This spring I met with James and Sessahly to take their engagement photos in Osceola, Wi at Cascade Falls. I had previously met Sessahly a couple of years ago at one of my Mommy & Me mini sessions. I was so thrilled when she reached out to let me know she was engaged and wanted me to take photos for her and James.
The morning we shot at the falls was COLD, but I asked them to move and hug a lot which I think (I hope?) helped!
I absolutely love how their session turned out! All the little details, like the glimpses of tattoos, the way Sessahly's hair perfectly swooshes around, the glimmer of her engagement ring, and how adoringly these two gaze at each other, give me goosebumps!
Congrats again, you guys, on your engagement! I foresee a beautiful wedding and a life full of love and happiness ahead of you two!
Due to the stay-at-home orders in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I wasn't able to get out and shoot much as I would have liked this spring. However, outdoor photography in Wisconsin has been allowed for the past couple weeks and I was able to announce and book a few Mommy and Me mini sessions before Mother's Day this year. I offered less spots than normal and allowed for a 10 minute time window between clients, touched no one, withheld hugs, but still managed to get a lot of shots for each family.
My first session of the day was for Melissa and her five kids. Melissa is my friend, business coach, and dance teacher who also owns and runs a studio in Hudson. I'm always happy to take any kind of photos for her... be it for family or for business purposes. She shines from the inside out and has made it her life's work to help other's shine their light too. Really, I could do a blog post someday on just Melissa!
Speak of people who will probably get their own future blog post... my friend Kristina! My next session was for her and her daughter Addie and son Reece. It warmed my heart to be able to see each other and I loved documenting all the thoughtful details they brought to the table, everything from Addie's elegant hair, to Reece's little suspenders, Most importantly, I loved catching all of the love an affection between this bunch. Truly, my heart swells just looking at these pictures.
Katie and her kids Amelia and Everett were next! The last time I had taken photos for their family, Amelia was much tinier and Katie was pregnant with Everett. It was so cool to see how their family had grown and how much these kids adored their mama.
Camille and her incredibly photogenic bunch was next. I'm still not quite over how sweet her kids were or how perfectly styled everyone was too! Just from looking at these photos, I feel like their family vehicle probably has the aroma of peonies and no one yells or complains...
(My car on the other hand smells like McDonald's and everyone is deliberately poking each other and whining after we've been in the car for five minutes.)
Next up was Lindsay and her beautiful daughter Elsa. This was their first photo shoot and not something I took lightly! They were absolutely delightful and Elsa is basically a real-life doll. I definitely hope to do more photos for them in the future.
Lastly, I took photos of Kayla and her boys. (We also took full family photos too with dad, but for the sake of consistency, he's not in this blog post. Sorry, Jeremy!) I took maternity photos for Kayla in the fall and it was so cool to now see little Vinnie on the outside and to also finally meet big bro Liam.
So there you have Mommy and Me 2020! It was a little smaller, a little quieter, but still absolutely special. Happy Mother's Day to all these beautiful mamas and EVERY mama out there!
Months later, I am still swooning over Matt and Mary's Dia de los Muertos themed wedding that took place last fall at Next Chapter Winery in New Prague. They had actually been officially married over the summer but chose to have a bigger celebration later in the year. There were so many unique and downright wonderful things elements at this reception. First of all, their three dogs were in attendance, but those weren't the only furry friends. They had invited Second Hand Hounds to make an appearance to give exposure to the organization. What did that mean? There were PUPPIES AT THE WEDDING for the cuddling! So let me just recap, puppies, endless tacos, wine, dancing and love overflowing throughout. Is it weird to want to go back and relive someone else's wedding day? Because I would do it in a heartbeat!
I wish so much love and happiness for these two. This celebration was perfection and I hope they have joy like this always.
Due to reasons you can probably figure out, I had to cancel my indoor mini sessions at the beginning of April. I was bummed out because I was excited to reunite with clients and it was also going to be one of my bigger shoots as I emerged from maternity leave.
