Adventure

Becky + Stu's Ocean Shores Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Getting married on a Washington beach in October when it will surely rain?? Sure, let’s do this!

The grey, cloud-filled skies formed the perfect stormy yet serene backdrop for Becky + Stu’s Ocean Shores nuptials. Cold and wind aside I loved every minute! I did however decide that I need an umbrella hat since I can’t carry an umbrella and both cameras at the same time!! That’s probably super nerdy but it’s totally going on my Christmas list!

Becky + Stu are a super laid-back, fun couple and I seriously spent the entire day smiling and laughing. Becky has this raw and authentic smile that just reveals what a genuine person she is. You can’t help but smile back, no matter you mood. Stu is witty and laughs with his whole being. It is easy to see why these two are drawn to each other and such a perfect match! Side note, Becky + Stu work with Oysters, check out the handmade Oyster cake topper, so unique!

After the ceremony the wedding party popped a few bottles of Champagne and toasted to the lovers! Soaked from head to toe we all headed back to the Inn to change clothes and then kick off cocktail hour. The Reception was held in a room in the Inn and was decorated in a beach theme with blue lights lighting up the walls, driftwood decorations and pictures of their travels on each table. Becky + Stu handmade candles, coated in sand as their wedding guest gifts! So thoughtful and different!

This was one of the most unique and fun weddings of my 2018 season and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. Such a lovely couple, so many smiles and a fabulous, moody beach ceremony!

Congrats Becky + Stu!

Ocean Shores, I can’t wait to see you again!


Venue: Shilo Inns Ocean Shores

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XOXO,

Sarah

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Adventure Portrait Sessions: What They Are and Why You NEED One! | Olympia Wedding Photographer

What is an adventure portrait Session?

An adventure portrait session is a great way to capture images of you and your babe while exploring the great Pacific Northwest. An adventure session throws traditional portrait locations to the wind in exchange for ones that are a bit more wild, natural and epic. They tend to be way more fun… and maybe a bit muddier!

Who is an adventure portrait session for?

Nature lovers, free-spirits and the adventurous at heart. If a bit of a drive or a hike doesn’t scare you then an adventure portrait session is for you! While adventure session are perfect for lovers and elopements, they are also great for senior sessions, bridal sessions and boudoir. So hike up your skirt and let’s go!

How much does an adventure session cost?

Price depends on the location you select as well as time needed for the adventure, see pricing HERE.

Things to consider when planning an adventure portrait session.

  • Time - How long will it take to drive to your desired location? If there is a hike, how long will it take?

  • Location - What sort of background appeals to you? Woods, mountains, water? All of them?? Maybe there is a place that has special memories for you?

  • When to schedule - This depends on your location…. places like Mt. Rainier close when there is snow but others like Gold Creek Pond are amazing in the winter! Also consider fall as a great time to book due to the auburn foliage, it’s pretty magical! Winter session can be foggy, snowy and majestic but there is a higher chance of rain…be prepared to shoot in the rain or reschedule.

  • Clothing - Select two or three outfits that don’t clash with the scenery. After all the view is why we are there! Think simple patterns, solid colors and fun hats. Bring or wear sensible shoes. Bring towels and a change of clothes in case you get wet.

  • Props - Best to keep it basic out in the wilderness but a cute little picnic, a bottle of champagne or a cozy blanket can all be great additions to your session.

  • Snacks- Exploring is hard work and we may build up an appetite! Bring plenty of food and water for our adventure.

Where are some great locations to do an adventure portrait session?

The possibilities are endless!

Below are just a few localish locations for an adventure portrait session. If you have another idea I'd love to go explore with you! I'm open to non-local adventure too, message me and let's start exploring!

Ask about session discounts on my bucket list/favorite locations!

