i love that couples have started to hire photographers to capture their wedding proposals. i've shot about a half a dozen now, and every time they are so exciting! i get butterflies in my stomach right before someone gets down on one knee to pop the question, and i giddily run up to the couple (after they're done canoodling, of course) to shout congratulations. ya, i get a bit excited. spencer's proposal to maddy was no different. dead horse point at sunset was the perfect back drop for their cliffside picnic. their home is chicago, but they were on vacation out west, checking out all the beautiful national parks that the moab area has to offer. happy wedding planning to these two! thanks for letting me capture it all. :)
seeing as how these two are getting married this weekend (!!!), i figured it was probably time to get their engagements from this spring up on the blog. i swear, one of these days i'll catch up on blogging!
if i ever met a couple that was absolutely in love, no question, it would be emily + chris. they were so at ease during our time together, dancing around, laughing uncontrollably, and snuggling up without any direction from me whatsoever. chris brought a cowboy hat along, so i knew we'd be fast friends. disclaimer: i love country music. not only that, but they're both dog lovers. if you follow me on social media you might know that we recently added a puppy to our family. i wasn't able to bring him along for our photos, so chris and emily came over to our place in the morning for muffins (with bacon!), coffee, and a puppy walk. it was just like hanging with old friends.
they're getting married this weekend in the mountains above salt lake city, and i cannot wait to get up there to capture it all! i've been spending a lot of time in the mountains lately, escaping the heat and the hordes of people that come to moab in the summer, so i'm really looking forward to seeing these two again on their big day. xo
every so often i get an inquiry for solo portraits. 90% of the time i’m photographing couples for their engagement photos at canyonlands national park, or their elopement at dead horse point, or their wedding with all their family and friends at sorrel river ranch or whispering oaks. but sometimes i get an e-mail from a solo traveller that wants to document their journey better than a lot of selfies on their phones will. they usually have found me on instagram @emilyklarerphotography, and can connect with the landscape in the way that i have. i get giddy when i receive inquiries like this. maybe this is a little ambitious of a thought, but i almost always have the thought, “we’re going to be friends”. any woman (it’s always been women so far) is a hero to me who is willing to step out of her comfort zone, travel solo, explore the desert in all its majesty on their own, and reach out to a total stranger (hi!) to ask them to photograph them when they’re probably feeling a bit vulnerable.
tifanny is a true wanderluster at heart, and our time together watching the sun dip down below the horizon went by way too fast. come back soon, tifanny!
spending time with sorcha and brandon was like spending time with old friends. when she initially contacted me, she explained that they had spent some time out in the desert before and were avid canyoneers. that of course piqued my interest and we started going back and forth about different options. after lots of deliberation we decided to split their session into two so they could have a wide variety of engagement photos: a sunset session at corona arch, and a sunrise session at dead horse point.
i loved this plan because, although i spend a ton of time at dead horse point state park shooting elopements and small weddings, i don't get to go up there very often for sunrise. i wouldn't exactly say i'm a morning person, but for sunrise sessions with epic canyon views with rad people? coffee mug is full and i'm ready to go bright eyed and bushy tailed. :)
sorcha & brandon spent some time camping around moab, exploring arches national park and other sights, before we got together for our first session. sorcha is an incredible photographer (check out her work here!) so it was fun to chat about photo and the madness that ensues every morning at mesa arch. they spent the night at our place, coming over after a long day of hiking and exploring. we shared tacos and drinks and talked about the outdoor industry and trips we all wanted to go on. we turned in early, stoked for the sunrise and the next adventure.
i won't say much more, because i. think the photos speak loud and clear: the sunrise was gorgeous, and these two are made for each other.
in one of Rachel's first e-mails to me she described where she and her now husband, Jamie, are from, and how they came to fall in love with the the outdoors together, especially this little town of moab. she knew she wanted their ceremony location to be at delicate arch, but she was open to everything else. i knew i liked her right away, the way she described all the places they'd travelled together, but this was what really struck me:
“we want a small, simple ceremony. having it in a venue like this is US and it is what WE are about. so capturing the beauty and magic of the place and event is what we hope for. :)”
YES. so much YES. that is exactly what i hope to do for couples, capture the magic of the place and the connection of the two individuals in it. they wanted to make the hike up to delicate in their full wedding attire, both because they knew it’d be something they’d always remember, and also because the walk wouldn’t be easy, but the view at the top would be one hundred percent worth it. an apt metaphor for relationships I’d say.
