Sedona, Arizona | Senior Travel Session


Travel photography is something I’ve wanted to get into for a few years now, so when my oldest became a senior we traveled to Sedona, AZ for her senior pictures. I have a photographer friend in Phoenix, Ane Marie Photography, that came for a night to shoot with us. She knows the area well and showed us some really cool locations. We started off taking pictures at Tlaquepaque in downtown Sedona. Tlaquepaque is fashioned after a traditional Mexican village. The walls are stucco with vines covering them & cobble-stoned walkways with pretty blue, white & yellow Mexican tiles. Almost every turn has a perfect spot to photograph in. I saw the hours for the shopping are start at 10 am, so I wonder if a person could go earlier in the morning to have an easier time parking & less people around.

The next location we went to was Cathedral Rock. Ane Marie had asked if we wanted to go to an easier spot, which was Bell Rock or one that was a more difficult hike, Cathedral Rock. I picked Cathedral Rock. The road was blocked off & you needed to ride the shuttle to get the location, but later in the day we were able to park in the parking lot. The lot is not big & you have to buy a day pass to park there that costs $5.00. I had planned to just wear my Holdfast harness so I could bring both cameras, but Ane Marie said we needed to put them in a backpack until we got up to our location. She was right. It was a lot of climbing. Honestly if Ane Marie hadn’t been with, I wouldn’t have attempted it. We climbed about halfway up, because if you go all the way to the top there isn’t enough room to move around and shoot. We found the spot Ane Marie had scouted out a few weeks earlier & Isabel changed into her first outfit. It was around 4:30 pm when we started. There is loose rock & cactus, so if you plan on going barefoot I would suggest bringing a pair of slip on shoes to get around in. We had brought heels for the black jumper that were never worn because of the difficult terrain. After the shoot, I was really nervous about getting down the rocks, but if you crab crawl or slide on your butt it’s not scary it’s just really dirty. There is a bathroom at the beginning of the hike. This is a popular hike & I would suggest going during the week or at sunrise for less people. Make sure to wear tennis shoes, bring a backpack for camera gear & to put clothes for the shoot & bring water.

The last location we shot at was Crescent Moon. When we got to the park, it said the parking lot was full. We saw a ranger & asked what to do & he said a few had left so we could come in, but otherwise you just leave and then come back, because you can’t wait at the park entrance for someone to leave. We arrived at 4 pm (Sunset is 7 pm), because it’s in a valley and I wasn’t sure how the light would be. We spent quite a bit of time scouting spots with shade & then we shot in full sun to get the red rock in the background, & avoid overexposing it. I think the best time to get pictures of the red rock at that location would be to be right at sunset & the first 15 minutes into the blue hour. Allow yourself 30 minutes to park when it’s full & then at least 30 minutes for scouting. The fee to park was $11 per day, the closer it got to sunset the less people were there and more parking spots are available.

If you fly into Phoenix like we did, I would recommend going to the Desert Botanical Garden. I wanted to have some pictures with cactus, so this place was recommended. We came about an hour before sunset. The cost was around $30 per person. There were people there so we had to wait sometimes to get our shot with out someone standing in the frame, but it wasn’t a problem most of the time. I had also made a reservation for the restaurant there called Gertrude’s. We sat outside & even though it was a cooler evening the outdoor warmers kept it nice enough to eat without getting cold. We all liked our meals and I had reservations for a half an hour after sunset, so perfect time to eat right after finishing pictures.

We had two outfits per location & tried to make sure that one outfit was pants, jeans, or shorts. The posing you can do in pants is different than a dress & gives a better variety of poses. We did a fishtail braid to do something different with her hair. As you see in the picture below, we carefully picked outfits to have different colors, different dress lengths, shorts, jumpers, jeans & textures. This takes several weeks to find the perfect outfits, then had them shipped & tried on to make sure they fit & had time to exchange if need be. Our favorite stores to order from are Vici, Olive & Hazel, Shein, Boot Barn, Dry Goods, & Lulus. Before we left for the trip, I made sure to have Isabel get the outfits, shoes, hats, and accessories all laid out & try on all of the outfits one last time. We brought backpacks to put the clothes in when we hiked to our locations. Another location we considered was Bell Rock, but we chose Cathedral Rock. We did go to Bell Rock for a hike & the parking was hard to find we circled the two parking lots a few times & then ended parking on the residential road next to the Circle K & it was just a short walk to the hike. The best time to do pictures there would be in the morning, because the side of Bell Rock facing the beginning of the hike is still in shadow.

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