i told you all i would be terrible at blogging. and here i am. terrible at blogging. what can i say - i’m a woman of my word. but i’m so glad you clicked on this one. i hope you read the whole thing.

i started to talk about this on our instastory last night but i decided that writing it down would be better - for me and for making sure it reached as far as i wanted it to! so here we go:

one of my best friends in the world, casey, has 3 daughters and i spend a lot of time with them. my nieces aren’t local and their aunts aren’t either so our relationship is special. they are my constant entertainment, that’s for sure! i would do anything for them. and i believe they believe that.

their story is just that: theirs. i’m sharing a little about it here because i know my audience: i know i have one and i know how they’ve shown up before. the short story is this: blake, their oldest daughter, is 15 and on friday, was diagnosed with lymphoma. today, they received their treatment plan. she starts fighting medically next week. she started fighting mentally right away.

i’ve spent the better part of the last few days feeling pretty helpless. and then feeling annoyed with myself for feeling helpless. :) being in a family that has repeatedly been in need during medical crisis myself, i know the rule of sally spears (my mom). “don’t ever say ‘let me know if there’s anything i can do’. see what needs done and do it.”

(that’s pretty good advice, by the way.)

so how i can help? i’ve already started my list. how can you help? well. that’s what’s brought us here.

a cancer diagnosis should not financially cripple a family. that it does here in our country is so incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking. there are already other friends & family creating ways for people to help. this is ours.

that new lifestyle session i announced last week - remember that? sold some discounted ones, gave one away? gonna give another away.

what do you have to do? buy your chance to win it - with the money going directly to the glover family. the session’s value is $500. $25 gets your name in the drawing to win it. you can surely buy more chances than that if you’d like - but that’s it. $25. i’ll draw a winner on saturday (the 8th).

i heard my mama’s words several times yesterday. “do what you see needs done.” i heard them when i sat with blake on the couch last night. she needed to feel 15. so we looked at snapchat filters. :) and i heard them when another friend called to pass along some advice about financial programs at CCHMC. “raise a little money to help.”

so that’s what we’re doing.

if you’d like to purchase a chance to win the lifestyle session, click HERE. you can do so through friday at 11:59pm.

this is very much blake and her family’s journey. but i’m sure as hell going to walk it with them. thank you for coming alongside as well. we’re all we’ve got. and i’m very grateful that i have all of you.



“the deep roots never doubt spring will come.”

- marty rubin


it's been like super cold.

if you have facebook, you know this. people love to talk about the weather - that didn't change when we stopped talking face to face and became addicted to screens. #cynic

spring's here now. at least for this week. did we actually doubt it would come? maybe you did. which would be weird cause, like, eternal winter's aren't a thing here. :) i doubt you did though. you were just probably like me - frustrated it wasn't here yet. and cold. super cold.


“that is one good thing about this world...there are always sure to be more springs.” - anne of avonlea

if you don't know this about me, i have a bachelor's degree in philosophy. this is probably the most annoying thing about me {that or ordering pizza with me and all i eat is cheese so then you have to only get cheese and you're like "it's fine. really." but in actuality, you're like "omg stop eating like a 6 year old."}. i find meaning in everything. i see the bigger picture always. i find a deeper meaning in the most shallow of things. 

and for me, there's something about waiting for spring. outside, most everything dies in the winter months. literally dies. because it's so cold, we often retreat to our homes, limiting our interactions with each other. when the temperatures dip low enough to hurt, we're sad for the ones left out in it. when the snow piles up, we peek through the blinds earlier than we would normally get up to see if the salt trucks have been out yet. frustrated, we sit on highways in the dark, wishing the temp on the dash said something like 65. 

i've had full years of winter.

not the weather. the suffering. the waiting. 

in fact, once upon a time, i lost everything I thought i needed to be happy.

that winter lasted about 2.5 years.

but then spring came. 

sure as the sun, it came.


