If you’re an adventurous couple, these beautifully epic Arches National Park engagement photos will have you wanting to come to Utah right away
Kathryn Cooper Weddings | Utah Elopement Photographer | Arches National Park Wedding Photographer
As a destination wedding photographer based in New York and California, I love traveling to Utah’s unique landscapes at any chance. Moab is an incredible place full of so much more than just Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, but you can’t deny how photogenic Arches truly is.
Eilise is from Louisiana, but lives in Moab, and her partner Paul is from Arizona. Their weekends consist of a lot of outdoor adventure, from hiking to home building to climbing. Eilise is my type of gal: Natural beauty, curly hair, no makeup, and ready to climb anything…in a dress! (And if scampering over these steep rocks seems difficult, now imagine doing it all in a satin dress with the wind blowing every which way!)
Arches National Park Photographer
Where else can you find epic views, desert landscapes with no one else around, keyholes in the rock, snow in the background, and no permit fee?
(As a photographer, that last one is SUPER exciting. There are many beautiful places to photograph engagements in this country, but getting the permit for them and paying it…well, it’s a hassle. Arches National Park is very easygoing and does not have a fee for such simple photoshoots.)
Even if you’re not specifically doing Arches National Park engagement photos, you can still don fancy outfits (like these two—look at that green dress!) and get stunning photos all around the park. It’s an incredible, and incredibly diverse, place to have an engagement photoshoot, elopement, wedding adventure session, anniversary session, or just about any other kind of couples’ photos taken. Heck, it’s great for single folks as well! Moab is iconic, and Arches NP (and Canyonlands National Park) are obviously a huge part of that.
Eilise and Paul were heading out on a rock climbing road trip so we didn’t get as much time as we would have liked, but the photos we got were still darn awesome (in my oh-so-humble opinion). One of the best things about elopement or engagement photos in Arches is that any time of day provides unique opportunities for different angles and lighting…like this one. Doesn’t it remind of the continent of Africa?
What Time of Day is Best for Your Arches Engagement Photoshoot?
On typical engagement and wedding photoshoots, you want to photograph couples either in early morning or evening to get the most flattering, diffused light. But in Arches NP, the different times of day light up different areas of rock, turning the sandstone all different hues of rust, orange, red, mauve, and other shades. The variety is amazing!
As a destination wedding photographer and destination adventure elopement photographer, I’ve captured couples in amazing locations all around the world. Taking adventure engagement photos in Arches NP is just so much fun, and there are so many locations available—even if you don’t want to go on a huge hike. We did most of their photos around Double Arch, which is an impressive series of holes and arches ranging from 66 feet to 144 feet in width and height!
Tips for Your Moab Engagement Photos
- Wear hiking boots – the rocks are unpredictable and your feet will be mostly hidden anyhow. Plus, hiking boots with your dress is actually cute. For guys, it’s a bit easier to don hiking shoes that looks somewhat dressy
- Make sure you stay hydrated. Take constant sips of water since you’re in the desert and will lose water much faster than you feel you are
- If you have long hair, bring hairbands or bobby pins. It can feel like there’s 0 wind, but either the wind picks up out of nowhere, or because you’re at higher elevations the wind can blow hard just 50 feet from where you’re standing at any given moment
- Avoid wearing anything orange, red, coral, or rust-colored for your engagement shoot. Those colors are normally beautiful, but at Arches, you’ll blend into the rock too much! Go for greens, blues, purples, whites, and blacks.
- Be prepared for the bottom of your dress to get a little dusty, but don’t worry too much—it should be far less dusty and not dirty. The sand here does minimal damage, and you should be staying on rock most of the time anyhow as you follow Leave No Trace principles. The microbiome of the dirt around Moab may look fairly barren, but Eilise explained to me just how fragile it is—and how it’s so vital to stay on the paths and solid rock to protect the very-much-alive soil crust of Utah, called cryptobiotic
- Photographers: Bring a wide-angle lens and at the very least, a polarizing filter. You’ll need both to truly capture the land
Other than that, HAVE FUN! It’s hard to take any bad engagement photos in Arches National Park, so as long as you’re careful to respect the fragile ground, scampering around the rocks is like being in an adult playground. Just have fun, and your photos and memories of Arches will be epic. Adventurous engagement photos in Utah? Do it.
Kathryn Cooper Weddings | Destination Wedding Photographer | New York Wedding Photographer | California Wedding Photographer