  • Ruby Beach

  • Rattlesnake Ledge

  • Cannon Beach

  • Leavenworth

Mt. Rainier

See more of Mt. Rainier


Lake Cushman

See More Lake Cushman


Rattlesnake Lake

See more of Rattlesnake Lake


Franklin Falls

See more of Franklin Falls


Gold Creek Pond


Deception Pass

See more of Deception Pass


Cannon Beach

See more of Cannon Beach


Manchester State Park


See more of Manchester State Park

Vantage

See more of Vantage, WA

Group Senior Shoot

For portrait location ideas closer to Olympia check out 10 Great Portrait Locations Near Olympia

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Alicia + Brock's Rattlesnake Lake Couples Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Adventure! One of my favorite type of sessions to capture is an adventure session. An adventure session is where we pick a location that is amazing, epic, gorgeous, breathe taking, memorable or all of the above and put you in it. This type of session is great to capture a location that has fond memories or just to capture the PNW in general. Most types of session can be done as an adventure session, which is a great alternative to session at a local park or urban setting.

We chose to do Alicia + Brock's adventurous couples session at Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend. It had been a while since I had shot there so I was pretty excited. We got a beautiful day that was warm and sunny so we shot in the evening and utilized the beautiful soft light of golden hour.

Alicia is such a sweet person, so positive and happy. She was constantly laughing and smiling, which is contagious! Brock is the strong and silent type, his serious face is pensive and you can just tell he is taking everything in. Both Alicia + Brock are artists and are so expressive in their own ways. Their personalities compliment each other and aren't unlike the Chinese Yin + Yang principles that represent the universe. 

Alicia + Brock even got SUPER brave at the end of our session and climbed into the chilly lake for some super sexy couples photos. I guess I can't say much since I shot from a dry and warm rock a few steps from shore but in my opinion it was totally worth braving the cold water for these fun and playful photos! HAHA!

This blog really makes me realize how much I love doing adventure sessions! So, stay tuned for a blog on Adventure Portrait Sessions coming soon...!!

 

Also, check out the amazing necklace Alicia is wearing. It has the prettiest little moonstone hanging from the moon. It was the perfect accessory for her low-v cut dresses.

Moon + Moonstone Necklace: Ethereal Earth Gifts

Dresses: Forever 21

XOXO,

Sarah

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Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Kenzi + Daniel's Lake Cushman Engagement Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

In search of adventure and some epic beautiful scenery Kenzi, Daniel and I chose Lake Cushman as the destination for their adventurous couples session. We also threw around a few other ideas for beautiful "PNWesty" locations but in the end this quaint little lake, full of serenity and character, really drew us in and made the decision for us.  

When I first heard that rain was forecasted for our portrait session day I nearly cried! We had so carefully selected that day, working around everyone's schedules, and spent time determining location, wardrobe and snacks! I was sad but determined to shoot no matter the weather. Luckily, Kenzi + Daniel are adventurous souls and were fully on board. Instead of rain we ran into the most delicious weather! A layer of white cotton candy fog hung over the lake and mingled in the trees. To my delight it was was the most perfect weather to help set the mood for this romantic couples session. 

The day of the shoot was relaxing, exciting and so much fun! We met in the afternoon and headed out to Lake Cushman together so we could explore and find these amazing places. We definitely had a full car with two car seats (sans babies), three adults, a picnic basket, food, 3+ blankets, multiple changes of clothes, camera gear, a guitar and some light hearted chatter. Kenzi + Daniel are so easy going though, it was just as fun getting to know them as it was exploring. 

This sweet couple has been together for five years and they have three amazing children. They enjoy spending time with family and friends, being outdoors and of course they love being in front of the camera.... which is fantastic because their connection is unreal and they are so fun to work with! Anytime, friends! I look forward to when we meet again. 

Make-up: Ronny Marcella

Moon/Moonstone Jewelry: Amber Corp

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagramand check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Terrianna's Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

A little bit of beautiful, and rare, Washington winter sun, a breathetaking bride and the perfect bouquet really go a long way!

Epic floral masterpiece by A Moment in Time Floral Design

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Brenda + Sal's Cannon Beach Wedding Portraits | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Let's talk about Brenda + Sal's STUNNING bridal session at Cannon Beach! That light! That view! That bouquet! That gorgeous couple! This session is truly a PNW Wedding Photographer's dream come true!

Brenda + Sal have been married for a few years but planned this gorgeous bridal session in their last days in the PNW before moving home to Arizona. Such a great reminder of their time in the Pacific Northwest and a great little weekend adventure for their little family of three!

