What’s an Adventure Session?

January 27, 2021

You had a great wedding with family and friends, but the weather wasn’t the best and there just wasn’t enough time for portraits of you and your partner.

What to do? An adventure session!

Adventure Session Photographer | Adventure Wedding Photographer | Day After Wedding Photos

What is an adventure session?

This day-after, week-after, or sometimes years-after photo session is a way to get awesome, gorgeous portraits in a beautiful place (or multiple places) for a couple hours or an entire day. The result? The amazing candids and moments with your family and friends, plus epic, stress-free portraits of you two that are more frame-worthy than any vacation pic taken by your Uncle Ed.

Scroll down for tons of adventure session ideas!

An adventure session, sometimes referred to as an encore session, after wedding photoshoot, day-after wedding session, after session, or even as a trash the dress session, is an awesome way to get fun, beautiful, laid-back or adrenaline-filled photos of your wedding.

Couple elopes on St. Thomas USVI Kathryn Cooper Weddings
East Jesus wedding photos - Wizard of Oz wedding photography Kat Coop SoCal wedding photos unique
An Alice-in-Wonderland-esque adventure wedding session, Palm Springs

Think of these after wedding photoshoots like an engagement session, but much more fun, more epic, in your wedding clothes, and literally anywhere in the world. Sometimes people wear not-their-wedding-clothes too, and that is perfectly legal!

An adventure session can be done the same day as your wedding (morning or nighttime), the day before, a day or 2 after, or weeks or months after. There are no rules! Most of my day-after adventure sessions last 3-5 hours, but some can be 2 hours, and sometimes couples book me for an all-day adventure.

Adventure session Kathryn Cooper Weddings - mountain climbing photos California

Most couples who have a destination wedding/elopement will book their adventure session for the day after their wedding, while some couples prefer to wait until their on their honeymoon or are visiting a great national park to get theirs. You don’t need to do it with the same photographer who did your wedding, in this case, and sometimes couples do adventure sessions months down the line.

If the pandemic caused your wedding to be more of a courthouse wedding, backyard celebration, or quick elopement, then a day-after wedding adventure session is perfect. You can get all the outdoorsy, adventurous photos you always wanted while social distancing. Seriously, it’s a thing!

Reasons to do an adventure session:

  • Your venue was more for your big family and friends than for providing a beautiful location, so now’s the time to get those photos
  • You are visiting a beautiful place and want epic wedding photos there
  • Time was of the essence, and you just didn’t have enough time on your wedding day to get the portraits you wanted
  • You just want ‘em!
  • There’s a pandemic going on and you want amazing wedding photos even though your wedding plans changed 3,947 times.
  • You’re renewing your wedding vows
  • It’s anniversary time, and you want to celebrate with amazing wedding portraits.
  • You never had the wedding you dreamed of
  • The photographer you hired for your wedding didn’t get the types of photos you dreamed of
  • You ended up with a courthouse wedding and want cool photos now
  • You had wedding dress regret or wedding suit regret. Time for photos in the one you wanted to pick!
  • Weight loss? New muscle? Feel like a new person and want wedding photos that represent who you are now? An adventure session is perfect.

Your adventure wedding session can be as calm, as travel-filled, as close to home, or as adventure-filled as you want. There’s nothing you must or must not do! Some folks prefer a short editorial shoot in their living room with pro lighting. Some want a session with their dogs at their favorite park. And other want an amazing all-day affair that showcases them on beaches, on a hot-air balloon ride, or in the rainforest.

Most of the time, I speak with my couples about what they love (Horses? Hiking? The ocean? The Grand Canyon? Ice cream?), and I scout out the best ways to work those interests into an awesome photoshoot. My couples tend to be pretty darn awesome, so when I suggest ideas for their day-after wedding adventure sessions, they usually say SURE!

