Adventurous Yosemite Wedding Hiking Session || Jacki + Patrick
Taft Point Sunset Elopement-Inspired Session || Yosemite Adventure Elopement Photographer
Jacki and Patrick, like many other 2020 couples, had all their wedding plans flipped upside down. And they took it in stride, with more grace than I could’ve wished for. After a beautiful, intimate wedding in Malibu, these two decided to make something special of the chaos by joining Conrad and I a few days later in Yosemite for a little elopement-style adventure session in their wedding clothes.
Jacki’s Anne Barge wedding dress, originally chosen for a modern Hollywood wedding, was a Yosemite stunner. That woman slayed. And Patrick did it justice with his white tuxedo jacket. They are evidence that an outdoorsy, adventurous wedding or elopements can also be fashionable, modern, and luxurious. Wear the dress or suit (or literally whatever else) you want. Whether it’s simple or extravagant, it’s your wedding.
Jacki had her sights set on the iconic Taft Point after seeing some of my previous Yosemite photos there, so we pulled a few strings to make that dream come true. Due to Covid restrictions, Yosemite was requiring entry passes for visitors. Jacki and Patrick didn’t have one, so Conrad and I drove out of the park to pick them up, chase sunset, and take them back to their hotel. What could’ve been a minor inconvenience was the best time chatting and being in community with sweet friends. It also happened to be a sweet spot amidst the fires that filled Yosemite with orange smoke for weeks. We got incredibly lucky with soft haze and the golden-pink sunset that is so quintessentially Taft Point. It was still clear enough to see the best of the Yosemite Valley floor–– from El Capitan to the meadow to Yosemite Falls.
Safety During Adventure Photography Sessions
I also found out, as we approached the sheer cliffs towering 3500 feet over the Yosemite Valley floor, that Patrick is deathly afraid of heights. And, you can be the judge looking through these photos, but he absolutely killed it to help make the Taft Point dream come true! That being said, I’m a big believer in an over-abundance of safety and honoring comfort levels. I recommend to all photographers that you learn and respect the safety/comfort boundaries of your couples.
For me that means letting the couple lead in how close to an edge they want to be, keeping them informed, and always giving an “out” for any tricky locations. Conrad and I even took turns keeping an eye on Patrick’s amazing kid, Bailey, who spent the evening with us. In the end, the “epic shot” isn’t worth the trust of your couple, and won’t be what you imagined anyway–– uncomfortable people make for uncomfortable, inauthentic photos. A fuller blog post on this coming soon!
A Note on Glacier Point Road Closures 2020-2022
Taft Point is a classic Yosemite stunner, but its access road will be closed until 2022. While it’s the iconic wedding and elopement photography spot in Yosemite, this will be a great opportunity to explore the many incredible lesser-known spots in Yosemite and Eastern Sierra. My best advice for this location and Glacier Point is that they’re not the only beautiful places in Yosemite or the Sierra. If you’re planning an adventurous elopement or wedding and want something with this vibe (but don’t want to wait until 2022 to access Taft Point), reach out; I can get you set up with one of the dozens of incredible locations begging to be photographed! Taft Point and Glacier Point will also remain accessible through the strenuous 4-Mile-Hike (deceptively named–– it’s longer) if you’re down for a truly adventurous elopement.
And now for the best part…TL;DR in black and white, followed by Yosemite in all its colorful glory.