Sarah Syhakhoun Photography » Blog

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  • Love and Marriage Photographer

    I'm Sarah and I am a Minnesotan love and marriage photographer located in the Twin Cities. Here you will find posts with recent photo sessions as well as information about me and my business. My mission is to not only make you look great in your photos, but to make you feel great as well. I am fully committed to making marriages strong and am devoted to showcasing your love and passion for years to come. I am here to strip away any insecurities you may have and ensure everyone has a great time! Getting rid of those jitters will allow me to capture you as you are when nobody is watching.

    Feel free to look around for more information. I hope to hear from you soon!

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Anna and Joey: Maternity – Roseville, MN Photography

What a cold winter it has been in Minnesota!  My dear friend and fellow photographer, Anna, is expecting her first child in early March!  She and I met two years ago when she responded to, you’ll never guess, a Craigslist ad I made looking for someone to let me second shoot wedding with them!  Anna was so gracious to let a complete stranger tag along, but we have been friends ever since!  We pretty much exclusively second shoot for each other as well when we don’t have weddings the same weekends, so we know each other’s photography really well!

I am so happy to be able capture this precious time in their marriage before this new chapter in their life together!  I know Anna had dreamed of a sun-filled summer session with a long maxi skirt, but with a March due date, that just wasn’t happening.  I’m glad we could go a different direction, but she still got to put her maxi skirt on and shoot some in the snow!

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What a beautiful little family!

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Ahhhh I love this one!

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Val - February 18, 2014 - 7:46 pm

Anna you look so beautiful!! Fantastic pics!! I love love love the dogs and the snow!!

Nicole - February 19, 2014 - 3:42 pm

I really like the “family” one with the dogs, the one you said you loved and the black and white of her leaning up against the pillar. So pretty.

Claire and Joe: Engaged – Eagan, MN Photography

When I met with Claire and Joe for the first time last fall, it just felt right.  We started chatting about rescue dogs (everyone knows my rescued Clementine Louise is practically my baby), and I knew we were going to click!  Then, they mentioned renovating their home (when we were in the middle of renovating ours), and I thought, this couple can’t seriously be trying to hire me!  It was too perfect!  But THEN, they mentioned that they were high school sweethearts, and I knew I hit the jackpot!  I just knew we were meant to work together!

This business is so special to me.  It’s definitely not about the income or popularity, or anything that might seem “glamorous” about being a photographer.  Trust me, falling in the snow, getting sun burnt when shooting weddings, trying to lay down with a dress on to get the perfect shot, and making a complete fool out of myself to make people laugh is not glamorous, but I’ll take it!  This business is all about relationships and supporting awesome couples on their journey to marriage (and amazing families on their journey through life).  Joe and Claire make up an amazing couple who are beautiful inside and out!  I’m so excited to share their engagement photos!  They are getting married this July, and I cannot wait! It’s going to be a beautiful, classic, family and relationship-focused wedding which is how I believe all weddings should be!

Claire and Joe braved it in 10 degree temperatures this past weekend, but I hope they agree with me that it was worth it!  Unlike my last winter session that had gorgeous (albeit extremely drenching), the skies were clear and the sun was casting a beautiful warm glow over us.  The dull, brown trees shone a beautiful orange which complimented their colors so well.  I was giddy when the sun was hitting the trees just perfectly to add some warmth to their photos.  I hope you enjoy them!

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Um…..are they real?  They are so adorable together!

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Seriously. . . words cannot describe how much I love this photo!  I may be ordering a canvas!

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Val - February 3, 2014 - 4:22 pm

Love them!! Really wonderful, beautiful pics!! They look very natural and definitely show they love each other!! Beautiful light!

