When people come to Las Vegas they think of the bright lights, world class shows and restaurants, gambling, and shopping galore. What many tourists who come here don’t know is that right outside of Las Vegas are nature areas that are not only amazing to visit, but also very easy to get to. To our West we have the Red Rock Canyon State Park and to the Northeast we have the Valley of Fire State Park, both of which are easy to get to but because of this fact, many tourists travel to these destinations in search of that magical photo. The problem is, when they arrive, they soon realize that they are in mixed company with the thousands of other out-of-towners with the same idea. It’s not to say that you can’t get an amazing photo in these two locations as both of these locations are certainly worth the trip, it is just that if you want to have some amazing photos without the bus loads of tourists rampaging through the area, then there is a different destination to consider.
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of requests for photo shoots from couples wanting engagement photos, family portraits, or even hiking photos from one of the surrounding nature areas outside of Las Vegas. Most people think of Red Rock right away and usually decide against Valley of Fire because of the longer drive (about 1 hour outside of Las Vegas) and busy roads from tourists. What I have discovered is that a better choice might actually be in the areas around the Lake Mead National Park (Specifically what is referred to as the Lake Mead National Recreation Area).
One of the great pleasures of being a photographer in Las Vegas is that we have so many wonderfully talented people here. I recently did an awesome shoot with local model Kalliann Haas at some of my favorite secret Lake Mead locations. If you are an avid reader of my blog, you’ll know that Kalliann is the model I shot for the Las Vegas Review Journal article that was written about me last year. A full-time professional model, Kalliann is really a tomboy by nature who’s hobbies including Quad racing and drifting race cars. By day though, you can see Kalliann as a showgirl street performer or working as a model for tradeshows and conventions.
Even the most beautiful supermodels though are aided by the talents of a great makeup artist. Over the years I’ve really learned that excellent makeup application for photo shoots is just as essential as the location, wardrobe, and even photography. It’s a collaboration of talents that all make a great shoot come together, whether you are a professional model or just a 9-to-5er looking for some spectacular wedding photos. I almost always recommend now that for any high end photo shoot like a wedding or portraits, that all parties (yes, even the guys) get some form of professional makeup application. Some makeup artists prefer to work in the confines of a studio or makeup counter, but in a crazy town like Las Vegas, you have to be prepared to work in the weirdest of conditions. One of my favorite professional makeup artists here in Las Vegas is Alyxandra Joy, who can work her magic in the strangest places possible. Here you can see her doing a 1-hour makeup job on Kalliann from the back of her car in the parking lot of Texas Station. Welcome to Las Vegas. 🙂
After makeup, we then headed out to Lake Mead. As we traveled along the roads surrounding the area, we stopped to get photos at some very cool places. Locations most people wouldn’t even know existed complete with large rock formations, deep canyons, and big, beautiful skies.
When most people visit any of the destinations around Lake Mead, they think of rocky beaches, busy marinas and boat docks, and that’s about it. As a Las Vegas native I’ve had the luxury of exploring all around Lake Mead and every time I do, I discover new and exciting areas that most people would never realize is even there. For starters, there are the red rock formations. Yes, you heard me right. Most people associate Lake Mead with brown dirt and rocks but if you know where to look, there are some awesome places to have photo shoots done around Lake Mead that are not only exceptionally easy to get to (if you know where to go) but also resemble exactly what you see at Valley of Fire but with a much shorter trip and a lot less tourists. When people ask me to shoot their wedding or engagement photos at Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon, I now suggest we shoot at Lake Mead for these reasons. Plus, there are a lot less park rangers to deal with.
Lake Mead is famous for it’s easy-access marinas so boating and WaveRunners are a common sight all through Lake Mead from the Boulder Basin Las Vegas Boat Harbor to the Calville Bay Marina, but there are very few places to actually go swimming around Lake Mead. The most popular place is Boulder Beach where many tourists go to swim as well as many Las Vegas locals as well. While there are no lifeguards on duty, it doesn’t stop people by the hundreds from visiting the small, rocky beach every day during the summer months. Many photographers I know have attempted to do photo shoots in the area only to leave in frustration because the photos frequently have litter in them from the unclean beach or random swimmers in the shot. I was one of them too many years ago…that is, until I decided to scout out some great water locations to shoot in that were not only safe, but off the beaten path resulting in unobstructed beauty like no other place in Southern Nevada, as you can see from our great photo shoot.
Special credits go to:
Makup: Alyxandra Joy. For booking contact Alyxandra at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 702-722-7400.
If you are looking to book some amazing outdoor scenic photos near Las Vegas, I highly recommend shooting at Lake Mead. I know all the great spots to shoot at they are easier to get to than you might realize…you just need to know where to look. If you’re interested booking a shoot, give me a call at 702-204-1740 or email me at email@example.com.