Let's explore more with Kortni Maria! Kortni is a professional elopement & wedding photographer based in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. She offers untraditional imagery and timeless portraits for free-spirited couples who dare to get out there into the wild!
With her deep sense of adventure and love for the great outdoors, Kortni is your go-to gal who knows all the best spots for capturing the perfect candid moments. Whether you're looking to elope in the forest, propose on a city rooftop, or even hold a wedding across the country, Kortni has years of experience shooting astonishing photos at various locations including New York City, the Adirondacks, and even Washington state!
Read more about Kortni and her work below!
Where are you based? Did you grow up in Upstate New York?
I’m based up in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York in the tiny town of Schroon Lake. My family moved here from Florida when I was just under 5 years old, so I’ve grown up here for most of my life. It really feels like home!
What’s your favorite part/thing about living in The Adirondacks?
I absolutely love all the beautiful nature! I enjoy hiking + paddle boarding, so the many lakes + mountains are my favorite. I think it’s so cool that I get to incorporate my love of nature into my job too.
What's your favorite town/city in Upstate New York?
The small town of Keene is just 30 minutes north of where I live and it has to be my favorite place in the Adirondacks. I go up that way for work a lot + the drive is just breathtaking – it never gets old! There’s so many great hikes in that area, cool locations for photoshoots (waterfalls, rivers, open fields with mountain views, etc.), and is where one of my favorite local coffee shops (Old Mountain Coffee Co) is located - I always make a pitstop there when I’m in town!
How did you get into wedding/elopement photography?
I’ve always been artistic, but not very good at traditional drawing, painting, etc. I had a few older friends that were into photography and they sparked my interest in it, which led to me buying my first real camera. I kept falling more in love with photography and eventually realized how much I enjoyed photographing people! I shot my first wedding back in 2014, but I started shooting + loving photography when I was just in middle school.
For over 2 years I was the Creative + Branding Manager at an international non-profit organization up in the Adirondacks where I managed all of their photography, graphic design and video content. I’ve now been a full-time freelance Wedding + Elopement Photographer since 2018.
What has been your most interesting photoshoot experience?
I’ve fallen into quite a few bodies of water while taking photos + those always make for great stories now!
The most “cool” interesting work experience I’ve had yet was probably when a client had my husband and I fly out the Washington state to officiate + capture their elopement in Mount Rainier National Park. I always feel so blessed to live in the Adirondacks + get to shoot in amazing locations, but that place was just on another level. An experience I’ll never forget!
Any tips or advice for couples who are planning to elope on a mountain?
The biggest thing I can think of is to find a local photographer that knows the area well + can help guide you into choosing the perfect mountain/hike! Some more practical, helpful tips I tell my clients are the following:
Wear good hiking boots + proper hiking attire (lots of layers).
Pack wedding attire by hanging or clipping the dress + suit onto your backpack(s) in their garment bags or neatly roll them up + place them in your backpack(s). Also, bring some wrinkle release spray if you’re worried about anything looking wrinkly!
Bring some extra makeup + a mirror or phone (for touch-ups after the hike, before you change)
Wrap the bouquet in a damp towel + place some type of plastic over top of it before securing it onto your backpack. This will help keep it looking fresh for when it’s time to use it!
What is your favorite Upstate New York hiking trail?
This one is tough because I love so many hikes up here!
Here are my top 3 in the Adirondacks that I really enjoy + have done quite a few times now:
Indian Head – This one is rated hard on AllTrails + is a 10 mile hike round trip. This has to be the most iconic view in the Adirondacks and is well worth the long trek.
Mount Jo – This one is rated moderate on AllTrails + is just under a 2 mile hike round trip. This is one of my most requested hikes by clients. It’s pretty quick and has some incredible views of the high peaks + heart lake.
Severance Mountain – This one is rated moderate on AllTrails + is just over a 2 mile hike round trip. This one is only a few minutes from my house + has a beautiful view of Schroon Lake.
Any cool spots in Upstate that you know of that not many people know of?
There are all sorts of hidden gems here in the Adirondacks! Split Rock Falls is always a favorite on a hot summer day. It’s a magical little double waterfall with a deep pool, perfect for jumping in + swimming! It’s located right off the road and it’s a local favorite. It also happens to be a very photogenic spot, so I’m always down for a shoot there!
How do you achieve your #upstateofmind?
When my husband and I take that first plunge of the season into the cold spring waters of a swimming hole on a super hot day!
And we have to ask… what’s your furry friend’s name! Can you tell us more about your cute doggo?
Her name is Rosy! My husband (Mike) and I are completely obsessed with her – she has to be the most spoiled doggo in the world. She just turned 2 this winter + she’s an F1B Golden Doodle that loves hiking and being outside just as much as her parents!
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