Top 9 Photo Session Locations in Phoenix

Whether you’re looking for a place to take engagement photos, or maybe you’re on the search for a location to hike, having a list of locations is a handy tool to make the search process a little easier. I put together my top 9 photo session locations together with sample photos so you can easily pick your favorites next time you’re trying to decide on a session location 🙂

Check out more session locations on my Instagram: @gabbycanario


1. South Mountain – This is by far one of my favorite locations because 1, its free, and 2, it has so many amazing colors, especially during sunset! If you’re planning on going, make sure you get to the top of Dobbins lookout with enough time to park, because you will spend 20 minutes just to find parking.

Best time to go: Spring when the desert flowers and blooming. Weekdays so you actually find a place to park.



2. Agritopia – If you want lots of greens, but don’t want to drive out to Flagstaff, this location is PERFECT. You would need to get a $50 permit to shoot here, but it can be purchased on their website! There are also a few restaurants in the area, so if you’re feeling hungry, you can stop for a bite after.

Best time to go: You would thing fall would be a perfect time, but NOPE. The trees and grapevines are super sensitive to the cold, so the best time to go would be spring! I also suggest shooting weekdays because weekends are full of other visitors.



3. Saguaro Lake – This location is known as “Arizona’s Beach”. It has beautiful views and ashore. There’s plenty of hikes you can take, although I haven’t made it to the top yet because I’m scared of heights lol The fee to shoot here is $50 and you’ll need to purchase an event/commercial permit 30 days prior, from the USDA website

Best time to go: Winter!! PLEASE avoid the spring and go in the winter instead. As soon as it’s hot enough to go swimming, this place gets FULL of families. It would be really hard to shoot here. The colder, the better.



4. Scottsdale Desert – North Desert is known for its beautiful sunset colors and colorful cacti flowers! If you want to get photos that show off Arizona’s landscapes, then this is the place to go. It’s $50 for one day or $300 for a year-long permit and your photographer will have to get one 30 days prior to your session. You can view more information on permits here.

Best time to go: Cacti really bloom in the spring!



5. Boyce Thompson – If you loved the movie Narnia, then this location is a MUST!! It’s $15 per person at the door and you can basically take photos anywhere!

Best time to go: Winter!! They close at 5 pm and it changes to 3 pm in the summer. You will have to go in the winder if you want to take advantage of that golden hour!



6. Lost Dutchman – This park is located in the Superstition Mountains. The fee to shoot here is $50 and you’ll need to purchase an event/commercial permit 30 days prior, from the USDA website

Best time to go: The best time to go is when its really cold. You don’t want to ruin into a snake. Snakes in Arizona also hibernate in the summer. “In warmer places like Arizona, snakes don’t hibernate as long as they do in colder climates, but they also go into summer hibernation to protect themselves from extreme heat and food shortage. Almost all Arizona snakes hibernate at some point.” –  Source – 



7. Sedona -Okay, so this is not park of Pheonix but its too good not to share! The next 3 locations are outside of the Phoenix Metro area, but they are seriously my top favorite places to shoot! Sedona is full of red sands, rocks, and amazing views! Winter photos are amazing because of the snow!

Best time to go: It snows in the winter, so plan to shoot spring-fall. Most areas are free to shoot (you’ll just need to purchase a parking ticket at the kiosk). Bell Rock Trail, is the shortest hike, which is where this session was taken! Remember every location here is a HIKE, so plan to be back before the sunsets. There are no street lights and its dangerously dark at night.



8. Flagstaff – ANOTHER FAVORITE!!! If you want to get away from cacti and dry sceneries, then flagstaff’s amazing green landscapes in where you’ll want to go 🙂 The weather here is soooo nice, especially during summer!

Best time to go: honestly, anytime is good! It snows pretty hard out there but if you want pretty snow photos then winter is the time to go! Most parks are free and don’t require a photography permit.



9. Monument Valley – Okay, okay, this is NOT even close to Phoenix either but if you’re down for the adventure then this is A MUST SEE!! It’s right on the border of Arizona and Utah and it’s famous for movie appearances like in Forrest Gump, Back To The Future, and National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Best time to go: Winter!! They close at 5 pm all year round, and you want to take advantage of that golden hour time during wintertime!


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