What to expect from… Adventurous Elopements & Engagements: The Workshop

Hi Everyone! Emma here from Desert Daisy Jewelry. As many of you may know, I have recently partnered with Heather to form Adventurous Elopements and Engagements the Workshop. I am doing a blog takeover today to give you all an idea of what you can expect from one of our workshops, specifically our next styled shoot retreat at Under Canvas Zion.

This is just a sneak peak, for a detailed schedule & full shoot info, please check out the Workshop page here.

Heather & I met through our affinity for jumping in the car and driving to the most beautiful locations to do photoshoots. We have traveled together on half a dozen shoots, and thought “how much more fun would this be with a group of photographers from all over the country?” So from there, the Workshop was born. Three days, two nights, 8 photographers & a whole lot of adventure. Heather is an accomplished wedding photographer specializing in destination elopements and intimate ceremonies. I have years of propping & styling background having worked for Anthropologie, which has translated into styling over 30 shoots for various photographers. We want to share all of this with you!

There are a few spots left, but as you can see, we limited this workshop to 8 tickets. It is important that everyone who attends gets the full experience. Your ticket price includes a bed within the Under Canvas glamping tents, as well as meals. We will have 3 very unique styled shoots over the course of the three days, and you can choose to attend all 3, or just the ones you feel will be beneficial to creating marketing content for your business.

In between the shoots, there will be various education classes, followed by Q&A. There will also be plenty of downtime for you to explore, take all the lovely Zion landscape photos, etc. Please keep in mind our permits for professional photography only apply to the Under Canvas campsite area, so taking models out and into Zion National Park is not part of the workshop.

So what will your adventure look like? That is really up to you, but it could easily be something like this:

You did it! You booked your spot, plane ticket is bought and you are all set to explore one of the most beautiful natural landscapes the US has to offer with a group of talented and like-minded creatives. Zion, here we come!

Nervous and excited, you make your way up to the campsite. The reception area is just so cool, they have thought of everything. It is midday on Friday the 13th, other photographers are arriving and you are meeting your tent mates, settling in for the weekend and checking your camera gear.

Grabbing a dinner and swapping stories with other photogs, you prepare for the first styled shoot, campfire and smores. It has been years since you have melted those gooey marshmallows and you know after you capture the images you need, you are digging in.

Full of laughter and sugar, you settle in for the night. Tomorrow morning you are determined to catch the sunrise and those beautiful mountainscapes, so you will most likely skip out on a class or two in order to do so, but you can’t resist the call of the wild. Catching back up with the classes after lunch will do, plus you know the handouts from the classes will be available to you at the end of the workshop anyway.

Here it is, the main event. As the afternoon sun dips lower, you enjoy learning about how to stage that perfect tablescape, how to prop for photos and you are loving seeing the elopement set come together. When the sun sets just low enough, you are broken into groups with your tentmates. Different stations are set up so you can spend time on the details, and also work with the gorgeous, real couple models who are the perfect blend of bohemian and romance. You get a chance to work on your posing direction, one of the photogs in your group is an expert at it and you are so excited to take some of these practices home with you for your real-life couples.

Sun has gone, every last picture has been taken and the set has been cleared away. Dinner is a little on the late side, but it was worth it to get all those stunning golden hour pics. Good thing there were snacks at the propping workshop. After dinner, you sit and share RAW images with all your new friends and chat about how you will edit them to make them your own.

You go to bed exhausted, what a day. You are sad to think it will all be over tomorrow and you will be heading back to the hustle of the real world, but you are also excited about the shoot in the morning before you pack up. Early morning light will be the star of the intimate engagement session in the Stargazer tent. Crisp white sheets, dark-haired models and a whole bunch of anticipation at a life together just about to start. An engagement session with a hint of boudoir may be outside your comfort zone now, but imagine how many new clients you can attract just by posting about this styled shoot.

After the final shoot is over and your bags are packed, you say a fond farewell to Zion and the new friends you met there. Everyone has exchanged Instagram handles, and plans are already in motion for future styled shoots together, so you know this isn’t the last you will see of everyone. You head back home with a full heart and a ton of photos to edit. Maybe skipping the workflow tutorial wasn’t the best idea after all ūüėČ

All that sounds amazing, right? So what are you waiting for?

Antelope Canyon Engagement Session

This Engagement Session in Antelope Canyon was absolutely gorgeous. These lovers couldn’t have looked more amazing! The wind-carved slot canyon was such a beautiful space to showcase their love for each other. It was a tight squeeze, but man was it worth it!

Kayla & Tyler looked amazing in the wind-carved slot canyon.

In black & white, you can really appreciate the movement in the sandstone.

Bespoke Design¬†hand painted Kayla’s stunning moto jacket & we added the ivory lace to the bottom to add an element of elegance to the more casual look.

The light changed with every step we took, but it really was great for the dramatic shadows I was looking for.

Kayla really is a stunner & clearly, Tyler thinks so too!

We had two looks for Kayla. It was definitely an interesting wardrobe change.

