Olympia Portrait Photographer

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

Brock's Studio Head shots | Olympia Portrait Photographer

‘Cause sometimes you need photos to document your badassness.

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

Amy + Jimmy's Hall at Fauntleroy Wedding | Seattle Wedding Photographer

Amy + Jimmy picked the perfect day to marry! March in the Pacific Northwest is usually pretty soggy and drab but with a strike of luck the day was not only full of laughter, love, friends and family but it was also full of sunshine and warmth. The perfect start to a lifetime together!

One thing I liked about Amy + Jimmy's wedding is that they kept it simple and made it about what was most important to them.... people. It was fun to follow them throughout the day as they interacted with their friends and family. They weighed out tradition and people on a scale and were able to put together an amazing balance, and experience for their friends and loved ones. Many times I see brides indifferent about traditions or doing them because ... well, because it's tradition. I am definitely a fan of the new wedding trend of setting tradition aside and doing what works best for the bride, groom and their guests. Hooray!

There is a new twist on an old tradition that I do really like though.... first look with the bride and her dad! I love when my brides and grooms do a first look, or even get ready together as it adds an emotional/unique aspect to the wedding (and makes family photos before the ceremony possible!) There is just something so special about the bond between a father and daughter, I always get teary eyed during these first looks! Of course I was raised by a (simply amazing) single dad and we are still very close, so that could be why I love first looks with brides and their dads SO much! Scroll down to see the first look between Amy and her dad, it's pretty darn cute!! Side Note: .... John Goodman?!?!

Overall, Amy + Jimmy's wedding at, The Hall at Fauntleroy in Seattle was pretty darn amazing! Congrats to Amy + Jimmy on their nuptials, may you always be surrounded by as much love and support as I witnessed on your wedding day!

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

Ian's Studio Head shots | Olympia Portrait Photographer

Check out Ian's fun and stylish head shots! Ian is so handsome, fun and easy to work with. I look forward to the next time!

Can't get enough Ian?? Follow him for more awesomeness.

AMPLE BLACK - Branding

Ian Vogue - Stylist/Model

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

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

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

Leia's Bridal Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

What is better than one wedding dress? THREE! 

Can't decide on which dress you want to wear on your wedding day? Why not rent a few and do a bridal portrait session! You'll know which dress is right by comfort and how the dress looks in your portraits.

Plus it's so much fun to explore and get some amazing pictures!

Gorgeous Bouquets by Heidi at A Moment in Time Floral Design <---Hit her up for your DREAM bouquet!

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

Winnifred + Michael's Vintage Cherry Blossom Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

One of my favorite times of the year is spring. Why do you ask?? Well, there are quite a few reasons... the birds start singing, flowers and plants start to bloom, the sun starts to make a presence..... blah blah blah. Really it just comes down to the Cherry Blossoms blooming! No joke. I love all the happy spring vibes but I'm totally and utterly obsessed with the gorgeous pink blossoms that pop up everywhere around Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and the majority of the PNW. There are some places, like the University of Washington, that are especially gorgeous and thus very popular for photo shoots while the trees are blooming. There are also some hidden little gems like this lovely driveway lined with trees!!

A perfect way to celebrate the beauty that nature so graciously grants us, like these phenomenal blooms (or the breathtaking mountains of the PNW etc) is to document your love in that absolutely pristine scenery.  Not only do you get some unique and gorgeous portraits of you and your love, but every time you see the blossoms you'll think back to those sweet little moments and be vividly reminded of how strong and perfect your love was at that moment. 

There are not many things that rival the beauty and perfection of nature, but unconditional love, and the raw connection shared between lovers is on that list. Winnifred (Winni) + Michael definitely share that connection, it was really fun to watch them laugh, cuddle and share secret smiles throughout their day. Also, Winni's wedding dress is vintage and was originally worn by a close friend's grandma on her wedding day. How cool is that to see it make a comeback and in such a special way! It's was a perfect addition for the vintage look that Winni envisioned!

Also, these beautiful trees are quite the nice reminder that the rain will soon slow and the summer sun will dry up the Pacific Northwest and give us a much needed break from the soggy Washington winter. So that's amazing!! If you are as in love with these beautiful trees as I am, keep your eyes peeled in early spring and you're sure to find a sweet little spot for some amazing photos! Message me and let's start planning out your vision!

Flowers 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

Samantha + Nate's Couples Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Such a fun and sweet couple! These two are some of the nicest people I've met and they have a passion for life, their family, helping others.... and each other of course!

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

Rhiya's Bridal Portrait Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Dress and Veil: Bellevue Bridal

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

Laredo Family Session | Olympia Portrait 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

Morgan Family Capitol Building Session | Olympia Portrait Photographer

As a wedding photographer I don't photograph as many family as I used too since my summer and fall are busy catching "I do's." BUT when I do get to squeeze one in I remember how fun they can be.

This is the Morgan Family's second time having their family portrait's taken with me and it was really fun to see how much the girls had grown up. Not to mention the addition of a little, chubby-cheeked and smiley brother! So much can change in two years!! We hammed it up, danced and played and had a blast exploring the Capitol Building! What a great setting and an amazing family.

OF COURSE now I'm going to sneak my favorite quote about families in here... not that it pertains to this family cause I don't think I've met their 'nut' yet but when I think of it relative to my family it makes me giggle!

“Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.” - Unknown

...... side note...... if you are the 'nut' do you know it?? If you read this and think "no, not my family - we are 'nut' free" could that mean that YOU are the 'nut'? Anyway, I find it pretty humorous and it also reminds me how much I love my family, 'nuts' and all.


THROWBACK!

People, and family, change over time and it's great to have images to hold side my side to not only remember fond moments that have passed but also to see all the changes that may not be as obvious because you see people every day. A solid reminder not to take any moment, phase - good or bad- or person for granite.

Second side not of today's blog, I'm happy to see how much growth there is in my photography skills too .... so SO much can change in two years!

Thank you Morgan family for trusting me to capture your family portraits not once but twice! I hope we can enjoy each other's growth again!

Olympia Portrait Photographer
Fox-Morgan Family (24).JPG

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