when the day finally came this past march i picked Rachel up in town where she was getting her hair done by the amazingly talented Lindsey Knowles Vaccaro (check her out if you are looking for a hair stylist!). Lindsey did a fabulous job, as always, so Rachel and i hugged and hopped in my car to go meet Jamie at double arch for their first look.
afterward, hiking boots and all, we made the trek up to delicate arch, receiving tons of “oh my gosh are you getting married now?!” and “you look amazing!” comments. i love this about weddings: they are centered around pure joy, and it felt like the two of them were sharing that elation with everyone we passed along the way.
when we got to the top we took a moment to take in the view. no matter how many times i’ve hiked up to that famous arch, it still leaves me in awe when i turn that final corner. i could tell it did the same to Rachel and Jamie, which made me love them even more.
Rachel told me that she’d really like to have their short ceremony directly under the arch. i told her that i was absolutely up for it, but in all honesty i was a bit nervous! if you’ve been to delicate during the high season then you know there’s literally a line of people in the bowl, waiting to have their photo taken beneath it. i was worried that folks would be rude and try to hurry them along, which is definitely not something you want on your wedding day.
we set all of our bags down nearby and got ready to get in line. but the thing was...there wasn’t a line. for some reason at that very moment everyone sort of stepped away. the two of them walked out to meet Christy, their officiant, beneath the arch all by themselves. they had a short and beautiful exchange of vows, taking in the wonder and appreciating the place they were in. and THEN! when it was finally time to make it official, Christy raised her voice and announced to the 50 or 60 people who were watching that these two were now man and wife and would Jamie please kiss his bride. the crowd cheered and I got to witness one of the most unique ceremonies i’d ever seen!
thank you, Rachel and Jamie, for sharing your day with me. if there's one thing i learned from you two it's that true love undoubtedly exists. i can't wait to hear about the adventures in store for you both! xo
i absolutely love cloudy, moody days in the desert for couples sessions. i think it adds a sort of depth you can't really get when the sun is sitting high up in a bright blue sky. shelby contacted me last year about capturing some portraits of she and her husband for their trip out to moab to celebrate their anniversary. any time i get an inquiry for a session in the off-season i'm stoked (less crowds!), so i was really excited to hear that they'd be making their way out to the desert from arkansas in february.
we met up at dead horse about an hour before sunset and there was hardly anyone there. we chatted about travel and the desert, and about dogs, of course. these two have two pups really similar to ours so there was a lot of sharing of iphone puppy photos. shelby & justin are so obviously made for each other, they were really comfortable being in front of the camera, and definitely knew how to make each other smile. if i ever make it out your way, you can count on me swinging by to meet your pups, and spend more time with you two of course!
i also wanted to include some really kind words shelby sent to me in an e-mail after they received their gallery. this meant so much more knowing that they have their photos taken together often, at least once a year:
"These are incredible!! Justin and I both agreed that was the best photography experience we have ever had!!"
thank you, and happy (really belated) anniversary!
Ok. So let’s just start off by saying that I had no idea what to expect when I headed to Salt Lake City for a photo session with Fallon and Bashaun. I had always wanted to visit the Bonneville salt flats, and had been dying to book a session with a couple that was willing to make the drive and run around the flats with me, but I don’t think I could’ve dreamed of a more perfect pair for this adventure than these two!
It’s important to note as well that this was back in late January/early February, so it wasn’t exactly balmy out. We met at the parking area for the salt flats and gave big hugs (I always hug). They were super excited for their photos and I couldn’t wait to get out on the flats and see what the light would be like out there. We headed out and found the perfect spot with no one around – I think the cold weather scared a lot of people off! Fallon told me that she had a few different outfits (love that!) but when she came out in her first dress, a gorgeous yellow floral print that fit her perfectly, I got SO excited! I love when couples showcase their style and bring a few different outfits.
We spent an hour or so running around, getting to know each other, and watching the sun lower until it finally peeked beneath the clouds. Bashaun is a professional dancer for the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City, so you absolutely have to scroll through all these photos so that you get to the end and the dance party that ensued when I put a little Justin Timberlake on.
Thank you, Fallon + Bashaun. Your love is something to be admired, and I hope we can get together again very soon!
