Dreasen + Amanda | Durango, Colorado

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So…. It’s official….. WE ARE MOVING TO COLORADO!!!

To start out for a heads up to all of our Arizona family, friends, clients, and anyone else reading this I will be back in Phoenix visiting and shooting weddings a ton! I’m not leaving you guys for good :) That being said Zack and I are starting a new life adventure and heading to the Denver area in May of 2020. If you live in the area or will be traveling to Colorado please let us know! We’d love to meet up with you :)

“Makayla was absolutely amazing to work with! She is so kind and makes you feel comfortable in front of the camera! My husband and I had a blast and basically laughed the whole time and got some amazingly beautiful photos from our session. I can’t wait to work with Makayla again!” - Amanda

I’m so excited to start shooting more in Colorado so I’m offering a crazy deal! Starting today it’s 20% off of all 2020 Colorado Weddings, Engagements, Seniors, and family sessions :)


Phoenix Family Session

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Abigail, Kyndall and Alex were such a blast to hang out with during their two part family session! We got a stormy session, a sunny session and a lot of great memories!

“Makayla was incredible! She was so easy to work with and made the experience absolutely perfect despite some unexpected weather. We will use her for all of our future family pictures!” -Kyndall

Country Engagement Session

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“Makayla is so passionate about her work and it truly shows! She took engagement photos for me and they turned out looking absolutely magical. She does a great job of catering towards the individual couple she is working with. I ride horses and my fiance loves working on his truck, so of course Makayla made sure to incorporate horses and an old, classic GMC truck into our photos! She made the photos truly represent who we were and what we enjoyed doing as a couple. She also wasted no time editing the photos and sending the gallery back to us quickly. This was awesome because I was so eager to see the pictures, and then I hardly had to wait!

Overall, working with Makayla was an incredible experience. I would recommend her to anyone looking to get professional pictures taken whether they be engagement photos, wedding photos, senior portraits, you name it! Makayla does an incredible job no matter the occasion.” - Josie

“Working with Makayla for our engagement photos was such a fun and easy experience! She has an amazing eye and captures fantastic shots while not making you feel awkward or out of place. Everything seems natural and isn't forced, so hat off to her for making our photoshoot a painless experience. She was friendly and open to suggestions from us while still incorporating her own expertise. Makayla brought a lot of passion, energy, and smiles to the photoshoot and let me tell you, it's infectious. My fiancé and I were laughing with her the entire time! Turnaround time was quick and the final results were absolutely breathtaking. 10/10 would recommend Makayla for any photography needs you may have!” - David

Vendors// photography: Makayla McGarvey Photography // florist: Kalae Design // dress: Tobi // Hair: Country Roots Salon and Boutique

Kenzie + Daniel | Grand Canyon University

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Makayla is an amazing photographer, and I would recommend her to anyone who is looking for professional pictures for any occasion! She made Daniel and I feel so comfortable during our session, and not to mention she made us laugh the entire time! If you are looking for beautiful pictures as well as a really fun experience Makayla is the girl to call! - Kenzie

Tanner + Rylee | Sedona, Arizona

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“Makayla McGarvey is your dream photographer, she knows every pose in the book on the spot, she makes you feel very comfortable and relaxed for us non photogenic people. There was not a single photo that I received back from her that I wasn't happy with. All of the photos looked very natural and she always made sure to get the best side of you. It was a blast getting photos done by her and I would never go to anyone else. The quality of her photos are amazing and she has the perfect eye to capture all the perfect moments. I'm sure if you have scrolled through her albums you already know what I'm talking about. If your like me looking through her albums you just don't want to stop scrolling, you think you have a favorite and then you just keep scrolling and continue to find more and are amazed by all of her photos. Whether it's her African safari, her wedding photos of the couple with the airplane, her Ireland trip, her water photos, Colorado photos or Sedona photos... the list goes on and she will continue to amaze you. Makayla goes everywhere and is the best wherever she goes. Whats even better than looking through her albums of everyone else is when you get to go through your own album and fall not only in love with beautiful photos you got back but also the memories you made getting them taken. Makayla gets your photos back to you very fast and sends you seek peeks along the way which is very exciting as you're anxiously waiting to see how they turned out. Also don't even worry about location, Makayla knows the land. She is one heck of a gal and explores for the best locations for her photography sessions. She can make a bare dry desert even look beautiful and if your worried about the weather or timing, don't be Makayla comes packed with all the gear you could need for any situation whether it be rain, darkness or the lighting. Makayla doesn't let the weather get in her way or in the way of the quality of the photos she captures, she embraces it and is equipped with all the gear to continue shooting. She is my go to girl and I mean just look at her albums and they speak for themselves! 100% recommend Makayla McGarvey Photography if you are looking to get quality photos taken, have a great time doing it, and get all your photos back in a timely manner. Makayla McGarvey is your go to gal for any and all occasions!!!!” - Rylee

Hunter + Breanna | Arizona Water Session

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“So to start Makayla is such a fun and positive personality she makes the whole event the most fun! From Candids to plunging into ice cold water she always get the best shot! She makes waking up early worth it! Next is the turn around, we got our pictures done early this morning and by 4pm we had them all in our email! Lastly but most importantly her attention to detail is second to none! Her ideas for pictures and poses are amazing. It brought my fiancée to tears and made my eyes sweat (Ok fine I cried a little) 10/10 I recommend her 1776%!” - Hunter

A few days ago Laura Moore (my awesome boss/friend/life mentor/the person that taught me how to do this crazy amazing job) asked me why I do what I do. It took me a while to figure out an answer that wasn’t just the typical “because I love love” cheesiness that most people want to hear.

