Arizona Engagement Session Locations - Showit Blog


LOVE IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FORM OF ART TO EXIST.

Nov 18, 2021

Arizona Engagement Session Locations

From slot canyons, to sweeping desert valleys and even snowy mountain tops, Arizona offers so many amazing places to explore! If you or your love recently popped the question, and you’re ready to celebrate this exciting part of your life, an arizona engagement photos session is a great way to do that! To get you inspired, here are some of Best Arizona Engagement Session Locations

First things first!

Okay two things –

  1. I listed these locations from casual to more adventurous 🙂 I’m sure there is a spot in here for everyone.

2. When you plan an engagement session on public land, you may need a photography permit. Each location is different, so make sure to talk to your photographer about this and do some research.
Permits help ensure that park rules are being followed – which is an important part of Leave No Trace, or LNT. Please, do NOT use smoke bombs, glitter, confetti, flower petals, or anything else for that matter that you can not hand pick up. If you packed it in, PACK IT OUT! You can learn more about LNT here, so that you can help keep our land beautiful!

In other words, to the list of the Best Arizona Engagement Session Locations

Your house!

Okay hear me out – You and your love have already created so many special memories in your home, so why not have an intimate session where you feel most comfortable? You can always rent a cute airbnb or get away cabin in the mountains for this idea too 🙂

At home engagement session
photo by Brianna Gomez Photography

Downtown Tucson

Downtown Tucson is so cute with aesthetic corners, rustic houses and cute shops. Running around here is such an adventure when you’re in the creative zone because you’ll never know what you will run into! Consider your arizona engagement photos here and then drive to Tucson Mountain Park nearby for some classic desert shots. You could easily get the best of both worlds! 

Pros: Easy accessibility, plenty of parking around, spontaneous, close to a lot of what the city has to offer!

Cons: There can be people in your shots and perhaps could be hard to be a little more intimate.

Downtown Phoenix

If you love exploring new restaurants and coffee shops with your SO, downtown Phoenix is such a fun idea for your engagement photos. Grab a drink and run around exploring the architecture like The Monroe Abbey, an awesome staircase near The Arrogant Butcher or hit up some hotel rooftops 🙂 

Pros: Tons of versatility here! Can be edgy, romantic, adventurous.

Cons: Not an intimate experience, parking could be an issue.

Downtown Phoenix Engagement Session
photo by Brianna Gomez Photography

San Xavier Mission

Update: I’m unsure if this location is allowed anymore! I’m actually waiting to hear back from them about that. Located on the outskirts of Tucson, this beautiful church is the perfect backdrop for some romantic photos! 

Pros: No crowds, beautiful scenery around!

Cons: May not be able to go inside of church.

Arizona Engagement Session
photos by Alison Slater

Desert Botanical Gardens

Perfect for a stroll with about a mile and half of paved walkways, this is the spot you want to be at for gorgeous cactus views incorporated with minimal architecture.

Pros: Beautiful controlled desert scene without needing to be scared of getting poked by a cactus!

Cons: Crowds and must apply for a photoshoot request form.

photos by Alison Slater

Papago Park

Papago Park is one of the most easily accessible desert areas in the Phoenix metro area. With nearly 1500 acres to cover, you’ll be able to easily explore the area with tons of versatility.

Pros: Easy to access from the city.

Cons: Working around crowds, summer heat.

Photos by The Hitched Hiker

Bisbee

Looking for a unique or edgy look for your photos? Look no further than the unique town of Bisbee.

Pros: Unique, tons of fun places to explore.

Cons: Bit of a drive from Phoenix, but who doesn’t love road trips?

Scottsdale Desert

I can’t tell you how many secret, tucked away corners of the desert I know of that’s filled with saguaros and feels private. If you’re looking for the classic desert look and wanting your session to be intimate, the desert surrounding Scottsdale has so much to offer you. Because this area is easy to access and secluded, it is definitely one of the best locations for an Arizona engagement session.

Pros: Intimacy and the best sunsets.

Cons: Watch for cacti pricks!

Tucson Mountain Park

Nestled next to Saguaro National Park West and hugging Tucson city limits, this land is vast and absolutely beautiful. It contains Gates pass, Old Tucson and TONS of beautiful saguaros among 62 miles of trails!

