Cora Reuter Photography: Blog en-us (C) Cora Reuter Photography (Cora Reuter Photography) Fri, 23 Feb 2024 03:44:00 GMT Fri, 23 Feb 2024 03:44:00 GMT Cora Reuter Photography: Blog 86 120 Location Spotlight: Chambers Bay in University Place Location Spotlight: Chambers Bay in University Place 
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I have been coming here with my family for years. The area first found use as a rock quarry stemming as far back as the Steilacoom Indian Tribe and the first European settlers in 1832. It is now home to a beautiful park featuring and open lawn, cool bridge, and wide west-facing beach with driftwood. 

When a graduating senior recently chose it for her session (sight unseen because she "heard it was cool"), I was so excited! And then I got home to edit. It was even BETTER than I could ever have imagined.

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Pros: want a stunning variety of backgrounds? This is the place for you! It's got a grassy meadow, cool old quary-related structures, a fantastic architectural bridge, and a long beach with a wide variety of driftwood. 

Cons: Because it gets crowded on weekends, I will only shoot here on weekday evenings. 60 minute sessions only. Accessibility: it is mostly flat, except for the stairs to get to the beach from the bridge. It is quite a bit of walking for those less abled. 

Great for: senior portraits, families, engagement photos.

When it works: weekday late afternoons, 60 minute sessions only. The photos below were all taken at 3pm on a late April day. 

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits gig harbor graduation photography Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior photos gig harbor senior portraits tacoma family photos tacoma senior photos tacoma senior portraits Fri, 19 May 2023 04:59:38 GMT
For Your Photos: Bright and Light or Muted Modern? Every photographer has their own style when it comes to editing their final images, and I have developed two distinct looks I created using the tools in Adobe Lightroom: bright and light and muted modern. They are not filters. A lot of people use that vernacular shorthand mistake....I create each look by hand at each location on route we walked during your session, varying the contrast, shadows, whites, blacks, white balance, and color grading for each spot depending on the lighting conditions that day. Most photographers have one edited style that defines their brand. I have two, and you get to choose yours.

My light and bright style is colorful and happy, and true to what your eye sees, just a little more yummy. It is best used on bright and sunny days, as the muted modern style tends to look odd on bright days (depending on the surroundings):

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My muted modern style is darker, richer, has more contrast, and really brings out brown tones. Perfect for that out-of-a-glossy-magazine look or a fall vibe. It seems to be all the rage right now with photographers. I love using most of all it in a forested setting because the green melts away and make the subject (you!) the star. It seems to work best on cloudy days. It is harder to get just right so it takes a bit more time, there for it is not available for 20 minute minis, only for standard 30 and 60 minute sessions. 


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How does choosing work? Within 48 hours of your session, I send a preview album of a few photos edited both ways and have clients choose the look they love most for their final album. It is HARD to choose! Some look better one way, and some look better the other. I ask that they go with their gut and pick one or the other. 

Below are some images side by side in each style. It's hard to choose, right?! Which do you prefer? Comment below. I am always curious what people think.

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Fri, 30 Sep 2022 05:07:18 GMT
Location Spotlight: Donkey Creek Park Location Spotlight: Donkey Creek Park 

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Want to get up and close and personal with Gig Harbor? Then taking your family photos or senior portraits here is a great option! This location works best for 30 minute sessions, or as an add on to a 60 minute session at the Russell Foundation, Ancich Park, or Skansie Park.

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Pros: This small park has a variety of super cool backgrounds including lush green forest, a cool historical building, a small beach, and a rustic log for sitting. It is great in any season, but I love summer and fall because it has tall wildflowers called dara (Queen Anne's Lace), which look like something from a Dr Suess book, both when they are alive and dead. There is even fall color making it the perfect location for fall photos with an evergreen forest background, a Gig Harbor water background, a beach, tall grass and dying foliage AND an rea on the side with gorgeous fall color (see the end of this page for examples of that)

Cons: For those less abled, it's a bit of a walk from the parking spot (2-3 minutes), but not nearly as far as many other locations, and its easy and wheelchair accessible.  There is an option to park closer, right across the street from The Beach Basket, for an easier walk to the beach. When the tide is super low, the beach is mucky and yucky, but we can shoot at the top of the beach where it's "clean."


