Engagement Portrait Photography

Naya + Betka's Downtown Seattle Couple's Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Naya + Betka’s downtown Seattle couples session was one of the funnest of 2018! Lighthearted and madly in love, these two are free spirits and wild at heart. We had a blast exploring the streets of Seattle; from daydreaming what the inside of the (below) cool house looks like to handstands and dancing in the street. Plus that sunflare, #amiright! I just love how these women’s personalities really show through in the images!

In a few months time (Yay, June! I can’t wait for summer) I’ll be shooting these lovely ladies again, this time for a wedding shoot! I’m super stoked to see the outcome of that and can’t wait to spend the day laughing and having a good time with them again. Stay tuned for more amazing images featuring these two lovebirds! Counting down the days!

Special appearance by Percy the cat. I have no idea what his or her name actually is, that’s the name I gave it.


P.S. I really want a pair of yellow pants now!

P.P.S This is one of my new all time favorite couples photos! Just look at their smiles!! They bring each other so much happiness.

P.P.P.S That’s a lot of post-scripting going on.

 
Naya + Betika- Sarah Gonia Photography (15 of 67).jpg
 

“What we find in a soulmate is not something wild to tame, but something wild to run with”. - Robert Brault

"When the evening shadows and the stars appear. And there is no one there to dry your tears. Oh, I hold you for a million years. To make you feel my love." — Adele

"And when you smile. The whole world stops and stares for a while. 'Cause girl you're amazing. Just the way you are." — Bruno Mars

Do you want memorable images of you and your love? What’s holding you back? Call me, let’s sit down for chips and salsa and chat about your ideal session.

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.

Preparing For Your Engagement (Couples) Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Congratulations on your engagement! This is a special time in your life and should be documented. So, before you get too far into wedding planning, take a few moments to start planning your engagement session. Engagement photos are a great way to announce your big news, plus they will be some of your top viewed photos of the year! They deserve a little planning but the fun we’ll have and the amazing photos you’ll get are totally worth it! These will be images you’ll treasure forever. Plus it also gives you a chance to work with us prior to your wedding day so you can get a feel of how we work and it takes a lot of unnecessary stress out of the wedding shots!

Below let’s talk about some of the things you’ll need to consider while planning your engagement session but remember the most important advice is that this should be fun and relaxed! It’s not worth stressing over, save that for the wedding deets!

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  1. Wardrobe

  • Pick out two or three outfits for your session, this will give you some variety in your photos. If you are having a hard time choosing you can always bring an extra outfit or two or get our input on what would photograph the best.

  • Choose soft, muted, neutral colors like whites, browns, sage green, grey, blush or black. Avoid neon colors, crazy or tight patterns or lots of competing colors because they will draw attention away from you and your love. You two are the focus of the photos and we want to avoid competition and instead focus on the intimate and fun moments between you.

  • Select clothing that is comfortable, if you aren’t comfortable then it will show in the photos. That being said, avoid clothes that are too tight and may show underwear lines or unwanted bulges. On the other end of the spectrum, avoid clothes that are baggy or over-sized. They can make you look boxy and add bulk to your shape. Finding proper fitting clothes that you are comfortable in and fit your body style is essential!

  • Consider buying a dress or skirt for your session. You’ll look and feel great in your new outfit and a hand selected dress to match the location you choose can’t be beat. Long flowing skirts photograph well and are really fun in action-based shots!

  • Coordinate—but don’t match. Think coordinating color palettes, but not matchy/matchy. Too much contrast (i.e. you in white, him in black) can overwhelm a picture or be cheesy. Also avoid both wearing patterns as they again may draw viewers eyes away from your moments.

2. Look your best!

  • These photos will be family heirlooms. They’ll be sent off on save-the dates, parents and grandparents will display them and eventually children and grandchildren will look back at them. It’s important to look and feel your best! Although many women are comfortable doing their makeup I suggest hiring a professional to do your hair and makeup because they know how makeup photographs so they can contour to bring out your best features. They also can put together the perfect palette to match your selected outfits and location.

  • Utilize your hair and makeup trials with your wedding vendors. This is a great way to get the most out of those trials and not pay for additional services. Need hair and makeup artists? Check out our Sound South Wedding Vendor Guide.

  • Get your ring cleaned, let that thing sparkle!

See more of Krissy + Mitch’s Lake Cushman Adventure Session - Coming Soon

See more of Krissy + Mitch’s Lake Cushman Adventure Session - Coming Soon

3. Where should we have our photos taken?

  • Are you at home in the city? Adventurers?? Are you drawn to the mountain or water? Is there a location that is significant to you and your fiance? Ask yourself these questions and it will help you find an engagement session location. You two will be the main focus of the photos but having a serene or special backdrop makes for fabulous photos and epic memories from that day.

  • Looking for areas nearby the Olympia area? Look HERE for some idea.

  • Seeking wind in your hair and adventure to feed your soul? Say no more, I’m already sold. For ideas on adventurous locations click HERE.

