Sedona Engagement Photos at Cathedral Rock

An iconic Sedona engagement photo taken at Cathedral Rock at sunset

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Sedona Engagement Photos at Cathedral Rock

2024 SEDONA BOOKINGS: This year, I’ll be accepting bookings for Sedona engagement sessions and Grand Canyon engagement sessions November 29th, 2024—December 7th, 2024 with no travel fees. I can also be available at the date of your choosing. I welcome you to visit my Engagement Photo Portfolio to see more of my portfolio. If you’ve made a connection to my work, please email me at ashley@artistrieco.com and I’ll be happy to provide more information!

This Sedona engagement session at Cathedral Rock is still an epic favorite of mine.

Sedona is my version of heaven on earth. I visit every year at least once and it never ceases to amaze me. I’ve climbed to the top of Cathedral Rock more times than I can count. I love watching the sun go down from the top of Doe Mountain, hiking the Cow Pies, vineyard hopping throughout the Verde Valley (DA Ranch is a must!), eating every delicious bite from the Elote Cafe and drinking all the margaritas at the Salt Rock Kitchen. I feel right at home here and someday I swear I’ll own a small vacation home nearby.

Until that day comes, I try to visit Sedona as often as I can, and I’ve been lucky to photograph several engagement sessions and wedding celebrations in Arizona over the years. This Sedona engagement photo session is one I’ll never forget. I flew into Arizona first thing the morning of the session, and believe it or not, it was raining non stop in the desert that day. We sat at the trailhead in the parked car, waiting for the clouds to let up.

We hiked to the top of Cathedral Rock in the rain, and as soon as we arrived to the top, the clouds parted and the sun began to shine to share a gorgeous Sedona sunset. It all worked out to our advantage because we were the only ones at the top, something I’ve never experienced before at Cathedral Rock. It was the most quiet and peaceful it has ever been making this shoot all the more special.

A Sedona Engagement Photo at Cathedral Rock
A sunset engagement session at Cathedral Rock in Sedona

If you are considering taking your engagement photos at Cathedral Rock in Sedona, read on for my best tips:

Tips for Taking Engagement Photos at Cathedral Rock in Sedona:

Go During an Off-Peak Time

I can’t stress this enough. I’ve hiked to the top of Cathedral Rock more times than I can remember and it’s increasingly become busier and busier. I highly recommend visiting on a week day and during a quieter time of year. I personally love to visit in late November when the crowds are thin. You’ll want your Sedona engagement photos to feel intimate and like you are the only two in the world.

Parking at Cathedral Rock

There are 2 small parking lot areas at the trailhead for Cathedral Rock. You’ll need to purchase a Red Rocks pass which is $5 per day. Because of it’s popularity, the parking lots can fill up fast, so I recommend arriving plenty early to make sure you can snag a spot. The Cathedral Rock trailhead can also be accessed via the Templeton and Baldwin trails, so in a worst case scenario, you can park at those trailheads and hike over to Cathedral Rock from there.

Wear Hiking Attire & Shoes to the Top

It’s about a 1 mile hike to the top, but it’s a steep climb and more of a scramble. Whatever you do, don’t wear your engagement session attire during the hike. I guarantee your outfits will be covered in red dirt before you start taking photos. Plan to wear comfy hiking attire to ascend to the top of Cathedral Rock. Hiking shoes are a must for this climb. If it has rained at all recently, it will be very slippery and you’ll need shoes with traction to stay safe. If you’re new to hiking and need a recommendation, I absolutely LOVE the Merrell Moab 3. I’m an avid hiker and have worn variations of this shoe for 10 years and it’s perfection.

Pack Your Engagement Session Wardrobe & Touch Up Kit

Because you’ll be wearing athletic attire to the top, pack your engagement session wardrobe in a way that’s easy for you to carry to the top. A garment bag is highly recommended (something like this is easy to carry over your shoulder and will keep all your clothes clean as you hike to the top). You may be able to fit shoes, smaller wardrobe pieces into your backpack. If you have your hair and makeup done prior to the hike, bring any touch up supplies you may need. I recommend bringing a large towel or blanket that we can use to hide you as you change into your clothes at the top. Plan to have all the undergarments on beforehand to make it as easy of a transition as possible.

Don’t Forget the Essentials

This hike is rated as difficult by All Trails. Like I mentioned, it’s short but steep and oftentimes you are scrambling. You’ll want to make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks, a first aid kit, and a flash light or two. If you are taking photos around sunrise or sunset, you’ll likely be starting or ending in some amount of darkness, so the flash light or headlamp will be key.

Practice the Hike

If you have the option and you’ve never done this hike before, I’d recommend practicing the hike once ahead of the shoot to get a feel for it and figure out the best way to carry everything you need for your shoot. This will give you a chance to walk out onto the famous ledge. It’s really not as scary as it looks, but the path is a bit narrow. You’ll have a good idea about what type of shoes you can and cannot wear for the shoot itself.

Cathedral Rock Engagement Photos in Sedona

A beautiful black and white engagement photo taken in Sedona
A couple share a kiss at the top of Cathedral Rock
A Sedona engagement photo
A beautiful black and white engagement photo taken in Sedona
Sedona engagement photo
A heartfelt moment during an engagement session in Sedona
A beautiful engagement photo in Sedona, Arizona
A couple smile for the camera as they take engagement photos in Sedona
A sunset engagement photo at Cathedral Rock in Sedona
A beautiful black and white engagement photo taken at Cathedral Rock in Sedona

Sedona, I love your red rocks, dramatic landscapes, and sunny skies. Here’s to hoping for more beautiful Sedona engagement photos like this soon!

Favorite Locations & Ideas for Sedona Engagement Photos

If you are looking for other location ideas for your engagement session in Sedona, I certainly have my favorite sights and have compiled a short list below. My engagement session experiences are typically 2-3 hours long and I love the idea of capturing the iconic Sedona sunset views mixed with an editorial flair.

Think: photos while sitting at a bonfire and enjoying a glass of wine, having a date night at a chic restaurant or bar, taking an autumn stroll along Oak Creek when the tree leaves are vividly yellow, horseback riding along the Verde Valley, or taking in the views from your luxury hotel stay like Ambiente or L’Auberge.

A few of my favorite vistas include:

  • Airport Mesa
  • Bell Rock
  • Doe Mountain
  • The Baldwin Trail
  • Cultural Park Trailhead
  • Oak Creek
  • Merry Go Round Rock
  • Verde Valley
  • DA Ranch
  • Page Spring Cellars

I hope this was helpful! While I am based in Chicago, I visit Sedona every year. If you’ve made a connection to my work, please visit my portfolio or contact me for more information about working together.


Have a question?

Reach out to Ashley today and let's start planning the perfect photography experience for your wedding, boudoir or portrait session.

Email: ashley@artistrieco.com