Emily + Charlie | Utah Mountain Engagement Photos

There are few things I enjoy more than an engagement session up in the mountains. Except maybe gluing thousands of rhinestones onto my new ballroom dress. HA. That was a lie. Forgive me, I've spent a good 6 or 7 hours doing that this weekend... Anyways.

Speaking of ballroom, Emily and Charlie are ballroom dancers! When I asked them how they met, Charlie said he saw Emily at a ballroom competition, and he was totally twitterpated. He kept making excuses to see her, purposely running into her in the hall, until he finally got up the courage to ask her out. Emily chimed in "It was really awkward." He asked her for her number in front of everyone in the hall (which, if you've ever been in the Richards Building during a class break, you know there's a lot of people. A lot of people who all know each other. No easy task for poor Charlie!) But he did it, and the rest is history, folks. 

For their engagements we decided to do some photos up Big Cottonwood Canyon and some in downtown Salt Lake. I met them at the mall, where they were doing some last minute outfit shopping, and helped them pick out what to wear. It's a big deal! I'm always happy to offer clothing advice :) Then we headed out to the Salt Lake Valley. It was quite a bit of driving, but I think a drive is always worth it for a good location. 


We drove up the canyon a ways, all the while I was on the lookout for the perfect spot. I saw a few good spots flash by, but they weren't "the one". And suddenly, I had a feeling the perfect spot was just ahead, so I told Charlie to stop at the next pullout. So he did, and we were all like "WHOAA," because we had pulled up to this gorgeous bend in the river where the water was white with rapids and the low sun filtered in through the trees juuust right.

It was obviously my Spidey Sense :)

Don't worry, I only almost fell off the rocks into the river a few times. Charlie caught me, the gentleman!

Next we headed back down the road a ways in search of a good forest-y area. We didn't find exactly what we were looking for... (still had a few good moments along the way)


Charlie stooped down and picked up the little guy- Emily and I thought he was dead. Turns out he wasn't! He was just sleeping or something I guess. Then Charlie begged Emily to put it on her hand next to her ring for a photo. She was not having it.

Finally Emily gave in, but she was still pretty grossed out. It didn't help that Charlie pointed out "He's licking you with his tongue!" Emily was not a fan of his nasty insect-y tongue.

Eventually she relaxed enough to get a few good pictures with the butterfly, but made Charlie get it off as soon as possible.

Pinterest, here I come.

So then we drove further up the canyon. My extended family has a cabin up near the top of the canyon, so I know the area pretty well. I had a nice little mountain meadow in mind :)

And WOW... It couldn't have been more perfect. The air was so fresh and clear, and smelled like pine trees and mountains. And the sun was low and golden, and was doing lovely things in the photos. The whole thing was rather romantic, really (can I get a high five for that alliteration??).

This is where magic happens, people.

I love that point in a session where me and the couple get more comfortable with each other and can be ourselves. I usually get a little weirder and the couple gets more confident and lets me into their relationship as a special kind of observer. It makes for some honest, candid photos and A LOT of fun.

I loved being able to see Emily and Charlie in a way I haven't before. I've seen them around, but I've never had the chance to spend any time with them or see them in a setting where we could be real with each other. They totally invited me into their relationship, I didn't even feel like an awkward third wheel. At one point Emily said, "I feel like this engagement is me, Charlie... and you." Haha that made me so happy! It's so great when you have that kind of relationship with a couple, and don't feel out of place observing the love they have for each other. It was just like we were hanging out.

The evening turned into every romantic's dream. The meadow was cool and quiet, the summer sun was setting softly behind the evergreens, and Emily and Charlie had each other.

Oh and I was there too. But that's not important :)

So after a splendidly romantic time up the canyon, we drove down to Salt Lake to do a few urban photos as well. Unfortunately, we kind of lost track of time in the mountains (it was just so great!!) and ended up getting to the city a little late. We would've been fine, except a storm blew up out of nowhere and stole all our light. And THAT even would've been find except then a baby tornado swept through and ruined any more chances of photos. Haha... Emily had to pull a few Marylins. But we managed to get a few good photos even in the less than ideal conditions.

P.S. Charlie's shirt, right??

Emily and Charlie are both on the BYU Ballroom Touring Team. That, my friends, is no small feat! They are both incredible dancers (I know, I've watched them many times at competitions), and are planning on going on to compete ballroom professionally. What a fairytale! I think that would be the coolest thing ever- to be married to your professional dance partner. What fun :) I can't wait to see where they go with it.

Yay :)

Afterwards we were all FAMISHED, so we dropped in to Kneaders for dinner. It was delicious, as always. We had fun talking about the shoot, and then about lots of other random stuff. These two are really so much fun!

D21 Big Cottonwood Canyon Mountain Engagement Pictures.jpg

I feel so lucky to have been able to photograph Emily and Charlie. They invited me into their lives and shared with me a special part of their relationship. Not only were memories and some kick-butt photos made, but a friendship was as well.

So... Did you love this session as much as I did?? Go ahead and let me know in the comments below! And if you'd like to stay in the loop of future sessions and adventures, make sure to use the subscribe button on the right toolbar at the top. Aaaaand if you're engaged and think you want me to be the NOT awkward third wheel, by all means, contact me! Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks guys, you're the best ;)