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Destination Elopement Wedding Photographer California

Best Yosemite Wedding Photography Locations!

As far as adventure wedding photography goes, it’s tough to beat Yosemite National Park. Yosemite has it all, mountains, lakes, GIANT sequoias, wild meadows, rivers, streams, hiking and backpacking trails, and EPIC views. You’re sure to find the perfect spot for your adventure wedding or elopement!

Yosemite Wedding Taft Point

Yosemite wedding photos at Taft Point with a high line setup

Since Yosemite is so close to where I live (that and my dad basically grew up there and took our family there every chance he had when we were children), I’ve spent a lot of time exploring and getting to know all of the great places it has to offer. Hopefully this list will help you find where you want to take some rad adventure photos or hold your ceremony! (Seriously, the rangers won’t tell you where it’s at or even admit it exists… but if you’ve heard of Yosemite’s Playboy Granite Grotto (some call them the “Indian Caves” near Mirror Lake), I’ve got you covered!)

* When thinking about the best adventure wedding locations inside Yosemite National Park, make sure to keep yourself in mind: what you want out of the photos, your adventure level, what attracted you most to Yosemite, etc. It can be easy to overlook some of your fears when thinking about the great photos you want! For example, if you’re afraid of heights, we can talk ahead about options that don’t require standing near the edge of a cliff (we can even get similar photos without standing anywhere near an actual cliff).

That said… let’s start with one of the most popular features for wedding photos in Yosemite (which happens to be a cliff).

Taft Point

Taft Point Yosemite

Taft Point has become a favorite for Yosemite wedding photos, and with good reason! I love that it’s the ultimate spot for a little bit of adventure and plenty of breathtaking views. The hike is definitely on the milder side for anyone wanting some stunning photos without trekking too far! The hike is 1 mile in, 1 mile out, and is mostly flat. Keep in mind that if you’re afraid of heights, this may not be the location for you. (Though even then, we can stay away from the edge and still get some pretty insane views!)

  • Maximum Guests: 10
  • Seasonal Closures (see link at bottom for more information)
  • Hiking Required

Sentinel Dome

Sentinel Dome Yosemite Wedding Photos Sentinel Dome Wedding Photography Yosemite Sentinel Dome Wedding Photography Yosemite

Sentinel Dome Wedding Photographs Yosemite Sentinel Dome Wedding Photography

Sentinel Dome leaves the same parking area as Taft Point and is also a one mile hike in, one mile out, and a relatively easy/flat hike. It offers some beautiful, and definitely grand, views! If heights aren’t your thing, I might push you this direction in place of Taft Point. You still get THE BEST views of Yosemite and realistically, there is a lot more variety vs. the standard Taft Point view. (We can also grab some snacks and drinks and stay later after sunset for star photos!)

  • Maximum Guests: 10
  • Seasonal Closures (see link at bottom for more information)
  • Hiking Required

Glacier Point

Glacier Point Yosemite

The best part about Glacier Point is that it’s gorgeous without having to hike at all! AND it’s handicap accessible. This makes it favored for elopements, small, and medium sized wedding ceremonies. Keep in mind that this location is pretty popular with tourists and may not be the most secluded area for your wedding. That being said, a good photographer can still get some great shots. This spot is great for pictures at all hours of the day too! I especially love taking photos here at night and sunset.

  • Maximum Guests: 50
  • Seasonal Closures (see link at bottom for more information)
  • No Hiking Required and Handicap Accessible

Panorama Trail

Panorama Trail Yosemite

Panorama Trail is one of those secret locations that takes some hiking, and limits the number of guests, but will also quickly get you away from the crowds. The trail is 8.5 miles one way – but a simple .5 mile hike out gets you removed from the crowds to the perfect setting overlooking Half Dome, Nevada and Vernal Falls, and the Yosemite backcountry. (You can even see Mammoth Mountain if you look hard enough)

  • Maximum Guests: 10
  • Seasonal Closures (see link at bottom for more information)
  • Hiking Required

Majestic Yosemite Hotel (Ahwahnee)

Majestic Yosemite Hotel Wedding in Yosemite

If you’re planning to have a lot of guests at your ceremony, The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (previously The Ahwahnee) offers beautiful backdrops and stunning views. Epic views of Half Dome await you just a short walk away, or we can do a day-after session in the high country if that’s your thing!

