RACHAEL HOUSER » photography for couples & families

Last year was my first time at the Bristol Bridal Expo, or any bridal/wedding show for that matter! I was definitely more prepare this time around but the whole experience was still overwhelming! The numbers aren’t out yet but it sure felt close to 300 brides this year, just like last year, and over 150 brides signed up for my engagement session giveaway!

Because of the rebrand I did this past summer, my booth had to have a rebrand of its own! Back in November I started collecting pins on Pinterest of ideas. Three separate pins inspired the look for this year’s booth:

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1. Lace backdrop, 2. Crepe paper streamers, 3. Gold metallic paper garland

I knew I wanted a layered look to my booth backdrop but it had to stay light and airy. My lovely momma found three curtain panels from dun dun DUN Kmart, after searching everywhere else. And they were perfect! But finding crepe paper streamers in the colors I needed (mint green and coral pink) was not working out, but the internet saves the day, as always! This tutorial on how to dye crepe paper did the trick and I was able to create THE PERFECT colored streamers! And I bought scrapbooking paper for the garland, final touch!

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Tada! After months of planning, days of implementing, and hours of set up, the booth came to life!

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Foam matted prints and price cards – WHCC
Business cards – Moo
White leather stools – T.J.Maxx
Frames – Organic Bloom
Custom cookies – Cass & Company
Crepe paper streamers – Walmart!

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Meet my new niece, Khloe!

Khloe is Kelly & Clint’s second child and first girl. I’ve been photographing this little family since big brother Kolton was Khloe’s age – they’re pretty much my first clients ever! You might remember meeting Khloe for the first time during Kelly’s maternity session or the second time during her birth. Trust me, you’ll be seeing A LOT of her in the years to come!

The only downfall to being a natural light photographer is that I’m a slave to the sun. We first attempted Khloe’s newborn session when she was 8 days old but it was completely overcast, so we had to schedule the make up for the day that Clint was taking Kolton to see a big truck show out of town. Needless to say, I was bummed that I didn’t get any shots with them as a family, with Khloe and her daddy or her big brother Kolton. But I know I’ll have plenty of time to do that in the future :)

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Just look at those little lips!

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Our little Khloe was hungry! This happens to be my favorite photo…. probably ever.

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Golly, do I love these two! I’ve known Lexie for YEARS… we went to high school together – she graduated 3 years after I did. She also happens to be my sister-in-law Amy’s best friend AND her and Brian are in the same Sunday School Class as Neil and myself AND Amy and her husband. Yup, we’re all just one big happy family! Speaking of family, Lexie & Brian’s is about grow! In a few short weeks we will welcome Braxton into the world and I can’t WAIT to meet him! Lexie and Brian are going to be amazing parents, they truly have a heart for God and I know they will raise a son who is just as in love with God as he is in love with them!

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As a nurse, I am completely fascinated by the miracle of birth – some day I hope to actually be a midwife! But the closest I can get right now is photographing births. I’ve been dying to for a while and thankfully my sister in law is a sweetheart and gave me the OKAY to photograph her daughter’s birth. This was HUGE for me because I hadn’t photographed a birth yet PLUS getting to see my baby niece being born? There’s nothing better!

When I approached Kelly, a nurse practitioner and flight nurse, and Clint, a paramedic, about photographing the birth of their second child, a baby girl they named Khloe Grace, there wasn’t much arm twisting that had to be done. Their professions made them extremely interested in the process of birth and to see it from a different point of view (i.e., mine) wasn’t something they were going to pass up. Especially if that different point of view could be obtained by their photographer sister in law, who is also a nurse. That would be me ;)

Khloe’s due date just so happen to fall on their son’s birthday, December 31st, but Kolton was a whole 4 weeks early so the whole family was prepared for Khloe to show up sooner rather than later. Once 37 weeks passed we were counting down the days. Any day now! we would say. Still the days ticked by. Christmas came and went and we began to think maybe Khloe was actually going to come on time. Wouldn’t that be nice? Kolton, having been born a tad premature, was a tiny 4 pounds 9 ounces. Kelly’s sister Keisha dreamt that Khloe was born an 8 pound baby. We laughed! Hahahahaha Kelly is just too tiny, Clint is too thin, Kolton was sooo small, no way! We were banking on a 7 pounder at the most!

