A couple weeks ago I got an email from Emily who had just gotten married this summer. Instead of boxing up her dress, she wanted to say farewell to it in style and I was extremely flattered that she thought of me as the photographer to help pull off her vision. I've never shot a wreck-the-dress shoot before, nor have I ever shot at the falls at Willow River (though I've always wanted to!). So, at 7 am we hiked down to the falls with no one else there and I focused intently on not slipping on rocks and staying still and balanced as possible to get these shots. Every bit of the physical challenge was worth it because she and her husband absolutely killed this session.
So, if you need me, I'll just be here fanning myself from this ridiculously romantic session. I definitely think there's something to having a session with your significant other post-wedding when all of the wedding planning is behind you. Pressure's off and the shots just feel intimate and absolutely natural. So, if anyone has a wedding dress that's just shoved in the back of your closet (like, um, me), there's a lovely photographer over here who would be more than happy to have a dramatic and adventurous session with you!
In August I trekked out to Alma, Wisconsin to document Susan and Tom's wedding on her parents' farm. It was truly an intimate and beautiful celebration. There were only about 20 guests and I was the only person besides the officiant who wasn't a blood relative. I loved so many aspects of this wedding from the beautiful old farm house, to the gorgeous rolling hills, to the solemn and sweet vows, the wild flowers used throughout the ceremony, and the pure joy emanating from everyone.
Thank you again, Susan and Tom, for inviting me to be part of this incredibly special day!
As school is beginning next week, I've taken some time to look back and reflect on our summer. I'm revisiting some of our favorite moments, figuring out which ones to frame, planning what to do next year already, and researching how to keep siblings from squabbling (so far, I've got nothing on that last one).
One thing Rosie has really enjoyed the past few years is attending a summer dance camp at The Dancing House. This summer the theme for the camp Rosie attended was the Unicorns and Rainbows Camp which was just as magical as it sounds. I got to stop in during their last day of class and got to capture the activity, energy, and grace of all these young ladies!
I truly can't say enough good things about Miss Melissa and The Dancing House. Not only have my girls enjoyed taking classes, but I have too! Boogie Fit (the Monday and Thursday night adult dance class) has been one of my favorite things I've done for myself this past year. I have to admit that I don't have an actual dance background (I have years of cheerleading, figure skating, and most recently Zumba teaching under my belt, but I've never considered myself an actual dancer).
However, after taking and loving Boogie Fit so much I actually feel like I can call myself a dancer! It's an ideal class for anyone who "used" to dance (sort of like myself) or has always wanted to try. I feel very fortunate to have found The Dancing House and Miss Melissa as she has been such a wonderful source of positivity and encouragement in my life!
Whether you are interested in a class for your kids or yourself, I definitely encourage you to check out all the offerings of The Dancing House! As mentioned above there are classes for kids as well as adults including tap, ballet, hip-hop, yoga, virtual classes, and more! Speak of more, the studio will be expanding this fall to a larger location in Hudson, WI and I absolutely cannot wait to experience the new space.
Thank you again, Melissa for providing such exceptional dance experiences for both my kids and myself!
A couple weeks ago, my kiddos and I attended Addie's 5th birthday party! I've know her mama Kristina for 15 years and I've been photographing Addie since she was an infant! As you can see, the party was an absolute hit with all attendees, adults and kids alike. I am endlessly impressed by how creative and thoughtful Kristina is when it comes to hosting parties (or planning anything really. If she wasn't already doing and succeeding at literally all the things, I would tell her to start an event planning business.) Between the kid-sized ice cream truck to play in, the piñata to break, the sweet photo op, the delicious treats, the fun swing set, and the great company, there wasn't a frown in sight!
Addie, it's been an absolute privilege being able to watch you grow over the years! I hope five is your very best year yet!
Now that fall is almost here and I have back-to-back weddings, I'm going to throw it back to the beginning of summer when I got to capture Sarah and Mike's wedding day! They had a traditional church wedding followed by a reception at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course. It rained for most of the day, but we did get a little reprieve from the rain in the evening and were able to shoot a few outdoor photos of the two of them together. Their must-have shot list was simple (no getting ready photos, nothing over the top.) Just a simple, classy, celebration of a sweet love! Here are just a few moments from their day. I hope married life has been everything you guys hoped it would be and more.
I hope the two of you remain full of light and love for each other always.
Congrats again, Sarah and Mike!
My first session of this August was with the Langness family in Hudson. We were able to squeeze in two locations to our shoot and I'm so glad we did! We started off at Birkmose Park and then strolled around downtown Hudson until we were at the Lakefront.
Sometimes I'm out of my element working with older kids. Babies and toddlers tend to lead shoots most of the time for me and I just chase and follow and work with their attitudes and moods. Having two older girls at this shoot was a fun change of pace, and they were so sweet! The whole family was so easy and fun to work with... I found myself wishing that photos with my own kids were this easy! Thanks so much for this great opportunity!
Last month my family and I loaded up our minivan for a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina! The purpose of the trip was to get my husband Joe to compete in a Spartan Race out there, but also to visit some new territory for us. Last year our family took our first big road trip to Colorado and had such a great time that we wanted to do the same type of travel, but to a different location. Part of our trip included a bunch of hiking and exploring a couple different waterfalls in the area. This first set of photos is from Catawba Falls. (Our Airbnb was only a half mile from the trail head).