This is also the ultimate Yosemite Wedding Reception venue location. There are very few places in Yosemite National Park to actually have a proper reception – and this is one of them. It’s not just proper because of the size of the space, it’s STUNNING inside AND the food/wine/drinks are solid!

  • Maximum Guests: 180
  • Open Year Round
  • No Hiking Required and Handicap Accessible

Tunnel View

Tunnel View Yosemite Wedding Photo at Tunnel View in Yosemite

Tunnel View is also a great place to capture photos at all times of the day. It’s another spot without any hiking required that is handicap accessible! The view of the valley makes it an awesome place to get married or just to snap a few pictures. (I don’t suggest a ceremony here unless you’re doing a sunrise ceremony as it’s hands down THE most popular spot in all of Yosemite)

  • Maximum Guests: 10
  • Open Year Round
  • No Hiking Required and Handicap Accessible

El Capitan Meadow

Wedding Photo at El Capitan Meadow in YosemiteEl Capitan Meadow Wedding Photos

El Capitan Meadow Wedding Photos in Yosemite

I think Yosemite’s meadows are one of the most overlooked locations in all of the valley. I still can remember the MOST AMAZING storming clearing photos I captured here while in photography school – I dropped off the film (yes, my Mamiya RB film camera was my best friend) and got the film back to find that everything was blank!!! (Darn mirror release)

  • Maximum Guests: 10
  • Open Year Round
  • No Hiking Required but Not Handicap Accessible

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls Wedding Photos Yosemite Falls is definitely a beautiful backdrop for a wedding! Keep in mind that when there’s a lot of water moving, it gets pretty loud and you’re bound to get a little wet if you’re close enough. I find this spot works better for couple’s photos – because if there’s one spot in Yosemite that competes with Tunnel View for the most people, it’s here. (Don’t worry, we’ll hike up on the rocks away from the crowds to make sure you get the perfect wedding photo!)

  • Maximum Guests: 10
  • Open Year Round
  • No Hiking Required and Handicap Accessible

Cathedral Beach

Cathedral Beach Yosemite Wedding Photos

Cathedral Beach holds a good amount of people for a smaller wedding ceremony and does not require a hike. The only downside is that it’s not handicap accessible due to the terrain. This is a beautiful place to hold a ceremony and capture some stunning couple photos afterward! (And if you’re game for a mellow reception, the picnic tables here are perfection – this is where I brought my in-laws for lunch when they were visiting)

  • Maximum Guests: 50
  • Closed November through Memorial Day Weekend. Location closes at dusk from Tuesday after Memorial Day through October 31st.
  • No Hiking Required but Not Handicap Accessible

Ahwahnee Meadow

Ahwahnee Meadow Yosemite Ahwahnee Meadow Wedding Photos in Yosemite

You simply can’t get a better view of Half Dome without more effort – park, walk 20 yards and you’re set! Now if we all could just learn how to live year-round in one of the staff cabins that are perched on the meadow’s edge. (read some old Ansel Adams stories or others who have made Yosemite famous over the years and you’ll be salivating for a night spent with Half Dome peaking at you from above)

  • Maximum Guests: 10
  • Open Year Round
  • No Hiking Required but Not Handicap Accessible (kinda accessible, kinda not)

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel Wedding Photos

Yosemite Valley Chapel is a beautiful little chapel tucked just to the side of the valley. The chapel can hold approximately 150 guests, but couples usually get married there with immediate family and a pastor or officiant.

  • Maximum Guests: approximately 150
  • Open Year Round
  • No Hiking Required and Handicap Accessible

Outside Yosemite National Park Proper:

Rush Creek Lodge

Rush Creek Lodge Wedding Ceremony Yosemite Rush Creek Lodge Yosemite

If you have a bigger family and need room for more guests, this is the place for you! The great thing about Rush Creek Lodge is that they can easily accommodate plenty of ceremony sizes. It’s also near some great views and crazy places to take photos. And – you have easy access to Yosemite National Park if you want to do a Day After session at some of Yosemite’s most stunning vistas.

