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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

Rachel + Jason's Courthouse Wedding | Tacoma Wedding Photographer

When you want a low key wedding but you still want fun and creative wedding photos!

Rachel + Jason were a blast to work with and I loved their sense of humors. 

Congrats, lovebirds!

Venue: Tacoma Municipal Courthouse

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

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

Jade Bridal 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

Rachel + Eric's Newcastle Golf Club Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Rachel + Eric tied the knot on January 6th as our first wedding of 2018 and what a way to start the year off! This wedding was by far our favorite of the year (haha I made myself giggle, but seriously I think it's going to stay that way!) Rachel + Eric are such genuine, sweet and talented humans and they were such a pleasure to work with. Just by spending one day with their friends and family I can totally see how loved and supported these two are. I almost forgot I was working because they made me feel so welcome which is a wonderful feeling.

One very special element to their big day is the time and love that went into making their wedding so beautiful! Rachel and Eric's friends and family members came together to create all the stunning floral arrangements and reception decorations that were all absolutely gorgeous. How special to have such support and involvement from the ones you love. My wedding was similar and it is some of the best memories of the day.

One more EXCELLENT note about the day is it was foggy out! I know, most people think foggy is kind of gloomy but as a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer I was stoked! It makes for a clean, interesting and serene background! As Washington winter days go we ended up getting pretty lucky! The raid held off for the most part with just a few drizzly spells here and there. Thankfully it stayed dry during wedding party and bride and groom portraits so we could do them outside and capture some of the view of the golf course. Those bride and groom photos with the foggy background! #dreamy #ilovefog #yaaaaas #hairgoals

Desserts: Midori Bakery

Dress: Nicole Miller via Blue Sky Bridal

Venue: Golf Club at Newcastle

Florals: Friends + Family

Live Entertainment: The bride and groom!!!!

Thanks to my second shooter Malory Larson Photography

Brooke's Scenic Anchorage Bridal Session | Alaska + PNW Wedding Photographer

Last May I was able to spend a few weeks in the homeland, beautiful Alaska. It had been several years since I'd been home so it was long over due. My husband and three kids and I flew home to Fairbanks, Alaska for my best friend's daughter's graduation. After a few days in Fairbanks, visiting friends and family, we took the beautiful 6 hour drive to Anchorage (which seems a lot longer than 6 hours with two toddlers and a baby.) The majority of my family still resides in Anchorage so we were all excited to play with cousins and explore the glaciers and mountains. We had a busy schedule with play dates and visits but I just HAD to shoot while I was home.

Rachel of Capture Alaska Photography and I had been chatting for a few months about setting up an adventurous bridal shoot while I was home and these were the results!! Rachel is an amazingly talented photographer and she is perceptive, sweet and loads of fun. She had known Brooke for quite some time and picked her to model for us, it was the perfect choice because the three of us worked so well together and we had a blast during this shoot! 

Brooke is so natural and real, she was such a pleasure to work with. My favorite thing about Brooke, besides her FABULOUS hair, is that laugh of hers! When she laughs, she laughs with her whole being and it's contagious. Smart, ambitious, talented - I just can't say enough good things about Brooke. What an amazing woman you are, Brooke! Also, CONGRATS on being crowned Miss Alaska USA 2018! May this year bring you everything your heart desires and may you find some amazing and positive ways to impact this world.

Model: Brooke Johnson, Miss Alaska USA 2018

Floral Bouquet: Rachel of Capture Alaska Photography

Location: Right outside of good ole A-town

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

Danny + Marcos' Port Gamble Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Danny + Marcos got married in the quaint little town of Port Gamble. The getting ready houses, church, park for photos and reception area are all situated within a few minutes walk from each other which was so convenient! Right in the middle of all the venues is downtown Port Gamble. With a variety of coffee shops, restaurants and little gift stores it's the perfect place to explore in between wedding events. The best part is the scenery! The Pavilion, park and guest houses are all right on Gamble bay, near the entrance of the hood canal. Nothing is better than a view of the water and the smell of the ocean!

I photographed Danny + Marcos' engagement session in July and right away I could see how special of a couple they are. Smart, funny, kind and 120% committed to each other! My favorite part of spending time with Danny + Marcos was the big smiles that appeared on their faces when they looked at each other. You know that big grin that you can't hide when you find someone that causes butterflies in your stomach at the mere thought of them? That smile you get when someone turns your world upside down and sideways in the best way possible? Ya, that grin! These two share a pretty special connection!

