Beautiful venues, pristine gowns and everything else that goes with a traditional wedding concept are great – but some of us like a touch more adventure on the big day! If you’re a couple who likes to explore the great outdoors, you need a wedding photographer who loves it, too. Why stay inside when you can elope on a mountaintop or spend the weekend camping in the backcountry? If an adventure elopement in the Rocky Mountains sounds ideal, look no further for your dream wedding photographer than Darren Roberts Photography.
Darren Roberts is something of an icon in the Banff wedding industry. His incredible photography skills and passion for adventure are matched only by his commitment to providing his couples with their dream wedding day experience. We’re super excited and honoured to welcome him to the Rocky Mountain Wedding Collective.
We had a chat with Darren so you could get to know a little more about the man behind the camera!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I have a great wife, four kids, and a Bernese Mountain Dog! We love spending time in the mountains.
When I’m not working, you’ll find me out hiking, 4x4ing, and camping. And it’s not just something I do during the summer – it’s something I do all year round! Can’t get enough of those great outdoors.
How did you get started in wedding photography?
While doing my undergrad with the goal of becoming a dentist, I was a hobbyist photographer. But I found myself doing anything I could that was related to photography when I wasn’t studying. After a little while, I got asked to do a few weddings. Next thing I knew I had jumped ship by diving right into photography and building a business shooting weddings!
I also ended up getting a Design Degree with a major in Photography, all while still shooting. At the time it was all city weddings until I did a push for mountain weddings. Now all I shoot are mountain weddings! Around 70% of my work is elopements and 30% are traditional venue/reception based weddings.
What services/packages do you offer?
My full day packages for traditional weddings are pretty standard, but the key is that I focus on providing an adventure-based experience during the portrait session of their day.
As for elopements, I have a great relationship with Rockies Helicopters doing Heli Elopements. I also specialize in custom day hike packages and 3-day backcountry excursion packages. Some of those are tent based camping and others involve staying at a backcountry lodge with everything catered. It really depends on the experience the couple wants to have.
Where is your favourite spot to shoot wedding photos around Banff + Canmore?
My favourite areas are the ones you don’t already see online. If everyone is shooting at a particular place and you see it on everyone’s website over and over… it’s generally a place I try to avoid. I’m all for unique spots and new locations. After doing this for as long as I have it’s hard to have a new place to go every time. So, if I’m shooting in old places, I’m trying to put a new spin on it to give it new life and a fresh perspective.
How would you describe your philosophy when it comes to shooting wedding photos and working with couples on the day?
My goal is always to meet the needs of my couples. Most of them come to me looking for suggestions. Depending on those needs or goals, I always try to deliver an experience that is memorable and provide the imagery to showcase that unique experience.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I think most photographers define their aesthetic by the way they edit. I just want the imagery to reflect the way the day felt. My editing usually follows that. My only goal is to keep things pretty true to the way they look. I’m not one to desaturate the greens or make everything look really orange like a lot of the trending edits right now. Only the wedding dress and flowers should date the photographs, not the editing.
What is the question you hear most from couples?
We don’t know where to go. Can you help with this?
You bet! That’s one of the things I enjoy doing. I usually prefer being very hands-on when it comes to the planning. Most of the couples I work with are from the US. So they have never been here. It’s a lot easier for me to plan that ideal fun, adventurous, experience, than for them to try and figure it all out on their own.
What is the most important advice you would give to couples when it comes to their wedding photos?
It’s one thing to see nice images online. But be sure to call or facetime with them prior to booking and make sure you are a good fit. A great way to get to know a photographer and their personality is to follow them on Instagram. While I’d love to work with everyone that inquires, the call goes both ways. On some calls I learn I’m not the best choice for a couple’s style, expectations, or personality. When that happens, I have no problem referring them to someone I think would be a better fit.
When thinking back over your photography career, are there any particular moments, stories, or couples that stand out?
I have several couples that stand out. Most of them are couples I have spent a lot of time with, usually a result of hiking in the backcountry. That provides a lot of time to get to know each other well. Once that day is over, I’m not just the photographer, but find we are good friends and keep in touch long after the wedding day. Some of them call me up when they are in town during an anniversary, or if they come out to the mountains to do some hiking. I can say I have gained a lot of quality friendships as a result of the relationships I’ve had with my couples.
“Darren’s positive energy was exactly what I needed when our commissioner did not show up. Imagine how heartbroken, upset, embarrassed, frustrated, and disappointed I was when he did not appear on our wedding day. Darren immediately tried to find a solution and made the best of the worst situation.
My happy ever disaster ended up being a glimpse of heaven when we took Rockies Heli to a beautiful location. Ralph, our pilot was amazing, and the relationship he has with Darren made our experience even better. Darren is undeniably talented, but his kindness, calm demeanor, and positive attitude really helped get me through the morning given our unfortunate situation. Behind the perfection of our wedding photos is the story behind them, which makes me appreciate them even more.”
“Darren. Is. Incredible. We did a hiking wedding in October and stayed two nights in a backcountry hut. He made the entire experience remarkable, we could not have done it without him.
Darren was our photographer, guide, and coordinator all in one and woke up early every morning to location scout. He gave us the jacket off his back and the gaiters off his feet, whatever was needed, and he made our wedding day PERFECT. He made us feel comfortable, safe, and natural in front of the camera. The photos are candid and incredibly beautiful. He captured all of the laughs and the tears.
And on top of everything, the pictures are BREATHTAKING. He captured every single special moment. Hiring Darren was the best wedding decision we made.”
You can find contact details for Darren Roberts Photography here.