I will forever and always be grateful to strangers who offer to take a whole family photo for us!
This actually ended up being a pretty technical trail, but the kids did great (with some help from found walking sticks). And it's not everyday you get to frolic at the bottom of a waterfall! After this 3 mile round trip, we ordered pizza, bathed everyone and settled in for a cozy evening. It was fantastic!
We also drove out to Linville Falls and probably hiked about another 3 miles to see all of the different overlooks. Something I was extremely surprised and pleased with was the total lack of bugs and mosquitos! I figured being in the south during July was going to be really buggy, but not a bite on any of us!
Cece took this photo of me! I kept wearing long shirts with shorts, so I look pants-less, but I'm really not. I love having baby bump photos to show #4 all the places he/she got to tag along too!
We felt our trip was probably a day or two too short, so we'll just have to come back again and stay longer next time. Thanks for the memories, NC!
A couple weekends ago, I made a quickie trip to Chicago to photograph a triple anniversary party! While I was there I had a chance to shoot four mini sessions and I'm so glad I did that instead of using that time to just eat Dunkin' Donuts in my pajamas. (Although that sounds pretty good too!) Here are a few shots from each of the minis:
It was pure joy to meet four-month-old River and also catch up with my cousin Lauren and her husband Jake. Watching this little lady grow up is going to be a blast!
Next up in my cute baby marathon was little Ellie and her parents Mike and Jenna. All three of them were so easy and natural in front of the camera that this session was a breeze. Fun side note: I flew into Chicago with no newborn props so my mom and I gathered some things around her house including an old American Girl doll bed from my childhood in order to make the session work AND IT TOTALLY DID! Hers and River's session were shot at The Little Red School House in Willow Springs, IL
Do families come any cuter or more color coordinated than this? No, no they do not. It was so lovely to see Anne, one of my dearest friends from high school and photograph her darling kids (seriously, they were all delights). I can't wait until our paths cross again!
I also got to photograph Anne's sister Carolyn and her family! She makes boy mom life look so fabulous and fun and I'm thrilled I got to take some family photos for them!
Now that August is here, I'm gearing up to do an assortment of sessions this month as well as one wedding and a day of boudoir minis! Stay tuned, lots to come in August.
If you seek out any type of advice on running a business, the loudest message you'll hear is that you have to figure out who your ideal clients are and then figure out how to find and attract them. Well, mission accomplished. These are my people.
Family sessions are always going to have a special place in my heart and I especially am crazy about those families who come in and don't stress if a kid wants to hold their water bottle or eat an apple during the shoot. Honestly, big energetic families are my jam (probably because I'm part of one). I love being able to get different groupings of siblings and parents together and also basically just let the kids direct the shoot. I feel like the most natural and fun images occur when I'm honestly just taking a step back and letting people be themselves.
Thanks again to the Larsen family for asking me to be your photographer! I hope we get to work together again!
Over the past several years, I've had people say to me various times "You should teach a class!" I'd get blush-y and aw-shucks-y. I've always taken this as a very high compliment, but I was unsure. Just because you're someone who can DO doesn't necessarily mean you can teach. But, like shooting more weddings and pursuing boudoir photography this year, I felt like this was yet another dream/goal of mine that I wanted to bring to life instead of make excuses as to why I couldn't or shouldn't do it.
I first put out some feelers to gauge interest in early summer, then announced the event and posted a sign-up. The six spots I had opened easily filled. The class was an awesome mix of friends, former clients, and some brand-new faces. I thought long and hard about what the most valuable things I've learned in the sevenish years I've been doing photography and created a course outline as well as notes for everyone. I put together visuals, and got my friend Alysha to help refine my points as well as come out to assist me and provide another perspective as well as additional advice and knowledge. I feel like our different styles and perspectives complemented each other so well and I couldn't have done it without her!
I felt like the class went smoothly and was fun as well as informative but I was blown away by some of the feedback I received via the survey but also through additional messages.
"Your class was awesome! It was partly just helpful to hear you just have to START! And it will make more sense as you go! You are an inspiration!"
"It was fabulous to finally learn about what ISO, aperture, and shutter priority are, but I didn't expect to learn about composition and get so many tips in regard to it!"
"I enjoyed every minute of the photography workshop today! Thank you for hosting this opportunity. I learned a lot and feel inspired!"
"Ah! The workshop today was so wonderful! Now that it's a few hours behind me and I've been able to sit and digest some of what we learned, I am genuinely SO EXCITED to take out my camera tomorrow (and for many days after that!) to play with it! I had even planned out some fun things to do with my kids this coming week and just went back over my list and thought about all the different ways I would use my camera settings for each various activity! Cannot wait. Thank you again for taking time out of your weekend to teach us!
"Very empowering! You both were helpful and inspiring. I loved hearing your story of how you both got started and your different styles. Thank you for this AMAZING opportunity!
Now, of course, I've got my head down coming up with material for a follow up class as well as ways to make Photography 101 with Rachel even better. Thank you to all of these creative and motivated ladies for inspiring ME!
I'll continue to post future workshops and signups, so stay tuned!
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!