American River Engagement Session

American River engagement photoshoot by Liz Koston.

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.

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Couple walks down a suspension bridge holding hands on their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Couple hugs on a suspension bridge during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Couple holding hands as they cross a suspension bridge over a river on their engagement photoshoot. Couple dances on a suspension bridge with green forest in the distance during their American River engagement photoshoot. Man hugs his fiance from behind on a suspension bridge during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot.

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!

Couple walks with their dog through the forest on their engagement photoshoot. Couple walks with their dog through the forest on their engagement photoshoot. Man brushes hair out of his fiance's face as she smiles at him alongside the river during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Man brushes hair out of his fiance's face as she smiles at him alongside the river during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Couple sits on a rocky cliff while petting their dog on their American River engagement photoshoot. Couple sits on a rocky cliff while kissing alongside the American River on their engagement photoshoot.

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.

Couple stands in an embrace above a waterfall with the woman in a large light blue tulle skirt during their American River engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses alongside a waterfall as the woman twirls her light blue tulle skirt. Dark green leaves and foliage. Man leads in to kiss his fiance amidst the greenery of the American River on their engagement photoshoot. Couple stands in an embrace against foliage during their forest engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses against rock wall with woman standing in light blue tulle skirt during their American River engagement photoshoot. Cute brown dog with a white chest sniffing the air on a hiking trail. Man in a suit jacket and jeans gets his cute brown dog to sit with a treat. Couple sits on hiking trail holding their cute brown dog during their American River engagement photoshoot. Couple walks holding hands with their dog along the rushing American River during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses alongside the American River during their outdoor engagement photoshoot. Woman holds her fiance's chin as they sit along side the American River on their engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses on a hiking trail during their American River engagement photos. Couple walks holding hands along the banks of the American River during their Sacramento engagement photos. Couple embraces as the man kisses his fiance's head alongside the American River for their engagement photos. Couple embraces on the banks of the American River during their Sacramento engagement photos. Woman has a big smile as her fiance picks her up during their Sacramento engagement photos. Man brushes hair out of his fiance's face along the American River during their engagement photos. Couple kisses on the rocky short of the American River during their engagement photoshoot. Couple stands in an embrace with the rushing American River in the background during their engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses while standing in the American River during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses and embraces in the American River. Couple kisses while sitting in the American River during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses while sitting in the American River during their Sacramento engagement photoshoot. Couple falls in the American River during their river engagement photoshoot in Sacramento. Couple falls in the American River during their river engagement photoshoot in Sacramento. Couple falls in the American River during their river engagement photoshoot in Sacramento. Couple has a water fight in the American River during their engagement photoshoot. Couple hugs after playing in the American River during their engagement photoshoot. Couple kisses on the sandy bank of the river during their engagement photos. Couple kisses passionately on the river bank during their engagement photos. Couple lays on the sand laughing during their American River engagement photos. Couple lays on the sand kissing passionately during their American River engagement photoshoot.

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 Yosemite 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.

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