See more of Emily + Mario’s Gold Creek Pond Engagement Session - Coming Soon

See more of Emily + Mario’s Gold Creek Pond Engagement Session - Coming Soon

5. What time should we plan on begin taking our photos?

  • About 2 hours before sunset is the best time since the light is prettiest. So, for example, if sunset is at 7\8:30pm, we'll usually plan to start around 6:30pm.

  • Two hours or so after sunrise is also a good option for certain locations. The morning light is cool and pretty, there are less people out and about and depending on the season there is a good chance of some pretty fog!

See more of Silu + Aristotle’s Seattle Engagement Session - Coming Soon

See more of Silu + Aristotle’s Seattle Engagement Session - Coming Soon

6. Creativity + trusting your photographer

  • We are very experienced in posing couples and will use our creativity to bring out the best in you! Chat with us before the session and let us know if there are any specific poses that interest you, otherwise sit back, have fun and trust us to capture all the special moments.

See more of Naya + Betka’s downtown Seattle Couples Session - Coming Soon

7. Keep the mood light.

  • Relax! If you are uncomfortable it will show in the photos! Relax and BREATHE!

  • Have fun! Above all, this is the most important. This is an exciting time for you as a couple and we want to capture your personalities and the love that you share.

8. Can we bring pets?

  • Of course! Bring your fur babies and we’ll grab some photos of you and them. I do recommend bringing a friend to help with them while we are shooting the photos without them though. If that isn’t an option bring a long leash so we can tie them to a tree while we are shooting.

See more of Krissy, Mitch + Lily’s Lake Cushman adventure sesion - Coming Soon

See more of Krissy, Mitch + Lily’s Lake Cushman adventure sesion - Coming Soon

9. Think props

  • Is there something special that has lots of significance in your relationship? It could be a blanket, a piece of jewelry, a vintage car or a motorcycle. The more unique to your relationship, the better! Look HERE for more prop ideas.

  • If you choose to bring props, limit it to two or three. We want your awesome props to enhance the photos and add personality, but not take away attention from you two.
     

10. Be on time

  • This is REALLY important! What you may not realize is that photographers are 100% dependent on the sun and specifically plan their sessions for the most flattering and beautiful light. If you show up late you will lose time off your session due to lack of light

  • . There are always things that happen that are out of our control, like traffic and accidents but by planning your route and a backup route ahead of time and leaving early you can minimize the risk of showing up late and losing camera time.

  • Being late is stressful and we want you happy and relaxed!

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

Veronica + Joseph Tumwater Engagement Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

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

Kate + Taylor's Discovery Park Engagement | Seattle Wedding Photographer

Kate + Taylor are getting married! 

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

Lerae + Jordan's Tolmie State Park Engagement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Lerae, Jordan and I met up on a beautiful Fall day for these fun and sunny engagement photos. Fast forward several months, a change of calendar year, three seasons and many many many hours of planning and here we sit 9 days until their wedding! NINE! We have finally hit single digits! Man, it's crazy how fast time has flown by!

Lerae + Jordan wanted an area close to Olympia that showed the greens of the Pacific Northwest but also had water and a variety of areas to shoot. Tolmie State Park makes for great scenery for portraits and is one of my favorite locations in the area! Beyond the beach, forest and fun wooden bridge there are also tons of trails to explore with a variety of dark green, PNWesty scenery. For other options near Olympia check out '10 Great Portrait Locations Near Olympia'.

As well as a great location, I love the tones that Lerae + Jordan chose for their wardrobe. The soft neutral tones and natural colors were perfect for both the wood and the beach and they were both comfortable and relaxed in the outfits they chose. Outfit selection is critical for good portraits and colors, patterns and fit can really change the mood and outcome of the images. For more tips on wardrobe selection see 'Preparing For Your Portrait Session'.

I don't typically encourage bringing a ton of props to portraits session because I prefer to focus on people and their interactions with each other rather than items, but a few per session can add some variety and sweet, personalized little touches. Lerae + Jordan chose to bring a cute little sign with a significant phrase on it, 'Love you More...', and a blanket, which fit great into their session! Need ideas for a prop or two to bring to your session? Check out 'Fun Prop Ideas for Your Portrait Session'.

Lerae + Jordan's session was not only amazing but it was also so much fun! I LOVE to capture 'love' and the way these two interact it is undeiable how much they love each other! Their sweet little cuddles, constant giggles and the way Jordan so sweetly looked at and attended to Lerae was really heart-warming. I'm counting down the days until this sweet couples says 'I do!'

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

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

Lindsay + Nick Downtown Olympia Engagement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Seventeen.

Seventeen is the number of days until these two lovies exchange 'I do's.'

When Lindsay and I first talked about location for her and Nick's downtown Olympia engagement session I was thinking Percival Landing and I was stoked! I've shot there multiple times and it's always a lot of fun and there are so many places to wander and get variety. Then she suggested a little marina and I got even MORE excited! Boats, beach and a new location... yes please!!

