Yosemite engagement photos are not the easiest thing to get 🙂 That was a hard, challenging, fun, and memorable experience.
It’s all started with this beautiful couple scrolling through the list on engagement venues and couldn’t find anything that they both liked. After they share their thoughts, I mentioned that I have few over the top ideas that no one seems to be brave enough to do with me 🙂 That I wanted to have Yosemite engagement photos in my portfolio. And they said – YES to me! We will do that! Let’s go!
I went through the story of me visiting Yosemite national park and looking at Ansel Adams’s photographs and thinking how cool would it be to do something similar but with a coupe in the frame. Right, when I got this idea, I was pitching it to some of my clients, and they were like “yes that very cool and we love it but let’s find a place closer to our house” 🙂 So organically this idea slowly died out until this guys showed up.
I also should mention that that was back in 2016 and there were no examples of engagement photoshoots in Yosemite. I also did their wedding a few months after and you can see it here
After I got approval from them, I was very excited, but then one thought came to my mind
– How are we going to do it?
Planning. The most important part!
So it took me a couple of hours walking on Google Earth through all the cool points at the Yosemite Park. Dragging this little yellow man around, watching 360 panoramas, walking through each and every point. Looking at some Yosemite wedding photography. It’s incredible what you can do with new technologies, and more amazingly, they are free to use.
IMPORTANT NOTE. Check if the road to Taft’s point is open. You can do it here. It’s usually open in the summer though.
We, as photographers, can scout any location we want, not even visiting it. Anyway, a few hours later, I came out with a plan that was somewhat doable in a daylight frame. I wrote down all points of our interests, detailed list of what we are going to do, and put it on a timeline and sent it to them. Then I added the plan B in case something goes wrong and kept it for myself, not wanting to set this seed in my couples head.
All of my shots in my had already. I just needed to show up there and do it.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to make a very detailed plan with what you will do on each location. What props are you going to use, what poses, etc. If you just show up and “artistically play around,” you’ll get results accordingly. No movie shot with the idea, “let’s go there and do something“. And, in my opinion, you can’t do that with photoshoots as well.
My couple loved the plan and booked the hotel immediately. On the other hand, I’ve had a wedding the next day after that and had to drive home.
Long story short, my day started at 4 am. It’s about 5 hours drive from LA to Yosemite) and end around 2 am.
As you might know, there is no stable service at Yosemite park so you had to go old fashion and book your meeting a day in advance and there is no chance to text someone and say “sorry I’m late, the traffic is terrible.” You have to be there on time. That’s it.
We met even earlier then we planned and started shooting right away. The first couple of spots were closer to the parking lot, but you have to hike for the Taft point. To my surprise, the hike itself gave us an incredibly beautiful background to work with, so we spend some additional time there. Also, there was way less foot traffic at deleted points then I was expecting. There were like 3-5 people in the middle of the season. Six hours flight very fast, and we finished our day with a magnificent sunset. It’s like you looking at it and enjoying so much that almost forgot to take pictures. The good thing is no one noticing you doing that. Nowadays even tourists sometimes have cameras more expensive and bigger than mine with tripods, etc. so I do look like an amateur next to them 🙂 I don’t mind that.
After I got all Yosemite engagement photos I planed, I hit the road right away. For some, still unknown for me a reason, I decided to drive on my vintage 1974 Datsun 240z that day. On my way back, I would realize that it’s headlights slightly brighter than the 15th-century candle in a gothic castle, and there is no light on the road at the park… I didn’t notice that…
I was so glad and happy that finally, I did what I wanted for a very long time and that everything went by the plan (which is not always the case with complex photoshoots like that). By the next evening, I had all the photos ready seating on my harddrive. I looked at it the next day with a fresh yey just to make sure that they look great and send it to my client. They were so happy with it that they ordered the biggest possible album that I have 🙂
This photoshoot is still one of my favorites and the kind that I would do any time of the year! I love setting up, not a common goal, and completing them!
Thank you so much again to my lovely couple Ann and Ha, for supporting me with my crazy ideas and making it all the way!