Earlier this year, I ran a giveaway on my Facebook and Instagram pages for a free Chicago or Iowa City engagement session. I was so blown away by all the entries, so I decided to add a second and third place prize; second place got a 50% off session and third place got 25% off. In the giveaway rules, I also added that the session didn’t necessarily have to be in Iowa City or Chicago; if someone wanted to add on the travel fees to do them in another place, then any location was fair game! The stars were aligned when my roommate from college (the amazing Beth!!) tagged Meggie in the giveaway post; they ended up winning the 50% off session and wanted to do their engagement session in the amazing Joshua Tree National Park, just a short drive from where they live! Joshua Tree has been on my travel/photo bucket list for a while now, so I was THRILLED with their choice.

Flash forward a few months, and all my Joshua Tree dreams came true. We spent the day exploring the park—I think we were there for maybe 6 hours??—taking our time stopping at different locations like Barker Dam, Hidden Valley, and Key’s View. I would say we got most of the epic joshua tree photos in Hidden Valley, but honestly everywhere you look in the park has the famously beautiful cactus-tree hybrids. I didn’t picture there to be SO MANY; for some reason I thought the tree population would be much more sparse, but they were everywhere. We finished up at Key’s View, but it was so chilly and windy—I seriously almost blew over standing at the edge—that we just stood there to take in the view instead of trying to do more photos (I did sneak a few of them watching the sunset though). Keys Viewpoint looks out over the Coachella Valley and down into Palm Springs, and since it’s such a popular place to go as the sun sets right over they valley, there were also a ton of people around watching too.

As fun as the session itself was, I had just as much fun in the hours that followed it. Meggie and Cam invited me to join them for dinner, and we had some DELICIOUS jalapeño popper pizza (amazing, why haven’t I had it sooner!?) and then we all went back to their AirBnb to have some wine and beer and to finish the pizzas. I ended up staying there until almost 2:00 AM and almost couldn’t make it back to my own AirBnb because there were no Uber drivers driving in the area 😂 I’m still not sure if it’s because Coachella was going on about an hour away or because the town of Joshua Tree is so small, but I ran into the same issue the next morning when I was trying to get to the airport!! Lyft came to the rescue and had one driver nearby though hahaha.

Scroll down to see some of my favorites from the day!!

Location: Joshua Tree National Park

Florals: Petals and Pop

White Dress: Cleobella

Yellow Dress: Amuse Society

Cheetah Print Dress: Target

Black Hat: Amuse Society

Photographer: Marissa Kelly Photography

Meggie + Cam | Joshua Tree National Park Engagement Session


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