However, I know that better days are (eventually) ahead and I'll be shooting up a storm someday again. In the meantime, I'd love to share my indoor mini sessions I held last November at Studio 130. The studio is a beautiful, versatile blank canvas and proved perfect for a variety of family sessions as well as a couple headshot/branding sessions too! Here are just a few shots from each family I worked with. Above are the Warners. I'm sad that they've moved away from Hudson, but thankful that I had one last shoot with them.
My friend Kristina is one of the most wonderful, inspiring people I've ever met and I've deeply treasured our 14 year friendship. Not to mention I've LOVED photographing her growing and beautiful family over the years!
One-year old Blakely is any photographer's dream subject to photograph. I also took newborn photos as well as family photos for the Lewis family this year and I honestly believe I could build an outstanding website and portfolio on those sessions alone! Gah, thank you for asking me to be your photographer this year!
Amy, my friend, client, and Beautycounter consultant also took advantage of this fantastic studio space and we got some great headshot and branding photos for her. So glad you were part of this day, Amy!
Photos for the Mueller family were a breeze, no surprise there. I met them last fall and was delighted that they signed up for these mini sessions once again. I'm lucky to have you guys as my clients!
The Woodruffs are an easy and energetic bunch and they are a blast to have in front of the camera. Let's do this again soon, ok??
Kathy was my second headshot/branding session of the day. She is a mom, tap-dancer, Prince lover, and marketing extraordinaire. I'm so glad I was able to take these photos for her!
This was my first time meeting the Theobalds and I have to say, I need to figure out whom to contact to get their photos in a magazine or an album cover. They just photograph beautifully!
The Engbrecht boys never stayed still for a second, but I didn't mind one bit. It was a sweet glimpse into boyhood and brother life. What I loved even more was how relaxed and chill their parents Melissa and Tyler were. Their relaxed demeanor made all of the photos looked natural and easy!
The Conways were holiday card perfection. They are another family whom I've had several sessions with over the years and they are a joy to meet up with every time!
My last session of the day was the Schmidt family. You might think this family could not possibly get any cuter EXCEPT hey recently just welcomed a baby boy! I'm over the moon happy for this wonderful family. I hope to see you all again this year to document life as a family of five!
Thanks for reading and checking out what a day of mini sessions look like! Also, a huge thanks to my friend Jess who was my assistant for the day. I was about 37 weeks pregnant when I took these photos and I couldn't have facilitated this day without her!
Back in September 2019, I photographed Brig and Adam's wedding at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. When they initially reached out to me and described their day as "A traditional Norse/Celtic wedding, with a hand-fasting and medieval/renaissance period garb," I knew I needed to be a part of it. I played it cool in my emails, but inside I was shouting "pick me, pick me!" Fortunately they did and I had the most lovely time traipsing through the mud on their wedding day, driven to capture every tender, hilarious, and heartfelt moment. It began with a parade, continued with royal toasts, and ended with a ceremony that had all attendees in tears. I love all of the thought and care that went into the details of the day... the shield, the hammer, the cloaks, and the words. I'll be quiet now and let the photos tell the story of the day.
It was an honor and a privilege to have been part of this beautiful day and unique celebration. I wish these fellas a lifetime of endless love, laughter, and of course, mead. Hugs from afar to you both!
I think I'm not alone in saying that January is pretty much the worst, but on the bright side, we are out of it! Also, I'm probably the best and most productive version of myself. In an attempt to distract myself from the dark days and worst weather ever, I usually try my best to fill the time with decluttering, organizing, making plans for the new year, getting our taxes taken care of, and of course, reminiscing and reviewing the year that has just passed.
Turns out 2019 was my biggest and best year yet when it comes to photography! This is far from everything (there were more than 100 family sessions alone!) but here are some of the highlights:
One of the first things I did at the beginning of 2019 was begin offering boudoir sessions. I created a separate website and Instagram account to showcase that side of my work. (All photos have been shared with client permission!)
What began as a "why not?" endeavor turned into a full on passion project and I'm thrilled to continue offering these services into 2020 and beyond.
In the spring, a couple of my clients were awesomely laid back and flexible and allowed themselves to be part of a promo video shot for my photography business! It was intimidating to have actually video footage taken of me, but I'm so glad I actually bucked up and did it and have a nice snippet of who I am/what I do to easily share!
YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyZCcNxBjng
2019 was also one for ALL THE BABIES! I shot numerous newborn and fresh 48 sessions. Newborn photography used to be my area of apprehension and I was always too relieved to recommend a different photographer to those searching for a newborn photographer. That has definitely changed as I feel I've improved technically and have developed a style for these shoots that I have confidence in.
One of my mini session offerings that is a hit every year was Mommy & Me minis. This year I held them at Lake Elmo and I'm thrilled with how each of the images turned out. Only 3 more months until we can do these again!
In the summer I also hosted a beginner's photography workshop at my house for some lovely and talented ladies. This idea had been on my heart for a long time and I'm so glad it finally got brought to life! I held a secondary workshop in October and will be planning these again in 2020!
I held two different rounds of fall mini sessions. The first was outdoors in October at Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Lake. It rained on and off that morning, but all who signed up showed up and ended up with a lot of lovely photos!
For those who preferred not to gamble with the weather, I also held indoor mini sessions at Studio 130 in November. In addition to family sessions, I also shot a couple headshot sessions there too. I'll definitely be booking time here again, so if you like the idea of a fuss-free indoor shoot, lemme know!
One of my favorite parts of this year was just connecting with other photographers. I was able to attend various social nights, skill shares, and shoot & shares (aka, headshot swaps). It's been one of the most valuable things to find support in the industry and I am kicking myself hard for waiting so long to find a network!
Above are photos from each of the seven weddings I shot this year. Every couple, every venue, every wedding was completely different (and I'll share more from all of these soon), but the common thread through all of these were that these couples were all crazy in love, just wanted their friends and family to have a great time, and they were delightfully low-key when it came to photos... a whole lot of "we trust you!" which was music to my ears!
Thanks for visiting my 2019 highlight reel. I don't have a highlight reel from 2020 yet as it's just been REAL so far with the day-to-day newborn life. But I've just been feeling the right amount of stir-crazy and inspired to start getting projects started and shoots booked for the new year. If you've been following me along, what are you interested in? A photography workshop? Family pics? A boudoir sesh? Tell me, tell me! I'd LOVE to know!
Thanks again to all my friends, family, and clients who made last year so big and special! Let's do it again!
Hi, hi, hi! I've pulled myself off the sofa, put that baby down for a nap, and am excited to dig into blogging again after a big ol' break. I knew I would be pulling back from blogging regularly this fall/winter due to the high volume of sessions and weddings followed by our baby's arrival. But I'm glad to carve out some time to start recapping life and work again!
Anyway, this was a far more fantastic year I could have dreamed of. And when fantastic things are happening, you really ought to have pictures of it. Fortunately, one of the perks of being a photographer is knowing other photographers who happen to be mighty talented. This year our family got professionally photographed various times, in very different ways, by some very exceptional photographers. Let me share! (Above headshot from this summer is by Scherer Photo Co.!)
Last winter I got bitten by the boudoir photography bug and started offering boudoir sessions. THEY WERE SO FUN! Fun enough that I was inspired by all of my beautiful clients to have my own boudoir photos taken which I did by Britt of Render Photography. I literally had the time of my life getting my hair and makeup done and then getting to roll around the dreamiest studio all scantily clad. Britt made me feel so very comfortable and dangerously confident, I have to say. Best of all, I declared this experience as "educational" because I felt that by putting myself in my clients' shoes, I would be able to better serve all my boudoir babes.
As life would have it, Joe and I found out we were expecting our fourth baby in the spring. After experiencing a miscarriage in the fall of 2018, we were thrilled. My friend Rachel ended up taking some photos for us just around our 9 year wedding anniversary and we were able to squeeze in some pregnancy announcement pics into the session too. These are probably my favorite photos of Joe and myself that we've ever had taken.
You're probably all like "Rachel, could things get more magical?" To which I respond "Hold my beer." In the summer my friend Jenessa of Scherer Photo Co. offered unicorn mini sessions with Sparky the unicorn and how could I NOT sign my family up for those? Of course it was hot outside and my kids were totally expired after having attended a birthday party earlier that day and were being rascals during the shoot. But that's how magical Jenessa is. She still managed a bunch of adorable photos even with my kids in surly moods. I bow down to your talents, girl! And of course when my kids were all done, I'm like "Outta my way! My turn for pics with Sparky!" And I regret nothing.
