Joshua Tree National Park Engagement Session

Apr 19, 2017

VAN & TREVIN

Locations:

  • First location: Joshua Tree National Park in Joshua Tree, CA

 

Introduction:

I had the pleasure of meeting Van at my home studio earlier this year and although she and her fiance Trevin aren’t planning to get married until August 2018, they wanted to get a head start on their photos with this Joshua Tree National Park engagement session.

This was quite a special occasion for me, not only because I’ve never done an e-session at Joshua Tree National Park before, but also because this was the first national park I visited with my wife Charlene when I was just getting into backpacking a few years ago.

Van and Trevin met a few years back through the phone app game “Clash of Clans”. While Trevin was based in Vancouver, he was thinking about moving down to Southern California where Van was living and after she picked him up at the airport, it was love at first sight. They got engaged last November at a lighthouse in Vancouver, with Trevin surprising Van with a scrapbook and flowers for the proposal.

couple portrait skull rock sunset e-session joshua tree

Van and Trevin standing beside Skull Rock during their sunset engagement session at Joshua Tree National Park.

 

Joshua Tree National Park engagement session photos:

I met up with Van and Trevin at the visitor’s center of Joshua Tree National Park which is situated around two-hours’ drive from Los Angeles. Because Joshua Tree is quite an exposed desert landscape, timing the engagement session was a little tricky. The light doesn’t settle until around 6PM (just before sunset), but we really needed more time to capture the shots we wanted, which required a bit of creativity.

We started by exploring the trail around Split Rock, named for its iconic rock formation. Van and Trevin both opted for fairly casual attire and I took a range of close-up portraits and wide-angle silhouettes while trying to shield them from the bright light. We looked for shaded spots beneath the limited trees or in the shadow of Split Rock itself, together with capturing a whimsical portrait of the couple walking arm-in-arm along a more exposed section of the trail.

We then jumped in our car and drove to the Cholla Cactus Garden, with Van changing into a bright red cocktail dress and Trevin into a classic suit. The sun was starting to get close to the horizon, illuminating the couple in rich golden tones. I photographed Trevin lifting Van into the air and kissing her hand affectionately, as well as some warm embraces and a creative shot of Van admiring her engagement ring.

There was one final outfit change for this Joshua Tree National Park engagement session, with Van opting for an elegant black dress and Trevin wearing a pale blue open shirt. We went to explore the Hemingway area which is popular with rock climbers, as well as taking a few portraits beneath the Joshua Trees for which the park is named.

It was a fairly quiet afternoon in Joshua Tree so we were also able to stage some portraits on the road which cuts through the national park. As the sunset transformed the desert sky and illuminated the clouds a soft pink, I grabbed one final silhouette of the couple beside a Joshua Tree.

couple embrace split rock trail joshua tree e-session

Trevin embraces Van warmly along the Split Rock Trail during their Joshua Tree engagement session.

casual couple portrait split rock joshua tree engagement session

Van leads Trevin in front of the iconic Split Rock at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.

couple embrace walking trail joshua tree engagement photographer

Capturing a tender embrace between the newly engaged couple on a walking trail in Joshua Tree National Park.

silhouette couple portrait split rock trail joshua tree national park

A silhouette portrait of Van and Trevin kissing along the Split Rock Trail in Joshua Tree National Park.

romantic couple portrait joshua tree national park e-session

Van and Trevin walk arm-in-arm through Joshua Tree National Park during their nature-inspired engagement session.

couple embrace cholla cactus garden joshua tree e-session

Van and Trevin embrace within the Cholla Cactus Garden during their late-afternoon e-session at Joshua Tree.

playful couple portrait formal nature e-session joshua tree

A playful shot of Van pulling Trevin’s tie to kiss him during their nature-inspired e-session in Joshua Tree National Park.

couple portrait cactus garden formal e-session joshua tree

Van leads Trevin through the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree during their formal nature e-session.

creative couple portrait engagement ring joshua tree national park

Van admires her engagement ring during the sunset e-session with Trevin in Joshua Tree National Park.

couple portrait skull rock blue sky joshua tree e-session

Van and Trevin embrace beside Skull Rock and beneath a brilliant blue sky at Joshua Tree National Park.

playful couple portrait desert e-session joshua park national park

A playful portrait of Van and Trevin going in for a kiss during their desert e-session at Joshua Tree.

couple embrace sunset desert e-session joshua tree national park

Van and Trevin embrace, illuminated by the setting sun, during their romantic desert e-session at Joshua Tree.

romantic couple portrait cactus garden joshua tree engagement photographer

Trevin lifts Van into the air within the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park.

romantic couple portrait skull rock joshua tree sunset e-session

Trevin kisses Van’s hand affectionately during their sunset portrait session at Skull Rock in Joshua Tree.

beautiful couple portrait desert e-session joshua tree national park

The newly engaged couple look lovingly into each other’s eyes within the Cholla Cactus Garden.

couple kiss joshua tree southern california engagement photographer

Van and Trevin kiss beneath a Joshua Tree during their late-afternoon national park engagement session.

creative couple portrait hemingway joshua tree national park e-session

Van leads Trevin along a walking trail in the Hemingway area of Joshua Tree National Park during their desert e-session.

couple kiss road joshua tree national park engagement session

Trevin kisses Van as he lifts her into the air on a road within Joshua Tree National Park.

romantic couple portrait sunset e-session joshua tree national park

Capturing a romantic embrace between the couple during their sunset e-session in Joshua Tree.

creative couple portrait road joshua tree engagement session

Van and Trevin stand hand-in-hand on one of the main roads in Joshua Tree National Park.

creative silhouette couple portrait sunset e-session joshua tree

A creative silhouette portrait of Van and Trevin beside a Joshua Tree during their sunset e-session.

 

Conclusion:

I really want to thank Van and Trevin for making the drive out to Joshua Tree National Park for this engagement session and being such troopers in the exposed light and sometimes difficult conditions (Van even walked around and climbed on rocks in high heels!). I loved having the opportunity to photograph at a new e-session location while getting to know this couple and look forward to reconnecting again next summer for their wedding.

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