Megan and David: Engaged – Apple Valley, MN Photography

I’m getting all teary-eyed thinking about how to open this post!  Let’s start at the beginning.  I met Megan I believe my first day of college, if not a few days into it.  She was friends with my roommate freshman year.  I saw a lot of her over that year and we became friends.  We hung out hear and there the next year, but it wasn’t until we lived together our junior year that we became best friends.  I don’t know if it was sharing the same bathroom, or sleeping with only a wall separating us, but we were inseperable!  I fell in love with both Gone with the Wind and Funny Girl after watching them with Megan.  I learned how to have more fun and let loose once in a while!  I also learned that best friends stick together through anything.  Megan was the maid of honor in my wedding, and I treasure the memory of her there with me so much!

She met David our senior year of college.  I remember going to the much-hyped football game with our rival school and meeting David for the first time.  He was definitely a gentleman and even paid for food and tickets for me!  They had asked me to take some photos of them and I remember thinking (and David remember me saying) that they looked so good together and would look awesome in wedding photos!  Their relationship formed pretty quickly and I was pretty certain right away that they would be together forever.  They are so cute together and awesome double date partners!   Just a few months ago, Megan called me with the news that they were engaged and I couldn’t help but cry because I am so happy for them!

I am the matron of honor in their wedding, so I won’t be taking their wedding photos, but it has been a dream for both Megan and me to take some lovey-dovey photos of them.  I offered to take their engagement photos if they promised to still take some with their wedding photographer (since I think it’s a great way to prepare for the wedding and get to know your photographer when they are in working mode).  They decided to have a more creative and sentimental session, seeing as they will still be taking more engagement photos later.  Their wedding will be next January, so I think it is really awesome to have some engagement photos in the same season.  We started the session at the Minnesota Zoo because they were on a date there a couple months into dating when David realized he loved Megan and she was the one.  How cute is that?!?  We then drove to a nearby park for some snowy, cuddly pictures.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect day!  I love you both and cannot wait for your wedding!

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Seriously, how is it even possible to be this cute?

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I loved the variety of the zoo!  So many different backgrounds.  We had to get some photos in front of the pretty blue water!  One thing winter weather does not usually give us are pretty backgrounds, so it was fun to add some color in at the zoo!

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I just love this one – I might need a canvas of it!

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When I saw this plant, I knew we needed a ring shot on it!  I’m a sucker for pops of color!

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I’m not usually one to do a silhouette shot, but I just had to when we got to the aquarium!

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The zoo even had two fireplaces!  They lent themselves really well to the cozy shots we wanted for the snowy outdoor photos.

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I loved the zoo shots, but I am insanely in love with these shots at the park!  We were hoping for snow, so we were bummed as we were heading to the park and it did not seem promising that the forecasted snow would fall at the right time for the photos.  However, the second we hopped out to scope out the park, it started snowing!

My husband San gets credit for this chalkboard.  He is great at lettering and art!  I wish I had that gene, but it is just not in me!

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Ahhhh!  I love this one!

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These two are rarely serious, so it was not easy to get them to be serious for one shot (notice the laughing shots up above when we tried?), but I managed to capture this split second and I love it!  I hope they do too!

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What is a snowy day without hot chocolate?

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So cute!

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I’ve always been an admirer of Megan’s gorgeous lashes, so I couldn’t help myself from a pretty snow-covered eyelash shot!

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I had an amazing time at this session!  I may have fallen in the snow a few times and even gotten some in my pants, but to say I laughed so hard I cried would be an understatement.  I wish you two the best and cannot wait for your big day next January!  It’s going to be amazing!

Val - January 27, 2014 - 7:49 pm

Sarah, these are so beautiful and sweet, they just leave me with a very warm feeling in my heart!

Nicole - January 29, 2014 - 2:14 pm

I never thought of doing a shoot at the MN Zoo. So pretty. I really love the park pictures too. She will love having these pictures during the same season as her wedding – so fun!