we might have to wait longer than we want sometimes for flowers to bloom. yeah, it'll snow in april on occasion. life will suck. our life winters can last. my god, can they last. 

but hold on just a little bit longer.

cause spring always comes. and life always gets warmer. 


this i promise you {cincinnati wedding photographer}

in addition to being a pretty awful/awesome nsync song {that i just got stuck in your head, #sorrynotsorry}, these 4 words are basically what weddings are about. right? two people making a promise to share their lives, families and friends promising to support and encourage, groomsmen promising not to get sloppy drunk {let's just be honest here}, and so on and so on.

it's about promises from your vendors too. and not just the ones made in the contract between us.   


I promise to become BFF with your bridesmaids. 


i promise that i will cry when your dad sees you. 


cross my heart, hope to die, I will get chill bumps up and down my arms at your first kiss.


all those details you worked so hard on? I promise to help you remember those {but hopefully not remember how many hours you spent with a hot glue gun}.


and this moment with your dad? i got you.


i promise to fawn over your dress. just. trust me. i'm gonna do it. I'll probably be dramatic about it.


i promise to flip out over your jewelry and shoes. and well, basically, everything you're wearing. you're gonna be like "k, rach. you think I look good. noted." 


I promise to ask all your friends to get as close to you as they can so you can always remember your friendships exactly as they were that day - carefree and loyal.


I promise to give your family beautiful photos to fill frames they'll show off to their friends for years.


...and I promise to eat some macarons. especially if you made them yourself. 


your sisters fighting to the end to catch your bouquet? I promise to capture that.


and whenever we have some time together - just the two of you and me - whether before the ceremony or after, I promise to let you be yourselves.


and after all the promises you'll make, your family and friends will make and yes, i'll make - there's one more from me. I promise that I won't go home from work the day of your wedding and never care about you again. I won't forget your name or your face. I won't cash my check and just file you away. how do I know this? I'm 11 years in and i haven't broken that promise yet. 

oh the places you'll go

i just want to point out that it's only been a month since i last blogged and for this girl that wasn't sure if she was gonna be able to blog more than once a year....once a month is BALLER STATUS.

i'll wait while you clap for me....

....if you're done, we can continue {oh man, flashback to mrs. chamberlin's 8th grade math class when she'd stop teaching as i failed at whispering to my best friend}.

i know that i'm a wedding photographer and that this blog should be all about that and should have lots of keywords like cincinnati wedding photographer {my SEO guy is so happy that i got that in there} but i've told you before, i'm just not cut out for that. i'll be sharing tips and that kinda stuff on our IG instastory and always sharing beautiful photos on IG and FB but this blog - this is mainly for you to get to know me.

cause with what i do for a living? man, do i get to know you. {it's like, the coolest part of the job, by the way.}


i went to Mexico last week. 

now i've been to Mexico before - to the Atlantic side - white beaches, blue water, souvenir shops a'plenty - and in it's own right, it's wonderful. but the west coast? where i went this time? holy. HOLY.

do you watch bachelor in paradise? of course you do. apparently, we were just a few miles from the private beach they shoot at. you know how it's this incredible mix of jungle and beach? how it looks mostly untouched and not americanized? yeah. 


it was amazing. the Pacific is COLD but incredible and i not-very-gracefully snorkeled in it's deep deep waters. i followed a jungle path up the side of a mountain to a spa tucked in the trees and had one of the best massages of my life {also. one of the funniest stories of my life. but you'll have to ask me about that one in person}. ate incredible food, saw incredible views, laughed until i cried with my favorites and new friends, broke two toes and fell a few times {doesn't matter where i am, guys, i'm still me}, and got to experience a place for the first time.

which is my absolute favorite thing to do. a passport full of stamps is like a badge of honor for me. even within these fifty states - getting to experience a new one is a high for me. guys. even within this big/little city of ours, finding a gem in a suburb that i've never been makes me happier than a kid in a candy store {unless the hidden gem i found was a candy store and THEN, it makes me, well, just that happy}. 

