megan + zach's adventurous elopement portraits in yosemite national park | destination elopement photographers | the adventurers workshop with The Hearnes and Maddie Mae

If you follow us (@thehearnes) on instagram you might’ve seen our stories from the amazing workshop we taught earlier in February. We teamed up with the incredibly talented Maddie Mae to lead a workshop catered solely to established wedding photographers hoping to break into the adventure weddings market. Because we led it in Yosemite National Park, we agreed it was super important to incorporate a styled shoot so our attendees could gain some real portfolio to start advertising for their own adventure weddings! It was super important to us that our “models” were real couples so their interactions (and our directions for them) would be genuine and therefor our attendees could actually learn from us during the session as well as get photos of a real life couple. As soon as Maddie asked if I knew anyone, Megan and Zach came to mind. You might recognize them from their Las Vegas elopement we photographed last summer, followed by some epic portraits in Zion National Park. When Megan first reached out to me, she’d originally wanted Yosemite but decided against it because of the complicated travel requirements for their friends and family. Vegas + Zion ended up being perfect for them, but we promised we’d make Yosemite happen at some point in the future! They were so psyched when I reached out about the workshop, and didn’t even bat an eye when I mentioned they’d be posing in front of 20 photographers (a little different from our intimate elopement setting!). The most amazing part is these two DROVE 50+ hours round-trip to make this happen, all the way from Austin, Texas. 

Despite a pretty questionable weather forecast, a snow storm, and a last-minute road closure threatening to ruin our plans, we finally made it to Yosemite Valley with these two as the snow cleared. It was their first time seeing Yosemite, so these photos truly mean the world to them. We all stopped at tunnel view to soak it in (it was a lot of our attendees’ first times too!) and then went down to the valley for their shoot. I’ll be honest, leading two back-to-back shoots (we also had an adventure session couple and traded off, so it was 10 attendees per group) with ten photographers watching me was pretty wild, and I can’t imagine what it was like for Megan + Zach, but they handled it like total troopers! They had so much fun with it and, as I’d hoped, formed relationships with our attendees as well. 

Because we serve such a huge range of areas in our photography, we don’t often get to shoot people from our hometown. Megan is one of the only brides we’ve had that knew me before I was successful, and she’s always supported my photography. Her constant encouragement means the world to me and shooting her wedding last summer was truly such a treat. After how much she’s always believed in me, it was so so cool to get to include her in my first workshop as well. It was a really meaningful experience for me, and I’m told it was for the attendees too. So, these photos may not be from a “real” wedding day, but they are real newlyweds, that are really in love, exploring a new place in some gorgeous outfits :) And with the terrible weather forecast we had, let this be inspiration to our future brides who are facing a possibly rainy/snowy/windy wedding day - “bad” weather is gorgeous, especially in Yosemite!

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.