Can't stop, won't stop. We also obviously needed fresh photos in October for our holiday card and updated photos of our kids NOT taken by me. Enter McKenzie of KNZ Photography who managed to make us look all normal and delightful. You can't even tell that I'm alternating between yelling idle threats and also bribes in the form of McDonald's happy meals in order to get these kids to freakin' smile (and not look like lunatics). At this point I was about 30 some weeks pregnant and in the middle of my own busy season. My feet hurt, my belly was bursting, and I was not feeling like a babe most days, but I still love these preggo pics of myself and I'm so, so glad we made this session happen.
To finish off our year (and complete our family), we had our baby's birth documented by Brianna of Brianna Lane Photography. (SHE IS OUTSTANDING) Our boy's arrival was a little wild, but he was born healthy, alert, and beautiful. Archer's whole birth story and more photos is on my personal blog if you want to read about it. I will forever be grateful to Brianna for doing such a phenomenal job of capturing one of the most important days of our lives.
Yes, I know. So many photos. So many fake eyelashes. At this point you're probably glad you aren't married to me (or one of my kids) as you can see how many photo sessions I subject my loved ones to. But I think eventually they'll be glad that I was hyper vigilant about recording our lives. Because from my experience, I have to say that life goes by pretty fast and those teeny, wrinkly babies become big kids practically overnight, those first dates turn into 15 years together in a blink of an eye, and everything changes constantly whether you want it to or not.
SO. At this point I am still on leave but will be back to shooting next month. In the meantime, I'm hoping to get all my ducks in a row for 2020 and catch up on 2019 session recaps.
Thank you to for reading, for caring, for hiring me, and for supporting me this past year! So much love to you all in 2020!
Part of my mini session morning a couple of weeks ago were a couple of families from my neighborhood. Sessions with young kids are probably the thing that has become the "easiest" thing for me... mostly because I let the kids lead the shoots. I try to figure out with each family how the kids are feeling... shy, rambunctious, excited, etc. and that helps me figure out my own approach. No single method works for all family. Fortuntately, both these families of five were on the enthusiastic and high, energy side which made for some enthusiastic and high-energy photos!
So much thanks to the Buege and Swanson family for spending the morning hiking around a field with me for the sake of pictures! You guys are the best!
Last weekend I shot a few short mini sessions at Willow River State Park. My first two sessions of the day happened to be maternity shoots! It was so fun to be a part of the excitement and anticipation. The first set of pics is from Mallory's and RJ's session. They are expecting a baby girl, just about any day now! I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear for news of her arrival. Mallory basically photographed like a goddess and I'm so thrilled I got to take these photos for their family!
I also shot photos for Kayla and Jeremy who are expecting a baby boy in just a few short weeks. They were such a fun couple to work with and a breeze to pose and prompt. Hoping for more sessions with their sweet family in the future!
So, people! Stay tuned for baby arrival news and family photos for these adorable couples in the near future!
If there is one thing I can tell you that is true about Minnesotans, it's that the State Fair is near and dear to their hearts. (It's not hard to see why... baby farm animals, amazing food on a stick, endless entertainment, people watching, cheese curds, mini donuts, butter sculptures... truly the finest things that only come around once a year!)
I was so excited when I got asked to take Solvi's one-year photos at the great Minnesota get-together. It was a gorgeous, bright morning, and little Solvi had big eyes full of wonder for all of the fair's sights and sounds.
A few interesting notes about this shoot! It was all about embracing the things I would usually try to avoid... harsh sunlight and lots of distractions (people, animals, and signs) in the background of my photos. I felt like this session required a more photojournalistic mindset rather than a portrait photography mindset which kind of brought me back to my approach when I first started shooting. I gotta say, I love how the images turned out!
Thank you Tara, Scott, and Solvi for such a fun morning and a great shoot.
(And for the mini donuts! You guys know the way to a pregnant lady's heart!)
Welcome to my photography blog!
Rachel again! Here's where you'll be able to find blog posts about all things photography: recent sessions, upcoming events, and just fun musings on photography in general. Can't wait to fill 'er up with content!