Although the weather report threatened rain, the only thing we got was some serious wind and some magnificent sun! We arrived a bit before golden hour so we could walk around and scout and eventually we wandered down to a little beach with sun gleaming through the pillars that held up a cute little building and I quickly 'b-lined' straight there! I couldn't believe how beautiful the light was streaming in behind them! It was the perfect fiery glow. It was a fully luminous and magical view! After the beach we took a few photos with their wild but loving fur-babies and then we ventured down to the docks where the light was softer and cooler. We had a beautiful view of the sound and all the clean white boats that lined the docs! Definitely a beautiful location for engagement photos!

Seventeen.

Seventeen days until Lindsay + Nick's beautiful PNW wedding... in which there will be an EPIC waterfall. If you know me then you how much I love waterfalls! *jumps up and down like a giggling maniac, clapping hands and cheering*

Seventeen and counting down.

Side Note: To capture such amazing love stories, like Lindsay + Nick, is truly what makes being a PNW wedding photographer such an amazing job.... well, let's be real - love stories AND waterfalls.

Side Side Note:... who is coming back with me to shoot at this dock / beach again??? I am just in love with this light and location!

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

Alex + Cody's Ft. Steilacoom Couples Session | Tacoma Wedding Photographer

A little rain.

A little sun.

Gorgeous flowering trees and lots of fun.

Oh, springtime - I do love you because it means that summer is coming and you bring color and beauty to Washington; but thanks to your unpredictability I don't miss you until at least mid-winter.

Washington weather is 80% of why I carry a clear umbrella (or two) in my car at all times! Fifteen percent is because they are so darn cute in portraits and the remaining 5% is in case a giant spider tries to eat us... or more specifically me, sorry clients. Don't get me wrong, I know they are good be cause they eat obnoxious pests like mosquitoes.... small birds and probably a baby pterodactyl if one flew by but they are just way too big around here!

I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska and while we have a handful of spider varieties around none of them rival the chihuahua-sized ones that live in this wild and wet state. It didn't take me long to wonder if I was in Washington or Australia when I first moved here! Ok, seriously they aren't that bad.... although I have been known to run lighting speed through the house to the shower while simultaneously stripping down to rid myself of any eight-legged 'friends' that may be hitchhiking after I walked into a web.... OK fine, they aren't so bad, as long as they don't touch me. Ever. Especially not my face, hair, neck, torso, arms, legs or feet. Or clothes.

Ok, let's get back to Alex + Cody after that creepy jaywalk. As you can see we had some crazy up and down weather that day but we totally rolled with it and had so much fun exploring Ft. Steilacoom Park in Tacoma! Well... I may like Washington springs more than I initially let on! 

 

P.S. When session are filled with this much love, smiles and laughter I always leave with a full heart. Never let that love fade or the laughter dissipate. Those are two things that truly make life worth living. 

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

Ingrid + Dan's Manchester State Park Engagement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Ingrid + Dan hired me to be their wedding photographer and I tell you what, I'm pretty darn excited about it! Just look how stinkin' cute they are! They are so in love, fun-loving and sweet - It was cute to see them laugh and joke and interact with each other!! Can't wait to capture these two's Seattle wedding! Countdown 30 days!

There's is another thing I'm really excited about and it's Manchester State park in Port Orchard, WA. A gorgeous rocky beach, evergreen trees, paths to explore and.... some awesome abandoned buildings! Perk alert: all this is near a parking lot so this is a great location for those with mobility issues!

Ingrid + Dan had a free hotel stay and they decided to use it near Port Orchard, when we started looking for location ideas Ingrid sent me a few and instantly Manchester State Park stood out to me.  After a few minutes of research I was even more convinced, so glad we decided on it! Manchester State Park is an hour away from where I live in Olympia which means I had to leave my house by 7:00 am to make our 8:00 am session. (For those of you who know me well) that is EARLY for me and I've always been partial to evenings since 'golden hour' has some amazing light but I ended up loving the beautiful, cool morning light - morning photos session maybe totally be my new thing..... maybe.

Awesome couple, an adventurous new location, abandoned buildings, a beach, fun and smiles and pretty morning light - what a perfect combination!

 

“I could make you happy, make your dreams come true. Nothing that I wouldn’t do.

Go to the ends of the earth for you to make you feel my love.” ~Bob Dylan

 

You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
'Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you
-John Legend

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 + Jeff's Ballard Market Engagement | Seattle Wedding Photographer

One sunny fall day last September I got to follow these two quirky lovebirds, Jessica + Jeff, around the Ballard Market for their engagement session. From cribbage to tea and coffee and some casual strolling we recreated their very first date.... plus some! 

 

I had so much fun with this couple and I just adore how fun-loving, intelectual, creative and epically nerdy they are! My kind of people haha! I am counting down until the day i get to capture their nuptials, which is just over a week away! Crazy! Jessica + Jeff have chosen to say 'I do' in a casual ceremony, surrounded by their closest friends, family members.... and all the animals of the Woodland Park Zoo! Have i ever mentioned how much i love penguins?? Well...

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

McKinley + James' Downtown Tacoma Anniversary Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Such a fun engagement shoot with McKinley + James!

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

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