  • Maximum Guests: approximately 220
  • Open Year Round
  • No Hiking Required and Handicap Accessible

    Other Notable Yosemite National Park Wedding Locations:

    • Cascades Picnic Area
      • 30 people maximum
      • Not handicap accessible
      • Open year round
    • Lower Yosemite Fall Paved Trail
      • 50 people maximum
      • Handicap accessible
      • Open year round except on holiday weekends (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday)
    • Swinging Bridge Picnic Area
      • 20 people maximum
      • Handicap accessible
      • Open year round except on holiday weekends (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday)
    • Sentinel Beach Picnic Area
      • 100 people maximum
      • Handicap accessible
      • Area closed November through Memorial Day Weekend
    • Bridalveil Fall
      • 50 people maximum
      • Handicap accessible
    • Glacier Point Ampitheater
      • 50 people maximum
      • Handicap accessible
      • Weddings are not scheduled here in July and August, weather related closures in the winter, earliest availability is the Tuesday after Memorial Day through September 30th
    • Chilnualna Falls Trailhead Parking Lot
      • 50 people maximum
      • Not handicap accessible
    • Tenaya Lake Beach
      • 50 people maximum
      • Not handicap accessible
      • Available from road opening until September 30th
    • Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Area
      • 25 people maximum
      • Not handicap accessible
      • Available from road opening until September 30th
    • Tuolumne Grove
      • 30 people maximum
      • Not handicap accessible
      • 2.5 mile hike round trip, trail is paved and steep
    • Merced Grove
      • 30 people maximum
      • Not handicap accessible
      • 3 mile hike round trip, trail is unpaved and rated easy to moderate

    Outside of Yosemite National Park, but still nearby:

    • AutoCamp Yosemite
    • Tenaya Lodge
      • Reception space for groups from 60 to over 1,000
      • Handicap accessible
      • Open year round
    • Evergreen Lodge
      • Up to 200 guests
      • Handicap accessible
      • Open year round
  • Helpful Links:

     

Thousand Island Lake Adventure Elopement

If you asked me what my favorite all-time wedding was – this right here would be in the running! When Holly and Chris asked me to go backpacking with them to Thousand Island Lake for their wedding, my only answer was WHEN???

adventurous elopement photography

Holly and Chris are the ultimate adventure couple and their wedding was nothing short of epic. They road tripped from their home in Ohio out to California, camping and exploring the whole way. To say I wish I could have joined them for the entire adventure is an understatement – but they saved the best for last – and I couldn’t be happier.

Not only did Holly and Chris want to backpack into their wedding at Thousand Island Lake – but they also wanted to do so via the High Trail out of Red’s Meadow (Mammoth Mountain California) – The high trail adds elevation on top of elevation and then treats you to some of the region’s most amazing backcountry views.

One of the most frequent questions I get from people about my adventure wedding couples is “how did they get their dress/suit with them into the back country?” – well… Holly and Chris packed their backpacking gear and then bungie corded their wedding gown and suit onto the outsides of their packs!

Not only did Holly carry in her dress, she also brought just enough makeup and supplies to make sure she looked her best for her wedding photos!!!

An adventure isn’t an adventure without nature trying to make things “epic” – and Thousand Island Lake/Mammoth Mountain didn’t disappoint – as we hiked into Thousand Island Lake via the High Trail – we got rain, thunder, lighting and more rain. I’ve only been in one “scarier” thunder/lightening storm – so to say I was nervous about how close everything was coming down on top of us isn’t an understatement. (this was actually a slight reprieve from the insanely thick smoke from California’s relentless wildfires in the area that had brought the visibility the day before down to just 10-20 feet in some places)

Thankfully the storms just stuck around for the afternoon and by the time we got to camp it was all clearing out and we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

We woke up the next morning to the most beautiful purple sunrise lighting Thousand Island Lake for Holly and Chris’s wedding and vow exchange in the backcountry!

These two worked harder than any couple I’ve ever photographed to get to the perfect location and the perfect light!!! I just wish we’d of had 3 days out there together to explore and create more together.

I can’t wait for our next adventure together!!!

bride and groom overlooking thousand island lake

bride and groom hiking

adventure elopement

bride getting ready for thousand island lake elopement

 

groom getting ready for thousand island lake elopement

 

adventurous elopement photographer

thousand island lake elopement

thousand island lake elopement photos

thousand island lake photographs

thousand island lake elopement photographer

thousand island lake elopement photography

california adventure elopement photographer

california adventure elopement photography

california adventure elopement photos

california adventure elopement at thousand island lake

elopement photos

adventure wedding photographer

california adventure photography

thousand island lake adventure photography

 

Immediately following their vow exchange overlooking sunrise at Thousand Island Lake – we then set off to backpack another 10 miles back toward Mammoth Mountain and Red’s Meadow. This go around, we opted for the lower elevation option which allowed us some alternative views from what we had seen the previous day, and also gave us the opportunity to stop on the side of the trail and jump in the river for a swim!!!

thousand island lake adventure photographer

thousand island lake adventure elopement photos

thousand island lake adventure elopement photographer

Must-have photographs at your wedding

A set of wedding photographs ensures that the memories of your special day never fade away from the mind. This is why it’s crucial to hire a renowned Lake Tahoe or Yosemite-based wedding photographer. Some newbies in the field of wedding photography often skip some important wedding photos.

