Couples eloping in Sedona can walk away with a visual wedding story that will wow their friends and family and provide a stunning reminder of their special day for years to come.
Breathtaking images don’t just happen, though.
To capture the beauty that surrounds you, make sure and do a little planning ahead of your arrival.
Sure, eloping is meant to alleviate the frustrations and expense of planning a big wedding, but finding the right spot, bringing the perfect dress and friending the best photographer will take a bit of effort and research.
It’s worth the effort and it will pay off big time. The reward will be the most spectacular photos that will last you a lifetime.
5 Tips to Help Create Stunning Sedona Elopement Photos
To help minimize some of your efforts, remember these five things when planning your Sedona elopement photos.
1. Location. Location. Location.
It’s true that it is hard to find a bad photo taken in Sedona, but you don’t want your wedding photos to have the same Sedona backdrop as everyone else’s.
A photographer that specializes in elopement photography in Sedona will help you find the perfect spot that compliments your personality, enhances the emotion of the day and is unique to you.
My personal favorite spot for Sedona elopement photos is Merry Go Round Rock. It is worth the two-hour drive to capture the splendid beauty of the desert Southwest
Most couples that elope to Sedona have their ceremony and take their photos in the same location. Not only does this save money which is often a motivator for eloping couples, but it also creates a better story of the emotion and love of the day, since you’re not running from one spot to another.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to navigate multiple sites, you absolutely can. But the right photographer is even more critical when doing so.
Some of my personal favorite site combinations include:
- Tlaquepaque and the red rocks from Schnebly Road
- West Fork Trail and red rock views near Uptown
- Page Springs Vineyard and red rocks views off Red Rock Loop Road
Notice a theme? You absolutely must include the Red Rocks in your photos. It is what Sedona is known for, after all.
2. The Time of Day Matters
While most seasoned pros bring off camera lighting (I use it for every shot), nothing beats natural light for complimenting an image and creating the mood. In photography, there is an ideal time of day to produce exquisite photos – it is called the golden hour. The golden hour is the hour after sunrise or before sunset that provides a softer hue than when the sun is higher in the sky.
The time right before sunset is the ideal time of day for scheduling your elopement photos. Not only will you look better in your photos, but it is the perfect time to capitalize on the magical sunsets that Sedona is known for.
There is one exception in the area: Oak Creek Canyon. The best time of day to shoot your photos along the creek is about 2-3 hours before sunset. The sun is a little higher in the sky which provides for those captivating photos that have the sunlight filtering through the trees.
3. Bring Walking / Hiking Shoes
There’s a reason why Sedona offers the best hiking and that’s because there is a lot of hiking. If you want those sweeping landscapes, and trust me you do, then come prepared to hike.
You can always choose to change into your fancy shoes once you get there, but make sure your photographer captures a few images with your hiking boots. Those are always the fun images to look back on.
The Red Rocks of Sedona can be a little dusty. Be prepared for your dress to get a little dirty, but hey that’s what dry cleaners are for.
To be honest, those are the imperfections that make photos from Sedona so impressive.
4. Become BFFs with Your Photographer
When making a decision about a which photographer to hire, ask yourself if you can see yourself being friends with her. Having a connection with your photographer will help translate the natural emotion of the day to your keepsake images.
As you go through the process of selecting your photographer make a point of talking with her. Pick up the phone and dial. Better yet, arrange a Skype or Facetime call. No texting. No email. No Facebook.
There is nothing that replaces verbal (and visual if available) communication in this situation. If you don’t like your photographer and don’t feel a connection with her, you won’t feel relaxed. And if you aren’t relaxed it will show in the photos.
Take the extra time in planning here. It may be the most important thing you can do to prepare for your elopement in Sedona.
5. Discuss Your Elopement Photo Ideas Ahead of Time
Thanks to Pinterest and the Internet, most brides have some ideas around the style of photoshoot they want. They may even go so far as to have specific poses they want to incorporate into their session.
In fact, one of the best ways to communicate with your photographer (after you’ve talked to them on the phone, of course) is to create a Pinterest board.
You and your photographer can share ideas back and forth and create a plan for your elopement photos that you will love.
For instance, if all of your inspiration photos are sunsets and you’re getting married at 2:00 p.m., you are going to have a problem. The right photographer will help you work through that.
It’s important to know that not all photographers are created equal. This goes back to becoming BFFs with your photographer. When you get to know and like your photographer, you will trust her when she makes recommendations.
These discussions should happen before you arrive, so the expectations are set and your special day is captured just the way you envision.
When shooting on location, the biggest potential wrench is the timeline. Double check your elopement day hair and makeup appointments, allow for time to travel to the location and make sure everything is pressed and ready to go.
Allow for extra time for traffic and other people running late. In the end, the buffer of time you add into your schedule will help alleviate stress. And if you’re done early, you’ll have time to enjoy a cocktail.
A Little Planning Can Go a Long Way
As you can see, a little planning can go a long way. The best part about hiring and talking directly with a local Sedona photographer is the fact that they know their way around.
The right photographer can provide you advice and recommendations that you might not think of because you are not familiar with the area. If you find the right photographer it will be easy to trust that you are in the right hands.
Marilla and Mitch are both avid rockcliimbers and wanted to have their ceremony on a beautiful overlook in Sedona where they love to climb. The couple planned for a small, intimate ceremomy so they could all make the one mile hike up the cliff to the ceremony place. However, they didn’t think it would snow and ice in Sedona. The day before the ceremony, the couple tried to ascend the mountain and quickly found out that the ice and snow was going to prohibit that location. So, they decided on the base of the trail instead, in a lovely meadown near Cockscomb Trailhead. We think it was the perfect place for them to join their lives together, with panaramic views of the mountains surrounding them. Congrats Marilla and Mitch! We are so excited for you both and wish you the best!
This past weekend, we were honored to spend a weekend with Michael and Alex as they started their life together. The weekend started at a gorgeous private residence in Sedona where the couple hosted a dinner, cocktails and an evening on the grand balcony underneath the stars. They had a very beautiful and meaningful ceremony that honored Alex’s Jewish heritage and the Native American influence in Arizona. We loved this wedding at home, as it seemed to embrace the surroundings. It was wonderful to see Michael and Alex laughing and hugging all their friends and family that traveled to this beautiful area for their ceremony. Congratulations to the wonderful couple!
As a surprise to their guests, Michael and Alex arranged for a jeep tour to shuttle them all to the ceremony. It was a lot of fun watching everyone’s reactions to the ride!
The couple had a beautiful, outdoor ceremony on the lawn of a private residence. Bliss Extraordinary Floral had drenched the ceremony site with sunflowers, the couple’s favorite flowers, and it was so beautiful! Also unique was the wood slate chupa from Classic Party Rentals. It looked perfect! They choose sunset to start their ceremony, which was a combination of Jewish and Native American customs and traditions. the Jewish ceremony was led by the lovely Rabbi Alicia Magal and the Native ceremony was delivered by Uqualla, a medicine man of the Havasupai Tribe. It was amazing to listen to the words, and how this combined ceremony fit the couple perfectly. By the time the vows came, there was not a dry eye in the house! A fun surprise was when Michael and Alex announced to their guests at the end of the ceremony that the private residence was their new home!
Congratulations Michael and Alex, we are so happy for you and are so honored that we were able to share a part of your day. We wish you a lifetime of love!
Florals and Decor: Bliss Extraordinary Floral
Rentals and Chupa: Classic Party Rentals
Catering: Dahl & Di Luca