Before the sun even rose above the horizon line on September 17, 2022, I was meeting a fun-loving and sweet couple in the parking lot of Sand Key Park in Clearwater, Florida. I had been emailing back and forth with Viktoria in the days leading up to this moment—the moment that we captured some gorgeous engagement photos for her and her new fiancé, Zach. In preparation for all of my engagement sessions (well, all of my sessions actually!), I love to send out a little questionnaire to learn more about my couples to ensure that I understand them and can capture their stories in the most authentic way possible! Here are some answers that Viktoria gave me.

Tell me about yourselves!

Viktoria is originally from Sweden, however she has lived in the US since she was 19. She just recently moved to Germany for work, and Zach will be joining her as soon as he gets his visa! Zach loves anything to do with exercise and the outdoors but if it were up to Viktoria, “We’d be spending more time on the couch :)”

How, when, and where did you two meet?

Viktoria and Zach’s love story began when they started at a new company back in 2019. As they worked together, they became friends and would enjoy outings with other friends from work. Then, good ole COVID came around and kept them from seeing each other for months. It wasn’t until July of 2020 that Zach FINALLY asked Viktoria out for their first date! “He was taking me to see ‘magical’ sunflower fields, but it really turned out to be just 1 sunflower,” Viktoria recounted to me lightheartedly, but she was still so glad that it worked out! It’s the thought that counts, right?

Who said "I love you" first?

Viktoria did! “I had been gathering courage and I said it in bed one morning. [Zach] was silent for what felt like way too long, and then he said ‘I didn’t hear what you said. What did you say?’ I had to repeat myself, and luckily once he heard it, he said it back,” said Viktoria.

We've gotta know--tell us the proposal story!

“Who doesn't love proposal stories!! I was totally caught off guard and surprised which is an accomplishment in itself. Zach can't keep a secret and I can't keep myself from investigating haha. Anyways, Zach came to visit me and my family in Sweden (where I am originally from) after we hadn't seen each other for almost 2 months. I have a summer house there that I got to take over from my grandparents. I've spent almost every summer and Christmas there as a child and my grandparents also got engaged in that house. 

On the first morning we had together he left the bed at like 6:30 being jet-lagged and later on, he called me to get out of bed and come downstairs. I didn't listen and got annoyed that he didn't spend the morning with me... I stayed in bed for 45 minutes while he patiently waited. When I finally walked down the stairs, he had lit all the candles in the house and was on one knee in front of our fireplace. He asked me to marry him while I was in my plaid flannel robe with unbrushed teeth!”

Love is patient guys, and if this story doesn’t prove that, I don’t know what would!

The Engagement Session

It was 7:00 AM when our session began (and man, kudos to them for taking on an early morning session!). As we walked down the beautiful pathways of Sand Key to reach the beach itself, we encountered a large puddle and as we walked past it, I looked back and immediately thought, “Woah, the reflection in this puddle is AMAZING!” Though I didn’t intend to start taking photos right away (I usually try to walk and chat for a few minutes to ease any nerves and pressure), I asked if they’d be willing to walk through this puddle. I could tell Zach & Viktoria were giddy with both nervousness and excitement (who doesn’t get nervous in front of a camera?!), but they gladly embraced the idea! It was a great way to start easing their nerves :)

We continued down the beach and I had never seen so much seaweed piled up before! There was an actual WALL of seaweed at the water’s edge, but this didn’t stop them from getting into the water! We ran through some practice poses (which they NAILED by the way) and then we really dove into the fun of our session!

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it makes me when my couples are so adventurous and down to try anything. Before I knew it, we had climbed up the rocks and we were shooting away! It was as if the stars had aligned! Between this amazing couple with their giddy smiles, their adventurous spirits leading them to stand on these rocks, and the gorgeous colors of the sky behind them, I was blown away by what we captured!! To date, these are some of my favorite images taken!

After trying a few poses, we hopped down from the rocks and worked our way back up to the beautiful trails here at Sand Key Park. Zach even started throwing his own moves in during the session that made my heart (and probably Viktoria’s too!) scream!! He was dipping her left and right, giving me the most gorgeous candid smiles I could ever hope for!

I’m telling you—there is just something so magical about seeing each couple interact in their own unique way. It felt as though our session was filled with endless laughter, smiles, and giggles! Their love for each other just radiated in the morning light on Sand Key Beach, and I couldn’t help but think of how much of a perfect match they were for eachother <3 

As we wrapped up our session, we encountered the same puddle from the beginning (you remember, right?). With the light a little different this time now that the sun had risen, I had to ask, “Would you guys wanna do more shots in the puddle? I have an idea, but you might get a little wet.” Viktoria & Zach looked at eachother, smiled, and said to bring it on! The next few shots that came after this were filled with skipping, dipping, and a tad bit of twirling to create some gorgeous shots of these two interacting!

This session was filled with so much laughter and adventure! Between learning about such an amazing couple to capturing their even more amazing love for eachother, I couldn’t have asked for a better engagement session. I am wishing them a smooth wedding planning process and a lifetime filled with the love and happiness I witnessed at their engagement session with me at Sand Key Park in Clearwater, FL <3