Being new to the desert life here in Arizona, I get BEYOND excited when I schedule a session. Because that means I get to explore a new location! My goal is to visit as many epic locations in and around Tucson as possible so that I can offer my wedding and portrait clients a variety of options. This Gates Pass engagement session was everything I dreamed of!
When I know that I’m going to a new area, I try to gather as much info beforehand as possible. I mean, you guys should know by now that I’m a huge planner and, well, I just can’t help myself. When talking to some locals I got one piece of advice that made me a little leery. I was told, “Just be careful when you get to the top. Lots of drivers have been like, ‘OMG, the view is amazing!’ and then proceeded to roll their cars off the cliff.” Um, yikes! So it’s safe to say I was extra cautious while making the trip up the mountainside haha.
If you live in or around Tucson, visiting Gates Pass should DEFINITELY be on your to-do list. There are quite a few Scenic Overlook stops as well as small parking areas along the whole pass. But a quick tip if you are meeting anyone out there: make sure they know which stop you’re meeting at ahead of time. The cell reception is kind of all-over-the-place.
I felt like I had been waiting an eternity to meet Hope and Buddy. Hope reached out to me about photographing her wedding almost two months ago. We’ve been constantly exchanging messages, sharing pictures of our fur babies, and making wedding plans! I love getting to know my brides beyond just the client-photographer formalities. Hope is a creative go-getter for sure! And Buddy? He and I bonded instantly through our sarcastic humor!
Hope really wanted to make sure she felt amazing for her session. Her professional hair and makeup looked INCREDIBLE! And that dress?! The vibrant coral color on her contrasting with her hair– freaking in love, people. Buddy’s sweater paired so well with Hope’s outfit, too.
I always try to be on the lookout for poses that seem natural to my couples. Before I could even look up from checking my camera settings to ask Hope to put her arms around Buddy’s neck, there she was– casually draping her arms around him.
The romantic lift shot has definitely become a favorite request of my couples during their sessions! Buddy was a little unsure if they could pull it off, but they nailed it!
Now let me say that Hope was an absolute trooper! She only brought heels to her session, but she didn’t let that stop her from walking a good distance into the desert. Her smile and her eagerness never faded!
As the sun started to set in Gates Pass, we grabbed a few more portraits with the deep warm glow!
Hope and Buddy, I am so dang excited for your wedding at Saguaro Buttes next year! You can follow along with me as I explore more awesome engagement session locations around Tucson HERE!
I also want to give a shout out to Renee with Radiate with Renee J Makeup & Hair for bringing out Hope’s natural beauty!
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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