Abby & Zach's adventurous e-sesh

It's been so long since I blogged, and I've photographed so many wonderful people such beautiful love that I literally wasn't sure where to start. So naturally, I asked my child to pick one picture (I had a dozen for her to choose from) and she chose this e-sesh.

Zach and Abby. SUCH. TROOPERS, y'all! I warned them it was a hike. Especially taking things slow to avoid getting sweaty. And they did it with such grace and smiles on their face the entire time. Want to know the most insane part?! At one point, when they were in the stream alongside a giant wall of mountain laurel, Abby grabbed onto the Laurel to steady herself and a SNAKE... a flippin' SNAKE fell out of the laurel right in front of Zach. We screamed (Abby + I. Zach was cool as a cucumber), we laughed, and we decided we had enough photos in front of the mountain laurel wall ;)

I am SO excited for their wedding next October - not only because I know it will be gorgeous, but because their love is infectious and just being around them, together - you can't help but smile. 

Emily & Jared | Engagement | |S'mores, cabins & lotsa love

Some of my favorite e-sesh's are when I can just have fun walking around with the couple and explore - talking to them and letting their true personalities' and their relationship shine through (with no pinterest shot list) and just relish in their appreciation for a journalistic/lifestyle approach to photos. I live for this stuff, guys. So, cheers to exploring, laughter, mountain towns and warm snuggles by a campfire with s'mores. 

”This is a tough email to write - but it's important,” was how the email Kiley wrote me just two weeks ago started.

June 2, 2018 was to be the day Kiley, Travis and their amazing kids came together as one family.

When Kiley sent me that email, she explained:

Her father's health has been deteriorating and they decided to have a very small, intimate wedding ceremony in the chapel of the VA hospital where he has been staying. She reached out to me in hopes that I was still available at such short notice.  By some chance, I was. And the second I finished reading her email, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I needed to capture these memories for them.

Several days later, Kiley emailed again explaining that her father wanted to surprise her mother - his wife of 46 years - by renewing their vows after they walked their daughter down the aisle, together.

When I arrived at the chapel that night, everyone was under the assumption that Kiley's father would be in his portable hospital bed.  As the time of the ceremony drew near, a nurse brought him to the chapel, but - he wasn't in his hospital bed. He was in a wheelchair. When Travis heard (not having seen him at this point) - that is future father-in-law  insisted on taking his daughter down the aisle in a wheelchair, instead of his hospital bed - his eyes filled with tears at the incredibly meaningful gesture.

Kiley and Travis had originally planned to have a first look for their June wedding - but, this was different.  They wanted to see one another for the first time, as Kiley walked down the aisle with both her parents. Instead, they stood back to back, exchanged letters and shared a tearful prayer together.

Later that night, Travis surprised Kiley and her father with a special Father Daughter dance. While a meaningful song played, together they looked through years and years of their memories together, compiled in a beautiful photo album that Travis somehow managed to put together in this short amount of time.

They'll still say, "I do" on June two - celebrating with friends and family, but as they told me in an email a few days after their chapel wedding, "It was exactly what we were supposed to do and we wouldn't have changed a thing."

Let's call it, "Throwback Tuesday" | Gray Wedding

Well, here we are again: a month-ish from my last blog post. But, there are only so many hours in a day, and between motherhood and a mother-load of work and galleries to get out  - the blog was put on pause. 

So, let me take you back to a beautiful day in October. Not too hot, not too cold - and not a raindrop in sight *silent cheers*.

Vanessa and I drove to Elkton, Maryland for Valerie and Josh's wedding.  It was an incredibly special and intimate day.  The two opted to have just a very small handful of people witness their private greenhouse ceremony - with guests arriving later to party the night away. 

Shortly after the ceremony, Josh became chauffeur and we all loaded up in their vehicle to get an off-site location: a beautiful running trail Val and her Vizsla, Whiskey, frequently run - and where Josh proposed. At the parking lot, we were met by two locals with gators who then chauffeured all of us into the prettiest part of the trail. It was i n c r e d i b l e.

But don't take my word for it - take a look for yourself!

 

Hey, I still blog! | Cummings Family | Fall session

Whoa, it's been a while, right? I haven't blogged since S e p t e m b e r ! That's far too long, but I've been busy busy busy. Since then - 8 weddings, 8 engagements and lots of other sessions - including - this sweet family.  

I actually knew Sam yeaaaars ago, when I milked cows with him back in middle school.  It wasn't until I met my husband that I met Meghan, when we would go line dancing. Small world, since I had no idea she was married to Sam. Annnywho. Fast forward however many years and they've got little Sam - and boy is he a charmer! I had so much fun with them during this late fall session - and the sunlight just rocked it!

Becca & Bryan | Brick Gables

Becca & Bryan's wedding was just downright fun. And I only use "fun" because a far better adjective escapes me at the moment. From start to finish, everyone (and I mean everyone) was having the time of their lives. The day began at the Hampton Inn, in Manheim - almost entirely blocked off by wedding guests - all in to celebrate from New York (where the bride grew up) and New Jersey (the groom's home state.)

Most of the guys were football players, and everyone was either an athlete or huge sports enthusiast. You'll see evidence of that throughout their photos.

Their reception was at the stunning Brick Gables - and I've never shot a wedding where EVERY single guest (almost 200 of them) was on the dance floor - including grandparents - for way more than just the Cha Cha Slide.

Becca, Bryan, their friends, family and bridal party made me feel like I'd known them for years. I'll be talking about this one for a while!

 

Fresh 48 | Ella | Hershey Medical Center

Fresh 48's, folks: there's nothing like them. The first days with a little one, when everything is so new and full of wonder and excitement and emotion - the teeniest, tiniest details . . . they're one of my favorite types of sessions.  Sometimes, visitors come to the hospital while I'm there, and I got lucky enough to capture FOUR generations on BOTH sides of this little one' family. How incredible is that? Miss Ella June came into this world in August and she's just perfect. 

