Let’s run off and escape the world, just the two of us. 

Photo credits: @montanaleephotography

Have you heard of photographers coin themselves as specializing in “adventurous” “wild at heart” “intimate” “elopement” “wild weddings” photos? About a year ago, I started seeing a trend on Instagram with the #DirtyBootsMessyHair hashtag, and started to pay attention to this style of wedding/engagement photography. It started with Portland wedding photographer, Phil Chester’s account.

If you haven’t heard, this popular bohemian take on the traditional couple or wedding photography is marked by these key traits:

  • INTENSE EMOTIONS
  • SPONTANEITY
  • WILDERNESS / TENTS /EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN
  • WARM TONES (PRESETS ARE KING) 

It’s marketed as the adventurous and “wild” wedding/engagement photography. This of course has it’s pros and drawbacks, some of what I’ll discuss later this post.

Huge Disclaimer: Before I continue this post, you should know that I am not a professional wedding photographer nor specialize in couples photography. 80% of this blog post is my observations of a phenomenon I’ve noticed on social media. What I about about to say may or may not be 100% accurate. Please consult a wedding photographer to learn more!

Why I LOVE IT & Why other millennials love it too

I love love. This free-spirited style captures the love behind closed doors, and when the world is just “you and I”.  Emotions, in general, are challenging to capture as a photographer but largely rewarding when done right. When the photo makes me feel feels for a couple that I don’t know… that’s some serious props.

What does it look like? 

two lovebirds tickling in the corner of a studio or making out on a kitchen counter

laughing and rowing away on a boat in simple outfits

a couple laughing and showing pda in the wilderness

Dirty Boots and Messy Hair (Instagram Community 321k)

One Instagram feature account is slowly becoming the dominant authority in this category, and you might have heard of it: @DIRTYBOOTSANDMESSYHAIR. This is their feed:

Basically every photographer with the “Adventurous+Wildly In Love” bio secretly hope to be featured by this page, which has a 321k following on Instagram. This community recently launched its first set of Lightroom presets as well as a blog.

Pros vs Cons of “Dirty Boots” Photography Style: Is it for you? 

Whether you are a couple planning ahead for your dream engagement + wedding photos OR on the flip side, you are a photographer wanting to dip your toes in this market! Here’s some stuff to think about:

Cons…

  • Expectations

Both the photographer and couple have to define how comfortable they are to get certain shots. Since adventurous and intimate couples photography style is experimental in nature, you might be clashing in expectations and comfort levels. However this is something that every photographer has to deal with more or less, so it can be mitigated by just setting clear expectations ahead of time.

  • Trendy

There’s a good reason why certain wedding/couples photography practices or poses are common to see… it’s the timeless element, ones that the couple will want to see in their photo albums for generations to come. If you can achieve that in your style of photography, there’s no problem here.

But…Pros

  • Openminded couples

It’s safe to say that if the couple likes your “edgy” or boundary-pushing photos, you might get away with experimental shots, which can be liberating as a creative.

  • Experiment with different presets and tones

Lightroom presets!! I got to say, editing is half the fun because you get to create the mood in your post-production. Thus, the freedom to try different tones is amazing.

  • Less stressful as a session, the sky is the limit

With an expectation of a more “spontaneous and wild” photo session in this photo style, I would naturally expect the sessions to be less stressful for both parties. Again, I am not a couples or wedding photographer, so don’t quote me on that!

Wait so, is “adventurous” couples photography for you?

Ok, don’t take what I’m about to say too seriously, but! Yes it is, if you enjoy instructing a couple to makeout in front of you, producing edgy photos, and having fun editing photos with crazy moody filters. As for me, I am definitely interested in trying out this boho approach! If I do it, my focus would be using transportation (bikes, subways, trains, cars, and planes) as a theme to really play up the wanderlust/adventurous vibe.

While we’re on this topic, let me share with you a few Instagram couples photographer accounts I’ve been digging lately:

@wynwileyphoto Wyn Wiley: Wiley has an incredible charm that bleeds through his Instagram posts. I saw a photo what appeared to be a regular wedding reception, but the bride and groom are captured GORGING ON PIZZA with their groomsmen. This is what stands out in my eyes. Wiley’s eye for candid raw emotion and laughter is really incredible so I would definitely go show his IG some love. 

@henrysdiary Henry Tieu: He is Seattle-based photographer (local!). What I love about his photography is actually the infectious personality behind it, which you find through Henry’s witty captions and behind-the-scenes appreciation/love for everyone. Of course another reason I follow his account is because Henry is willing to step out of his comfort zone to deliver exactly what his bio declares, which is: “for the ADVENTUROUS + FEARLESSLY in love”. 

@laurkenkendall Laurken Kendall: From the first time I came across her Instagram (found through Heather Roams) I could not stop “liking” her Instagram photos! That’s how I can tell that I love a photographer… just one glance at any of her couples photography, and you feel the love that laurken captures between two strangers that you don’t even know. So rare is that level of talent. 

Ready to start your own couple shoot?

Let me know how it goes, and don’t forget to check out these photographers.