Friday afternoon, December 27th, Kelly text me to say that she had been having minor contractions and was being admitted into Labor and Delivery at our local hospital for observation. If she didn’t progress within an hour, they’d send her home. I had put myself “on-call” since starting at week 36 and had my bags already packed and ready but I moved my bags to the car, took a shower, and prepared myself for show time! Two hours later, Clint called, progress hadn’t been made, but because Kolton came so fast they wanted to keep her, so I made my way to the hospital – more than excited! This was it! I was not only about to help welcome my baby niece into the world but also photograph my first birth!

Clint was actually the one to catch Kolton when he was born and was such an amazing help then and now for Khloe’s birth! No need to call the nurse when Kelly had to get up and move around! Paramedic Clint unhooked and hooked up everything for Kelly without trouble!

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Kolton hung out in the room with Kelly’s sister Keisha, who is also a nurse practitioner, and Clint’s mom (my mother-in-law) Terri. Slowly but surely, the family was arriving!

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The amazing Dr. Savells and OB nurse Carla! They made such an incredible team! She was also the Dr. when Kolton was born, but again, since he came so fast, she wasn’t there when it happened. She was soooo determined NOT to miss it this time! She came and stayed the entire 6 hours before Kelly even started pushing! I know I’ve picked the best to work with when I finally have a baby!

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Kelly’s family had arrived! Very soon after this picture was taken, Nurse Carla reminded us of the Only 4 Guests Allowed rule. Whoops!

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Kelly’s youngest sister, Kortney, Kolton, and her mom and dad were so supportive! By now, Kelly’s contractions were picking up. Having your water broken will do that to you! But Kelly was and is SUCH a trooper! She was having this baby natural, with only minor pain medication intervention. Turned out, though, when it came time to push, all medication was out of her system. Kelly is my hero!

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Contractions continued and it was time for Kolton to join everyone else in the waiting room. The final kiss from mommy before he wasn’t the baby anymore!

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Kelly almost immediately began missing her little boy so we kept her updated with pictures from the waiting room.

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Kelly had been asking for an orange flavored popsicle for hours and Keisha was able to steal borrow one from another floor. Contractions came and went, but Kelly was enjoying her popsicle!

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One AM was just around the corner and Nurse Carla said the words we were all waiting to hear: It was finally time!

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I just LOVE this picture! There is nothing but adoration in Clint’s eyes as he looks at his brave wife!

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After less than 2 hours of pushing, Khloe Grace, born December 28th, 2013, 2:49am! A she was a big girl! Can you guess how big? We all said 7 pounds and something…. maybe 8. NOPE. Even Keisha dreamt wrong…… 8 pounds, 9 ounces! We all gasped when we were told!

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Another KILLER look from Clint as he carries his newborn baby girl to her momma. I can’t stand the beautiful-ness!

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And finally, my favorite image from the night:

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Clint brings the rest of the family in to meet Khloe. Nothing beats the new big brother meeting his new baby sister for the first time. So sweet!!

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Words cannot express how honored I am, as a photographer and as an aunt, that Kelly and Clint had me photograph the birth of their little girl! Welcome to the world, Khloe Grace!

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Jenna Beach -

Aww you did such a great job! Photographing births is so amazing. <3 Ella was also 8 lb 9 oz.

Linda Fairbanks -

Gods job Rachael…. I cried, it was beautiful and you captured the love .

Nicole Thomas -

Absolutely amazing! You did a great job capturing such a beautify event! Thanks for sharing

Great Great Aunt Cathy Hopkins -

What a beautiful family and story. I did not realize how much Kelly looked like her mother until I saw these pictures. Deb, I know you are so proud of your girls and grandchildren.

Love and prayers for all of you.

Khloe’s, Great Great Aunt Cathy

Barbie Parr -

This was awesome and they will cherish it forever. Very beautifully portrayed.

Robyn turner -

Absolutely beautiful pictures! Congrats to you all!

emily smith -

The pictures you took are beyond amazing!! You are an awesome photographer!! Clint and Kelly are so blessed to have you in their lives!!!!