7 Tips for The Perfect Photo Shoot at Joshua Tree National Park
Are you thinking of having your engagement photos or any photos done at Joshua Tree? Then here are some helpful tips to get the best out of your photoshoot! Joshua Tree has quickly become a popular spot for photos because of the beautiful scenery and the amazing earth tones that you will find throughout the vast park. It definitely is one of my favorite places to shoot at because it almost guarantees you will get some pretty incredible photos no matter where in park you take them.
Tip #1 Timing
When it comes to scheduling your photo session at JT the best time in my opinion is during Golden Hour which is usually the hour right before sunset. During this time you will get the most beautiful images with that beautiful evening glow to your photos (unless its cloudy than you will get some gorgeous dramatic skies and tones). Blue Hour which usually last about 30 minutes after sunset, is also one of my favorite times to shoot at Joshua Tree. During this time you will get the most beautiful rich blue/purple tones in your images that I just absolutely love. Something to take into consideration is that there is a golden hour in the morning during sunrise as well , just in case you are more of a morning person. During this time the temps are nice specially if you are shooting during the hot summer months. If you are more of an evening sunset person, be aware that Golden Hour runs pretty late in the evening during summer and you can expect to be out of the park by 8:30-9:00 pm.
Tip #2 Outfits
If you are having a photoshoot done at Joshua Tree than you clearly want that WOW factor in your photos so you have to make sure you BRING IT. When it comes to clothing I strongly suggest bringing 2 outfits, 3 at the most. Make sure one of those outfits is a statement piece, a bold flowy gown always photographs beautifully in the desert. I also encourage bringing a safe casual outfit for some fun "day at the park" photos. Stay away from logos and prints and try to keep the colors neutral and earth toned. Unless you have a statement gown than any color will photograph great in the beautiful desert scape. If you are wearing heels, make sure you can walk in them! Some of the areas are really rocky, so consider bring some slip on shoes that are easy to walk in that you can easily change in and out of! Barefoot is not a good option because even though it can look cute, it is DANGEROUS! Lots of thorns and critters hanging out on the desert floor!
One more thing! Make sure your undergarments and any bra straps are hidden for your shoot. Try your outfits on ahead of time and make sure everything fits and stays in place. Bra straps can be difficult to remove in photos as well as those tennis shoes that sometimes make an appearance under your gorgeous gown. Make it easy for your photographer to focus on the important stuff when it comes to editing, like making sure your images look their best!
Tip #3 HIGH WIND ALERT
This is extremely important because Joshua Tree winds can be unpredictable. Even though the forecast may show no signs of wind, JT wind will just randomly decide to show up during YOUR SHOOT. Make sure you are aware of the fact that this can happen and just embrace it! Wind can create some beautiful photos but I know how frustrating it can be when it constantly blows your hair in your face or your dress up during your shoot! The good thing is when you work with with the wind...it will definitely work in your favor.
Tip #4 Permits & Fees
This is extremely important as well! Make sure you and your photographer are aware of the permit fees required in order to get photos done at Joshua Tree. The last thing you want is to be stopped in the middle of your shoot by a ranger and cited with a $500 citation fee for not having a permit. Many photographers will obtain the permit for you to cover your session, and others photographers have invested in yearly permits in order to shoot in Joshua Tree. These fees are important because the money goes towards keeping the park up, specially with it's increasing popularity and foot traffic. It is important that we pay the fees so that we can continue to use it and maintain all of its beauty.
Side-note: Upon entering the park there is also an admissions fee of about $35 per vehicle. This admissions ticket is good for up to 7 days of your purchase so you can always come back on another day and continue to enjoy the park at no additional charge. Just save your receipt and or ticket.
Tip #5 Cell Service
There is none.
Make plans ahead of time to meet your photographer or friends before entering the park as there is NO Cell service or Gas Stations inside of the park.
Tip #6 Do your research!
This park is BIG and it is HOT during the summer months. Make sure you research ahead of time the photos you want to achieve and share them with your photographer. Your photographer can then help you decide on a location and also help manage the time frame of your photo session. There are so many gorgeous exhibits to see at Joshua Tree and they can range in scenery depending on where you go. The Cholla cactus garden that is pictured above is one of my favorite locations but it is DEEP in the park, about a 30-40 minute drive after entering the park. The rock formations are found all throughout the park and can easily be found upon entering the park. One thing is for sure... no matter what location you pick I assure you, your photos will look GREAT!
Tip #7 Have Fun!
Remember to enjoy the park and all that it has to offer. I know it can be difficult to do so in the middle of a shoot, but I encourage you to hang out after your shoot and perhaps stargaze a bit while you're there. It's a good idea to bring some snacks and lots of water and enjoy your time while you are their as the views are absolutely stunning!
I hope these tips come in handy when planning your shoot at Joshua Tree. Remember to have fun and most importantly BE SAFE!