A couple weeks ago I had a chance to start off the new year by photographing our neighbor's new baby girl Blakely. She is baby number three for the Lewis family which meant lots of photos with siblings!
Is that a sibling stack of cuteness or what?
Blakely on her own and in her mother's arms was also absolute sweetness. I absolutely love that brief and beautiful newborn stage and it's always an honor to document it. Congrats once more, Lewis family! (And thanks for letting me bring my own kids to this photo session! (#makeitwork)
Hi, hi! I hope the new year finds you well and warm! Like many of you, I'm full of dreams, plans, and too many sugar cookies as we head into 2019. In fact, I don't really even mind January as it's such low-key month in comparison to the holiday hustle in December. It's now a perfect time for reinstating order in our minds and homes!
However, before I start talking too much and too fast about all the things I'd like to accomplish this year, I would like to take a quick moment to reflect on and acknowledge the growth that actually happened in 2018 before blabbing about all my goals and resolutions for the upcoming year.
First things first, I changed my business name from Rachel Yuen Gaetz Photography to Ray and Grace Photography. I got an excellent logo created by Autumn Lane Paperie which I incorporated within my website, and social media accounts, and then eventually on gift certificates and business cards. I think the name and the graphic have a feminine, yet whimsical and timeless feel which I think reflects my work! I also revamped my website at the beginning of the year, added a page for photography-related blog posts, and began sending out all of my clients a quarterly newsletter.
Instead of hiding under a blanket during the cold months of the year, when I knew family sessions wouldn't be happening, I offered headshot sessions which were incredibly fun to do. I loved being able to work one-on-one with clients and draw out their personalities in photos!
I also shot a couple of indoor newborn lifestyle sessions too! It's a privilege to get a chance to step in and document that new baby life.
For the first time ever, I offered Mommy and Me Mini sessions in May. These were some of my favorite images of the entire year!
I also connected with Best Version Media and shot 4 magazine covers this year for local publications -- two for The Connector and two for Hudson Neighbors.
I shot a few sessions each month during the summer, but things really kicked up in the fall as I had 25 sessions in October alone. In the fall I also stopped using Google Drive to send photos to clients. Instead, I began using PicTime as my platform for sharing galleries and selling prints. It has been a much more professional and polished way for clients to view, download, and order their photos.
You can see my PicTime profile here.
(I'm proud of it!)
I also held two rounds of mini sessions in October. One at Lake Elmo Park Reserve and one at Willow River State Park. Both days were booked solid and I even added on a few spots!
In December, I offered Christmas tree farm mini sessions. I am so happy with how the sessions ran and with how the images turned out in spite of the chill!
In 2018, I didn't really find my footing in marketing myself as a wedding photographer. I second shot one wedding in the summer, but otherwise mainly spent my time scheduling and shooting family and milestone sessions.
HOWEVER. In November I applied, interviewed, and was hired on as a wedding photographer for Tulips and Ties Photography. I'm looking forward to being a second shooter and learning more from seasoned pros just as much as being able to be a lead shooter. More about this soon!
Anyway, I just wanted to extended a heartfelt thank you to all who hired or referred me in any way this year. I am still in disbelief by the growth in business and I am full of ideas to serve clients even better next year!
I feel like I've been waiting forever to shoot holiday sessions and now they are a thing of the past! Last weekend I photographed several families at WIllow River Tree Farm in Hudson. It had snowed the day before which created a perfectly festive atmosphere for photos! All families did an amazing job of smiling and posing in the cold. I raise my cup of cheer to all of you, well done!
One of my first sessions was for my longtime friend and possibly most regular client, Kristina and her family. This session was extra special because we got to photograph a new baby announcement! I absolutely cannot wait to meet their new addition this summer!
I got to meet Angie, her husband, and four kids last weekend too! I don't get to photograph families of six too often, so I love when the opportunity arises.
I got to photograph my neighbors, the Dumonds. This was so fun and easy. Annnnd I could just eat up that little Isla, she's precious!
These guys can't take a bad picture. I might just frame them and put them on my own wall.
I was lucky to do a couple's session for my friend Sheri and her husband, Jay. Sheri's enthusiasm for photos was absolutely unmatched... She said they hadn't had professional pictures taken of them since their wedding. Challenge accepted, love captured. Jay was such a great sport to go along with all of our ideas and antics. The way he looks at her.... come on! This is couple goals, right here.
So glad they brought the mistle toe... too cute!
