Everything Adventure Sessions!

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What is an Adventure session?? - How do you plan an adventure session?

Traveling Elopement Photographer - Traci Edwards


Hey there! So if you have followed my page for any time now you’ve got the idea of what an Adventure Elopement is, right?! If not, let’s back track and check out this blog post on the experience of an elopement.

You may be wondering though what exactly is an adventure session? Isn’t it the same as an elopement?? An adventure session is a session with a couple exploring an area by helicopter, hiking, kayaking, biking, etc. These sessions are meant for couples that are engaged, celebrating an anniversary or who are just in love and want to document apart of their story. These are also great sessions for a couple that maybe had a small intimate local or destination wedding and want to do more adventurous wedding photos the day of, day before or on their honeymoon. Explore this blog post for a complete guide to when to book an adventure session, how to plan and what to wear! Click on the linked posts for samples of adventure sessions and more through the blog post.

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Why book an adventure session?

Adventure sessions are literally SO much fun!!! If you have recently gotten engaged, why not use your engagement session as a chance to get outdoors and explore a place together that is either new to you, a favorite hiking spot of yours or possibly even re-adventure your proposal location. Let’s say you have an anniversary coming up, this is a perfect time to head out with your partner and rekindle some of that love! For adventure anniversary sessions some couples choose to put back on the wedding attire and some choose to dress casual for the session.

The thing is you do not have to be engaged or married to book and experience an adventure session!!! Maybe you are on a trip to Iceland or Sedona or anywhere that has you two completely and utterly so stoked to be there and explore!! Take advantage of this time and book an adventure session. It is a great way to document your trip, your hike or other adventures along the way and apart of your love story. No matter what your love deserves to be celebrated and your story deserves to be preserved.

How is an adventure session different from any other couples session?

For an adventure session you’re putting in a little more work! It is pretty similar in the differences between small weddings and adventure elopements. The key word is adventure, which really means whatever ‘adventuring’ means to you. To me this may mean taking a hike to beautiful outlook or going horseback riding through the country side. To the couple next door this may mean rock climbing a new pitch or sky diving!

The second biggest difference in having an adventure session is connection. While you may not be saying vows with each other it is still a very emotive experience. Every adventure session I have done with a couple I leave in awe of the moments that the couple was able to share together. There is a sense of connection, fun, carefree spirit and time that they are really expressing their love and just being with each other that allows magic to happen. One session that specifically stands out was an adventure anniversary session Sedona at the end of last year. Not only was it an adventure to even get to the location during snow storm that hit Arizona, but Kyle and Amber really took in the rare experience that was being surrounded in the red rocks in the snow and being the only people there on the trial. You may be wondering just exactly how an adventure session can be more emotional or connected than a session not out in the great outdoors. It is has been studied and proven that being outside in general can improve your stress levels, energy, memory and be calming. This in relation to your relationship helps communication and connection.

Adventure sessions are also usually longer than your average couples session. Why?? Well, you are doing an activity so naturally you will need more time. Your session will usually be as long as it would take typically for whatever activity you choose to do and then and an extra 1.5+ hours. What is great about adventure sessions is this time, because it is not rushed and allows you to really enjoy the session and time together.

How do you plan an adventure session??

The first thing to do would be to decide in what general area you want to have your session. If you know you’re going on a trip or you know you want to stay in your local area this would be the first choice to make so you can find a local photographer. Or you can go another route! If there is a photographer you know and really want to work with and/or it is in the budget to have a photographer travel to the location then you can select a photographer first. Another important factor is deciding what type of adventure you want to have.

As I always say, communication with your photographer is so important. As an adventure photographer please use us as resource in your planning. I love helping my couples find the perfect location for them and going through the process of choices to make sure they have the best experience for them. It comes down to listening to what is important to them. Are the closer more intimate images more valuable to them over the wide grand views? Is sunset a must or are you open to starting out in early quiet hours in the morning?