Pros: 20 minutes from downtown, close to saguaro national park

Cons: No real parking lots, only side parking but it usually isn’t an issue!

Cave Creek

Feel like hiking, horseback riding or mountain biking for your session? This is the place!!! Although these activities aren’t necessary to enjoy the views, there are tons of options for places to hang here that are desert picturesque without obstruction of any city life.

Pros: Beautiful desert with tons of locations to shoot.

Cons: Watch for bikers, hikers and cacti thorns!

photos by Jcolonyphotography

White Tank Mountains

This mountain range in central Arizona houses miles of canyons and ridges. There are many hiking trails to choose from, many of which start at White Tank Mountain Regional Park, and you can pick between cactus gardens, waterfalls, and mountain views!

Pros: Cool area if you want to stay around for camping!

Cons: Dealing with the summer heat, but thats a given.

Photo by Destinee Rose

Gates Pass

Gates Pass is a mountain pass that winds along the Tucson Mountains, just west of the city of Tucson. The scenic drive offers sweeping views of the desert below, and once you arrive at the top you’ll be greeted with an overlook that has a reputation for some of the best sunsets in Arizona. In my personal opinion, this spot can be a little tricky to photograph at due to parking and the direction the sun is facing. However, this is one of my favorite spots around Tucson for a sunrise session for less of a crowd and that dreamy backlit light. 

Pros: In every direction you turn, you have something absolutely beautiful to look at.

Cons: Parking and depending what angle you want, lighting can interfere.

Lost Dutchman

This spot is only 45 minutes from central Phoenix! The red rock formations, tall cacti, and assortment of desert plants make Lost Dutchman one of the most popular locations for an Arizona engagement session.

Pros: Quick drive from the city, stunning angles in every location.

Cons: Permits needed for the state park, but thats not a bad thing! Just make sure you have one if you plan to be in State park.

Mount Lemmon

The peak of Mount Lemmon rises 7,000 feet over the Saguaro Desert, making it the perfect destination for those who want to cool down and escape Tucson’s heat. With hikes going through fields of wildflowers and groves of Maples, Mount Lemmon is the perfect spot for your Arizona engagement session. The night sky even gets dark enough for stargazing, and you can end the day at the observatory!

Pros: quick drive to the mountains from the city.

Cons: recent fires have closed quite a few trails but this place is beautiful regardless!

Photo by Erika Greene

Saguaro Lake

This lake is set in the Sonoran Desert, which means that its shores are home to groves of the Saguaro cactus. The canyon walls surrounding the lake reflect shades of red and purple at sunset, making Saguaro Lake a peaceful oasis perfect for an engagement session.

Pros: Stunning lake surrounded by cacti.

Cons: Crowds depending the time of year.

photos by Alison Slater

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is just 45 minutes from Phoenix and is full of room for activities! It looks exactly as it sounds, a lake in a canyon. But you’ll have to see it for yourself to see how beautiful it is!!! Fun idea: get some paddle boards and get creative and have fun in the sun!!!

Pros: Diverse scenery and beautiful reflections on the water.

Cons: You’ll need to do some prior location scouting, but theres some really gorgeous spots here!

Photo by Suzy Goodrick

Watson Lake

Nestled along the Granite Dells, Watson Lake makes for one of the most picturesque scenes in Prescott. Bring your hiking shoes and have fun hiking on the trails around these picturesque, granite rocks!

Pros: Tons of area around to make this fun, adventurous and intimate session.

Cons: You’re unable to swim here due to pollution! lakes in the area are down stream from old strip mining of mercury. However, you can kayak or canoe!

photo by The Hitched Hiker

Salt River

This area is on the top of my list for the best Arizona engagement session locations. There are several spots along the river where you can stop to enjoy the view of the mountains behind the river, and for some fun, action-packed engagement photos, you can bring a kayak along! If you’re lucky, you may even spot some wild horses here 🙂

Pros: I love the tones of blue and orange here.

Cons: Crowds depending the time of year and bees! Skip the perfume just in case.

Superstition Mountains (Peralta Trail)

Located on the opposite end of Lost Dutchman State Park, this part of the Superstitions have so many beautiful trails to explore!! Take an adventure and hike to the infamous Fremont Saddle or hang around the base of the trail for a beautiful scenic time together.

