As a Arizona documentary style photographer, capturing candid, authentic moments is why I do photography. These moments are moments you might not even notice and can never recreate, but mean so much and say so much about people. Moments are what make your wedding undeniably, non-replicateably yours. I find that moments are what stick to people’s minds the most and what people tend to love years and years after the wedding. Not the beautiful portraits, not the details, but the organic, real moments.

Though I love pretty much every moment of every wedding day, here are 17 of my favorite moments of 2017. I had a lot more favorites, but I have to give myself a strict number to stick to. Every year, I can’t wait to see what crazy, heartwarming, joyous and simply awesome moments I will witness. I’m sure 2018 will be even better than 2017, though I’m not sure how it can top that! These are also in no particular order, I can’t possibly pick a top one.

Also check out my Best of 2017 year end recap post!

Amber & Bobby’s Gold Canyon Golf Resort wedding

This adorable little girl was making the cutest, ridiculous faces while her mom was getting her ready. I love shooting little things like this because I’m sure they & their family will look back on these and find them hilarious! I’m always on the look out to see what funny things kids are doing at weddings.

Danielle & Mauricio’s Desert Botanical Garden Wedding
The father daughter dance was particularly emotional for Danielle & her sister & friend. I personally love crying at weddings- a lot of people say not to cry, but I say bring on the tears! Weddings are happy events and are full of emotions. Letting those emotions show not only feels better but also shows you care and are moved by what’s going on (and makes for great photos IMO!). Your make up can always be fixed and I promise I’ll never show ugly crying!

Danielle confessed to me that she was terrible at keeping secrets but had a BIG one planned for Mauricio at their wedding. He really wanted a banda (think mariachi band but bigger) and she told them it would be too much for her family etc. Little did he know that she did hire one, and kept it a surprise until the end of the night. This is right as they burst in. I love the pure surprise & joy on his face!

Kirsten & Ross’s Phoenix Zoo Wedding

Kirsten’s brothers were always very shy, quiet & reserved. They reminded me a lot of my own brother. The oldest surprised Kirsten towards the end of the reception with a speech. No one quite knew what he was going to say, but he said the most heartfelt and beautiful things to Kirsten & Ross and there wasn’t a dry eye in the whole room. I’m glad I have my camera to cover my face because I’m usually crying during these moments.

I loved the spunk and sense of humor this girl had about the couples’ dance- she decided that she didn’t need a partner to dance!

Chris & Hadas’s Desert Foothills Wedding

Hadas had her bride squad in with her while getting her final getting ready touches done. Not only was her getting ready room AMAZING, but her squad’s reactions were priceless. Everyone was fully present & in the moment without a phone in sight and they could appreciate the moment. More of this please!

I love when kids get into songs. Can you tell that Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey was playing here?

Raghu & Julie Jumping into the Pool at their Wedding Reception

If I HAD to pick one favorite moment of 2017, this would probably be it. Julie came up to me and asked if I could shoot them jumping into the pool at the reception when I arrived at their venue to shoot their wedding day. I hurriedly called my mom (thanks mom!) and had her bring my underwater equipment so I could photograph it IN the pool. I had seen plenty of photographers risk their equipment by getting in the pool and holding their cameras above water, but I’m an underwater photographer, so why not shoot it under? It was very dark and I was treading water and trying to shoot, but a perfectly timed flash from my 2nd shooter Sarah got the perfect jumping shot, then I followed everyone underwater.

Also at Julie & Raghu’s wedding, they had a post ceremony celebratory shot with their wedding party- apparently the booze was a little strong and maybe not so smooth!

Audry & Brady’s Superstition Manor Wedding

Brady’s reaction to seeing Audry during their first look was my favorite first look reaction of the year. He was so surprised at how beautiful Audry was, it was SO adorable.

Ariel & German’s Bryant Park Grill Wedding

Traveling to NYC to photograph a dear friend of mine’s Manhattan wedding was a special experience for me this year. I loved this moment right before Ariel walked down the aisle with her mom of her looking up at her daughter so adoringly and proud. I cry so much while editing photos you guys!

At their reception, it started raining a lot! I was standing in the crack in the middle of the aisle that wasn’t covered by umbrellas, but luckily I have weather resistant cameras that can withstand a bit of rain. I love the ambiance the rain gave and the joy you can see here in the recessional!

Also at their reception, Ariel & German’s brothers enjoyed the hora. I especially love how German’s brother was Snapchatting this!!

Andria & Michael’s Saguaro Lake Ranch Wedding
Horas are so great for getting reactions. Andria & Michael had a lot of fun during their hora but had to avoid the lights!

Sierra & Brian’s Schnepf Farms Wedding at the Meadows
Probably my favorite reaction shot of the year- Sierra & Brian opted out of the traditional cake cutting for a joint churro feeding. This is pretty representative of their personalities in general <3

If you enjoy documentary wedding photography moments, check out the blog Moment Junkie. It’s amazing! And if you’re looking for a documentary/photojournalistic based photographer for your Arizona wedding, shoot me an email! I’d love to be considered.


Alyssa Campbell Arizona wedding photographer

Welcome! I’m an Arizona-based wedding & portrait photographer specializing in natural and documentary photos. My blog is where you can see my latest work as well as check out tips & the latest news. Following me on social media is another way to check out my recent work!