Mar 7, 2023

How To: Arizona Wedding Photos that Highlight Desert Landscapes

Arizona is a state with landscapes unlike any other, with its vast deserts full of towering cacti, and stunning golden and pink sunsets. If you’re planning a wedding in Arizona, there’s no better way to capture the beauty of the unique desert landscapes than through your engagement and wedding photos. So, here are some ways to incorporate Arizona’s unique landscape into your wedding photos!

  1. Choose the Right Location

One of the most important aspects of capturing the beauty of Arizona in your engagement or wedding photos is choosing the right location. There are nearly endless amounts of breathtaking spots throughout Arizona, from the towering saguaros of Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Superstition Mountains just outside Phoenix, or the stunning red rocks of Sedona.

Consider choosing a location that holds special meaning for you and your partner, whether it’s the place where you got engaged, a spot you’ve always wanted to visit, or a place that reflects your shared interests and passions. Keep in mind that some locations may require permits or have restrictions on photography, so be sure to do your research and plan ahead.

As a professional photographer, I’m always happy to help with this information. If you hire someone else, be sure to ask them if there are any additional permit requirements!

  1. Incorporate Local Flora and Fauna

Arizona’s unique plant life provides a stunning backdrop for your engagement and wedding photos. From the huge saguaro cacti to yellow studded wildflowers, there are endless opportunities and locations to incorporate Arizona’s natural beauty into your photos.

Consider incorporating local flowers into your wedding florals, such as the vibrant orange globe mallow or the delicate pink sand verbena. They fit beautifully into your bouquet or floral arrangements! You could also incorporate cactus paddles, succulents, or other flowers, such as prickly pear, into your wedding décor to add a touch of desert charm.

South Asian couple kissing in traditional wedding attire
  1. Embrace the Desert Aesthetic

Arizona’s desert landscape is one of its most iconic features, so why not embrace it fully in your wedding photos? Desert-inspired décor or backgrounds can add a unique and unforgettable touch to your photos.

Consider incorporating elements such as succulents and terracotta into your décor! Desert colors such as golden yellow, cacti green (a warm green hue), or neutral tans always will look gorgeous in that Arizona golden hour.

Indian couple kissing in the Arizona desert
  1. Time Your Shoot for the Best Light

Timing your wedding photoshoot for the best light is crucial to capturing the beauty of Arizona’s landscape. The harsh midday sun can create unflattering shadows and washed-out colors, so plan your shoot around the golden hours of sunrise and sunset! For my wedding clients, I provide you with a wedding welcome guide which helps you to build your wedding timeline around the best lighting situations. Have no fear!

Sunrise in Arizona is a magical time, with soft light and gentle hues creating stunning images for your photos. For engagement photos, plan with your photographer to arrive at your chosen location about 30 minutes before sunrise to give yourself time to set up and take advantage of the early morning light!

Sunset is another beautiful time to take photos in Arizona, with the warm and golden light of the setting sun creating a romantic and dramatic backdrop for your photos, no matter the location. “Golden hour” is that hour before sunset for all your perfect portraits. For your wedding day, you should plan your photo timeline around this hour. Plan to arrive at your chosen location about 60 minutes before sunset to give yourself time to set up and take advantage of the golden hour!

  1. Get Creative with Your Wardrobe and Props

Incorporating our unique landscape into your engagement or Arizona wedding photos doesn’t mean sacrificing your personal style. In fact, getting creative with your wardrobe and decor can create a truly personalized look for your photos.

For engagement sessions, consider choosing two options: (1) a neutral outfit that blends seamlessly into the desert color-scape, and (2) an outfit that has an eye-catching color, such as a flowing dress in terracotta or golden yellow. For weddings, desert color pallets can be helpful in planning your décor, wedding party outfits, and even accessories. Don’t get it twisted, though, because vibrant spring colors are SO MUCH FUN with our neutral desert landscapes!!

Indian couple in wedding attire during sunset in Arizona
  1. Plan for the Weather

Arizona is known for its hot, dry weather, but temperatures can drop rapidly once the sun sets. When planning your engagement or wedding photoshoot, be sure to consider the weather and plan accordingly.

If you’re shooting in the summer months, plan to take photos early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the heat of the day (often it’s just better to do a studio session). Bring plenty of water and consider wearing light, breathable fabrics to stay cool.

If you’re shooting in the winter months, be aware that the desert can get cold at night, so plan to finish your shoot before sunset and bring a jacket to layer up just in case!!

  1. Hire a Professional Photographer

Capturing the beauty of Arizona’s landscape in your engagement or wedding photos takes skill and experience. A professional photographer can help you choose the best location, plan for the best lighting, and capture the unique beauty of the desert in your Arizona wedding photos.

When choosing a photographer, look for someone who has experience shooting in Arizona and who shares your vision for the shoot. Arizona colors and sun are very different than most locations in the United States, and even across the world. Hire somebody (consider me!) with experience shooting in Arizona. Be sure to review their portfolio and read reviews from previous clients to ensure that they have the skill and expertise to capture your special day.

To summarize…

Essentially, incorporating Arizona’s unique landscape into your engagement or wedding photos is a wonderful way to capture the beauty of this state and create memories that will last a lifetime. By choosing the right location, incorporating local plant life, embracing the desert aesthetic, timing your shoot for the best light, getting creative with your wardrobe and accessories, planning for the weather, and hiring a professional photographer (it’s not as overwhelming as this list sounds!), you can create stunning and unforgettable photos that will truly capture the beauty of your unique love story.


If you’re looking for a professional photographer to help capture the beauty of your engagement or wedding in Arizona, I would love to tell your story! As a seasoned photographer with years of experience shooting in Arizona, I am committed to creating beautiful and timeless images that tell your unique story that you will cherish for years to come.

If you’re interested in learning more about my photography services or would like to discuss your vision for your engagement or wedding shoot, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be honored to work with you to create gorgeous and unforgettable photos that truly center around your desires, your love story, and your personalities!

South Asian couple on their wedding with a large Arizona cactus

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