Pros: Quick drive from the city, stunning angles in every location.

Cons: Permits are needed for professional photography.

Chiricahua Mountains

Just a couple hours drive from Tucson, AZ you will find yourself immersed in a plethora of plants and animals you won’t find elsewhere in the state. This large national monument contains miles of hiking trails, which rangers will help you navigate with free maps. 

Pros: Underrated desert beauty and rare landscape

Cons: Like most of Arizona, make sure you plan around the summer heat!

Photo by Andrea Obert

Saguaro National Park

Right outside of Tucson you’ll find Saguaro National Park, a unique desert landscape filled with forests of the towering cacti. The cacti, along with the Tucson mountains peaks that surround the south side of the national park will make an incredible backdrop for your engagement photos!

Pros: Untainted desert beauty

Cons: The park is literally split in half by the city of Tucson. You will find easy access (and avoiding Tucson’s terrible traffic) to the West side.

Pinetop

The higher elevation offers cooler temperatures, and the alpine setting provides views of the mountains and pine forests. There are so many crystal clear lakes and rivers to choose from, and if you want your engagement photo location to feature a forest setting instead of the desert, Pinetop is the perfect place.

Pros: Beat the summer heat here and a change from the desert scenery.

Cons: Not sure I know of any!

Adventure Elopement Photographer – Traci Edwards Photography

Grand Falls

Just a few miles north of Flagstaff is Grand Falls, a 180 foot waterfall fed by the Little Colorado River. Also known as the “Chocolate Falls” because of the brown color of the water, the best time for an engagement session at Grand Falls is early spring, when the snow melts from winter snowstorms. During the rest of the year, the falls are just a small trickle of water. 

Pros: Chocolate waterfall…. need I say more?

Cons: You gotta get the timing right!

Photos by The Hitched Hiker

Flagstaff

In the summer, Flagstaff is bustling with people exploring the town’s unique local shops, and the mountain trails are perfect for an engagement session! If you aren’t afraid of trekking through some snow, winter in Flagstaff is a unique, wonderland-like experience. Fall brings panoramic views of the aspen trees as their leaves turn yellow, and spring offers wildflower blooms. Because of the 4 seasons here, this area is on the top of my recommendation list for the best Arizona engagement session locations.

Pros: Beat the summer heat here and a change from the desert scenery.

Cons: Not sure I know of any!

Mogollon Rim

As you drive up to Mogollon Rim, you’ll start out surrounded by Saguaro cactuses and desert formations, but as you keep going, the scenery will transform into a lush pine forest. Even the drive to the Mogollon Rim is spectacular, but once you arrive, you’ll be able to stand on a cliff that stretches 200 miles, and look out at the giant rocks and towering pines below – a change from the desert scenery of Arizona. 

Pros: Sweeping views, beautiful sunsets and tons of hikes in the area with water!

Cons: Weather dependent.

photos by Jcolonyphotography

Monument Valley

This red sand desert region that sits right on the border of Arizona and Utah is known for its towering buttes and unique sandstone formations. It’s also been featured in several Old Western movies! At sunset, the sun accents the fragile desert formations, creating incredible sunsets that fill the desert with shades of orange and purple. Taking engagement photos amongst the red rock mesas is an experience you’ll never forget!

However, it is a bit of a drive and very secluded. These views cannot be beat though and is definitely a top spot for the an epic Arizona engagement session location.

Pros: Epic views!

Cons: Definitely a drive, make sure you’re fully prepared and perhaps stay in the area! You will want to plan your trip prior to going, don’t wing this one!

photo by Alison Slater

Sedona

Sedona is a vibrant town located just two hours north of Phoenix. Known as “Red Rock Country,” the breathtaking scenery surrounding the town is perfect for exploring.

Pros: There is a reason why Sedona is so popular. It is absolutely beautiful! Renting a jeep (or owning one) will allow you to have a piece all to yourself.

Cons: Crowds and traffic. Lighting can be tricky around peak lighting times as well. Be sure your photographer knows if sunrise or sunset is better for some locations due to light and crowds!

Grand Canyon

Arizona’s most popular attraction, the Grand Canyon, features layered bands of colorful rock that reflect millions of years of geological history. Whether you take your Arizona engagement photos at the rim, overlooking the incredible vistas, or you venture down into the canyon for a close up of the rock formations or of the Colorado River, the majestic canyon will make a jaw dropping backdrop for your photos.