Adventure session Kathryn Cooper Weddings - Tirol wedding photographer Austria
Overlooking the Alps in Austria

Cool ideas for adventure sessions:

  • Going in an ice cave in Iceland, Alaska, or BC Canada
  • Heading to Uganda for a safari photoshoot near wild animals (with local protection)
  • Heading around your local arts district for cool graffiti
  • Playing paintball in your backyard—if you’re cool with your dress turning different colors!
  • Going on a ropes course or zipline adventure
  • Enjoying time at a carnival (+ cotton candy, obviously)
  • Wine tasting and vineyard photos
  • Having a snowball fight with your significant other
  • Rock climbing with your partner
  • An SPCA shoot that helps support local animals…and then you can adopt a pet to bring home!
  • Going skydiving in your wedding outfits!
  • Arcade fun, ice cream, and drinking beer at your favorite brewery
  • Hosting a steampunk or sci-fi wedding shoot in your local city (if you enjoy the inquisitive stares)
  • Heading to a waterfall and getting in
  • Ripping around on dune buggies in Utah, Arizona, or Nevada
  • Bringing your outfits to Alaska, the Bahamas, Namibia, or Yosemite NP
  • Cliff jumping into water…in your wedding outfits! Alternatively: Do this off a boat
  • Going up to a mountain on a clear night with your photographer so you can get Milky Way shots!
  • Scuba diving in your wedding outfits
  • Hopping on some jet skis, put your bathing suit on under your dress, and see how long you last.
  • Enjoying a hike with your dog of honor (or cat of honor) in the Redwoods of California
  • If In ‘N’ Out Burgers are your favorite, donning your wedding dress and heading there
  • Kissing under the Northern Lights in Sweden
  • Taking a camel ride in Morocco

Even if my couples want cool photos without any adventure per se, I can still use my creative wedding photo ideas to come up with unique takes on images. Whether it’s wedding photos around the local art scene or creative wedding photos taken at nighttime in the desert, I love coming up with innovative ideas to surprise what my clients expect (while delivering traditional adventure shots too, of course!).

Hanging out in the clear waters of the Caribbean

As a destination wedding photographer who scouts out and thoroughly researches locations, there’s nothing better than photographing in gorgeous locations while showing couples places they never would have seen. Oftentimes, my clients tell me that their adventure session was the only time they got to see a different side of Hawaii, or Arizona, or New Zealand.

So, whether you’re having a destination elopement, a backyard wedding, celebrating your COVID wedding a year later, or honeymooning in Glacier National Park, bring your wedding clothes, book an adventure session, and get the most amazing wedding photos ever!

Adventure sessions | Creative wedding photographer | Destination wedding photographer | Adventure elopement photos

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Yes, yes, YES! I love adventure sessions! I love that you called them “encore” sessions! I’ve never heard them referred to as that and it fits perfectly. Such great advice and awesome location ideas! Well done.

I can’t take credit for making that up, but…I’ve been doing them for so many years that I don’t remember what I originally called them! 😀 Such fun, and my couples love them, so all is good!

How fun! Love all the adventure session ideas!

What gorgeous photos!! Adventure Sessions are so much fun! Such great ideas and examples for couples to pick from! Love it! ❤️

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the typical adventure elopement spots and forget that there are some incredibly cool things to do, sometimes in our own city! This post really illustrates that with all the varied ideas for an adventure session and what that day could look like!

Thank you Christie! Yes, sometimes couple can only elope locally and then want to do something cool in a non-adventurous place. Cities have so much to offer with art, backdrops, etc.!

Wow! Look at all these fun adventures you’ve taken these couples on! That is SO FUN. Its great that you’ve offered up so many different ideas for people too!

I love this!! Your adventure sessions are truly spectacular, and it’s such a great idea to offer these 🙂

Wow, those are some amazing example photos and ideas for adventure sessions! I love the stand up paddling, this couple rocks!

Thanks Daniela…the SUP couple is definitely one of my favorites!