i've been a good amount of places but there's still a majority of the world i haven't seen, a lot of world i may never see. but i'm going to try my hardest to see as much of it as i can while i'm here - from neighborhoods in Cincinnati, to the Grand Tetons {bucket list}, to Poland {major bucket list. it's happening}. 


well, cause for one - that creative, aesthetic part of me just swoons. i notice every detail. one of my favorite photos i've ever taken was at 15,000 feet in the Andes Mountains. the picture is beautiful to anyone's eye. to me? i remember everything about the experience when I see it- the smell, the jokes we made on the hike, the cow that charged me...

Huaraz, Ancash, Peru 

Huaraz, Ancash, Peru 

but the biggest encouragement i could give you? seeing a world outside of your own reminds you how small you are. meeting people from different places teaches you. it teaches you a lot. last Saturday, we took a 6:30am van ride to a marina so we could go to a private beach and have fun. i looked out the window on the drive through the city and to my surprise, there were quite a lot of people out in the dark of the morning. i watched them. and i was reminded that they are loved, broken, and have a purpose. these people outside of rachel's little world have meaning, have worth. people are not statistics, they are not narratives. they are important.

nothing teaches you to love better like experiencing this world. i'm grateful to my friends for the experience to explore a little piece of it i hadn't before. if you can, travel. explore. learn. and if you can't leave the city you reside in, learn a little more about it. go to dinner in a neighborhood you avoid. volunteer in an area you criticize. google 'things to do' in your city and find out there's some really cool things you never knew about it.

Las Caletas, Jalisco, Mexico

Las Caletas, Jalisco, Mexico

i'm bad at 39580238593285 things. but i try to find ways to be better all the time. evolving as a person is the best thing i can do for the people in my life - both personal and professional. no experience is lost on me. and i'm eternally grateful for this one.



last night in Mexico. crappy phone pic, amazing people.

last night in Mexico. crappy phone pic, amazing people.

boudoir! {boo-dwah? boo-dwar?}

however it's pronounced, it's flippin' awesome.

i've photographed a lot of boudoir sessions. they're kinda my thing.

{i know what you're thinking: aren't weddings your thing? yes. okay, i have two things. just...go with it.}

Cincinnati boudoir photographers

i've photographed women who were PUMPED to do it and women who were SCARED to death...

...until they got there. 

i think it's bold and empowering to be honest about what you're good at so let me tell you something i'm good at {don't worry, i'm well aware of and honest about what i'm not good at too. like quiet time. not good at quiet time. #chattycathy}.

i'm really good at making people feel comfortable at their boudoir sessions. first reason for that? I'M comfortable and i'm EXCITED. second - i'm proud of you for doing it - for those of you that do it for someone else and for those of you that do it for yourself.



let me tell ya - this is not a gift that will get returned. well, cause i don't have a return policy on this...cause that'd be weird. but mainly because THEY WILL LOVE IT. they love YOU. i asked a client who did it for a gift what her experience was like and this is what she had to say:

i knew from early on in our engagement that i wanted to give my fiancé this gift for the wedding! but man, did i do whatever i could to put it off!! :) once i finally did it, i couldn’t have even believed how wonderful the whole experience was. rachel met me at the brideface studio so we got to chat the whole time nancy did my makeup {which was stunning!} and the session was surprisingly comfortable and so exciting. the gallery of photos is beyond gorgeous and i ended up having rachel design an album for me {which was not my original plan but worked out way better in the long run!} which saved me hours of trying to figure out how to design something myself and turned out SO BEAUTIFUL! my fiancé, now husband, was thrilled with his wedding gift and i’m forever grateful to rachel for celebrating me and making me feel beautiful.

