We love engagement sessions! We love them for a number of reasons, but probably top on the list is that it gives you the chance to have beautiful, professional photos taken of you not on your wedding day. A sweet time of enjoying one another with absolutely no pressure, no time constraints, and tons of personality. We love that it can give you the chance to just be yourselves and get lost in one another’s arms for a couple of hours.
Often times, when we meet with engaged couples, we spend a good chunk of time talking about location options for their engagement session. And probably the biggest question is, “where can we go that isn’t brown?” It definitely depends on the time of year, but there are tons of places! Arizona is such a beautiful state that gets a bad rap because it is different than most of the rest of the country. But seriously, friends, (and it took us a few years of shooting in the desert to be able to say this) Arizona has some of the best light of anywhere! The way it dances in the desert and makes the creamy greens and tans and pinks come alive…ah we are in love. So, trust us when we say the desert is where it’s at! ;)
Today, we’ve got five of our favorite outdoor locations for engagement sessions in the Arizona sun. Some are desert, some are a little greener.
1. Queen Creek Olive Mill – First up is this little-known gem out in Queen Creek. We love the romantic feel of the grassy area with the afternoon sun soaking through the olive trees. We love the cafe lights strung overhead and the picnic tables. We also love the olive groves out back and the open fields with views of the mountains. Best time of year to go? Winter, when the sunset is earlier, so that there’s time to grab a bite of delicious dinner afterwards!
2. The Superstition Mountains – The real, raw, open desert is quickly becoming one of our absolute favorite backdrops! It is hard to beat those creamy greens and that warm evening light that brings everything to life. Drive about 20-30 minutes east of Mesa on the 60, and stop at any trailhead for incredible views and amazing sunsets. Just beware of the cactus spines everywhere! Make sure appropriate footwear is included in your engagement session wardrobe! Best time of year to go is spring, when the desert is green and the cacti and wildflowers are in bloom. So beautiful!
You can see Christina and Jason’s desert engagement session here.
3. Sedona – Of course Sedona had to make the list! Just a short drive north out of the Valley, and you have a backdrop that speaks for itself. There is no where else like it on earth, and it is in our own backyard. Sedona boasts so many options, so whatever your style, there is a location to match. We could not love it more. Best time of year to make the trip? Anytime. Seriously, it is perfect year-round. Summer is hot, but so, so worth it.
See more of Jessica and Daulton’s Sedona engagement session here.
4. The Mogollon Rim – This is where we get the green, friends. Erin’s California mountain-loving heart beats a little faster for sessions on The Rim, and we’d love to do more up there!! So much green, and such incredible views. The Mogollon Rim is just past Payson, so a couple of hour drive east of the Valley, but oh so worth it. It is hard to believe this is even Arizona, right?! Blue mountain lakes, towering pine trees, and expansive views. One of our absolute favorite places to shoot and to just be. If you are tired of the 200 degree heat in the summer, that’s the best time to head up to the Rim, for about a 20 degree difference. Ahhh.
5. The Salt River – Another one of our favorite places to shoot when the weather heats up, but it is gorgeous year-round. Just about 20 minutes outside of Mesa, the Salt River boasts tons of little spots off the side of the road that make great photo spots. Depending on the time of year, sometimes the river is low and sometimes it is high, so there’s always a new and different look around there. We love the peaceful, natural vibe the Salt River brings to your photos.
Check out more of Alyssa & Nathan’s Salt River engagement session here.
Want more engagement session ideas? Here are 5 ways to tell your love story with your engagement session. And for fun e-sesh inspiration, here’s our Engagement Session Pinterest board.