Once you have the logistics planned when you’re getting ready be sure to prep for the adventure. What would you typically bring for this day? Then secondary, plan for the photo session part by packing your attire, anything you may need for touch ups, etc.

(If you want a specific guide to planning an adventure session from out of state check out this blog.)

Here are some of my most recommended locations for an adventure session:

  • Joshua Tree National Park - I LOVE this place and if you are drawn to the desert like me it is perfect. The light in this park is pure magic and you can explores so many different nooks.

  • Yosemite National Park - A favorite to many explorers, the park has great areas for short hikes with amazing views and offers larger adventures like rock climbing or spending time together in the valley.

  • Big Sur - The California coast has so many stunning places to enjoy together, but this is one is top notch. With killer views along the way, great little trails down to the coast and I even have the most romantic dinner location I can recommend to you after!

  • Smith Rock State Park - Oregon is one of those places that is full of wonders. I love this little spot because it’s a great spot for a short hike or a long hike. Known all over for rock climbing if you want to take the session to the next level. Surrounded by great little towns in the area and the Three Sisters if you want to venture over to totally different location for two looks.

  • Cannon Beach/ Oregon Coast - I call this the lover’s coast, it is a staple location for couples sessions for romping around on the beach.

  • Olympic National Park - In this park your session could be on a lake, on the coast, on a mountain in the snow or even in the rain forest! Yes!! All in one park :)

  • Moab - The go to location for desert adventure it seems. Hello hiking, rock climbing, cliff jumping, sky diving and more!

  • Some of my favorite Arizona locations include Payson, Sedona, Flagstaff, Horseshoe bend, Slot canyons in Page and some secret sauce areas :)

The list could go on and on and on years if we let it!

What do I wear to an adventure session?

No matter what this is still a photo session so remember the basics!

  • stay away from words with text or a ton of opposing patterns

  • coordinate, but do not match

  • make sure you are comfortable

Now things to consider for an outfit that you wouldn’t have to normally!

  • can you do your adventure in this outfit? Maybe you want the wind swept dress on the mountain top but you don’t want to hike in it…can you change somewhere along the trail where you are going? Or maybe you are doing an adventure you have to wear outdoor wear for, that is totally fine! Just remember those three rules from above.

  • consider the weather! Keep in mind if you’re adventuring to the top of the mountain you may need layers. Weather can be very different from the bottom of a mountain than from the top.

  • proper shoes - this is a biggie for me, because I want you safe!!!

  • What are your surroundings like?? If you are in the red rocks of Sedona you may want to stay away from red hues or if you are in the lush forest of the Pacific Northwest you may want to avoid wearing green hues.

If you want to see more samples of what to wear to an adventure session check out this Pinterest board that I share with all of my couples prior to their session. Or if you want to read my full guide strickly on what to wear check that out here.

Are you ready for an Adventure?!

Do you have more questions about Adventure Sessions??! Drop your questions in the comments below!

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Meet Sabrina & Juston

These two little love birds traveled from Phoenix to Payson, Arizona to have sweet adventure session in Rim Country. This spot in Arizona is so dear to my heart. If you want the most scenic drive you must head that way. The area has so many great hikes from short and sweet to the tough and rewarding. You won’t be disappointed in the what the area has to offer for adventuring either. Within the Payson area you will find tons of lakes, trails, camping, hot springs, grand views of the rim and many off-roading opportunities.

This was Sabrina and Juston’s first time in the area and their first time in front of the camera! Sabrina, from Kansas and Juston, from Colorado, have only been in Arizona for a short time and I can not think of a better way to document this chapter of their lives than getting outside and doing a couples session. I had so much chatting with them about epic places to explore in Colorado as I am headed there soon and may possibly even get to run into them again out there! There session was so much exploring the rim, taking in the views and hearing their contagious laughs and giggles. We even finished the session just in time for them to share the sunset by the lake, just the two of them.

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