2013 Goal Review: What Worked and What Didn’t

Where in the world did December and the first week of January go?  I just cannot believe how fast time seems to move as an adult and I hear it just goes faster as we age.  I’m back to check-in on the goals I posted on January 1st of 2013.  Overall, this year was quite a journey in terms of all the major life changes that happened.  We bought our first house, adopted a dog a week later, and started renovating our house the same day we adopted our dog!  Seven months later, the renovation was finished and we could start to decorate, organize, and create some systems that we went without for over half a year.  To say I didn’t spend as much time on my business as I wanted to would be putting it modestly.  I had some big dreams for this year, and while not all of those dreams came true, many other dreams did.

2013 Goal Review

Let’s look back on the goals I had for my business last year.

Goal #1: Streamline my post-wedding and post-session workflow (so this part of my business that is far from my favorite takes even less time) .

I definitely moved forward in this area.  Culling, editing, and the other workflow items now happen very quickly and efficiently.  However, there are some things I would like to add to my workflow such as sending vendors photos, perhaps introducing a same-day slideshow, and integrating new client gifts.

Goal #2: Get the branding ball rolling (I may not have enough money to fully have branding implemented by the end of the year, but I definitely want to get the ball rolling because it’s something I believe will be instrumental to my success).

This is something I worked on.  I don’t have it all figured it out yet, but the ball is definitely rolling!  I have contacted some branding experts and artists I am interested in working with.  I’m not sure exactly about the timing, but it is something I want to work on this year.

Goal #3: Meet and work with even more lovely people.

I definitely checked this one off!  I feel so incredibly blessed to work with all the people I do.  Every single session, wedding, and consultation from 2013 was a dream come true.  That might seem like an exaggeration, but it’s not.  I was holding back tears at every wedding because I was just so overjoyed for each couple.  They left me grinning for days!  I fell in love with the families I photographed.  How did I become so lucky?  I love this part even more than the photography part of my business.

Goal #4: Become more positive.

I will say that like life does, last year had its ups and downs.  I was not perfect about staying positive the whole year, but overall, I feel that I started the year in a much different place than I ended it in.  I became more reflective, I analyzed my thoughts, and I worked at being happier much more toward the end of the year.  It’s a daily task, but overall, I feel very optimistic!

Goal #5: Blog three times per week (I would like to be more consistent in my blogging in order to connect with my followers, friends, and clients).

I started the year off strong with this but fell flat when weddings, sessions, and our renovation took over my life.  I’m reevaluating what will be best for me this year.  Now that we have a separate personal blog, House Made of Marital Glue, I don’t think three times a week is realistic for this blog.  I want to stay consistent, but I also want to have quality content.  I’m still not sure where that happy medium lies.  I hope to figure it out as I try some new things at the start of this year.

Goal #6: Marital Gluesday (I have deemed that Tuesdays starting next week will be Martial Gluesdays where I continue to share my perspective on marriage and little glimpses into my marriage) – This is what the “glue” stands for in the title.

 I definitely worked on keeping this series running, but I think once a week (which is what I aimed for) was difficult.  As much as I love talking about marriage, I had a hard time coming up with ideas that I could actually write about and take photos for.  I don’t want to force myself to write about things when I’m not feeling inspired.  I don’t think that will help anyeone.  I think this will be more of a “when I’m feeling inspired” type of series that won’t be something I post on a regular basis.  Also, our new blog is basically all about this topic with may different categories involved.

Goal #7: Read one business book a month (I learned from Zach and Jody that the average millionaire reads one business book per month, so I will do the same!) .

I read a few business books as well as some spiritual and some literature that’s been on my bucket list.  I didn’t perfectly fulfill this goal, but I feel like a stronger, more educated person which was the thought behind this goal.  I want to continue reading business books, but I also want to analyze what other books are teaching me that I can apply to my business (whether they are personal, spiritual, or even just fiction).

Goal #8: Take time off (When I set aside time to do nothing, I tend to do something business-related which defeats the purpose.  This year, I would like to actually take time completely off to recuperate).

