From the Rockies to Patagonia: Elopements that Go the Extra Mile
June 28, 2023
Chilean-born adventure elopement photographer Andrea Enger loves to take couples to epic locations to exchange their vows. She says, "I believe that adventure brings everything to life." You can find more of Enger's work at: andreaengerphotography.com (Scroll through to see images from her adventure elopements.)
With the eye of an eagle, the endurance of a mountain goat, and the joy of a wildflower in the breeze, Chilean-born Andrea Enger was destined to become a photographer of adventure elopements. She has overcome her share of challenges as both a Latina woman and immigrant, pioneering into photography with her heart set on a life of creativity. Now residing in Colorado, Enger chooses the (actual) path less traveled: Taking her couples to the tops of mountains or expanses of deserts to exchange vows — rain or shine. “I believe that adventure brings everything to life. I don’t ever want to stop exploring our beautiful planet,” she says with a radiant smile.
Enger’s first memory was of her dad’s camera. “He was always documenting. Our first steps, our first time swimming, our family trips to the Andes Mountains. He is the reason I fell in love with storytelling,” she recounts. She would flip through family photo albums and remember the joy and love captured in the pages. When her father passed away when she was 12 years old, she committed to memorializing beautiful moments for herself and others.
Enger chose to specialize in outdoor adventure elopements because she feels they are the truest, most candid, and sincere way for two people to commit to one another, especially in breathtaking natural environments where they can just be themselves. “I am so much more than their photographer. I curate the scene, paint the picture, and capture the essence of their love,” she says. “There’s no better feeling than when couples trust me with their most important day.”
As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Enger finds adventure elopements exciting because of the challenges. Whether it is summiting a mountain in unpredictable Rocky Mountain weather or scouring the red desert for a bit of shade, she finds that the couples who are open to these kinds of weddings aren’t deterred by the whims of mother nature. “In order to bring their vision to life, it truly must be a collaboration and, of course, an adventure,” she says.
But her challenges aren’t always climatic. When she first came to the US, she barely spoke any English. She immediately enrolled in ESL classes and took jobs where she had to speak more. “It took time, but it slowly improved. There was no other way to do it,” she recounts. When she decided to start her own photography business, she had to learn how to manage clients, create contracts, file business taxes, and market herself—all while still mastering English. One of her greatest assets is knowing her strengths, but knowing where and when to ask for help. “Being a business owner is made up of so many parts. I have the vision and plan, and then I assemble the team to help execute it. You keep your sanity by not trying to do it all yourself,” she says.
Enger is a member of the Colorado chapter of Latino Outdoors, an organization dedicated to getting the Latinx community exploring more outside. They host group rock-climbing events, trail runs, stroller hikes, dog walks, and more. Enger recognizes the need for more inclusivity in the photography industry as well, and knows that it can be much harder for non-native English speakers to start their own businesses. However, “I don’t pity myself for having to work harder,” she says. “I am proud of my Latinx heritage and how far I’ve come, and I am proud of all the others who are establishing their businesses as well. I hope for more success stories out of our community.”
Whether in Rocky Mountain National Park or on the peaks of Patagonia in South America, you’ll find Andrea Enger capturing once-in-a-lifetime photos around the world, for only the most adventuresome couples. To find out more about Enger and her adventure elopements, visit her website.