To make sure photographer doesn’t miss out the essential pictures, we have listed the same here.

Personality pics

As the name suggests, these pictures exude the personality of both bride and groom. They reflect the emotions of both.

Invitation Card

Though the couples already save some extra cards, it is always a good idea to capture it in the camera. Looking at the invitation photograph after few years of marriage will surely leave a smile on your face.

Reception space

Before the main event, clicking the empty reception space helps in remembering and appreciating the details.

Couples with letters and gifts

You will get the best shots when you and your partner are going through letters and gifts. Reading the former and unpacking the latter results in a roller coaster of emotions. Capturing these results in loveliest pictures.

Getting ready

The casualness of these photographs makes them special. These pictures are basically fun snapshots rather than something with glamor and glitz.

With Tim Halberg, you can expect all essential photographs necessary for a wedding. Apart from offering services in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, this photographer offers solutions for a destination wedding and adventure wedding. Learn more about this professional from here: https://timhalberg.com/

Napa Anniversary Session of Gisi and Josh

It was a pleasure to shoot this Napa Anniversary session for Josh and Gisi. They’ve been married for 5 years now! Sometimes it’s fun to take a step back from photographing weddings and celebrate the important milestones that come after the big day!

Since Gisi and Josh’s wedding theme was centered around wine, of course they saved a bottle for this milestone anniversary. To go with it, they put together a picnic in Napa with some cupcakes from the place that made their wedding cake. They also read some special love notes they had written and tucked away on their wedding day.

Before the session was over, they wrote some new notes to read for their next big anniversary – 10 years! Can’t wait to photograph that next milestone for them!

engagement photography session in napa at sunset

engagement photography session in napasunset engagement photography session in napa

sunset engagement session in napa

napa sunset engagement sesssion

engagement session in napa

engagement photography session at sunset in napa

 

sunset engagement photos in napa

napa engagement photos at sunset

napa engagement photos

sunset engagement session in napa

napa engagement pictures

engagement pictures in napa at sunset

 

Twenty Mile House Wedding of Jessica and Kit

Jessica and Kit LITERALLY tied the knot at their beautiful Twenty Mile House wedding back in August and it was such a pleasure to be a part of their day! When I asked what they like to do together, some of the first words they said were “we love being active and exploring the world together.” Then they said that could mean anything from tubing down the river behind their house to meeting locals in China! These two definitely love life and love spending it together.

photos at twenty mile house wedding

wedding photos at twenty mile house

wedding photographs at twenty mile house

So cool that he got the wedding date embroidered on his jacket!

wedding photographer at twenty mile house

outdoor wedding photography at twenty mile house

outdoor wedding photos at twenty mile house

bride gets ready for twenty mile house wedding

outdoor wedding pictures at twenty mile house

outdoor wedding photographs at twenty mile house

outdoor wedding photographer at twenty mile house

twenty mile house wedding photography

twenty mile house wedding photos

couple ties knot at twenty mile house

See what I mean by literally tying the knot??

twenty mile house wedding photographs

twenty mile house wedding pictures

twenty mile house wedding photographer

photography at twenty mile house wedding

pictures at twenty mile house wedding

photographs at twenty mile house wedding

photographer at twenty mile house wedding

wedding photographer at twenty mile house in graeagle

wedding photos at twenty mile house in graeagle

wedding pictures at twenty mile house in graeagle

wedding photographs at twenty mile house in graeagle

wedding photography at twenty mile house at sunset

photography for wedding at twenty mile house in graeagle

photos for wedding at twenty mile house in graeagle

pictures for wedding at twenty mile house in graeagle

photographs for wedding at twenty mile house in graeagle

photographer for wedding at twenty mile house in graeagle

night photography at twenty mile house wedding

night photographer at twenty mile house wedding