insert all the tears and happy faces. friends - this wasn't even one of my brides, {i definitely wanted to mention that - if you're thinking "you're not my wedding photographer!" - that doesn't matter. i can be your boudoir photographer!} so there was no history, just a few hours spent together on a tuesday morning and the results were beyond what she imagined or i could want: beautiful photos, confident client, new friendship. 


well then, love, i'm over here wavin' my hanky at you. 40th birthday? do it. worked super hard and want to celebrate a body change? GIRL. yes. want to celebrate yourself in the middle of this hard thing we call life? check out what one of my clients had to say about that:

doing a boudoir session with rachel was a decision i’ll never regret. it was something i felt i should do - well because it was during one of the darkest times of my life. of course no gal wants to show it all for photos that she is probably going to nitpick apart. well, i did it and i didn’t pick anything apart! i loved every photo and every “flaw” i had because it was me and i saw what a strong woman i was. when you enter that room with rachel, you enter a no-judgment zone. it’s an area where she tells you how beautiful you are over and over. it’s also a time to be free and be you, and she helps you get there. do yourself a favor because you deserve it, even in the darkest of times.

holy. ^^^ that's reason enough for me to keep doing this. and i hope it's reason enough for you to do it too! 


well first of all - join the club. :) second - one of the first things most of my clients mention is what the giftee really likes about her. hand to God, most of the time, it's like "my eyes or my smile" - something totally sweet and not nakey-nakey. but then they'll shyly say....."well, and he really likes my butt" or "i've been killin' it in the gym so lots of leggy shots" or something like that :), and then, unsolicited, "but can we maybe try to hide my stomach?" or "you're gonna like help a girl out in photoshop right?"...

i'll never ask you what you want to hide. that's not for me to decide and i think you're perfect. but i also want you to love these pictures so your wish is my command. i did a session this past year where she was probably 60% covered the entire session {promise, true story!} and the pictures were some of the sexiest boudoir photos i've ever taken. this doesn't have to be naked - in fact, it rarely is. 


now, we are like queens of positivity over here and i will genuinely fawn all over you {in the least creepy way possible} the whole time we're together, but i'm also a girl's girl and YES: airbrush tans, a little waxy wax, manicured nails, professional hair and/or makeup - we'll always encourage that. for more than the aesthetic of the pictures - for how it makes you feel. you feel beautiful? you look beautiful.

speaking of professional makeup - we work exclusively with brideface and our boudoir sessions include makeup by them. #asifthiscouldntgetbetter :) we like to protect our clients' privacy so if you are interested and want to see a gallery of what a real session looks like, and how baller the makeup is, we can provide access to that.


i sure hope so, i'm working suuuuuper hard over here. ;)

the details of what are sessions include are HERE and at your session, i'll show you what our albums look like {they are GORGEOUS} and you can decide on your own if you want to create your own gift/memory or let us. 

let me finish with this: i don't think you need to take your clothes off and take pictures to be sexy. not even one bit. in case you're confused by me wanting you to do a boudoir session as a gift to someone else because you're well aware of my "i am woman, hear me roar" tendency, let me reassure you: i want you to do this for you. you are allowed to celebrate your body, your beauty, your sexiness - on your terms. i'm just here to help you own it. :) 


even if it's a bunch of questions cause you wanna do it but you're freaking out....don't worry. i'm used to that. :) there are a lot of cincinnati boudoir photographers - i'd love to be yours.

xo, rachel

a box of photographs.

remember that jack johnson song? better together? i always loved that line - "a shoebox of photographs with sepia-toned loving." to me, it felt like nostalgia explained. 

i read something the other day on reddit that actually broke my heart. i mean it. It was one of those stop-me-in-my-tracks and i-hate-that-i-ever-had-to-grow-up moments. ready for this? brace yourselves....

at some point in your childhood, you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time and nobody knew it.
— some jerk on reddit

see guys? i had to pick myself up off the flippin' floor. what followed in the replies were more "lasts" you didn't know you were having and by the end of the thread, i was sad and nostalgic for things i push to the corners of my mind like we all do.

