I take my couples on road trips. Yes, we are in the car for a number of hours, we stretch our legs at rest stops, we make playlists, we reach a destination—or several. We take pictures.

Portrait sessions aren’t just about the photos. OK, yeah, photos really important, but memorable images come from genuine experiences and I don’t think genuine experiences happen while posing in a field. So, here’s a short rundown of how I plan fun and adventurous off-the-beaten-path sessions for fun and adventurous off-the-beaten-path couples. Ready to hit the road? Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to go through planning your session in detail to make sure you get a perfect experience.

First Things First

What are you interested in?

Seriously, who are you? As a couple, as individuals? Do you love being outdoors? (If your answer is no, then that might be a problem). One of the first things I want to find out in order to plan your day is what kind of experience you are looking for in the first place. I take my couples to all sorts of crazy landscapes, but some are a long drive and a short walk, some are a long drive and a strenuous hike, and some are practically in their backyard. Please let me know any medical conditions you might have or if you prefer an easy-going stroll over a mountain climb.

Couple rest during road trip couple's session in Goblin Valley Utah
Bride and groom walk through the woods during wedding in Tennessee

Moving On

Where to?

I am fortunate enough to live in Utah, a state that has unlimited breathtaking beauty and variety. And if it can’t be found here, we aren’t terribly far from other gorgeous landscapes. What peaks your fancy: alpine mountains, red rock desert, lush grasslands, barren moon-like plains, fascinating rock formations? I have maps, you guys. Extensive maps to plan your trip and find something really, really cool to photograph.

We’ll meet up, chat over the phone or Skype to figure out these details.

Down & Dirty


Logistics is my jam. I love pouring over maps and routes and trails to figure out how to get from A to B. But my timelines are also flexible. It’s possible that your session will take an entire day, so plan accordingly. Though I love places like Zion National Park and the Bonneville Salt Flats, those areas can be touristy and packed, making it difficult to get good photos. I’ll typically suggest more remote locations, which also means possibly more time in the car. Don’t worry, I drive the whole time, but we’ll make a plan for meet-up and drop-off points, and roughly sketch out what time of day we’ll be where.

Bride hikes down the trail in dress with bouquet during road trip bridals session in Tennessee
Bride and groom smile during Utah mountain formals session with Brown Floral and Fantasy Bridal dress

Tips & Tricks

Just a few suggestions to help the day go smoothly

Running late? Unsure about your outfits? Don’t worry about it. Please. This is supposed to be a fun day all about you two and if you are stressed, it will show in the pictures. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Several pairs, if you need. One sturdy pair for hiking and one that matches your outfit. Feel free to bring any number of clothing items and supplies—we’re in a car, we’ll have plenty of room. Just try not to bring very much on the trail.

One More Thing

We are slaves to the weather

I keep a meticulous eye on the weather during the days leading up to the session. However, Utah weather (and weather in pretty much any other mountainous location) is notoriously unpredictable, and even if the forecast says 60 and sunny, we could easily encounter a typical mid-summer desert thunderstorm or mountain micro-burst. Under no circumstance will I shoot in weather that poses a threat to anyone (lightening, high winds, etc.), but a light shower doesn’t throw me. I’m happy to hunker down mid-session and wait it out, or to try and reschedule if the weather turns day-of, but keep in mind that the session might be postponed for at least a few weeks depending on my availability.

Sarah Arnoff Photos - Journalistic Wedding Photography for the Adventurous


Questions & Answers

Do we get to pick the session location?

Yes absolutely. This is your day and you have the final say on where we go. Still want to go to Zion or some other crowded place? Let’s do it. We’ll still make it unique and fun.

What do we wear?

That’s tricky. Hiking in heels is obviously not a good idea, so I say bring several options. I have tips on wardrobe and other details in my full session guide, which will be sent to you after booking.

Do you do destinations outside of Utah?

Yes. 100 percent. I’m in a state of travel frenzy at times. I’ll gladly plan a shoot in a place I’ve never been (see the Logistics section) and it’ll be a great time.

What’s Next?

Browse images from past Road Trip Sessions.

Take a look at my basic pricing guide.

Have more questions? Get in touch.

@ SarahArnoffPhotos

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