Since she was a little girl, she loved hot air balloons, she told us. The colors. The shapes. The fun of it all. The adventure. Two people flying, drifting, floating toward a final destination together, while being lost in a surreal world of color the entire time.

It sounds a lot like love to us. So, when Krystle explained her plans for hot air balloon centerpieces at her wedding and her dream — which is still a dream, but dreams do come true — of lifting off from her reception traveling kaleidoscope to the tune of music, the cracking of fireworks, and pops of champagne, our wheels started spinning. As she talked — our wheels were still spinning — she mentioned that she and Dan had tickets to a balloon festival in town the following weekend. It’d be an adventure, we all agreed, not knowing what we’d see or find or if we could even take pictures at the festival! All that aside, we decided to go for it. Why not, right? That’s the fun of it! New challenges. Crazy ideas. A little risk for a possible reward.

We arrived to the festival in the morning darkness just before sunrise to give us the best chance to avoid the crowds. Who else is going to get up this early on a Saturday, we reasoned. But boy, were we wrong. We made our last turn around the corner, only to run into a mile-long line of headlights. “Is there an accident?” Amy asked. “Or, wait, is everyone else here for the balloons?!” Ah! We waved to the bundled-up parking attendant, one hand trembling from the cold while the other clutched a warm mug of coffee, and she passed us through. We parked, walked through the crowds to the entrance of the main gates passed the dozens and dozens of white tents selling trinkets and carnival food until we reached the back of the grass field just as the first balloon was being filled with hot air. We gave Krystle and Dan a quick, Okay you guys, this isn’t going to be like any session we’ve ever done. It’s going to be a little bit of extreme photography. Are you up for an adventure? They were. They so were.

Within a few minutes, all of the balloon owners started firing things up. We’d wait until one balloon was inflated enough to fill the background of the shot, then back WAY up, shout directions to Krystle and Dan over the whoosh! of the flames (the sound of the propane roared like a lion) snap away for a few minutes, shooting around the little kids that rushed back and forth using the balloons for an epic game of hide-and-seek. Then, just as the balloon started to lift off, Jordan would scream a ten-second countdown until the balloon left the ground. It was a rush. A total rush. And then we’d run to the next balloon… and do it all again! Dodging crowds, shooting around people that were way too enamored with the balloons to notice the two crazy photographers next to them, yelling directions over the loud fire. It was quite a scene. Like we said, an adventure. A pressure-cooker. For us. And for them. But like we said earlier, without a little risk, there’s never any reward. And, in this case, we’re so glad Krystle and Dan were up for the challenge, because we’re so proud of how these images turned out. We wanted to capture the romance, despite the chaos, and when we look at these images, we know they’ll be able to remember the way they feel every time they look at each other: like they’re the only two people in the world. We truly can’t wait for their wedding this summer in Flagstaff.

If we’re lucky, just maybe, someone will read this and contact them to make her wedding day dream come true, so she can look at Dan at the end of the night underneath the twinkling stars and, in the words of Frank Sintatra, say, “Fly away with me, let’s fly…”

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the GEAR USED for this SESSION…

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50 1.2
Canon 70-200 2.8
Entire Gear List

If you liked this engagement, you might also like Haley & Tom’s Central Park Engagement or our 5 Tips for Shooting in Crowded Places.

filed in: Engagements


    Love this - so pretty :)

    Ashley Durham

    So fun and colorful!! I'm surprised yall didnt go up in it for part of the session!