Family

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

Pt. Defiance Family and Maternity Portraits | Tacoma Portrait Photographer

These sweet folks came to me for some family and maternity portraits. Such a beautiful family and big sister undeniably won over my heart, and camera, with her curly locks and precious smile.

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
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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

Craddock Family Pt. Defiance Portraits | Tacoma Portrait Photographer

It's July and I love July for many reasons...one of them being the rose gardens at Pt. Defiance Park! The floral arch is more spectacular this year than past years because the roses have really filled in and the center divider is complete and fully planted. Just look at those dark greens and brilliant pinks, they make an excellent background for families, seniors, maternities or nearly any type of portrait session. It even gives off a dreamy, romantic feel which is perfect for engagement or bridal photos. If I could pick one place to bloom all year, this surely would be it.

With their daughter's recent first birthday and the full bloom of this arch, The Craddock's family portrait session couldn't have been more perfectly planned. This adorable little family was so fun to work with and I am super happy that they booked me. Not only were they great to work with but their little girl is just a month younger than mine and it was sweet to see the similarities in their development. Final note on the arch picture.....isn't that little pink floral dress PERFECT!!! 

Well, believe it or not the stunning floral arch was NOT the highlight of the session! There are two things about this session that will always stand out in my mind, the first being the interactions between these three. They are so affectionate, kind and caring towards each other and there is definitely no shortage of love. When families are relaxed and happy is when I am able to capture the most candid, beautiful moments but it may take some people awhile to warm up in front of the camera (which is OK!) The Craddock's were such a sweet and fun little family unit that not much warm up time was needed before they were laughing and playing with their daughter. I seriously LOVE to capture those interactions and the raw, genuine emotion that happens during them.

Ok, now for my favorite highlight of the session (and no it's no the blizzard I had after)! Like my daughter this little one hadn't yet taken her first steps nor stood unassisted - yet with the magic of the park and our cheers to guide her she stood for the fist time on her own. I'm pretty sure I teared up several times watching this milestone through my lens. Not only did she stand but she then squatted, maintained her balance and then stood again...several times!! It's moments like this that make me realize how important family and milestone portraits are. After time memories will fade but a photo capturing a moment like that will live forever.

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

10 Great Portrait Locations Near Olympia

  • Percival Landing, Olympia - If you like Urban Portraits then downtown Olympia is a great option for you. We can walk along the water at Percival Landing and capture images with the soft neutrals of the Sound. On the way back we can cut through downtown Olympia to catch some funky, colorful and fun portraits. From brightly colored doors, cool architecture, beautiful murals and the boardwalk with the Sound behind it, Olympia is a very nice location to have your portraits taken! There is even a fun farmers market to shoot, a tower, docks, a playground, a neat bridge and so much more! I also love downtown Olympia for all it's little coffee shops and restaurants! A couples session in a coffee shop is just plain adorable and fun! Some free parking near the Olympia Farmers Market, street parking and most lots are paid.
  • The Capitol Building, Olympia - Not far from Percival landing is the regal and structurally impressive Capitol building. From elegant stairs, giant pillar, beautiful fences, massive intricate doors and a rose garden there is lots of great variety at the Capitol Building. Can you guess the best perk about the Capitol building? If you were going to say easy parking (in the evenings) or the great view of the lake you were close but those aren't the best! The best perk of shooting your portraits at the Capitol building is it's located within walking distance of one of my favorite bakeries! Wagner's European Bakery & Cafe has an excellent selection of baked good and they make stunning wedding cakes (they made mine!) Parking is fairly easy to find and is only free during the evening and weekends.
  • Pioneer Park, Tumwater - Pioneer Park is beautiful and big enough so you don't have to wait for other people to clear the area for your shots! As a Pacific Northwest Portrait Photographer a variety of rich green backgrounds, cool grey paths/ground, fields of tall flowers and quite a few interesting logs to sit on is the 'cat's meow' of variety for little local parks and Pioneer Park has it all. I also love this location because it has a little patch of foliage that provides coverage if it starts to sprinkle! We all know how important that is in Washington state! Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter - this location provides interesting backgrounds which makes it a great choice all year round. There is plenty of parking at this location, although during the summer when there are sports it can be pretty packed. No Parking Fees.
  • Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, Lacey - Nisqually Wildlife Refuge is a bit of a walk but worth it for some beautiful images! There are wooden walkways, two old white barns, fields of tall grass and a fun long pathway that creates beautiful leading lines for your images. As a bonus, you can't walk through without seeing wildlife. We frequently see frogs, deer and a variety of birds (depending on the season) during our sessions at NWR. Please note that there is a small entrance fee for this location, there is a drop box for payment at the main building and is done on the honor system.
  • Tolmie State Park, Lacey - Tolmie State Park is a fun little beachy location that can yield some stunning photos! It has an amazing bridge, lots of trails with rich green backgrounds and an amazing beach that works well for both posed and candid portraits. Please note that a Discover Pass is needed to park at this location. During limited summer hours you can purchase on site but to be safe I'd recommend purchasing one ahead of time.
  • Ft. Steilacoom, Lakewood - Ft Steilacoom Park may be my favorite local park to shoot in. Barns, dark green foliage, a lake, grassy fields, mossy woods, a long path, flowers in the spring, old ruins, an apple orchard.... Ft. Steilacoom has it ALL. On clear days there is even a view of Mt. Rainier! This location has plenty of parking and it's free! YAY!
  • Museum of Glass, Tacoma - Downtown Tacoma, near the Glass Museum is an urban portrait photographer's dream! It is possibly even my favorite location for urban portraits! The bridge to the  Museum of Glass has visually pleasing art and some beautiful clean and neutral buildings behind it. There is a great selection of art, including a fountain, that makes for some interesting and unique portraits. One of my favorite locations to shoot there is an old brick apartment building with metal stairs. It can be really fun and diversify your session. I also love shooting portraits in downtown Tacoma near the Museum of Glass because it is within walking distance of so many great locations. The Spanish Steps, Fireman's Park, Opera Alley and all the funky downtown businesses and garage doors are a few examples. It is also a two minute car ride from the 11th Street bridge which is an AMAZING location to make you stand out, yet still have an interesting background in your portraits (for safety reasons we will need a spotter for this location so please let me know ahead of time if you are interested in shooting at the 11th Street bridge). Parking is hit or miss...mostly paid parking.
  • Pt. Defiance Park + Rose Garden, Tacoma - Pt. Defiance Park is a top spot for summer portraits due to the colorful and fun rose garden. There is also a Japanese Garden area that is beautiful to take portraits in. PDP is also a wedding destination - and a stunning one at that! This location can be fairly busy though, so I'd recommend weeknights or mornings when it isn't as crowded. Parking is free but limited - on busy days, don't bother. Pt. Defiance Park is also a few minutes drive from Owen Beach - Ask about how you can include both for your portrait session.
  • Owen Beach, Tacoma - Right down the road from Pt. Defiance Park is this little, not so hidden gem. Owen Beach is simply beautiful and can include beach pictures, woodsy pictures OR BOTH! Owen Beach can be very crowded though so I'd recommend a sunrise session here. Parking is free and there are plenty of parking spots on site.