this isn't just about our childhoods either.

i had a conversation at some point this year with someone and it was our last. i couldn't tell you what was said or where we were but i know that the conversation came and passed and neither of us knew it would be the last we'd have. 

at some point, you'll hug your mom for the last time. one day, you'll pick up your son and hold him for the last time. he'll kiss you goodnight for the last time. she'll read you a book for the last time. you'll cook together for the last time. you'll all live under the same roof for the last time. you'll play that card game for the last time. you'll share a bottle of wine for the last time. you'll answer his phone call for the last time. you'll make music together for the last time. you'll listen to music together for the last time. you'll hear her laugh for the last time. you'll go on a walk with him for the last time. you'll sit in her kitchen and eat brown sugar toast for the last time. 

ok, now that i have you all in your feelings {i just didn't want to be here all on my own}, let me get to my point {i'm sure you're like, why did she bring us here to make us SAD?!} :

i found a photo tonight of me and the friend i mentioned above. it took me back to a different time. just yesterday, i sorted through old pictures to find one of a dear friend and me from about 1996 simply because yesterday was her birthday and embarrassing each other on birthdays is just what friends are supposed to do. last week, on the 11th, i looked at pictures of me and my grandfather on the anniversary of the day we lost him.

we take photographs as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.
— katie thurmes

i know that some of you are looking back at pictures wistfully, even pictures just taken this year.

for some of you, i took those pictures.

i'm glad you have them.

i'm glad i have them.

for all those "lasts" we didn't know we were having, i'm glad that we have photos to take us back and remind us of what our memories might have forgotten. it is an honor i do not take lightly that i get to capture those moments for so many people. 

so thank you. from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

for trusting me, and allowing me, to photograph you with your mama, to photograph you holding your wiggly toddler, to photograph you dancing with you grandpa at your wedding, to photograph YOU. another year of work for me all too often includes "last" photographs for several of my clients. but another year of work for me also includes "first" photographs. first smile, first step, first kiss, first dance, first birthday... i am so grateful for that.

the circle of life keeps rollin'. even as this year ends, we're given the first day of a new one. and while memories and photos keep us nostalgic for time gone by, the future is bright.

so as we end this year, let's not lament the "lasts". let's be thankful for the time we had, the love we shared, the memories we made, and the photos we have to remind us of how we lived.

here's to 2018. 










holiday gift certificates!

happy holidaysssssss.

i hope that's in your head now. my brother in law sings JUST that line of the song over and over and over again from about mid-november until the new year. it's, charming. 

just a reminder {or maybe you didn't even know!} that we not only have gift certificates available for sessions with me but we ALSO have them available for the print store!

so maybe you look all goooood in your wedding pictures and want to print some for mama but not sure what she'll want? get her a gift certificate to use in our print store!

{cue the tears. i mean. she just loves you, baby.}

OR maybe you're the mama and your girl has really wanted a photo shoot with me for her and her family - yep, session gift certificates are available too.

email us today!

and well, happy holidaysssssssss.



I'm doing summer different this year. and so should you.

first, i would like to note that i said i was going to be bad at blogging. and would you look at that? i am. :) oh well, tis better to blog 4 times a year than to never have blogged at all. or something. 

we are so much closer to summer than it feels {especially at the moment when it's 44 degrees and rainy}. and the next 2 months are going to fly by. summer is a big time for us here. we start our wedding season this week and our last wedding of the year is.....december 29th...with a whole lot of that work being in those prime warm months. aside from weddings, i always have a TON of family/senior/kiddo sessions in the summer because hello? it's beautiful.