Family session above: late August

June maternity session (below):

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October (below):


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Late September (fall foliage and golden grass!):

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits gig harbor graduation photography Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits senior portraits Tue, 20 Sep 2022 07:45:00 GMT
Location Spotlight: The Tacoma Tideflats Location Spotlight: The Tacoma Tideflats

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Looking for an edgy funky location that will make all your friends jealous because it will look like you are straight out of a fashion magazine? Look no further. The Tacoma Tide flats have graffiti, an industrial bridge, old derelict train tracks, and funky alcoves. It even has a functional hidden skate park. I am not going to lie, this is probably my favorite location to shoot senior photos! It is a photographer's paradise! 

When does it work? Weeknights and weekends 90 minutes before sunset (1 hour earlier if it is cloudy)

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Pros: just beyond cool in every way. Plus, it's actually very easy to access all the shooting spots, with your car being right next to all almost all the sites (we would stop 3-4 places; the last stop at the bridge is the only spot we would have to walk 3 mins from your parked car) 

Cons: there is no place to change outfits, so you would need to do so in your car. In the last 6 months, a homeless population has sprung up in some spots, but none that we will use. As of Sept 5, 2022, there are a couple RVs at the bridge site, but they are (sadly) young families. Seniors, if you feel unsafe about this situation, bring both mom and dad. But I have never had a problem there

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How it works: This location works for 60 minute sessions only. It is also easy to add on the Tacoma waterfront afterwards (package 3 for seniors). We would meet at a a dropped pin location and we would follow each other in cars along a 1 mile radius. I have all the best spots pinned on my phone. 

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(Cora Reuter Photography) gig harbor senior portraits senior portraits tacoma senior portraits Tue, 13 Sep 2022 17:02:23 GMT
Location Spotlight: Narrows Park Location Spotlight: Narrows Park 

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Is there anything more iconic than the Tacoma Narrows Bridges? I don't think so. 

This location also has some cool driftwood and a swing on the right side of the beach (though I've never used it in a shoot, I have always wanted to!)

When does it work? I like shooting there in the early-ish morning (9-10am), when the sun is at your back. This is the only time to walk down to the bridges and get it in shots up close and personal (60 min shoots only). A lot of photographers like shooting there in the late afternoon, but I find the shadows too dark and the bridge too bright. I need to experiment there more for sure!  

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Pros: the bridges! 

Cons: Tides can be a factor, so if you want to book a date, I will need to look at those. It can also be breezy, which is bad for long hair. If it's too strong on our chosen day (I have wind prediction apps) we can reschedule or have a Plan B location. Another con: to get down to the bridges to close up shots, it's a trek, about 15 minutes, but we will shoot photos in cool spots as we walk. This location doesn't have much to offer besides the bridges, though it does have some lovely driftwood and shaded arching trees. This location technically CAN be used to 30 minute shoots, so we won't be able to walk down to get under the bridges, but we would be able to get the shots below:  

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Bridge Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits gig harbor graduation photography Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits Narrows senior portraits Wed, 07 Sep 2022 19:24:27 GMT
Location Spotlight: Pt Defiance Rose Garden Location Spotlight: Pt Defiance Rose Garden 

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Growing up in Tacoma, this was THE place to go for stunning family photos. My family often went there for picnics and we would have a contest to see who could find the best smelling rose, and now I do that same thing with my girls.

The reason I love it so much as a photographer is because of its versatility. Yes is has roses. But it also has fabulous foliage, ferns, hostas, a wishing well, and the best part: a scenic series of duck ponds and little bridges.) You could also extend your session and add on the nearby Japanese Garden and Owen beach. 

