Just before Christmas, Eliza and Keaton scheduled their winter engagement photos with me. Since Keaton’s flying schedule can vary quite a bit, they wasted no time in picking a date. Keaton had just returned home from several days of flying and Eliza was excited to start off the New Year getting photos together!
Eliza and Keaton met in 2015 while at college in California. A couple years later, Eliza enrolled in graduate school at the University of Arizona. While she was in school, Keaton moved to Florida to fly for a private company. Eliza graduated in 2019 and accepted a Speech Pathologist position in Tucson. Keaton eagerly moved back to Arizona, finally putting an end to their long-distance separation.
Tucson may technically be their home, but over the past 7 years they’ve had countless adventures exploring the world together. They fixed up a camper van in 2020 and still use it for their travels, bringing their dog Beaudi and their cat Nemo along with them. They’ve checked Mexico, Hawaii, and Iceland off their travel list already. With Keaton’s career as an airline pilot, he’s definitely in a great position to make all their travel dreams come true!
In the summer of 2022, while visiting Eliza’s family’s lake house in Wisconsin, Keaton proposed. Eliza describes it as her favorite place in the world. Needless to say, it was definitely the perfect setting for such a big moment. They were out by a dock at the edge of Pewaukee Lake when he surprised her. “It was just us two, no one else knew it was happening, and no one else was around,” Eliza told me, “It was perfect.”
Featuring the desert landscape in their winter engagement photos was a top priority for Eliza and Keaton. Sweetwater Preserve is one of my favorite desert locations to recommend! The trails can be pretty busy with mountain bikers at times, but since Keaton and Eliza are avid bikers themselves, I knew they wouldn’t mind. If anything, they’d just be a little envious!
I asked Keaton to nuzzle into Eliza and squeezing her extra tight. It was purely for this shot. I wanted to see Eliza’s genuine smile!
I love these wider walking photos of Keaton and Eliza. It really features that desert landscape that they both love so much while also allowing them to relax and move around a bit.
As the sun was setting, Eliza’s dad Chris met up with us and brought someone very special along with him: Beaudi! Beaudi goes with them everywhere that he can. You would’ve thought he hadn’t seen Keaton and Eliza for days with how excited he was! He was so friendly and didn’t shy away from another set of hands eager to love on him. He may have been a little distracted trying to take in all the sights and smells of his new surroundings… But we still got a few great photos with Beaudi and his doting parents!
Head scratches from dad is where it’s at for Beaudi!
As the sun went behind the mountains, we all headed back towards the trailhead. Beaudi was excited to get moving and explore more.
I always look out for that moment when the sun is just low enough in the sky to make the nearby mountains glow that beautiful pink color!
Totally smitten! The way they look and smile at each other says it all!
In November, I’ll be photographing Eliza and Keaton’s wedding at The Barn at Tanque Verde Ranch. With Saguaro National Park surrounding the venue, it will definitely deliver more stunning desert views for them!
Interested in featuring the desert in your upcoming portrait session with me? Checkout other desert engagement sessions I’ve photographed here!
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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