you know what i don't get to do a whole lot in the summer anymore? go to reds games. which is like, my favorite thing to do on the face of the earth. i don't get to go to the pool much. i bought my new house last spring and told everyone i was going to have a backyard BBQ in the summer to celebrate my new home. i didn't. there wasn't any time for that. i can't drive up to my sister's or grandmother's or down to my brother's because in the summer, i have at least one session pretty much every single day. i formally started my side biz last year. but there's not much time to actually get in the shop and build anything to sell. and my clients? they're waiting on me longer than they should to turn around photos because i have so, so, so many to cull and edit. 

that sounded a lot like complaining. i promise, it isn't. it's just reality. one i have to change.

i want to {on a WHIM - which isn't possible at all for me in my current way of life}, spend an entire summer evening on my back porch with friends i texted that same day to come over to grill. 

and guess what?

you should do that too. 

you should go to reds games {for the love of pete rose, they're gonna need us.} you should take your kids to smale park to play in the water. you should have an impromptu walk with your neighbor {especially if they have a pool cause then you're totally gonna get invited}. you should visit your mamaw more, too.

i thought long and hard about how i was going to do that. how i could do right by my clients, and my family + friends, and myself {okay, and my dogs} and still provide the best experience for those clients, the most present version of myself for my family + friends, and enough of the solitude and quiet that my soul needs - without anyone losing.

now, that's going to take some major disciplines in my personal life, but that's for another blog. as far as this business? i've found a way.

outside of weddings, engagement sessions, and boudoir sessions, {which will also have specific days of availability as well}, i will only do ONE lifestyle session {family, senior, kiddo, etc} on tuesdays and ONE lifestyle session on thursdays every week. 

that's it.

2 lifestyle sessions a week this summer. i won't have to rush off from you for another shoot. you'll have my total attention. we can go anywhere in the city you want. we'll have everything planned together beforehand and i won't get the ideas of two sessions confused because - well you're it for me that day. she naps at 10? cool, we'll start at 1. it's gonna be 99 degrees? morning session, here we come. it's your day. i'll come to your home. we'll go downtown. the kids can end the session with ice cream and the pictures will be messy and memorable and delivered to you in a couple days, instead of a couple weeks. it'll be different. 

i'll be different.

i am different.

so that means starting June 13th and going through September 28th, i'll be strict to this schedule :) and you need to be on that schedule. :) some of you have been with me for so long, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming along this journey with me - in fact, July marks 10 years. i can hardly believe it. maybe you're new to me? come be a part. you might hire me to be your photographer but i'm going to make you be my friend. just ask anyone else. :) 

want to get on the schedule? have more questions about what these lifestyle sessions look like? think you have time but then it's gonna be august and you're gonna want to be on my september schedule but can't?? :) {guys. it happens every year.} shoot us an email.

thanks for being with me as i constantly evolve as a photographer, but more importantly - as a person. and as always, thank you so much for allowing me the honor of photographing you + yours. 


i'm probably not going to be good at this.

just a fair warning, i'm probably going to suck at this.

like, really suck.

i mean, if you're looking for a photographer's blog where i spotlight all of my clients and talk about tips and stuff, i'm telling you now, i'm just going to suck. 

every day, i get on social media and see my friends killing it - instagram posts every day for their businesses, blog posts every week {or more!?} and i know i'm supposed to be doing that, i know every guru out there would be telling me to, but i just can't be who i'm not. 

and that's not me.

{disclaimer: just because it's not be doesn't mean it's not awesome. i'm super proud of them. for real.}

i'm an oversharer. i'm a line blurrer. professional rachel is pretty much the same as everyday rachel {maybe with less swearing. maybe.}. i can't post a picture from one of my weddings with an Anais Nin excerpt. like, i just can't. 

but i can probably be a little raw. a little honest. i'll definitely be sharing photos that mean something to me. i'll definitely be documenting life, and since my lines are blurred, that includes this work life of weddings. so if you're on board for that, and are prepared that i might blog 10 times one week and then not a word for 4 months, i hope you'll stick around. 

cause i'm a lot of bad things. but i'm a pretty good writer and a damn good photographer. and i'd love to share both of those things with you.