The Laine family came out for photos looking fantastically festive. I loved how spirited and energetic Amelia and Eleanor were. It's always a treat to photograph sisters, but getting to meet with twin sisters is definitely extra special and twice the cuteness in every picture.
Lastly, I photographed Jess and her boys. These little fellas love their beautiful mama so much. It was a joy and a privilege to capture their family!
There you have it, holiday minis 2018! There's still time for us to meet at the tree farm this month if you still want Christmas photos! Just let me know, I'll bring the hot chocolate!
It's about to be evergreen as far as the eye can see for the next month! Before I fully transition into holiday mode, I want to share this last lovely session of the fall which was such a great experience. I met with the Ehlenz family, who own two of my favorite restaurants in Stillwater (Pearl and the Thief and Lolo). We strolled the streets of Stillwater and took advantage of the many excellent photo opportunities along the storefronts and the river. I love all the textures and details in that historic town: wood, brick, metal, murals, and more! My brain was on creative overload and I loved every minute of it. We ended our session with some ice cream and some glowy golden hour shots.
Joe and Nicki were such a fun, laid-back couple and they made it so easy to get a big variety of shots, posed and candid, in such a short time. I'm lucky to have met you guys! Thanks again for the fantastic session!
A few weeks ago I got to capture the last of the fall colors in Hudson with my friend Sandra and her kids and grandkids! I've been very fortunate to be asked to photograph several extended family sessions this year. I think it's incredibly special to get grandparents in photos with their kids and grandkids. I hope my calendar keeps filling up with these sessions as they are always a lot of fun and truly fulfilling work for me to do!
Thank you so much, Sandra, asking me to take these photos for your family! It was so nice to meet everyone and hang out for a little bit outside of Zumba!
It's not officially photo season in my book unless I've met up wish Sara and Josh their lovely little ladies, Olivia and Hailey, for pictures. I think this was my fifth session with their family! We opted for Lake Harriet for a location this round. We have previously shot at Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater, and Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. I'm so happy to keep documenting their adorable family!
Hailey just turned one so we took a few extra pics of her for the occasion. She's literally the cutuest!
Thanks again for another great session, guys! It's always a pleasure to get together!
On this wintry November day, I'm going to throw it back to one of my favorite shoots from last month. This was one of the only sunny, warm days in November and I spent it with Melissa, Michael, and their sweet little ones, Madison and Ryan. They were another new-to-me family from Hudson whom I am lucky to have met. We got to shoot during that glowy golden hour, pose with pumpkins, and romp around in the crunchy leaves!
Is it strange that I'm already kind of looking forward to next year's October photo rush again? It was definitely been a busy time, but I absolutely enjoyed it!
Last Saturday morning, the weather thankfully cooperated and I photographed 10 families at Willow River State Park. I felt so fortunate to reunite with familiar faces and to also meet several new families. Here are about 4-5 images from each session that day:
Ta da! It's been a whole lot of me staring at a computer screen this week, but I did so with a smile on my face. I truly appreciate everyone's patience as I edited and got these galleries out. (I've definitely learned that I can't do editing all-nighters!)
I really had a wonderful time working with every single family and I definitely hope to see all of you again in the future!
Recently I met the Mayer family and we took family photos around Hudson, first starting at Birkmose Park and then ending at their newly purchased land (!!!). It was definitely a cold day, but the kids were so great about still cooperating for photos. (Not to mention, we got some cute shots of them bundled in blankets too!)
No matter if I am doing a mini or full session, if there are two parents who attend, I try to always get several pictures of them together alone. Let's be real. Once you have kids, only one of you is in a photo at all times. Those couple photos suddenly become rare occurrences! Even though these guys have been married for awhile, they still have that newly-engaged glow!
Corbin in suspenders... be still my heart!
We wrapped up our session by capturing some darling mommy and me moments with Chelsea and Ezra. I'm still swooning over these pics as well as their entire gallery. Thank you guys so much for asking me to be your photographer this fall!
A couple weeks ago I got to photograph Jess, her husband Nick, and her two kids Nick and Mia. I met Jess at the gym when we first moved to Hudson and I used to frequent her yoga classes while I was trying to survive my last pregnancy (It helped so much physically and mentally!). I was so excited to meet her family this fall and get some photos done for them on their land. I have to say, it is such a cool experience to photograph big kids! They're at this awesome age where they are excited and cooperative for photos (not to mention very sweet and polite), which meant we got tons of shots!
(I love how this shot kind of has a southwest vibe with the rocks, direct sunlight, and blue sky!)
This was such a fun shoot for me! Thanks again for the opportunity to hang out! Let's get together again, k???
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!