Breathtaking Wedding Photographs Make a Great Case for Eloping in Iceland


We don’t know Ohio couple Sarah and Josh personally, but we like the way they think. Because when wedding planning got to be a bit too much and they decided to elope in Iceland, they cancelled all things but one: their photographer.

They brought wedding photographer Gabe McClintock along to capture their elopement, and the photographs he left them with leave no doubt at the wisdom of their decision.

McClintock, a former photojournalist who has been shooting weddings full-time for about six years, was all set to travel to Ohio for the nuptials a few months ago when he received a call from Sarah asking if he’d be available to fly to Iceland and shoot their elopement instead.


For McClintock, who told us that Iceland had always been on his bucket list, the question was met with a “does a bear s*** in the woods?” sort of reaction, followed by figuring out if he could make the logistics work around this dream-come-true assignment.

In the end, he managed to make it work and (pinching himself all along the way, we would imagine) traveled to Iceland for two days where he and the couple let the Icelandic landscape and spontaneity be their guide.

“We just hopped in the car and drove,” McClintock told me over the phone. “If we saw an awesome landscape or some great light, we jumped out the car and started shooting.”


To that end, his photojournalistic background really came in handy. All of the images were shot in natural light, and all but a few with his Leica M 240 using either the 35mm or 50mm Summilux ASPH. The ones that weren’t were shot with a Canon 5D Mark III.

As far as post-processing, McClintock told us he tries to keep things minimal. “I like taking an image as it actually was,” he said, “not as I imagine it could be.” And so post-processing involved bringing the photos into Camera RAW, applying the Kodak Gold 200 present from the VSCO Film 05 pack, and a little bit of Alien Skin work at the end.

The results are something to behold, and might convince a few more couples to ditch the big wedding (and all the stress that goes along with it) and just fly their photographer to an exotic destination instead.

Below are some of our favorites. You can see the full set over on McClintock’s blog:















While we had McClintock on the phone, we couldn’t resist asking him about the experience overall. This was his first time in Iceland, a bucket list destination for just about every photographer with a pulse, so we asked him to try and put the experience into words:

I can’t even describe how incredible Iceland is. It’s very raw, it feels like you kind of stepped back in time, because it’s so barren and there’s nobody around for miles.

The experience was humbling… unforgettable… Pretty much just look up ‘amazing’ in the thesaurus and list the words.

Well, we give him an A for effort. To see more of McClintock’s work or follow along as he creates more beautiful wedding and engagement photography, head over to his website, check out his blog, and give him a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

(via Huffington Post)

Image credits: Photographs by Gabe McClintock and used with permission

  • Brandon

    Flipping incredible shots…

  • lemmohr

    While all these photos are gorgeous, I think these photos benefit the photographer more than the couple. In most of the shots, the couple are not even in 1/16th of the photo. You wouldn’t even recognize them.

    most wedding couples would want to see ‘themselves’ AS the subjects.

  • yamaha83


  • oldtaku

    Definitely some gorgeous landscapes. And the couple look so happy… no… actually, they look kind of… like the pain of existence is too much. Picture #4: ah, I guess I must bear this touch, since there is no God and existence is meaningless. Are you still touching me? Stop touching me. I must away to mope afront a fjord.

  • Gannon Burgett

    If the photographs are hanging on their wall or are printed in a book on their coffee table, I have a hard time believing anyone would question who the subjects are.

  • Kyle Sanders

    One could assume that this is [hopefully] just a sub-selection of the portfolio of images from the event. Images that are particularly significant to the Icelandic theme, rather than the pictures that are more personal to the couple, and therefore less interesting to us, the public audience.

  • yamaha83

    i wouldn’t say most… you don’t go to Iceland to get closeup shots of just you. Also, I’m sure the couple got plenty of close up shots. What people post and what gets delivered are 2 separate things. I never post any formal shots on any of my social media or website. but i take formals at every wedding. You post what you want to shoot.

  • Eden Wong

    I’ve done lots of production in Iceland, and yes, it’s definitely one of
    those weird places that takes you in and you just keep driving/hiking
    because you can’t wait to see what’s around the corner or over the next

    There’s not too many super easily accessible places that can boast
    the same magic… although I’m in another one now, Havana…

  • Virginia Smith

    My daughter photographed a wedding for a Canadian couple in Yosemite at the top of a mountain overlooking the valley and my soninlaw did video. I can’t wait to see the shots and I think this is a great idea to make the start of life’s adventure together a real adventure!

  • Allen

    While these photographs are gorgeous, I feel like the whole moody/underexposed wedding photos with a tiny couple are going to feel really dated in a few years.

  • Allen

    However, I’ll take these any day over the recent trend of having a fire/tornado/T-Rex in the background.

  • tonyc0101

    @lemmohr:disqus: although I agree with you, it’s apparent that the photographer just gave the couple what they wanted. They obviously knew his style and wanted to use him…and considering that they paid for his trip to Iceland, he had BETTER deliver! LOL

  • David Vaughn

    Question. How do people get access to these locations when abroad (especially in lush places like Ireland?) Do they ask the land owners (or are land laws different there)? Is it in parks?

  • Don Keeballs

    I was just in Iceland last week on vacation. Outside of Reykjavik, the population is sparse. You can drive for many miles without seeing any signs of civilization. My wife and I saw many beautiful landscapes where we just pulled over and took pictures. No need to ask anyone’s permission to be on their land.
    And yes, there were also many parks where you could take fantastic photos and all the parks are free and open 24×7.

    Easily one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.

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  • Courtney Navey

    I’ve been following Gabe for years…so happy to see him finally getting some recognition. His work is outstanding!

  • David Vaughn

    Ah ok. I was just curious, because coming from Texas, if you step on other people’s land it’s basically like you shot their dog. It’s a sign of utmost disrespect. I wasn’t sure if people cared that much over in sparsely populated parts of other countries. Thanks for sharing your experience. :)

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  • Cathy Booth-Smith

    While the landscape is incredible, it bothers me that we never truly see the groom’s face. I think i would recognize the bride, but the groom, no way.

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  • Anonymoused

    So beautiful! I personally think they’re a tad dark, but it could also be my work monitor. What a location..!

  • Anonymoused

    Yeah, but Texas is… well, let’s just say Texas is exactly the kind of place that may have laws protecting citizens for shooting those on their property for trespassing.