If these amazing pictures don't speak for themselves and you are wondering why you should do a bridal session, check out  8 Reasons You Should Plan a Bridal Session!

Flower: A Moment in Time Floral Design

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Romina + Brian's Romantic Deception Pass Elopement | Destination Wedding Photographer

Romina + Brian share many things, with the most important being their two beautiful little girls. The next strongest thing that they seem to share is their sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. They love packing up their two toddlers and just taking off and hiking to explore new places. When we talked at our initial meeting they shared their list of locations they wanted to visit as well as their desire to sell everything and go live abroad, exploring the world, for awhile. A lifestyle that I am also drawn to, so it will be amazing to follow them on their journey when they take it. For all of this, I'm not surprised that they wanted their elopement to be at a beautiful, adventurous location.

Their first choice was Diablo Lake (for obvious reasons cause #holyamazing) but due to weather conditions it wasn't accessible on their day. So, the night before after much research and thought they changed the location of their adventurous elopement to Rosario Beach in Deception Pass. It may not boast the blue waters of Diablo Lake but it makes up for that in other ways. There are cliffs and ledges to walk out on, a few beautiful beaches, evergreen trees, and an absolutely beautiful sunset!

We got lucky and caught a clear and sunshiny day despite Washington's normally cold and rainy November's. Despite a bit of a chill, the day was absolutely gorgeous! A beautiful location for an adventurous elopement and some beautiful bride and groom portraits.

At the end of the portraits we realized that their diamond ring had somehow gotten lost during the session. We looked up and down where we had been with no luck. Romina + Brian were so calm about it. They expressed to each other that the most important thing was that they were married and that physical possessions were not important to them. At first I was stressing and looking frantically for the ring, but after hearing their thoughts on it I nearly started crying. What a great wakeup call from an amazingly genuine couple to reevaluate what is REALLY important in our lives...

Hair + Makeup: Ann Timmss Makeup and Hair

Second Shooter: One Thousand Words

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Jessica + Michael's Snowy Engagement Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Love, laughter and an engagement session in the snow? Yes please! Any day of the week!

For their engagement portraits, Jessica + Michael wanted to do something adventurous, fun and that would remind them of the Pacific Northwest since they will be moving to New York after the wedding. A foggy, snow covered lake in the mountains seemed like a perfect setting for their romantic engagement session, so we chose Gold Creek Pond! A backdrop to make any portrait session peaceful, serene and magical! Of course it was pretty chilly since we did their engagement photos in December, but Jessica + Michael (especially Jessica in the dress photos!!) toughed it out like champs. So glad they did and that we were able to capture some amazing moments between them and the epic background of Gold Creek Pond!

These two lovebirds are set to get married in July of 2018 and I can't wait!! The details they are planning along with the beautiful venue, Cabin Creek Lodge, they have chosen will be simply stunning. Cabin Creek Lodge is a majestic and woodsy venue in Easton, WA. A perfectly boho, romantic and peaceful setting to celebrate their big day. Surrounded by large evergreens and trails to explore, this diverse venue can sleep 40+ guests and has full amenities. What a great place to host family and friends for a weekend of relaxing, fun and the exchanging of vows.

I love the idea of renting a venue for the weekend and spending more time with your guests. Wedding days go by so fast and I personally felt like I didn't get enough time with my out of town friends and family. If I knew then what I know now this would be towards the top of the list of what I would do differently!

Of course, neither this beautiful venue nor the elegant details will outshine the beauty of this couple! Jessica, you are going to be a GORGEOUS bride and the love you have for each other just radiates around you! Seriously, I had so much fun with you and Mike, can't wait for your big day!

Perfect venue, perfect details, gorgeous couple... what more could a Pacific Northwest Wedding Photographer want!! *Swooooon*

Wintery Crown and Hoop: A Moment in Time Floral Design

XOXO,

Sarah

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Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

8 Reasons You Should Plan a Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

A bridal session is where just you, or you and your love and your photographer schedule a day after your wedding to get back in your wedding getup and have a fun and romantic portrait session at whatever amazing destination your little hearts desire. Beautiful photos of just you two to celebrate your new lives together.