There is nothing better than finding that one other soul that you can conquer anything with!

Congrats Mr. + Mr Cuellar! Here's to many years of happiness, love and endless smiles!

Church: St. Paul's Church (Port Gamble Weddings + Events)

Reception Venue: Hood Canal Vista Pavillion (Port Gamble Weddings + Events)

Flowers/Day of Coordinator: Flora Blume Design

Rings: Sholdt Design

Officiant: Ryan Meeks - Eastlake Community Church

Donuts: TopPot Doughnuts

Caterer: Lora's LeGarmache Catering

Tux's: The Black Tux

Groomsmaids Dresses: Nordstrom Wedding Boutique

DJ: Gordon Sound

Personalized Cutting Board: Lee Six Laser + Design

Second Shooter: Meghann Prouse // Photographer

See Danny + Marcos' Pioneer Square Engagement Session HERE.

Lizzie + Teron's Snowy Winter Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

First blog of 2018, friends! Here's to 2017, I hope it was a positive and memorable year!

When it comes to a December wedding or elopement, the combination of rich dark green trees and soft white snow infiltrates the dreams of every pacific northwest wedding photographer. Lizzie + Teron's big day was just that! A dream transformed into reality.

The weather was pretty standard for a Washington winter. Rain, fog and cold! But it made for some epic scenery. Even a 'little' rain didn't stop us from having a great time and capturing some amazing photos!

Lizzie + Teron, you both are so sweet and it was such a pleasure to work with you! I love how you both set aside the unpleasant elements (brrrrrrrr) in order to make some amazing and adventurous portraits.

A HUGE shout out to the amazing vendors that helped make this experience amazing. Your contributions were all flawless and it was so easy working with you all! High-five!

Brides, if you are still looking for vendors for your 2018/2019 wedding contact these ladies! They are all top notch and I highly recommend them for their quality of customer service and beautiful work!

Hair + Make-up: Bethany Yackel Beauty

Floral Bouquet and Crown: A Moment in Time Floral Design

Cake: Turquoise Pink Sweets

Dinnerware/decor: Balancing Balloons

There are many epic locations around the world (that some day I'd love to shoot weddings at) but it's sessions like this that makes me realize how lucky I am to be a wedding photographer in the pacific northwest. I love the raw beauty that the scenery provides us here in Washington. That raw beauty combined with a good love story to capture is definitely my jam! I'm looking forward to all the adventure that 2018 brings!!

If you've got a story to tell and a hunger for adventure, message me and let's make your dreams into reality.

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

Elicia's Discovery Park Maternity | Olympia Maternity Photographer

Maternities have steadily become one of my favorite sessions to photograph. There is something so wonderful and magical about creating and sustaining a life and it should be celebrated. We all have heard, and probably used, the term "pregnancy glow" in our lives and in the beginning months this can be very true. Yet as time passes the physical effects of pregnancy can leave women feeling a little less like a fairy goddess and more like a turtle stuck on it's shell. 

As a mother of three I personally know how women can struggle with self-confidence as their bodies change and grow. My favorite thing about photographing maternities is to help expecting mothers to feel beautiful in their skin and there is something about getting your hair and makeup done and putting on a gorgeous flowing dress to do just that!

My second favorite thing about shooting maternity sessions is documenting that amazing period in time! Some day these babies will grow up and look back at these images and see how beautiful and STRONG their mothers are. Daughters will compare their pregnant bellies to the shape of their mothers. You'll be able to look back at the images and have all those feelings you were experiencing come flooding back! 

Heck, if every woman got maternity photos maybe new developments would be made on the old wives tale about whether boys/girls sit high/low! HAHA Only kidding.

Before you know it these moments -the little kicks and the uncomfortable nights will be a fleeting memory and believe it or not you WILL miss it. So document these moments... capture the joy, the anticipation, the wonder, the questions of their future, the love between you and your spouse and the amazing process your body goes through in order for you to be able to snuggle your sweet babe. 

After all, life is precious and the most valuable gift we can have or give so why not document every moment of it?

The cherry on top is being a Pacific Northwest Maternity Photographer! Just look at those rich greens and the soft colors of the coast. The PNW is extremely diverse and offers some breathtaking backdrops!

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