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


See more of Vantage, WA

Group Senior Shoot

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



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

Kenzi + Daniel's Lake St. Clair Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Little elopements in unique venues, houses or Airbnb’s are TOTALLY a thing, and an amazing thing at that, #givemealltheelopements! Intimate, private and sweet, elopements take the pressure away from the planning, coordinating and money that goes into a big wedding. Brides and grooms can focus on each other and the people and things that are most important to them rather than trying to focus on all the events that happen on a big wedding day. Elopements are perfect for the sweet, adventurous couples that aren’t tied to tradition and pleasing others.

Planning and elopement is much easier than a big wedding as well…. venue, photographer, officiant, dress, suit, flowers and snacks! The only thing to do after that is sit back, get married and have a blast. Oh and of course print a few cards to send off to loved ones to announce your elopement!

Elopements can also be done in adventurous locations, so if there is a location that is sentimental to you and your boo then that could be a good option! See more adventurous elopement ideas HERE.

Kenzi + Daniel eloped at a private residence at Lake Saint Clair in Olympia, Washington. This custom built house added such personality to their day. I loved that they skipped tradition once more and got ready together rather than separate. The photos of Daniel zipping up Kenzi’s dress and Kenzi tying Daniel’s tie are priceless! Sweet moments, unconditional love and yummy treats, my kind of day!

See Kenzi + Daniel's PNWesty (I totally need to patent that word!) engagement session HERE.

Florist: The Amazing Heidi from A Moment in Time Floral Design

Make-up: Sable of Hello There, Lovely

Venue: Private Residence/ Lake St. Clair

Macrons: Macarons by Mel

Announcement: Sandpaper

Dress: Lulus

Vendors, you did amazing putting together all the little details that made this day so memorable!



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



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

Astelle + Allan's Mt. Rainier Elopement | A Little on Love | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Being in love is like existing in another universe.

Being in love is like flying without a parachute nor a single though of falling.

Being in love is letting your heart lead and your body and mind following blissfully.

There are many depictions of love all around us. Songs, poems, books, plays, pieces of art.... love is one constant that has run parallel with us throughout our existence. In many ways it IS our existence. We live for it, fight for it, spend our life searching for it. It makes us strong yet also weak. We are willing to die for it, we sometimes die without it. Love is a basic need; along with food, shelter and air it keeps our hearts beating and blood flowing. Love fills our souls and egos with every breath we take and washes away hate and despair with every breath we exhale. Love is powerful and for all these reasons and more I LOVE love.

My most favorite thing to capture is the connection between lovers. Composition, lighting and all other elements of a good photograph can all be present but without that connection the photograph is flat and unfeeling. Love gives each photos depth and soul. Astelle and Alan demonstrate this love and connection so classically. I must say, these are some of the all time favorite moments I've captured. 

A little shout out to the people behind the scenes. If you are in need of vendors for your wedding or elopement check them out!

Hair and Makeup by the lovely Bethany Yackel Beauty

STUNNING bouquet by A Moment in Time Floral Design

Videographer: Brooke Griffin of Griffin Studios LLC

Love, along with religion and war have historically governed humanity. A challenge that has no parallel is to let love outshine the hate and violence that exists all around us. Meet that challenge head on and let love guide your decisions and your existence. Love yourself, love life and when the time is right let yourself fall madly in love.

"Yours is the light by which my spirit's born; you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars." — E.E. Cummings



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



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.



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

Kelly + Robert Historic Bigelow House Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer

This day was so amazing, I don't even know where to start!

Kelly and Robert eloped at Robert's family's homestead in downtown Olympia, The Bigelow House. The Bigelow House, also known as Daniel R. Bigelow House or The Bigelow House Museum is run by a non-profit focused on preserving history and they have done JUST THAT with all the renovations they have completed. The Bigelow House is the oldest residence in Olympia and even neater yet, one of the oldest structures in the PNW. The amount of history that has been preserved in this house absolutely took my breathe away. Even Robert, the great Grandson of Daniel and Ann Elizabeth Bigelow, was speechless as he moved throughout the house. Most of the rooms looked just like he remembered as a child and as we toured the house he told story after story of his families legacy and his childhood memories. By the end of the day I felt as I was a part of the history of this great house as well.

The beautiful bride, Kelly, selected a champagne dress that had a vintage feel and seemed to fit the venue, and the day, SO perfectly. Kelly topped off her look with a gorgeous Victorian necklace and earrings, a delicate and simple bouquet of dried wildflowers and her heart on her sleeve. I could feel how important this day, the history of the house, and her groom were to her. Another detail that stands out in my mind is a tiny picture of Robert's Great-Grandfather fastened to the base of Kelly's wedding bouquet. His presence was important in so many ways and most importantly because Kelly + Robert chose the day of their union with purpose. June 18th, 1854 was Robert's great-grandfather and great-grandmother's wedding anniversary! What a great way to honor family with 163 years of history mixed in there!

Kelly + Robert, I am beyond honored to have been there to capture your big day. The history that surrounds you and your family is enchanting and the thought that went into the details of your elopement is heartfelt. This day will forever remain in my mind and in my heart. Congrats you two!

A bazillian thanks to my awesome second shooter, Samantha Ek of Picturesque Art Photography.

Kelly + Robert's pictures tell the story of their big day, and so much more, so I'll quit yammering and let them tell it....

Bigelow House Museum Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer
Bigelow House Museum Elopement | Olympia Wedding Photographer


Kelly + Robert's wedding is featured on the fabulous wedding site, Borrowed & Blue. Check it out!



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

Bri + Chris' Owen Beach Elopement | Tacoma Elopement Photographer

As a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer the months of January and February can be a bit slow because of the cold and rain.....so, I try to make the best of my down time and set up fun stylized shoots like this dreamy beach elopement!

When you meet Bri she is just a ray of sunshine - beautiful, friendly and positive. Chris is quiet, easy and caring.  They are this dynamic yin and yang couple that compliment each other perfectly. My favorite thing to capture when I'm photographing a couple is the connection that they share, the deep and fierce love that is only shared between two lovers. It is immediately undeniable how much these two love one another. Their sweet connection is inspirational!

The gorgeous flowers from this event are from Floral Noir. I've been talking a lot about Floral Noir lately, but how can I not?! This is the second event that I have worked on with this company and I am thoroughly impressed! The rich textures, the color combination that melds together perfectly and the minty green of the foliage makes this bouquet hard to ignore. They have a knack for using just the right combination of flowers and foliage to really get the perfect look. This bouquet was completely designed by Shannon at Floral Noir off of a simple Pinterest mood board that was made to inspire this session. Shannon is an expert at putting together breathtaking floral arrangements no matter the circumstances. Thank you for working with us to pull off this amazing beach elopement! My wedding photographer heart is soaring in the clouds after this memorable event!

We chose the location of Owen's beach for it's size and prominently to Point Defiance Park. This was my first opportunity to shoot at Owen's and the fact that it was a beautiful evening made the experience pleasant.  The earthy tones and grey rocks make a perfect background for any color wardrobe and the light pinks and white of this session popped especially well. Owen's Beach is defiantly been added to the return to shoot list!

Loved working with all those involved and and I am looking forward to the next fun stylized shoot!

Thanks to Samantha Ek of Picturesque Art Photography for helping plan this amazing shoot!




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