American River Engagement Session

Planning for American River Engagement Session in Colfax

About a week after the crazy fun time I had with Ariel and Brandon engagement photoshoot in downtown Davis, we did their second photoshoot at Mineral Bar in Colfax along the American River.  Ariel had a skirt in mind that she wanted to buy for the second session, but it was super expensive — it was around $1,000, just for a skirt! I told her to go to Mr. Pretty Skirt instead, and she ended up getting something from them. It was way more affordable, and it was perfect for the photos!  It was absolutely gorgeous and brought her vision to life!

We decided that they would meet me at Mineral Bar with their dog, Baron (who had played a role in their engagement with the special collar Ariel got for him) and we would all go together from there.  Mineral Bar is a hidden gem along the American River about an hour North East from Sacramento in Colfax.

Are you looking for a California wedding photographer to capture your unique love story? Please contact me here, I’d love to talk with you!

The Engagement Session

When we were planning the session, Ariel had said that it would be an easy, flat stroll; then we got there, and it was so not flat! Which was fine, it was a really nice hike, but we still teased her about that the whole way: “Oh, yeah, look how flat this is,” as we made our way up and down all the elevation changes. We had fun with it like we were all old friends, even though I had just met them a little while ago.  It has now become our running joke and I love them for that!



We took some really beautiful photos along the way, at a waterfall we passed, and at the beach, which was totally secluded when we got there. For a minute, it was almost like an average engagement session.

But then, in true Brandon and Ariel form, they got into a big water fight. It was so cute! And honestly, it was the perfect way to end the session. We were pretty much done for the day anyway, so Brandon thought it would be funny to push Ariel over in the water. (And you have to admit, he was right.) Next thing you know, they were both splashing water at each other, and they ended up pretty soaked.  

I joked with them that they always have to end the day with some sort of silly fight and I wondered what the next one would be, and they said, “Well, obviously we’re going to have a cake fight at the wedding.” I have a feeling that their wedding is going to be a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what other weird and awesome moments they have together.


A Surprise

I had a super sweet moment with Ariel and Brandon that I totally was not expecting. First, I gave Ariel a set of mugs I had for them, with Yosemite on them (because that’s where they’re getting married). She loved them so much that she brought them along for the hike, which was so not practical, but also very sweet.

But right after I gave them to her, she started giggling, and then Brandon came around the corner with a box, because they had brought a gift for me, too! It was cupcakes from Pushkin’s Bakery, which was perfect since the way to my heart is definitely through my stomach. They knew me really well after just the first session (or maybe my love for baked treats is more obvious than I thought)!

That little gesture was so meaningful to me. When I look back on this engagement session, the cupcakes are going to be one of the important things that I remember (along with the water fight and their adorable pup). It was just so sweet and thoughtful of them to do that, and now Pushkin’s will always make me think of them!

Our unexpected gift exchange was such a nice addition to the rest of the fun we had that day. The Colfax session had some of the components of a traditional engagement session, but it was also full of the uniquely carefree vibe that Ariel and Brandon bring to everything they do together! It was some of the most unusual fun I’ve ever had taking photos out in nature, and I know their wedding will be just as beautiful and colored by their individualism as a couple.


Can’t get enough of these two?

Get more of these two from their urban engagement session in downtown Davis.


More Fun in the Lake

If you are inspired by Ariel and Brandon’s water fight, you need to check out Julie and Will’s elopement by the lake.

Start planning your adventure today!

Let's Start your Journey!


[…] was at a coffee shop in downtown Davis, which ended with an epic ice cream fight. The second was a hike along the American River, and their sweet dog, Baron, was invited to come along for this […]