For me it’s all about the experience. It’s not about getting a photo for a save the date card (even though it does make me happy when couples send me those) or about making a couple look sexy in the water. I truly love what I do because I can help people have an experience they wouldn’t have anywhere else and make unique memories. When else are you able to say “Yeah that time when we dunked ourselves in freezing water, tried not to float down the river and laughed so hard we cried”? I love adventure but even more than that I love experiences.

See more water sessions HERE!

The Hills are Alive | Stowe, Vermont | The Trapp Family Lodge Wedding

Cloudy skies, sprinkling rain, and shining love is what dream weddings are made of. We flew into Portland, Maine for a few shoots then drove to Stowe, Vermont. As a desert rat that has never seen true fall colors I was AMAZED. When I asked my second shooter, Miranda, if leaves that color of red actually existed she thought I was joking.

The Trapp Family Lodge was an absolutely incredible venue. (Yes… the Trapp family… from The Sound of Music.) The architecture of the lodge and the rolling hills of fall colors were to die for. I’m not exaggerating when I say that everything was PERFECT. The rain rolled in and out before the ceremony tempting us to move things to an indoor location, but Will made the call to keep the ceremony outside and the rain disappeared. Every person that was a part of the wedding was kind, caring, and above all else 100% there for the bride and groom. Sarah and Will were graceful, elegant, classy, and truly a blast to be with! We’re so thankful to have been a part of their special day.


Photography: Makayla McGarvey Photography as LKM associate | Venue: The Trapp Family Lodge | Coordinator: Saunie Sirch | Wedding dress: Madeline’s Daughter | Bridesmaid dresses: Express | Hair: Sandra w/Caroline’s Salon Touche | Florist: Nectar and Root | Musician: Red House Band, Dean Goodermote | Officiant: Reverand John Lucy | Bride’s shoes: Bella Belles | Groom’s shoes: Nordstrom | Suits: Suit Supply | groom’s gift to bride: The Night Sky | Second shooter: Miranda Rico

Salt River Splashin' | Water Session | Arizona Adventure Wedding Photography

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I’m SO PUMPED to share this post with you guys! Danny and Megan rocked a water session in the Salt River this week and I’m gushing about how amazing they are. And if you’re thinking about me taking the photos in the water….. yes…. I did balance in the river current while standing on slipper moss, holding my camera gear above the water… no pressure. It was so worth it! Adventure couples don’t forget to book a session :)

Windy Point Lovin' | Mt. Lemmon Engagement Session | Jason + Desiree

Jason and Desiree are getting married tomorrow! We had such a blast on Mt. Lemmon this morning during their love story session. They were absolute troupers for getting to the top of the mountain before the sun came up so we could get some awesome lighting :) 

South Africa Wildlife Photography | Reflecting on the Trip of a Lifetime


Hey y'all thanks for checking out my blog! I can't believe it's been over a year since my trip to South Africa. I've spent this last year reflecting, building my business, and dreaming of future travels. Rewinding to July of 2016, as a sophomore in college I was genuinely becoming bored with the classes I was enrolled in. While I was learning valuable information I was also craving adventure and the type of experience that was not obtainable sitting in a dark classroom listening to lectures. I started spending my class time on my computer researching other options... whoops sorry for not listening to your lectures professors. After A LOT of searching and sending resumes I received an email that I was accepted to a wildlife photography internship in South Africa. I was about to be pushed way out of my comfort zone. 

Fast forward to June of 2017. I was about to start my 40 hour journey on my first solo international trip. I didn't know anyone else going on the trip and I was honestly terrified. I had no idea what a magical journey I was in for. After arriving in Mossel Bay I instantly connected with the photographers, videographers, journalists, field specialists and locals. I'm incredibly thankful for all of them, they made my experience unforgettable and I'll cherish our memories for the rest of my life. 

My highlights from Mossel Bay included diving with White Shark Africa, watching surfers at the point, and hiking for an incredible view of Cape St Blaize lighthouse and a spot overlooking the town. Memories not pictured include late nights at Friends Pub and Grill and lots of intern bonding time in the Lavender House!

On a more serious note, an incredibly impactful part of the trip revolved around the arson lit fires. After seeing smoke pour out from behind the cliffs and over the ocean we loaded ourselves into the back of a pick up truck and took off through the smoke and ash, not knowing what we would find. Following are photographs from the cemetery we arrived at that had been set on fire and the smoke that was covering the town.

The rest of the trip was the best kind of adventure. I had the opportunity to see every animal you can imagine, ones that I never thought I would never have a chance to photograph.

I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with lions, elephants and giraffes but the rhinos hold a special place in my heart. Before this trip I was uneducated about the poaching problems associated with rhinos and their horns. Seeing these majestic animals so close and the devastating scenes of poaching set my heart on fire. I even tried to join an antipoaching unit and move to Africa.... but that's a longer story for another time.    

Another thing that I felt an unexplainable connection to were the mountains and stars. The vast valleys lead way to the most incredible mountains... the kind of landscapes that could swallow you whole. 

I can't put into words how thankful I am for all of the opportunities that I've had and the people I've met. This trip changed my life in ways I could have never imagined. 

Now that I've reflected on my time in Africa here's an update on my life! Since I got back to the states from South Africa I've graduated from the University of Arizona and am currently based in Arizona. I tried many times and many different ways to move to Africa.... but God had other plans for my life. I am now a destination wedding photographer and LOVE my job. I've been traveling all over as a Laura K Moore Photography associate capturing couples on their wedding day which is an absolute blast. I've shot in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Maine, and Vermont. If you want to see my upcoming travels feel free to follow my Instagram! Also if you haven't seen my newly renovated website check it out! If you've made it all the way through my long post thanks for reading :)

South Africa prints are available! Email mmcgarveyphotography@yahoo.com for print details!