Armando & Aubrey | Alamogordo, NM & White Sands Engagement Session

Well, if I’m being honest, I haven’t been all too happy with White Sands lately! This crazy spring weather in Southern New Mexico has had me scrambling at the last several sessions! It’s a good thing I always do my homework and have a good idea of what I’m getting in to, because I don’t think what we did would have been possible without it. This week’s lesson was “Arrive an hour early to scout out additional location options!” Because wow, did we end up needing it.

The weather report said gusts up to 40 miles per hour…but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was even more than that. White Sands was crazy! Sand flying every direction through the air, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open when I was wandering around scouting out a good spot–and the wind was blowing so hard that my hair I looked like Albert Einstein within a few minutes of getting out of the car–hair sticking up everywhere!

I’ve never had to change locations on the fly before, but for Aubrey and Armando’s engagement session, I just knew the best chance I had of getting beautiful pictures for them was if we found somewhere else to start their session, and came back to White Sands just before sunset when the wind might hopefully have died down a bit.

Thank goodness for my good friend Ashlee (of Flowers By Ashlee)—she happens to live in Alamogordo, and after texting her really quickly to find out how things looked over there, she pointed me in the right direction! I’ve never taken clients to an unknown location before, and just shot ‘sight unseen’…another time, it’d be a fun challenge to do it again (but this time…with that as the expectation. 😉

The one thing our impromptu location change did allow for was a lot more time to visit with these two! We had a good twenty minutes both directions and I asked just about every question I could think of to get to know them better!

Aubrey and Mando have been together since their sophomore year in high school–a couple high school sweethearts here! They both say that the thing that made the other special was the fact that they felt completely comfortable being themselves with each other–no pressure to put on pretenses. They’re genuine, they value honesty and they love to make each other laugh! Aubrey describes herself as a little shy or quiet at first, but told me that with Mando around she always feels confident. I thought that was so sweet, and such a great quality to have–to bring out the best in your other half.

These two are so excited to start their life together in September! One of the things they’ve liked the most about planning their wedding is watching all the plans for their future life draw closer and become a reality. Everything they’ve planned and hoped for is on the horizon. Rustin and I are sixteen years into our marriage, but the memories of those days have not faded in the least–I recall with perfect clarity how excited we were to start our lives together and to see the plans we’d made together finally fall into place! I’m excited for Mando and Aubrey to experience that for themselves as their wedding turns into a marriage.

We did luck out in Alamogordo, and pretty quickly found both beautiful light AND a windbreak (but it wasn’t nearly as bad there as it had been out at the dunes!). In fact, I honestly don’t think you can tell at all that there was wind. So we quickly rolled through a set of prompts and these two gave me some really great laughs and connection!

Once the sun started to sink a little lower in the sky and I thought there was a chance that the wind out at White Sands might have slowed a bit, we jumped back in the car and booked it back to White Sands! Again, I ended up being really grateful that I’d shown up an hour early and scouted out new locations–because we could see from a distance that my regular spot was under a big sand cloud! Thankfully, I’d picked out a spot that had a little less blowing sand and some really pretty dunes…not to mention that sunset.

I love this one! I had them chill for minute while I changed some settings, and looked up to find them holding hands in the sweetest way.

Aubrey and Mando, it was so fun to hang out with you for the evening! Thanks a million for trusting my crazy idea to switch up your location, and allowing me to chase the light! I’m so excited to be a part of your special day, and I can’t wait to hang out with you in September!


Erin 🙂


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photography by erin richins
 kind people are my kinda people