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When it works: Weekdays only, 2-3 hours before sunset, late May through mid September (sometimes to late Sept if we don't get as many rainy days). 

Pros: endless backgrounds. Easy to fill an hour session with lots of variety. An bathroom right in the middle, easy for changing outfits. 

Cons: it can get a little crowded on weekends, which is why I like to shoot there weekday evenings. This location is only good for 60 min sessions (no 30 minute sessions). 


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DSC_8527DSC_8527 DSC_8606DSC_8606 DSC_8542DSC_8542 The Rose Garden can also be used with my modern editing style for a different take! (Clients receive a preview album with side-by-sides to choose their edited style):

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Family Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits Photographer" Pt Defiance Park Pt Defiance Rose Garden senior portraits Tacoma Tacoma senior photographer Sun, 21 Aug 2022 03:56:35 GMT
Location Spotlight: Tacoma Bridge of Glass Location Spotlight: Tacoma Bridge of Glass 

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I'm a proud born-and-raised Tacoman. This is one of my very favorite spots to shoot! The light is fantastic almost any time of day and the city and it's looming structures are just epic. 

Pros: works almost any time of day, but I prefer morning light at 10am, and also 2-3 hours before sunset.

Cons: Good for 60 minute packages only. Lots of walking, but not difficult. Lack of natural elements, like trees. But we can get water and boats in the background. 

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(Cora Reuter Photography) gig harbor family portraits Gig harbor photographer Tacoma bridge of glass tacoma photographer tacoma senior portraits Sat, 13 Aug 2022 04:15:00 GMT
Location Spotlight: Wright Park in Tacoma Location Spotlight: Wright Park in Tacoma

I have traveled the world, and Wright Park in the fall is one of my favorite places on the planet!

What is has: more fall color in one place this side of the East Coast

Pros: stunning beauty, lots of different colors. It has a duck pond and a bridge. It even has am amazing playground if the kids get grumpy and we need some candid shots of them looking happy (bringing a rake and making a big leaf pile is great for the grumps, too!

Cons: it's a lot of walking and good for 60 minute photo sessions only.

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits senior portraits tacoma fall photographer Sat, 06 Aug 2022 03:46:46 GMT
Location Spotlight: Kopachuck State Park Location Spotlight: Kopachuck State Park 

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Oh Kopachuck. I could wax poetic about how I love it so. I grew up in Tacoma and only ever went there a handful of times as a kid. But when we moved here from Federal Way 6 years ago, it didn't take long to notice that you can walk there from my front door. 

I know every spot to take the best photos in this park, what the tide has to be doing and at what time of day, which tree has the best moss, which logs are best for sitting.

This location works best for 60 minute sessions, but it can work for 30 minute sessions if we do the forest only.  

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Highlights: as we walk down the trail, there are many spots to stop for idyllic NW forest photos. A mossy tree that looks like a giraffe, picnic tables to lay on with the forest behind, a split rail fence, a spot on a wide trail that looks like a cathedral behind the photo subjects, and a little wooden bridge. And it looks great at any season. 


The beach is equally enchanting. It's a rocky beach a mid to high tide (great for throwing pebbles) and a wide sandy beach at a negative tide. This is my favorite in the summer, since we can take of our shoes and wade along the shore line with the yummy sun behind (between 1-2pm). There are many driftwood logs to climb on at the top of the shoreline, and tree branches that hang low for cool artistic shots. 

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Best time for photos there: 10-2pm. 

Pros: hands down, the best spot for forest AND beach photos in Gig Harbor. This location works great for a 30 minute location if you just want forest shots

Cons: it's hard to get the time of day right with the tide. If it's too early, subjects can be looking right into the sun if they want the water behind them. Summer ideal is 1pm at a very low tide. This location is a lot of walking, so not ideal for those less abled. Starting in late October, it can be very cold at the beach if there is any wind.

Another con is that once small kids are at the beach, they get so into looking at the pebbles on the ground that they often don't look at the camera any more. Kids between 2-4 go more wild here than any other location I shoot at. This is fine as long as you don't mind more candids. As a photographer, it helps if you take charge and tell the kids that after their photos, they can stay awhile and play to their heart's content. 

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Different looks: this is a location that is fun to play with different edited looks. In the fall, I can edit photos to be natural and bright (every photo above) or dark and moody. Examples below:

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits senior portraits Tue, 19 Jul 2022 04:18:16 GMT
Location Spotlight: Sehmel Park in Gig Harbor Location Spotlight: Sehmel Park in Gig Harbor 
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Sehmel Park in Gig Harbor is one of my favorite location as a photographer. It just doesn't have a bad angle! It works well at any season and when I edit the photos, I can highlight the season by going light/bright or dark/moody. It's soooo versatile. 

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What it has: tall rolling golden or green grass (color depends on the season), a cool split rail fence, a tiny little pond, a sitting log, some yellow fall color, and a boardwalk in the woods (60 minute shoot only) 


When it works best: in the Spring: mornings at 11am. In the Summer and fall: 2 hours before sunset. 


Pros: Sehmel Park is just stunning. Works for both 30 (weekend mornings and weekday evenings only) and 60 minute sessions. With 60 minute sessions, there is time for both the field and boardwalk in the woods. There are so many options for capturing natural beauty. 


Cons: it's a 5 minute walk down a gentle hill to my favorite spot. Not the best for those less abled, but not the worst. There is no beach and nothing that screams "this is the Pacific Northwest"


Late August:

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Photo editing: at Sehmel, I can edit your photos with either a light and bright look, or dark and moody. Just let me know at your session which you prefer. Here are some examples: 


All the above are bright and light. Here are some photos edited dark/modern/moody: 

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits Mon, 18 Jul 2022 04:48:07 GMT
Location Spotlight: Bella Bella Beach (DeMolay Sandspit Reserve) on Fox Island Location Spotlight: Bella Bella Beach (DeMolay Sandspit Reserve) 
on Fox Island 
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This unique rocky-beach sandspit is the place to go for sunset photos in Gig Harbor. But even better, it's one of the few locations that works best any time of the day, as long as I can put the sun at your back. The best part: the stunning driftwood! It's a photographer's dream land! And the whimsical tall sea grass looks cool at any time of the year. 

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When it works: any time of the day! Be aware that in the photo right below with the big family, it was cloudy so we were able to get the whole sandspit in the background. If it's sunny, these same shots won't work because the sun would be right in your face, but other shots will work. 


Pros: works almost any time of day, it has fantastic driftwood, great for candids of kids climbing driftwood and throwing pebbles in the water. Works well for both low and high tides. On clear days, it is possible to get Mt Rainier in the background. Works well for both 30 and 60 minute sessions. (30 min sessions, AM times only, or weekday evenings) For 60 minute shoots, we would also have time for some photos in the small woodsy path area. 


Cons: it's a short but steep walk down to the beach, so not easy for those less abled. For senior portraits, there is only a small port-a-potty to change outfits, so we would have to bring blankets to make a make-shift changing area. There is no shade, so getting really good shots can be tricky on super bright sunny days. 

Examples at different times of day: Below are examples of morning clouds, 2-3pm in the sun, and at sunset...

Morning clouds: 

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October sunny morning (10am-12pm) 

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Mid day sun (these were at 3pm in late August):

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These were taken 30 minutes before sunset in late August (they chose a darker modern edit): 

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Bella Bella Photography Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits gig harbor senior portraits Mon, 18 Jul 2022 04:04:03 GMT
Location Spotlight: Ancich Park in Gig Harbor Location Spotlight: Ancich Park in Gig Harbor 

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Looking for photography at a maritime location with a rustic, shabby chic feel? Ancich park in Gig Harbor is the location for you! It's a nice add-on to Skansie Park if you want to do a 60 minute session with 2 locations (a 5-7 minute walk or super quick drive).

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When does it work best? mornings between 9-11am. It does work for a quick PM shoot as well, but if you want the water in the background, the sun will be shining right in your eyes unless we shoot at dusk. 

What it has: a really super cool old net shed with rustic wood, and a view overlooking the water and boats of Gig Harbor. 

Pros: super easy parking. Very accessible for those less abled. Easy as an add-on to Skansie Park.

Cons: There isn't much here for anything longer than 15 minutes.

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(Cora Reuter Photography) ancich park photos Gig harbor photographer Mon, 18 Jul 2022 03:41:34 GMT
Location Spotlight: The Russell Foundation in Gig Harbor Location Spotlight: The Russell Foundation in Gig Harbor
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Looking for photos at maritime location with a modern flair? And/or fall color in the downtown area? The Russell Foundation in Gig Harbor is the location for you! It's a nice add-on to Skansie Park if you want to do a 60 minute session with 2 locations (a 5 minute walk).

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When does it work best? mornings between 9-11am. 

What it has: a super architecture plaza with cool vanishing points, a rad looooing stone wall, cool boulders for the kids to climb on, wood beams to lean against, and a view overlooking the water and boats of Gig Harbor. BONUS: the only real fall color I've found in downtown Gig Harbor. It's best in mid-Oct-mid-November.

Pros: super easy parking. Very accessible for those less abled. Easy for a 30 minute shoot, or as an add-on to Skansie. With a stand-alone 30 minute shoot, these is time to walk down to Maritime Pier next to the Tides Tavern for shots on the dock. 

Cons: There isn't much here for anything longer than 30 minutes. For light, it only works in the morning between 9-11am.

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(Cora Reuter Photography) fall portraits fall senior portraits gig harbor family photography gig harbor family portraits gig harbor graduation photography Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits Mon, 18 Jul 2022 03:24:53 GMT
Location Spotlight: Skansie Park in Gig Harbor Location Spotlight: Skansie Park in Gig Harbor 

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Doing 30 minute photo sessions at Skansie park has become sort of an obsession of mine. I have gotten to know every nook, cranny, and angle to get the best shots during the morning hours when the light there is simply magical. Is there anything more quintessentially Gig Harbor than the Skansie Net Shed? I don't think so. And even if you aren't necessarily from Gig Harbor, there are few places with such ease of access that offer so many stunning PNW backgrounds in one easy place. Blurry sailboat masts? Check. Shabby chic reclaimed wood background? Check. Sprawling lawn with water in the background? Check. Dock with sparkly water and evergreen trees behind? Check. In 30 minutes, we can do them ALL (that is if kids are cooperating and we move quick). 

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Skansie Park works great for family photos, graduating seniors, headshots, even engagement photos.


Pros: Lots and lots of different backgrounds, including a couple neutral walls which are great for framed photos. Accessible and flat for less abled people. 

Cons: only works on mornings between 9-11:30 (in fall, 8:30am-10am otherwise the sun is in your face). Saturdays are busy there with canoe and kayak practices (lots of people in the background, but I can make it work). Sunday works best, and weekdays are even better. 

Skansie works best in 30-40 minutes. Want to make it 60 minutes? Add on Anchic Park or the Russel Foundation. 

To see full galleries taken at this location, click on "client galleries;" each album has the location in the title. 

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This Family chose my muted modern edit for their session. More on my two styles here:



My Light and Bright edit works well for bright sunny days:

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(Cora Reuter Photography) Gig Harbor Family photography gig harbor family portraits gig harbor graduation photography Gig harbor photographer gig harbor senior portraits senior portraits skansie park Mon, 18 Jul 2022 03:05:14 GMT