Burnout is a fickle b*tch, so I got creative

As one of my goals this year, I wanted to do more sessions purely for fun. No pressure, no expectations other just to have fun and create. Burnout is a fickle thing and after 2023's wedding season, I needed something that was solely for me.

I put out two model calls (for one-on-one sessions and one couples session) at the very beginning of the year and received so many amazing people and couples interested. I wound up choosing one couple and a bunch of solo models. The hardest part was organizing everything (schedules and seasons matching up.) Ya know, the logistical stuff.

Vanessa (my 1st model up) and I have worked together on a few other projects and it's always a fun time working with her. I figured out a few dress ideas and ran them by her. She was open to pretty much all of them. I wound up buying a dress from Joyfolie during one of their killer sales. (Dress linked at the end.) I just knew this dusky rose color was going to be STUNNING in my selected location.

For my location, I knew that I wanted to shoot somewhere I never had before. Sand Mountain Recreational Park was at the top of my list. Now, as a photographer I needed to reach out to the BLM and see if I needed permits and a day pass. It was AWFUL trying to get anyone to return calls and emails regarding everything. (I'm sure they have limited staff and are rarely in the office.) Eventually, after a month from my initial email, I got an answer so all was well.

Beyond the logistics of the planning, I didn't have much of a creative plan. I wanted to see where the session took me and really just "go with the flow."

With the dress steamed and gear prepped, my sister (my assistant for the day) and I headed out.

We pulled off the highway and let me tell you! There are three very large dips on the road leading up to the actual dunes and HOLY SH*T are they rough. If you ever venture out there, please creep over these dips! You'll ruin your vehicle if you're not in an OHV. There are so many gouges and scrapes in the paved road from vehicles going way too fast over them.

Ok, now that my warning is over......

This was my first time ever shooting at Sand Mountain. I knew that I need to navigate the land without interfering with anyone out there for a good time. I also knew that we needed to stay visible to any and all OHVs. We needed to have the high ground (insert Obi-Wan voice here) to ensure we all stayed safe and alert. We stuck to the peaks of the dunes while shooting and my assistant (and Vanessa's husband Jacob) kept an eye out.



While going through poses and shots, Vanessa killed it. She was game for anything. We got some stunning photos.

As we wrapped up, I kept thinking about the natural salt beds that are right outside of the recreation area. The sun was starting to set so I asked Vanessa for some quick shots down the road. The moon was out and it was just a beautiful set up. While our trusty helpers for the day watched for cars, we got some shots in the road too. Highway 50 is called the "loneliest road in America" so we didn't have to worry too much.

Over all, I feel like this session did exactly what I hoped it would. It got me to a new place, got my creativity flowing and ignited my passion for my craft again. I can't wait to go back again and explore further.

If you'd like to see more from this session head over to my Instagram @K.NielsenCreativePhotography or @K.NielsenPhotography to see my other work.

As always, if you'd like to book a session or wedding, www.KatiNielsen.com/contact , is the best way.

Thank you dear readers.


Kati Nielsen Photography