Why should you do a bridal session?? Here are a few good reasons to consider...

8. There is a special destination that is important to you both that you want to have photos taken at

Do you have a certain destination that holds a special place in your heart? Is where you met or had your first date precious to you? Or maybe it's where he (or she, let's be real it's 2017!) proposed? Wherever that one special spot is it's time to solidify those memories with a fun and romantic bridal session. You'll end up with beautiful portraits of you and your love looking your best with the added bonus of all the pleasant memories that will come flooding back every time you look and are reminded of the memories you shared there. What better way to document the story of your love!

7. There is an EPIC location that you need beautiful images at to decorate your house

The snowy peaks of Mt. Rainier, the blue waters of Diablo Lake, A lighthouse on Friday Harbor...the jagged cliffs of Ireland, clear blue water and the sandy beaches of Hawaii. Can you picture the romantic images of you too embracing in one of these scenes? The wind blowing through your hair and your dress swaying as you walk hand and hand with your love. Can't imagine it? Let me help you CREATE it. Where is YOUR epic location? ....and when do we leave? :)

6. Gift

We all have that one friend, or family member, that had modest nuptials but still dreams of a perfect white wedding. Although the events of that day can't be modified, an amazing new memory can be added. Give the gift of a memorable and adventurous bridal session. A simple but elegant dress, slacks and a button up shirt, a tie and a floral bouquet - the list is minimal to create these one of a kind experiences that will last a lifetime.

5. Anniversary celebration

Are you celebrating your very first wedding anniversary? How about your tenth? 50th?? What better way to renew your love for each other than a stunning bridal session at that one location you keep meaning to visit.... break out your wedding dress or find a beautiful dress that suits your current style and start planning your anniversary bridal session!

Published in Bellissima Bridal Issue No. 30 (October 2017)

4. You ran out of time to get enough on your actual wedding day

Wedding days are always busy and packed full of stuff that needs to get done. Many times makeup and hair can run over, people get held up and arrive late etc. For whatever the reason, if your big day was crunched for time and you didn't get as many portraits as you wanted than a bridal session is a great idea for you!

3. You weren't happy with the ones from your wedding day

Did rain spoil your big day? That doesn't happen in the PNW. No, never!! HAHA. But if it does and you didn't get those dreamy outdoor portraits you picture hanging above your mantle than consider a bridal session.

2. You didn't get a big "official" wedding

Did you say 'I do' at the courthouse or have a small backyard wedding and didn't get those epic portraits you've always dreamed about? This is the PERFECT reason to schedule a bridal session! You get a sweet, decently priced ceremony and a once in a lifetime experience with a bridal portrait adventure. 

1. You want to spend more time with your friends and family on your wedding day

I offer this reason because it happened to me. Friends and family came from all over the world to watch us say 'I do' and then immediately after we rushed off for photos. Then there were speeches, cake, dancing and by then people were starting to head home. I felt like I missed out on time with friends and family that I hardly get to see. If I got to do it all over again, I would break tradition and plan a bridal session! After the ceremony I'd attend cocktail hour and catch up with all my people!!

Besides, lets be real. The exhaustion level on a wedding day is real so take some stress out of it! If your wedding runs late and you don't get enough bridal images, if you want to spend more time with your family on your big day or if you simply want your bridal images to be somewhere amazing... whatever your reason a bridal session is definitely a new tradition worth considering.

 

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Winter Wonderland Stylized Senior Shoot | Olympia Senior Photography

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE shooting in the snow? Well....I absolutely do!

I got together with some fellow photographers for this fun and snowy Stylized Senior Shoot . Tammy of Tammy Dalquist Photography brought her stunning squad of Senior Models and we had a blast shooting and playing in the snow. 

As a Pacific Northwest Senior Photographer I love the rich greens of our beautiful scenery, the way red from this shoot pops makes me grin ear to ear. Red is BY FAR my favorite color to shoot!

Girls, you are gorgeous and I had a blast getting to know you a bit. Countdown is on until the end of senior year, make it memorable!

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful