Welcome to SonjaSpaetzel.com

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About Me

I believe in trusting your gut, because doing what you’re afraid of is more important than doing what you’re good at.

I believe in reminding yourself how special you are; choose the fancy coffee cup over your daily mug, at least once a week.

I can’t pass up the click-bait personality tests on Facebook. (I’m Sleeping Beauty… which Disney Princess are you?)

When I’m hiking I walk extra slowly so everyone else can find the spiders.

I have a glass display case just for beautiful shoes I bought that I knew wouldn’t fit.

Whenever I’m traveling alone, I watch Millionaire Matchmaker.

Popcorn and M&Ms are my favourite fast food lunch.

I’m not a glutton because I order three days’ worth of meals from Thai restaurants… to me, it’s grocery shopping!

I am addicted to Say Yes To The Dress… even though I’m happily married.

I sneak a shot (or two) of espresso vodka out of the freezer right before bedtime. (Shhhhh)

I plan my vacations around the restaurants I want to try.

I invite people over for dinner as an incentive to clean the house.

I believe in moving away from your hometown: get out there and test your wings.

I believe in questioning authority, because, I truly know what’s best anyway!

I believe making changes in your life begins with knowing your “why”.

I believe the things you say become the things you believe.

I believe in seat-dancing and full-volume rock star singing, steering wheel drumming and ‘I’m so cool” head-bobbing… even (especially) in traffic. (C’mon, you know you do it too.)

I believe in proudly telling your “skirt caught in your underwear” story every chance you get.

I believe in being intentional, in all things.


Your Experience

127880648I believe photographs have the power to connect you to yourself. And that connection is absolutely transformative. This is why I create portraits. My clients celebrate themselves through recognition, acceptance and declaration – of themselves, by themselves – through my images. “There is nothing more beautiful inspiring than the authentic you.”

Whether you are on a journey to remember the courage, bravery and strength you found within yourself sometime in the past, or to discover the power that is bursting inside you now that outsiders rarely see: the journey to loving who you are is at the core of my process. Working with me is your opportunity to declare who you are and be courageous in trusting yourself. It’s a chance to use your voice unabashedly and unapologetically. And, ultimately, it’s your time to find freedom in being the one who defines who you are, without the concern of what other people think and say. Together, let’s be unjudgeable.


You may be newer to this journey, your challenge recent, your self-acceptance newly developing. By revealing yourself, you are taking a bold step in making a statement about who you are.  Often, this experience is quiet and reflective to help you find and speak your voice. The experience of using your voice is as powerful as the portraits we’ll end up making together. This is all part of you stepping bravely into your own permission to be YOU. Together we’ll embark on a short, happy journey of exploration that is both beautiful and adventurous.

Let’s meet in a comfortable, private place like my studio or your living room (your living room? Need to think on this. On skype, yes.).  Together, we’ll share a coffee or tea, maybe whisky or red wine, get comfortable and learn about each other. I’m interested in what has led you to feeling a desire to be photographed now, in this way. I want to know about your successes and challenges, and what your journey has been like through it all.  Let’s define who you are NOW and what is important for this experience and your images to reflect. It’s a quiet and intimate journey that you and I go on together, with no one else around to distract us from being free to focus and express ourselves candidly.

Your portrait experience is one where you cannot and will not be judged – it is so important that you know that. During our session, I will guide you with questions and conversation, helping you uncover your emotions and personality visually. In addition to creating moving and authentic photographs, the goal of our time together is to empower you to find the release and freedom of saying what you need to say – of being who you are – and maybe even a surprise of discovering new depths to yourself. Through this experience, you will feel stronger in your self-acceptance, kinder towards yourself and proud of your courageousness.  Through the photographs we create together you’ll find new ways to celebrate who you are.


You are likely coming to me having had some time pass since the hardest days of your earlier journeys. You’ve risen to the challenges, faced your inner critic, and have become even stronger than you ever were. You’ve built confidence from the risks you have taken, have come to love your bravery and now you want to celebrate that courageousness and freedom in a way that you can always remember how far you have come and how alive and joyful you feel by fully being YOU. You likely want to roar and laugh and run and dance and revel in your freedom, and you want me to document you being fully, freely and joyfully you.

I understand that every person is so very different and our time together–and the resulting photographs–must reflect the authentic you. Unlike in the Discovery experience, for us there is an excited energy to our time together, like when you’re getting ready to go to a party or fly down a zipline. We know we’re about to do something really amazing and memorable, together. Let’s start by reflecting on the Story of You; specifically, what your journeys have revealed and why it is important to record and capture you now.  What MUST your photographs say about who you are?  I am excited to find out about your life and when you have felt the most carefree, the most like you and when you have been the happiest. I want to know the details. Maybe it was taking the training wheels off your bike for the first time and discovering you were a better rider than you thought they were. Or maybe it was the first time you told someone about a struggle you were going through and discovered the freedom of trusting someone with your vulnerability. Or, was it the first time you told someone important that you loved them? These iconic moments of your life are unique and one-of-a-kind.  And these are the moments and memories we will build your portrait session around. Together we’ll decide locations and activities and perhaps even other people to include in your experience, as a way to honour those past iconic moments.  We will reinvigorate those feelings of happiness, of pride, of satisfaction. Let’s go places and do things that celebrate YOU!  The keyword for success is abandon. Like your life, your session with me will be full of opportunities and moments that we can give ourselves over to, in full abandon. We aren’t seeking perfect. We are seeking and unearthing feeling and joy.  At the end of our time together, you will feel lighter, more connected to your playful spirit, to your lightheartedness and even more excited to be you–and your photographs will reflect all of your exhilarating, sparkling, simply contagious and inspiring joy.