Pros: If you and your SO are adventure seekers, this will be the perfect vibe for you!

Cons: The vast desert can be dangerous! Bring lots of water and proper shoes for good footing.

Adventure Elopement Photographer – Traci Edwards Photography

Horseshoe Bend

This place is at the top of my favorite spots for the Arizona Engagement Session Locations. And for good reasons! Through millions of years of erosion, the river carved through the sandstone to form this curve. You can stand on the cliff overlooking horseshoe bend for a breathtaking view, but keep in mind that this place has become very popular in recent years. If you want to take your engagement photos at this location, I recommend waking up for sunrise and getting there early. You’ll run into way less crowds, and you’ll get a beautiful view of the sun coming up!

Pros: Easy to access (once you drive there)

Cons: Crowds can be crazy! Consider a sunrise session for an intimate experience.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is one of the best Arizona engagement photo locations. It features incredible views of the canyon walls that surround the lake, as well as over 2,000 miles of shoreline to explore. You can even take a boat ride through the blue water and see different parts of the lake! Lake Powell has tons of resorts and houseboats that you can stay in, so turn your engagement session into a little getaway!

Pros: Lake Powell is one of my favorite places on this Earth. If you haven’t see it in real life, I highly highly suggest it!

Cons: This location is for the adventure seekers! After the long drive, a 4×4 vehicle and/ or a boat will highly be favored here.

Bonus spot: Havasu Falls

I had to put Havasu Falls on the list because it is sincerly the most beautiful place that Arizona has to offer! If chosen for your location it would definitely be the most adventurous thing you could do and for a few different reasons.

  1. Firstly, permits are extremely difficult to come by and they’re only released once a year on the 1st of February. They often sell out within minutes!
  2. Since you’re there and lucky with a permit, you’ll want to set up your trip so you have 2-3 full days down in the canyon. One day/night is too little time–you won’t be able to see everything. 
  3. It’s a 10 mile hike into the canyon and a few more to campsite and a couple more to waterfalls. Its not for the faint of heart! However, there is a really cool option of taking a helicopter down!
  4. It’s first-come, first-served, and priority goes to residents and any supplies that must be flown in or out. People at the bottom will line up as early at 5 a.m. in hopes of getting a seat for only $85.
  5. If You Miss the Feb. 1 Application Window – Not all hope is lost, especially now that reservations are non-transferable.  Even with a no refund policy, people will inevitably have to cancel throughout the year.  Continue to call the Havasupai Tourist Office below and check the website regularly.
Photo by Jan Kronies on Unsplash

Ready for Your Arizona Engagement Session?

There you have it! A full list of the best Arizona engagement session locations. Are you feeling inspired and ready for your own adventure? If so, I’d absolutely love to chat with you about the experience!! I’m ready for whatever adventure you have planned! Whether it’s road tripping up to Lake Powell, a boat ride through Saguaro Lake, or a day of adventures around your own city. Reach out, and let’s start planning your Arizona engagement session 🙂

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about the author / photographer

I'm jenny :)


Hi guys! Welcome to my blog. 
I am a travel elopement and wedding photographer who happily helps my couples plan their big day. 

There are so many ways to customize a wedding day experience that is unique to you and a true reflection of the things that you value in life. 

I am here to document this milestone in an artistic and meaningful way while being there to assist my couple in anyway possible. 

If you would like to learn more about me and my services, go here! 

hello, it's so nice to meet you!


LOVE IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FORM OF ART TO EXIST.

hey! my name is jenny 

A Little About My Spirit


Hi guys! Welcome to my blog. 
I am a travel elopement and wedding photographer who happily helps my couples plan their big day. 

There are so many ways to customize a wedding day experience that is unique to you and a true reflection of the things that you value in life. 

I am here to document this milestone in an artistic and meaningful way while being there to assist my couple in anyway possible. 

If you would like to learn more about me and my services, go here! 

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  1. How is the COVID situation over there?

    • Jenny Boyer says:

      Most of the state is vaccinated and there are no state mandates! Staying outside is obviously safe as well 🙂 Hope you plan to come visit!