Santa cruz Documentary Elopement PHOTOGRAPHer


Hi! I’m an unconventional wedding photographer in Northern California.

My name is Melissa. I photograph weddings and elopements for rad, adventurous couples!

I love to give folks a MEANINGFUL and FUN experience that is centered around real moments and emotion. I specialize in working with people who aren't super comfortable being photographed.

Let's ditch the awkward posing and create something worth remembering.


elope meaningfully in the great outdoors

So, you're skipping the traditional big wedding in favor of an intimate ceremony? Awesome! I'm here to help you craft a meaningful adventure somewhere inspiring. Whether you're simply exchanging vows, legally tying the knot or renewing vows, I will be your guide and photographer through the process!


What do I mean by adventure? That word gets thrown around a lot these days. Imagine taking a hike through towering redwoods or to an alpine lake in the Sierras. Perhaps you want to plan a day exploring a beautiful place, complete with a helicopter ride over the mountains or coastline. Or maybe you want to keep it simple and elope somewhere beautiful but easily accessible. Wherever we go, I am here to help you spend your elopement day exactly the way you want to and document the process with candid, meaningful photos. Your elopement day should feel incredible, and I love helping couples make that vision come true.


my approach

As with all my wedding photography, I take a photojournalistic approach to document your elopement day the way it unfolds. I won't stage pretend moments for photos, I won't ask you to pose in cheesy ways, and I won't tell you to fake laugh. In addition to candid photography, we will also make stunning portraits that are easy and natural. I'm dedicated to honest storytelling so that your photos will actually help you remember the way it felt to be in certain moments. Not only that, but I show up with genuine enthusiasm, ready to add positivity to your day. It is an honor to be present at your elopement and entrusted with photography, so I take that seriously!


Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. Before your elopement day arrives, I will be your dedicated guide in helping your plan come together. It's ok if you don't know how to elope-- that's part of what I'm here to help you with!


how i define an elopement

Generally, I consider an elopement to be a decidedly small wedding with 0-25ish guests taking place on a Monday-Thursday. Reach out to me today to learn about my elopement and tiny wedding collections! I offer half day and full day coverage with hands-on guidance starting at $2400.



flip through my elopement portfolio...

client love

“In one word, our experience with Melissa was incredible. Book her without hesitation – she is the absolute best choice you can make for your wedding photography! I could not be more thrilled with our actual elopement day, and the insanely STUNNING photos that were delivered to us after. Melissa made eloping to Santa Cruz exciting and easy--she expertly and patiently gave us recommendations for hotels, flowers and beach locations. On the day of, she was so kind, knowledgeable and prepared – she even brought umbrellas and towels for the beach! Melissa is warm and supportive; she instantly feels like a friend. My husband and I were so comfortable around her, and it shows in our photos. She captured genuine moments bursting with love and happiness; nothing was ever posed or forced. The photos are MAGNIFICENT. The lighting, the backgrounds, the editing – Melissa’s photos are truly art. I am so glad we eloped, and so thankful Melissa was there with us. It was an unbelievably wonderful day, and Melissa added so much to the experience. She made sure we had the most beautiful time, and has given us the most gorgeous photos to cherish for years to come; I give her my very highest recommendation!”


- Katie, 2019 client


Location & Travel

I have extensive experience with the Santa Cruz and Big Sur regions. I am more than happy to help couples navigate the logistics of their elopement when they choose to work with me.


No place is too far away for me to join you on your adventure. Talk to me about your ideas for eloping anywhere in California and beyond.


As a seasoned outdoor adventurer and certified Wilderness First Responder, I have experience and medical training to prevent and handle emergencies in wild places and where help is delayed. I'm proud to be able to help my couples in this way, since any true adventure comes with risk.





Are you planning to elope in Santa Cruz or the Big Sur region? I have already published some detailed complimentary guides on my blog to get you started! More regional guides are in the making.


Big Sur Elopement Guide


Santa Cruz Elopement Guide (updated post coming soon)


When you reach out to me about your elopement , you will receive a client look book with information about my approach and pricing.

Want to know more?

Want to know more? Send me a message today to receive my wedding collection guide and to see if I'm available on your date! I offer various photography collections for elopements and weddings.

Check out these blog posts below for inspiration!


Elopements Page

Santa Cruz Wedding Photographer / Big Sur Elopement Photographer / Big Sur Wedding Photographer / Carmel Wedding Photographer / California Intimate Wedding Photographer / Santa Cruz Wedding Photography