 Hmmm…my husband would say that this is nearly impossible for me.  Renovating our house during my busy season was not in my plans at the beginning of the year, so resting hasn’t been something I’ve been able to do much of.  Taking time off this blog did help me get extra time, but I tend to fill extra time with other things.  This is something I definitely want to work on more this year.

 

Overall, considering all the changes this year brought, I am proud of how this year went for my business.  I don’t feel I need to grow my business at a certain speed because I want to cherish every client that comes into my life.  I don’t want to feel pressured to match anyone else’s expectations.

I also set a bunch of goals for my personal life, but I reflected and set new goals in that area on our Marital Glue blog here.  I also set some business-related goals there as well, so head over there if you are interested.

What goals do you have for the new year?

Val - January 7, 2014 - 8:10 pm

Sounds like you had a pretty good year! I did not meet all of my goals for the year but I know God will always guide me on my dreams. I just finished the book “The art of being unmistakeable” and I think you have it down! I am going to practice that this year and see where it leads me.

2013: A Year Review in Photos

Wow!  This year has flown by!  Now that the snow has returned, it is hard to remember that nice weather that only began in mid-May this year!  I feel like I’m back in January.  This year has brought so many changes in my life: a new house, renovating our house, a dog, quitting my teaching job, taking on more weddings and sessions, and all kinds of others!  I’m pretty sure the definition of business should be “busy-ness” because that’s how I’ve felt most of the year!  I must say, that I’m excited for a couple months of relatively quiet activity when it comes to my business.  I have a lot to catch up on (all that back-end business stuff is no fun but must be done)!

Before I close out the year, I want to look back on 2013.  What I love about my business is that it is such a celebration of momentous occasions in people’s lives!  Almost every session is celebrating something, if even just a particular phase in a family’s life, and weddings of course are always full of joy and celebration!  Who wouldn’t love having a job full of lots of little parties?!  That’s what it feels like!  I’m so blessed and excited to look back on this amazing year!

The year started off with Holly and Diego’s beautiful wedding, complete with Diego serenading Holly during the ceremony.  Swoon-worthy!

Then I got to celebrate Teddy’s one year birthday!  I loved watching him grow over that year and think he is seriously the cutest and sweetest little boy!

June brought Laura and Kyle’s tear-filled wedding.  I still haven’t recovered!  It isn’t easy looking through the viewfinder when you are tearing up the whole time!

Later in the summer, I got to spend some time with one of my best friends, Courtney, right before they welcomed little Jaxson to their family.

I got to spend extra time with the Maxwell family before Mirella’s wedding to Justin a couple weeks later.  Permanent smiles all around!

I was overjoyed helping the Schinke family celebrate a sixty year anniversary!  What a reason to celebrate!

My wedding season ended with Mirella and Justin’s August wedding.  It’s hard to pick just a couple favorites!

 

I adored my time with my cousin Melissa and her little girls.  The location and light couldn’t have been more perfect!

Then, little Jaxson arrived and it was time to photograph the newly expanded Hovda family.  I love these boys so much!

Fall brought about the perfect time for Jared and Beth’s engagement session.

The Rice family had me laughing as we stayed warm on a cool fall morning.  What a beautiful family!

My world collided when I photographed the Gardner family, who I nanny for.  I treasure these photos of Ella and Henry almost as much as their parents do!

And my year ended with my cousin, John’s, family.  These little boys kept me on my toys but were a ton of fun!

Whew!  What a year!  I’m very excited to move into 2014 which will bring me more engagement sessions (all but one of my 2014 brides will be doing engagement sessions next year), more weddings, and hopefully lots more family sessions!  I just love looking at all the joy in these photos.  That’s what I feel every time I pick up my camera: joy.  Here’s to another year of happiness, gratitude, and fun!

Val - December 18, 2013 - 7:41 pm

Truly beautiful pictures! I can see the joy in every single one of them!! What a great year!

Laura Triggs - December 20, 2013 - 8:40 am

Life is beautiful; God is good! Cheers to a year full of love!