Would you hike 10 miles for an engagement photo session in front of a crystal-blue waterfall? For Tina + Matt, the adventure was in the journey and the destination! Havasu Falls is an oasis deep in a desert canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona, and, as photographer Anni Graham tells us, well worth every ounce of effort to get there. An adventurous couple requires an adventurous photographer, right?! T+M found that in Annie, who told us how the shoot came about:
When Tina + Matt suggested the idea of doing their engagement session here, I didn’t hesitate for a second, and we went straight to work, sorting out permits and travel details. The location itself is no easy feat. Driving from LA on only a few hours of sleep, Tina + Matt met us at the trailhead and we hiked in 10 miles to the most breathtaking waterfall we could ever imagine. The water was so unbelievably blue and next to the red desert rocks it’s like no other place in the entire world. We slept out under the stars, giddy as ever to shoot the next day. We woke up early before the other hikers arrived and had the whole place to ourselves. The whole trip was such an unforgettable experience, and the most inspiring place to capture their love and spend time together. This is definitely my favorite shoot of all time.
SO INCREDIBLE, right?! Tina shared more about her + Matt’s engagement and love for adventure below, alongside the beeeeeautiful images by Anni Graham Photography. Let’s have a look!
On the 10-mile trek!
Matthew and I are an adventurous kind! He grew up in the rolling hills of upstate New York and I, in the foothills of the Himalayas. On October 14th, 2 years since we met, we hiked up the frozen face of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. On a little geocaching adventure, Matthew planted a little box in the side of the face where he had a note that said ‘turn around’. Slowly turning, he was perched on a rock on one knee with the most beautiful backdrop of Lake Placid and mountains behind him. We were tired, wind chapped, cold, muddy, and huddled in Matt’s old sweatshirts: It was everything I never expected my proposal to be, but I couldn’t ask for anything different.
Anni Graham was always a dream for me and growing up and looking at her images, it always felt like eternity when I was going to have her shoot my engagement photographs one day. We finally chose Havasu Falls only from images we had seen, and a deep desire to make this moment a memorable and adventurous one. We had found many beautiful places on the coast, but there was something exhilarating about traveling to an untouched part of this beautiful world to capture our love for each other and our love for such places together. Things fell together and before we knew it, we met Anni and Rich at the trailhead. It was quite a trek down to the falls, but one I will never forget.
On the day of our shoot, and similar to our own proposal, Matthew and I ran around the falls barefoot, muddy, cold, and giddy with happiness! I spent days looking for the ‘perfect’ dress before the shoot, but there was something beautiful, simple, and just comfortable about going with a perfect shade of periwinkle blue (t-shirt style, of course). The night before, I pulled out my zip-lock bag with the 5 things I needed the next morning for my make-up, and slept with the highest braid to keep my hair-intact. I spent the morning painting my nails on the camp table while we ate fruit strips and laughed.
Tina, you’re speaking our language with that cozy + cute t-shirt dress! We’ve got a few on rotation this summer:
At the falls, Matthew got drenched, and my hair got frizzy, but everything was perfect. At the end, we stripped down to our bathing suits and took a big plunge into the falls together! It was the perfect shot, and the perfect moment where everything came full circle: we were remote, away from distractions, away from the business of our lives, simply wrapped up in each others arms, warmed by love, in a place I can only describe as paradise.
Hiking 10 miles out of the canyon early the next morning, and finally making it back to the trailhead, I cried on our 7 hour drive back to Los Angeles. There was something powerful about working hard and deserving to see and experience places like this on earth, as well as having the rare opportunity of celebrating our love there: something we will never forget!
Such a sweet recount of an incredible experience! Many congrats to the happy couple…can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes you!
photography: Anni Graham Photography // venue name: Havasu Falls, Havasupai, Arizona, USA