Adventure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing For Your Portrait Session

Hello friends! So you're getting your picture taken! Let's talk about a few things to get you ready for our session!

Although we can schedule your session any time during the day, we try to schedule to take advantage of the best natural light. The hours after sunrise and before sunset are 'golden' times and have ideal lighting. The golden light of these hours are soft, flattering and BEAUTIFUL! Please make sure you specify one of these time slots if you are interested.

ASK QUESTIONS! We strive to create a custom experience for each of our clients. Feel free to ask questions including location advice, wardrobe, style, props and more! Below are a few guidelines to get you started.

Clothing

  • Keep the attire simple, but coordinate colors for groups.
  • Solid colors are best... try to avoid large bold patterns and neon colors as they can take attention away from your face. If you do select an outfit with a pattern try to match that pattern to solid colors for the clothing of the other parties in the portrait. 
  • When selecting your wardrobe consider the location of your portrait session and match accordingly. For example, soft colors look great at the beach and avoid green in the forest so you don't blend in!
  • If you plan to hang a large print or canvas of your images consider the colors of your home when selecting your wardrobe.
  • Darker, solid colors appear more slimming than lighter colors.
  • Dress weather appropriate so you aren't too hot or cold.
  • Be sure to include the appropriate shoes, socks and stockings for your outfit. Plan your wardrobe from head to toe as full length poses are a part of your portrait session.
  • Bring an outfit change(s) to add variety to your sitting.
  • Wear clothing you are uncomfortable in. If you are uncomfortable it will show in your face and will be harder to relax and enjoy yourself. 
  • Avoid baggy clothing as it can make you look big/boxy.  
  • Eyeglasses can create glare that hides your eyes. We recommend wearing contacts if you have them or asking your optician if you can borrow a similar frame without lenses.
  • Remember to empty your pockets of cellphones, keys, chapstick etc so there aren't visible outlines.
  • Ladies!!! Take your hairbands off your wrists. 
  • Feel free to bring a few props with you to add a unique touch to your portraits.
  • Bring a portable speaker and your favorite tunes! Music can create some great vibes and help you relax.

Hair/Make-up

We highly recommend getting your hair and make-up done as professional stylists know how to apply makeup to best bring out your natural beauty! Besides, knowing you look fabulous and FEELING fabulous will help you be more relaxed and happy. Those natural smiles and real laughter are always my fave!

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There are many talented Hair and Makeup artists in the area, if you'd like suggestions please contact one of the artists on our Wedding Resource Guide.

Kids

  • Bring snacks to avoid hangry 'tudes. Also good for bribery.
  • Bring a comfort item - stuffed animal, pacifier, blankey etc. 
  • Make sure parents AND kids are both rested. You may be so focused on making sure your child is well rested that you forget about yourself. Children are very sensitive to their parents emotions and even the slightest bit of grump or frustration can affect their behavior. Bottom line, if you are happy and relaxed your kids will be too!
  • Allow for extra time to get to the location and prepare for your session. The events leading up to your session can set the tone of the day. Extra time = no stress about being late and time for your munchkins to look around and acclimate to the location. 
  • Don't force them to smile! That's my job! Kids are much more relaxed and natural when you aren't telling them what to do and what not to do. Relax and have fun with them,  your smiles and laughter will relax them and then their smiles will come naturally. I'll say it again - when you are stressed they are stressed,  when you are relaxed they are relaxed! 
  • Bring baby wipes! Cause boogers. 

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

 

Vantage Desert Stylized Senior Shoot | Olympia Senior Photographer

Right about now every year I REALLY start missing the sun! As a Pacific Northwest Senior Photographer I love the rich PNW mood of winter but I will forever miss that warm glow of the sun! Rain rain GO AWAY, so that sun can come make my day!

Here are some gorgeous sun drenched images I took back in September! This was such an amazing, adventure filled day - several other photographers and I piled into a car and road tripped over to Vantage, WA. Isn't the scenery amazing!!!!!  I cannot wait to go back come spring! Message me if you are interested in a portrait session in the gorgeous location.

***Desperately seeking an adventurous couple MADLY IN LOVE who wants their love documented with this gorgeous background!!!

How do YOU get through the dreariness of winter?

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 Rattlesnake Lake Couples Maternity | Olympia Maternity Photographer

One of my absolute favorite session to date - Kenzi and Daniel's Rattlesnake Lake maternity was a dream!!! As a Pacific Northwest Maternity Photographer I live for the dreamy, moody PNW sessions. The rich colors of Rattlesnake Lake along with Kenzi's red hair was a perfect combination! This sweet couple just had their baby boy, join me in welcoming baby Everett!

 

Congrats Kenzi, Daniel and new big sis Olivia!!! - Can't wait to get your amazing little family in front of my camera again!

 

To see more of this amazing session click HERE.

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

Heather + Curtis Rattlesnake Lake + Ft. Steilacoom Park Maternity Session | Tacoma Maternity Photographer

This sweet couple, Heather + Curtis, are getting ready to welcome a little boy! Can't wait to see his chubby cheeks and cute little toes! Congrats to you two!

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

Kerena + Jaren's Franklin Falls Couples Session | Seattle Engagement Photographer

#brownchickenbrowncow

....because boudoir at a waterfall is epic...

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