 

 

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

Fun Prop Ideas for Your Portrait Session

Most of the portraits that I shoot focus more on the connection between people rather than props but I do recommend bringing one or two personal items to make your session unique and fun. It doesn't have to be big and elaborate to make amazing photos (but if you have a beautiful armchair briiiing it!!)

Couples/Engagement Photography

  • Chalkboard
  • Save the Date
  • Rings
  • Pillows, blankets
  • Candles 
  • Flowers
  • Flower Crown
  • Beautiful Dress
  • Uniform
  • Antique or Victorian armchair, love seat or couch.
  • Matching item ex baseball caps or jerseys
  • Balloons
  • Hammock
  • A bicycle
  • Large balloon or half a dozen small ones (helium)
  • Umbrella
  • Signs
  • Old Pick-up truck or car
  • Row boat
  • Coffee
  • Hat

Maternity Photography

  • Book
  • Ultrasound Photo
  • Baby Shoes
  • Sign
  • Chalkboard
  • Letters Spelling Babies Name
  • Flowers
  • Floral Crown
  • Antique or Victorian armchair, love seat or couch.
  • Balloons
  • Pickles and Ice Cream!
  • Significant or cherished item
  • Chalk
  • Lace dress, a flowing dress
  • Fur baby and sign to announce pregnancy
  • Tiny crown
  • Baby Daddy!!  siblings.
  • Sun hat
  • Swing (Can be adorned with flowers)
  • Large piece of sheer fabric
  • Wedding Rings
  • Tulle Skirt and Bralette

Senior Photography

  • Letterman Jacket
  • Sports Paraphernalia 
  • Your best friend or close family member so you are more relaxed
  • Medals or Awards that you are proud of
  • Sports uniforms
  • Instruments
  • College Swag
  • Several Outfits
  • A fun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Swing (Can be adorned with flowers)
  • Flowers
  • Floral Crown
  • Antique or Victorian armchair, love seat or couch.
  • Balloons
  • Book
  • Sign
  • Graduation year numbers
  • Globe
  • Flag
  • Significant Necklace or Bracelent
  • Class Ring
  • Props that elude to your future career (stethoscope for doctor etc)
  • The best prop you can bring is confidence and a genuine smile!

Family Photography

  • Pillows and Blanket
  • Tent, Campfire, s'mores
  • Chalkboard
  • Family Pet
  • Bicycles
  • Kayaks
  • Hiking boots and a gorgeous view!
  • Signs
  • Bubbles
  • Antique or Victorian armchair, love seat or couch.
  • Old Pick-up truck or car
  • Tee-Pee

Children's Photography

  • Watermelon
  • Lemonade stand
  • Kissing booth
  • Old Pick-up truck or car
  • Signs
  • Bubbles
  • Antique or Victorian armchair, love seat or couch.
  • Tee-Pee
  • Bicycle or Tricycle
  • Umbrella
  • Balloons
  • Child-sized chairs
  • Headbands
  • Bow Ties
  • Cakes or cupcakes
  • Lollipop
  • Swing
  • Vintage Suitcases
  • Chalk

Lifestyle Photography

  • Game or activity
  • Books
  • Baking
  • Ice cream
  • Pillow Fight
  • Fort
  • Sprinkler
  • Water balloons
  • Tea/coffee
  • Couch
  • Bed
  • Wagon
  • Bicycle or Tricycle
  • Popsicles
  • Trampoline
  • Hike
  • Tent, campfire, s'mores

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