A love of hiking and the outdoors has led Meghann Grah to a career photographing non-traditional wedding photos.
What’s your story?
I’m an adventure elopement photographer — meaning that I photograph untraditional weddings in epic and hard-to-reach places like the edge of cliffs, mountain tops, and miles into the backcountry. I love helping my couples figure out the logistics of their plans and inspiration, in ways that give them once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
What excites you most about your industry?
I love that my industry is promoting taking care of the environment. In order to preserve our wilderness for years to come, adventure elopement photographers are spreading the word on leave no trace ethics and specific rules for each place they’re exploring with couples.
What drives you in your career to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I’m inspired by nature. The more remote I can get, the more alive I feel and many of my couples resonate with this as well. I’m thrilled to work with couples doing more extreme things, like backpacking ten miles into the North Cascades to celebrate getting married, or rock climbing to the summit of a mountain. If your plan to get married is difficult, inconvenient, or just plain wild, I’m all the more intrigued!
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
We can control just about everything — except the weather — so having pre-determined backup plans helps everything go smoothly in unexpected situations.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
In life, as well as wedding planning, you won’t be able to make everyone happy. The least you can do is make yourself happy.
Who inspires you?
I recently visited the Seattle Art Museum to see Imogen Cunningham’s photographs taken in the twentieth century. As a mother and primary caretaker for her children, she did not have the privilege of seeking out ideal situations to photograph like her male counterparts. Instead, she photographed portraits and objects when she had the time. As a result, her images use what photographers think of as “bad” or “imperfect” lighting and it’s stunning. It’s helped me focus more on capturing moments as they happen rather than waiting for ideal situations as I was taught.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
This past year, I’ve been blown away by what I’m capable of, physically. Years ago, I got into hiking slowly, eventually injuring my knee, and recovery was agonizingly slow. Since my recovery, I’ve been conquering more and more difficult trails, the latest being a 20-mile backpacking trip into the mountains, as well as thru hiking the Enchantments (a strenuous 20-mile day hike). Day by day I’m proving to myself that I’m capable of doing things I never dreamed possible.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change much in my life but I would have started reading self-help and business-related books earlier. Learning from others has given me so much confidence that I lacked in my earlier years.
How do you unwind?
Hiking is my favorite way to unwind. I live between Mount Rainier National Park and the Olympic National Park so I have hundreds of miles of trails to explore. My favorite spots are mountain tops with 360-degree views — the endless views really help put your problems into perspective.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your career?
As a teenager, I watched my mom take stressful work home with her every night. I vowed to never do that, and that included never owning my own business as that would obviously be stressful. Nowadays, I view my business as the key to freedom. Through it, I’m creating the lifestyle I want.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Everyone should read Tim Ferris’s ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’. It was the very first business book that I read and it shaped my goals and changed the way I look at my life.
Shameless plug for your business:
Whether you’ve gotten married already or want to elope, let’s go on an adventure and take some incredible photos on the way! I help you by suggesting locations according to your needs and desires, suggesting activities, and more. Your vacation/elopement/”I do re-do” can be so much more than average. Let’s make it an incredible experience!
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.