Custom jewels (necklace, earrings & hair pins) by Desert Daisy Jewelry.

The texture of the sandstone & how wind & water had carved it out over time, just made it so beautiful!

EG Letters hand lettered & hand tore this sweet little “I said yes!”

You’ll always find a tumbleweed in the desert, & it made for a beautiful textural difference.

We hiked all the way up through the canyon & then had to climb out. It was really sweet how Tyler reached down to help Kayla up the ladder.

Once we were out of the canyon, well I guess we were on top of the canyon, there was just beauty all around. So naturally, it was a perfect place for more photos.

From Antelope Canyon, we ventured down near Lake Powell for a few more shots before the sun went down.

We did another wardrobe change, back into her casual look for some shots that would be a lot more playful.

We had to show off the gorgeous hand-painted jacket some more too!

It was a little bit chilly, so we came up with some fun ways to stay warm. [Get your mind outta the gutter ;)]

They were giggling & having so much fun together!

Can we just talk about Kayla’s eyes for a second? O-M-G they were almost glowing in the golden light!

I think Tyler liked the “kiss her” directive the most. Understandably!

Okay… Kiss her!

Kayla was just too gorgeous to not focus on. The hair, the jewelry (both compliments of Desert Daisy Jewelry), the hand-painted jacket + her gorgeous self!

Seriously tho, she’s just so cute!

It was a super fun shoot & these two rocked it!

Thank you to all the vendors involved in helping to create this beautiful shoot!

Hand-Painted Jacket ‚Äď Bespoke Design
Suit ‚Äď Generation Tux
Jewelry &¬†Hair ‚Äď Desert Daisy Jewelry
Calligraphy ‚Äď EG Letters
MUA ‚Äď Model
Velvet Dress ‚Äď Leah Maria

Featured on The Overwhelmed Bride

Cat & Paul’s Lake Mead Sunrise

Adventurous couples are my jam & for a while now I had wanted to do a shoot at Lake Mead. I noticed a comment from the stunning Cat Canizalez on a photo I had taken of a friend of hers. Her profile picture intrigued me so I headed over to her feed.


I read her bio & checked out a few of her pictures & it became evident that she would be perfect for the shoot I had been planning in my head for so long. I sent her a message & as I suspected, she was ready to adventure with me! And even better, she had an equally adventurous boyfriend, Paul Seidler III, that came along & made our shoot that much better. Yay!


So, the plan was to meet at Boulder Beach Lake Mead just before sunrise. We had two looks we were shooting, one dressy & one casual. We did the dressy look first. I had found this amazing Ombre Sequin Mini Dress at Forever 21 & it was perfect! It was cold out so I had them bring a cozy blanket to snuggle up in for some of the shots. Cat’s boyfriend Paul wore dark jeans & a blazer over a white tee which looked so good with her sparkly dress!

Just as the sun rose over the mountains, I had Cat change into her casual look, a pair of high-waisted black jeans, a white Calvin Klein sports bra & a flannel with sneakers. Paul took off the blazer & it was a perfect look.

They were so fun & cute together! I didn’t have to do much directing either. We did a few shots on the beach & then it was time for the adventure part… getting into the lake! It was very shallow, so we didn’t get too far in, but deep enough to get so of the shots I had in my head. It was almost warmer in the water than out. Well I’m sure it was since it was only 55 degrees out, the water was probably in the high 60’s.

After we were done shooting I couldn’t wait to get to work on their gallery! We had such a great shoot & just looking through my camera I knew there were some really amazing shots just waiting for me. Since we did our shoot the day before Thanksgiving I was only able to get them a sneak peek, but finished their gallery a couple of days ago.

I’m only sharing some of my absolute favorites, so head over to my Client Lounge to see the entire gallery and many more!

If you’re adventurous & love their photos, get in touch & we’ll adventure together too.

Dionne & Kieth… a Wedding 35 years in the making!

Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding

These two are special to me! I met Dionne just about a month after I moved to Las Vegas. We serve at The Crossing in the cafe together & over the past 2 years we have become more like family than friends.

Now Dionne has known Keith since they were little. Keith always looked after her, made sure she was safe & as they grew up he made sure she was happy too. They dated off & on for years, got engaged before too! They drifted apart & each ended up having a child with someone else, but they always felt a piece was missing when they were apart!

A few moths ago Keith showed up on Dionne’s doorstep¬†with all his things. He had talked about moving back to Las Vegas for a while but wasn’t planning to be back until spring. Dionne was floored! She was so excited he was finally home! I had heard all about Keith & was so excited to finally meet him! He totally lived up to all the hype. ūüėČ

So within a few weeks, it seems they were engaged & the wedding was set to happen just a couple months later. It wasn’t a surprise tho, they’ve loved each other¬†for 35 years! I had the honor of being their engagement & wedding photographer. It was so wonderful to get to be a part of their amazingly special wedding day & love story!

Congrats to you both. I love you Mr & Mrs McCray!

Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding Bride of Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding Bride & Son/Best Man Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding Best Man & Groom Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding Bride & Maid of Honor Sweetheart Las Vegas Wedding

Desert vibes for a Vegas engagement. (Styled Shoot)

I’m a bit late posting about this, but a couple months ago I got to be a part of a gorgeous styled shoot out in the middle of the desert. It was so beautiful & our models¬†were so cute, and were an actual couple too!
This was during WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International convention) in February. I had been dying to get in on a photo walk or styled shoot & at the last minute came across another photographer that had put one together & still had a few spots left. I was pumped!
We headed out to El Dorado dry lake bed, just outside of Boulder City, & the conditions were perfect. It can get really windy here in Las Vegas, recently we had 95 mph wind gusts where I live, so we were lucky to have a light breeze.
There were only 3 photographers in total so we all really got to get all the shots we wanted to get. Our model Justine & her boyfriend were so easy to work with. She’s a pro & he was such a good sport. I always love working with models because they really know their angles & need little direction.Sidenote, posing is not my fave!

Cultivate Goodsmade a stunning bouquet for us using a silk fromHoney Silks. Justine’s nude dress was from Forever 21 & the crop top & pink skirt were fromAdinas Bridal.His tux, shoes & ties were fromFriar TuxLas Vegas. The jewelry came fromAnna Hubbard Jewelry. The shoot was coordinated byJenae Marie Photography.

Engaged? How to nail your "Save The Date".

Congrats! You’re engaged. Now what? Time to get your friends & family in the loop.
First step: Send Save-The-Date cards to your guests. It’s the pre-invite card that announces your wedding date & venue, as well as lets guests know that they’ll¬†be invited to the celebration.
Here’s a simple guide¬†to help you nail¬†save-the-date etiquette, plus¬†check out some of my¬†favorite Save-The-Date designs to inspire you.
Do we have to send out Save-The-Date cards?If you’re having a destination wedding, then sending a Save-The-Date is an expected courtesy, since many of your guests will have to make travel & hotel arrangements. Even if you’re getting married in your home town, Save-The_Dates¬†are a fun way to give your guests a heads up about the wedding. Plus, chances are it’ll¬†increase your guests¬†chances of attending.
When do we send them out?In general, it’s a good idea to mail them 4 to 6 months before your¬†wedding, or even earlier (8 months ahead of time) if you’re planning a destination wedding that requires more extensive travel planning.
Who gets¬†one?Only send your Save-The-Date to those¬†you’re planning on inviting to the wedding. Even if you’ve already gotten verbal confirmation from certain guests, you’ll still need to send them a Save-The-Date (that includes bridesmaids, siblings, parents, etc.). However, once they’re¬†in the mail, there’s no turning back, so lock down that guest list first before mailing them out so you don’t over invite. They¬†should only go to those you definitely want in attendance.
What information should we include?Give your guests any details that will help them plan for your big day: the wedding date, location, your wedding website URL (where they can find additional information), etc.
Can we send them via email?These days, it’s perfectly appropriate to send your Save-The-Date announcement via email. Just be aware there may be a few bumps along the road: Your e-card may get filtered into your guests’ spam folder, or maybe the email address you have is one they no longer check. Some of your guests may not even have email (grandparents), so you will need to spread the word some other way. So in other words, delivery is not always 100 percent guaranteed. Also, there’s the tangibility factor: Mailing a paper Save-The-Date, guests will probably¬†pin it up somewhere in their home or office, to¬†serve as a reminder of the wedding to come. Another thing to consider is the formality of your wedding. One function of the Save-The-Date is to give your guests a sneak peek of the wedding to come. The more formal the wedding, the more likely a printed card will set the tone you want your wedding to have.
My favorite ways to Save-The-Date:
Save-the-Date Photo Card- I’m partial to this one! ūüėČ

Use your favorite shot from your Engagement photos. This is a great way to personalize your Save-The-Date & give your guests a feel for what to expect at your wedding (will it be casual, rustic, elegant, etc.). Print it on a full-bleed photo-card design to really show it off. (custom save-the-date cards available starting at $169 for 100)
Save-the-Date Card

Keep things simple by mailing an elegant & straightforward card including all pertinent wedding information: your names, wedding date, location & an indication that the official invitation will be coming in the mail. (Save-The-Date download,TheBrumbyNestEtsy store)
Printable Save-the-Date Calendar Card

Save money on Save-The-Date cards by downloading these FREE calendar-style printables. Print ’em out on card stock, fill in your names, the month, & circle your wedding date. (Calendar save-the-date,¬†Free¬†download,Bells & Whistles)
Destination Wedding Save-the-Dates

Get your guests excited about your destination wedding with these leather luggage-tag save-the-dates – they are so chic and will definitely compel everyone to pack their bags & book a flight. (Luggage-tag save-the-date,LoveTravelsFavorsEtsy store)
DIY Save-the-Dates

Like a good DIY project? Get a custom rubber stamp with all of your wedding details and stamp the Save-The-Date information onto manila shipping tags for a vintage-inspired look. (Save-the-date design,HelloWorldStampsEtsy store)
So, how will you Save-The-Date?