I Got My Photos Taken By A Stranger & This Is What I Learned | Castle Rock, Sedona

Marcus and I had planned our trip out West to AZ for Christmas with his family! It was a well needed vacation and long story short I ended up getting my heart set on Marcus & I getting our photos taken while we were there on a day that was just us two. We decided on Castle Rock in Sedona Arizona. It looked instagram worthy enough to give a try! As a photographer who asks people to do this all the time this is what I found out from my experience:

1) Short Notice. The original photographer we were going to be working with backed down last minute so it was 2 to 3 weeks before the day we wanted to shoot when I started looking for photographers in Phoenix/Sedona to capture the look I really wanted for Marcus and I. I was scrolling on Instagram for ...I'll admit hours searching for the right one. It being right in between holidays I got rejection email after rejection email from at least 7-8 different photographers before finding one that was open and available the day we needed. The rejection was real! I felt so bad for my brides who have to go through this type of thing!


2) Trying to find something to wear is a pain. I never really felt the weight of worrying of what to wear to a photoshoot until this moment. I have tried giving my brides helpful tips and things to do and just encouraging them to feel themselves. When it came to finding outfits for my shoot. I was SO nervous because I just wanted to look like a stinking magic fairy! Not quiet but I wanted it to look amazing, which was harder on my nerves. I knew we would be hiking so I wanted to get something casual and easy to hike in. That was the first outfit. I had a dress I got for our Anniversary Dinner which I thought was magical; that dress I was super excited about. ( lulu's maroon Maxi dress that made me feel like a princess )

Dressing Marcus was easy. I ended up getting a sweater for the shoot and a blue leather jacket for the dress. But the anxiety of finding the clothes that was JUST RIGHT was REAL!

Girls, I feel you.


3) Nervous first date vibes before the shoot. I have not been on a first date in a long time. I have gladly been happily taken with Marcus for many years. BUT in my own business I meet with couple all the time on coffee dates and I always refer to them as first dates. We are just getting to know each other and the same kind of worry crept in to our photo session. I didn’t know if we would like the photographer or if it would be just awkward the whole time. It had me more nervous because I just wanted it to go well and end up with photos I loved?! That is a rational request right? SO the whole day of hours leading up to our shoot I was nervous.


4) It is like being on a date with your other half. My favorite part of the shoot was just joking around with Marcus, while our photographer Abby took photos. I was really surprised how much I actually enjoyed all the nervous being taken away because I had only eyes for Marcus. He just made this time together in a new place feel fun.


5) I'm out of shape it it was worth it. Holy Moly I was most excited for the photos at the TOP of Castle Rock. In our emails our photographer said there would be a bit of a hike, which I thought would be easy peasy! NOPE ! Marcus and I just proved how out of shape we were as we hiked a very steep rock to the top. I felt so bad for dragging the poor photographer down by a lot but I am glad we did it. No matter how huffy puffy we were. The top of Castle Rock was just breathe taking. We were able to spend a very windy time up there and enjoy the sunset. The Lord provided such a beautiful sunset for us it made all the hiking worth it.


6) The waiting game is strong. So after we made it back down the giant rock, our photographer gave us a time frame of 1 to 2 weeks to get our photos back. ……… I heard that I promise. I will be 100% honest in saying I checked my email about 5 -6 times a day for 2 weeks. Was it very productive? No. Was I being very impatient? Yes, yes I was. Waiting was SO hard. It made me understand how important little things I do in my business to try to lessen this blow for wait time for my couples!


7) Finally getting your photos. I followed my own rules and waited to look at them with Marcus. We sat in our bed and went through them on the tablet. Some of the photos were exactly what I was hoping we would get. I love seeing Marcus smiling face and having a new background on my phone and posting all over the place. Over all I am really glad we were able to have this experience together.

I finally feel like I understand a good much better what my couples go through when they are in the process of book me. It gave my a complete different perspective being on the other side of the camera lens!


All Photos on this personal post were shot by Abby Quaranta Photography

Our Trip To Mt. Rushmore | Memorial Weekend | Sanchez Adventures

Wedding season has been so full this year with my own MW brides and lots of second shooting. Weekends away from Marcus makes it a little hard making some weekends feel like we have little time for just us. So I started to plan a small trip we could do in an upcoming 3 day weekend.  Neither of us have been to Mt. Rushmore before which in my book is something every American should do once in their life! 

We hit the road in the early hours; Marcus drove us safely through south Minnesota and South Dakota. As we started to hit the prairie fields you could just see for miles sunshine and grass lands. We knew we were getting closer to our destination when the flat fields turned into rolling hills! 

Day one we checked out the Badlands National Park; I stood there in awe of how beautiful and peaceful these hills were. Marcus and I mused over this looking like what the ocean floor currently looks like. We made small stops throughout our trip, one at The Wall Drug Store ( billboards for miles, not worth stopping for) and the Pioneer Auto Show ( if you like cars at all this is for you, huge collection that is entirely unique.  Marcus LOVED it). We got into Keystone later and finally got to Mt. Rushmore. The memorial is HUGE; surrounded by trees it sits alone away from the other peaks close by. Marcus and I decided to do the audio tour because are those types of people, but it was worth it and very fascinating! When the sun was gone so was the warmness of the day,  but that did not stop us from trying the Thomas Jefferson Ice cream from their ice cream parlor. We joked all night that him bringing ice cream to America was the reason he was immortalized in stone. The evening ceremony was cold, but fun to see in person. The only thing that would have topped it would have been fireworks. 

Day two we took a old-school train ride on the 1880 train. We packed into this train with a lot of other people and enjoyed the scenery from Keystone to Hill City and back. I could have done this one way and been satisfied but roundtrip we both got window seats so that worked out well. The train 2 hour ride turned into 3ish hours total, so we decided to cruse the wildlife loop in Custer State Park. On our relaxing ride we saw pronghorns, prairie dogs, buffalo, and burros. We both love and are fascinated by animals so we both really enjoyed this part of the day. We took the back way to Mt. Rushmore with weaving roads and beautiful views of the monument and finished out the day there. 

We headed home on Monday and the drive seemed a little bit longer but I am so glad we were able to take this little adventure! 

East Coast Pre-wedding Fun | Traveling Wedding Photographer

The past 3 months the desire to go on a vacation has slowly been filling from my toes and through my finger tips. I have been antsy to take a break from the norm and get out of town! I have been singing the opening lines of T.Swifts Wildest Dreams to my husband during all that time. "..Let's get out of this town, drive out of the city , away from the crowds..."

Then it happened, a friend of ours are celebrating their marriage and we were planning on celebrating right there with them!  I enticed Marcus to go with the promise of the NASCAR All Star Race in Charlotte and with that my hubby was also on board!
The days leading up to wedding fun were spent exploring Altalna's breathtaking aquarium.

Watching my NASCAR driver, Joey Logano, win 10 feet away from my seat with one of the best spinouts just have ever seen. (Which is completely understandable because he just won a million dollars)

And enjoying catching up with friends and family.

It has been such a blessing to be able to go on another adventure before some mountain wedding day!