Also, who wants to have their couples session out at the salt flats? I’m dying to go back!
as anyone that knows me will tell you, I love surprises. so when Sarah contacted me and told me that she and Seth were on an extended road trip, that they had just gotten engaged, and that they wanted to have their engagements taken in moab before any of their family or friends even knew, I was beyond excited for them. they were totally up for the adventure of driving about 45 minutes outside of town to one of my favorite hiking trails in the area. they were one of those couples I had wished I could've spent a lot more time with. come back, you two! in the meantime, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! and thank you for walking around barefoot in the desert with me. xo
any couple that is willing to trust me enough to follow me down a dirt road long before the sun comes up (and comes dressed to the nines!) is my kind of pair. amber and cody had planned a weekend getaway to moab for their engagement session last fall and because of our schedules we decided to go with a sunrise session at one of the best canyon views around moab. going through these photos again has me longing for those warm early mornings in the desert, and gets me excited about scheduling more sunrise sessions! who's in?
p.s. thank you amber & cody for being so dang wonderful. and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
one of the great aspects of being an outdoor wedding photographer is that i get to be outside during sunset almost every single night during the busy season. desert sunsets (and sunrises!) never disappoint, but you don't ever know exactly what you're going to get. jake & mikayla's early october wedding last fall at dead horse point started out perfect - a beautifully sunny late afternoon ceremony, all of their close friends and family gathering along the canyon edge. a lot of tears were shed during the ceremony, making it really hard not to do the same behind the camera. immediately following the ceremony a little wind started to pick up, gradually increasing in intensity, when suddenly the entire canyon became draped in a rosy pink and orange sherbet hue, colors i don't think i've ever seen in the 10 years i've lived in moab. i did my usual squeal when i see incredible light, and we hurried away from the crowds for just a moment to snap a few shots of these two, newly married and crazy in love. the unpredictable nature of planning a wedding can be really unnerving, but i absolutely love it. you never know what you're going to get on your wedding day, but you can be sure that if you plan to be in the desert, something epic will happen. :) thank you mikayla & jake. lots of love to you both!
location: dead horse point state park, moab, utah
florals: intertwined floral
there are so many gorgeous and unique spots to get married in and around moab, many of which I've photographed more than one wedding at (which I love!), but it's always exciting to have the opportunity to capture a wedding in a new location. I had visited this place a handful of times because a popular mountain biking trail runs right by the front door of the yurt, but I had never imagined just how stunning a celebration would be in this meadow high above moab in the la sal mountains. kyle and liz live in northern utah, but moab holds a special place in both their hearts. they wanted to get married outdoors, in the mountains, in a location that could handle all their amazing friends and family. with a large field nearby for everyone to camp in, and a view that trumps most, the yurt was the perfect spot.
I looooved liz's vintage gown, and their ceremony that was both a celebration of their love for each other and their gratitude for the people there to witness it all. if you're thinking of getting married in moab but want to go somewhere a little different, high above the red rock, I'd absolutely recommend these yurts.
location: talking mountain yurts
some sessions are just so easy and comfortable that you sort of forget you're even shooting. maddy and jake's session was just like that. they are both moab locals so i had seen them a bit around town and we had recently grabbed a drink at eddie's to chat about their upcoming wedding this year (!), but this was the first time that we were able to just chat about whatever and enjoy the stunning beauty of our own backyard. these two are so very genuine, i cannot wait to capture their wedding day later this year! xo
keri & carter's outdoor mountain wedding at whispering oaks ranch was so incredibly fun. these two are some of the kindest and most welcoming people i've ever met, and they definitely know how to have a good time. keri is a florist and has a keen eye for gorgeous little details (check out the rose petal lined aisle!), so the pavilion looked amazing. their pup was there, too, sneaking his way next to them during the ceremony. i love dogs, so any time a couple brings their dog to a session or a wedding, you can be sure you're going to end up with a lot of photos of them!
there was champagne and delicious food (all cooked in dutch ovens!), some tears and a lot of laughter, and oh the dancing. that dance floor was packed from the moment their friends and family could get themselves out there. keri and her friends even did a little choreographed number to madonna. my cheeks were hurting from smiling the entire evening, so needless to say, their day was perfect. cheers to you both, i wish you a lifetime of even more laughter and dancing, good runs and tight lines. :) congratulations!
location: whispering oaks ranch, moab, utah
i cannot believe i haven't shared this session yet! this year i will be better at blogging all of these incredible couples in a timely manner. but back to colby and jazmin - these two were an absolute dream to photograph. they were so down to earth and definitely shared my same sarcastic sense of humor. we spent some time exploring a gorgeous little spot in dead horse point state park, tucked away from the crowds that head straight to the main overlook. we talked about tattoos (i LOVED theirs), work, and their upcoming wedding in hawaii. this session was everything i love about photography - incredible golden sunset light and a rad couple that was amazing to spend time with outside. happy first week of the year all!