Gina & Frank | Lauxmont Farms

Gina & Frank got married on a scenic hilltop overlooking the Susquehanna River. They had such a blast getting ready for the event with their bridal party - and what a beautiful event it was! The evening wound down with a campfire and s'mores on the hilltop and a 50-person train that went both indoors and out. They couldn't have asked for a more beautiful night.

Leighton | Half-Birthday

It poured for Leighton and her 6 month session with her sweet parents (and grandparents!) But we didn't let that ruin the evening. There was no shortage of gummy smiles and there may or may not have been a piglet! Seriously, though . . . if you need a Tuesday pick-me-up. Here ya go. And you're welcome.

Rachel & Justen | Wildflower & waterside engagement

This engagement session felt like a photo shoot for a Nicholas Sparks book cover. Rachel and Justen (who proposed to Rachel in his home state of South Carolina) were full of sweet, romantic moments and genuine laughter. Vanessa joined me to second shoot this session - as did Mark for some drone captures, and it was just a dream. Wildflowers, canoes and the cutest little dock! So excited for their beautiful Fall wedding!

 

Ashlea & Joe | Adventurers' engagement

This engagement session was otherworldly. The location (we keep it a secret for our adventurous clients) is unlike any other place I've ever been. Hidden lake, mountain streams, laurel passages and fern + moss for days. . .  I knew it was right up Ashley & Joe's alley. Hubby ( and handsome, bearded drone pilot) Mark came along for the fun and photographed from above. Tell me you don't want to book a session with us here! 

Bair Family | Rain or Shine

I'd never met Laurel & Jake when I got a text message from them for an in-home family / newborn session after welcoming home their little girl, Ramsey. Fast forward six months and Laurel and I are planning park & pool dates for our little girls and she's become a friend that I truly cherish having. Funny how those things work, huh? 

They had a few things in mind to celebrate Ramsey's half birthday.  So we headed to a park in Laurel's jurisdiction.  (Have I mentioned this awesome Momma is a LEO?!) Not long after we got there, it started to drizzle. The drizzle turned into a downpour.  I'll let the photos do the talking, though. We most certainly didn't let the weather dampen the day! 

Hello! It's been a while.

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It’s been quite some time that I’ve done an intro.  So, hello to everyone that’s new to my blog and hello again to everyone who knows that girl holding the camera. I’m Rachel :D As you can tell from my feed, I’m not often in front of the camera.  I much prefer to be creatively scheming behind it, but sometimes, a bride asks for a fun mirror selfie with you while getting ready for the biggest day of her life and you happily oblige - and end up loving the photo so much (also, kind of in-front-of and behind the camera at the same time on this one - tricky tricky!)  One of the most amazing feelings is knowing that, throughout the wedding planning process - between coffee dates, text messages, engagement sessions and being with a bride the whole day of her wedding - you’ve become friends. 

I love that part: connecting with brides and building that relationship so they know that - they can not only trust you to capture their most important day - but they can lean on you for advice, suggestions, or a text message anytime to ask a question or to share something they’re excited about. 

If you can’t tell - I love what I do. . . capturing the little things and the big feelings. 

 

Jessica & Bradley | Middletown, PA

When Tinder finds your perfect match, you can't help but have some faith in social media.  Brad and Jessica tied the knot on June 3rd, 2017 at a beautiful farm in Middletown, PA. Pygmy goats, trampolines, and never-ending sparklers filled their day with spontaneous fun.  Words of advice? Don't be a skeptic next time you SWIPE RIGHT!

Sarah & Marty | Sea Isle Engagement

When a couple you meet once in a small coffee shop dreams of having engagement photos taken at the family beach house and invite not only you - but your hubby + baby, too - to come down for an engagement sesh getaway . . . you go! Sarah & Marty were incredibly sweet and have the most hospitable family!

The trip included the best (no, seriously - b e s t) sticky buns, steamed crabs, warm sunlight, lots of  beach snuggles and a fierce game of tag. Even Coralie loved her first time at the beach (in fact, she pouted every step of the way as we headed off the beach - further and further from the seashells.)

Sarah & Marty - thank you for being amazing! June 2018 cannot come soon enough! 

Welcome to the world, Preston Raines!

Just a few weeks ago

I was taking Sam & Charlie's maternity photos as they anxiously awaited the arrival of their little boy (how amazing did she look at 36 weeks?!)

Preston Raines arrived fashionably late (he's sorry, Mama) - but boy, is he CUTE! 

I absolutely love in-home family/newborn sessions.  Capturing those tiny details and overlooked moments so they can become cherished memories is just my favorite. Also - I fell in love with Calvin (a quadruped) - Preston's older brother.  Just wait until you see them together!

Meet Rachel

Hi, friends!  For those of you who haven't met me yet, I'm Rachel: lover of dogs, war documentaries, mud masks, my daughter's post-bath hair and my husband's crepes on Sunday mornings.  

Even though my first wedding of 2017 is already in the books, I'm so excited for wedding season to "officially" start.  During off-season, you can find me capturing the precious first days of a little one and their family; getting creative with custom projects for etsy shop owners; or up on the rooftop (or deep down in the mechanical room) of commercial buildings in big cities for manufacturer clients.  

I'm blessed to be able to do a variety of work and getting to go new places to do so.  Everyday is an adventure! 

Meet Rachel.  She's a boss behind the camera, but usually looks awkward in front of it. . . unless there's an absurd Snapchat filter. 

Meet Rachel.  She's a boss behind the camera, but usually looks awkward in front of it. . . unless there's an absurd Snapchat filter.