pose couples uncomfortably for hours on end – we’re there to come alongside them as they make the brave choice to elope and document their incredible day: a love story that we believe deserves to be told honestly and epically.
There are hundreds of factors that feed into providing couples with the authentic, dreamy elopement day they’ve always wanted, but one of those is definitely the gear.
As far as our gear goes, we’re pretty much Nikon through and through. We each shoot independently, but we have very similar bags. Each of our bags contains:
Nikon D750 (x3) camera bodies (each of us attaches 2 to our shooting harness or our pack—the third is a backup body in case one camera fails!)
Nikon D800 (sometimes Maddie will use this instead of one of the 3 D750s).
Nikon 24mm f/1.4
We don’t often shoot very wide, but when we do, this lens comes in handy for specific landscapes (like a tight mountain bowl where we don’t have much room to back up but really want to show off the surrounding landscape).
Nikon 35mm f/1.4
This is a great lens that we use a lot! This is our favorite for getting in close for the ring shots at the end of a ceremony. We also love this (or the 24mm) for night time star photos while our couples are hiking to their ceremony location by headlamp.
Nikon 45mm f/2.8
This is a manual focus tilt-shift lens which we occasional play around with for fun perspectives. It’s also great for getting super close detail shots.
Nikon 50mm f/1.4
This is probably our least used lens, but we each always carry it on us just in case!
Nikon 85mm f/1.4
This is another favorite lens that we keep on our camera bodies. It’s so great for compressing backgrounds and making mountains appear closer and larger. It’s a sharp lens!
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
This is without a doubt our go-to lens as we LOVE shooting long and compressing the background. We are often in the mountains, so getting far from the couple and shooting with this lens can really enlarge the background and allow the mountains to take up the full frame and look even more epic!
This lens is nice and sharp and we each just upgraded to the lighter version of it! It’s safe to say we are obsessed with this one.
Most often, we are shooting with a combination of a 35mm + 85mm or a 35mm + 70-200mm.
Tiffen ND filters
For all of our lenses (except the 70-200) so when it’s very bright (especially on snowy, sunny days) we slap on one of these bad boys and can still shoot wide open.
Nikon SB700 (x2)
Even though we are big natural light junkies, occasionally we are photographing couples getting ready in a dark cabin room before the sun comes up, and for that, we typically bounce a flash.
GorillaPod 5K Kit
Because it’s small and fits easily into our bags. It’s easy to balance on rocks and very handy for nighttime photos.
We also carry tons of backup batteries and memory cards in our bags! If we’re shooting in cold weather, we’re extra careful and carry the batteries in our jackets near our hand warmers to ensure they don’t drain in the cold!
To check out more about us, how we help couples create the ultimate elopement experiences, and to learn how to contact us, check out our website and Instagram pages below.