Rachael Houser Photography » Wedding Photographer based in Western Kentucky

It’s almost The New Year!!!! Before I jump head-over-heels into 2014 I want to make sure I post my Christmas 2013 post. Lord knows I waited WAY too long last year :/

Please enjoy my Christmas Eve with my family and Neil’s…

I finally dug out my late grandfather’s camera bag and what do you know! He had a macro lens that fit my Mark III! I had some fun photographing my rings before I photographed our Christmas decor.

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Don’t hold me to this but I’m hoping this will be the last year we decorate a fake Christmas tree. Also, this should be one of last times you see carpet in our living room! OOO suspense!

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I decorated the mantel similar to last year because I liked it but next year will different because the mantel will be different! Do you notice a lot of foreshadowing here??

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Christmas Eve morning was spent at my mom and dad’s, helping them prepare for my mom’s side of the family. Below is the absolutely stunning red velvet cheese cake my mom made from scratch. Holy cow! I took more pictures of it than anything because I think it deserves to be in a magazine! I’ll be posting the recipe soon – it was not just gorgeous, it was the best thing I ate this Christmas season! No joke!

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It isn’t the holidays without the dogs! And Neil stands in for yet another test shot. Love that patient man!

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Neil and Benny and my brother John and Aly <3 And John and his dogs, Daisy and Lilly.

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My immediate family with my mom’s mom and our little family in front of the Christmas tree.

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My mom reading her Christmas Story trivia. Pretty sure I was the only one serious about playing ;)

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Fast forward a few hours to Neil’s immediate family’s Christmas. After the church services, we met up at Neil’s brother’s house for Mexican. Not your typical Christmas meal but it was very delicious. I can do Mexican pretty much any day!

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Below is the result of my almost 4 year old nephew playing with my camera. I am very thankful the Mark III is so heavy duty because Kolton is constantly asking to use it!

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I stole it back to document the opening of presents…

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And our annual Christmas tree picture! Notice my sister-in-law about ready to pop? Well, she had baby Khloe on the 28th! YUP! I have another niece!! Who’s birth I got to photograph! More on than later as well!

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Jeannie -

Lovely! You look stunning as always, and your family looks happy and healthy. I can’t wait to hear about photographing the birth–maybe we should team up and be an unstoppable doula/birth photographer duo? ;)

Near the beginning of November we got together with Neil’s family for Thanksgiving and to take our family Christmas picture(s). I had already taken Clint & Kelly’s Christmas pictures so all that was left was Tim & Amy’s and the big family picture. Amy took a couple of me and Neil for our Christmas card but I procrastinated in ordering the cards. I’m so glad I did! Because a month later we had our first snow of the season and it was a big one! After Neil snapped a few pictures for me I set up my tripod and was able to capture three, yes, only three pictures but it was all I needed.

The office will be closed for the holidays and will re-open December 30th. All emails and calls will be returned at that time. Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one!


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Several years ago, more specifically 7 years ago, here in the south there was no First Look. In fact, there was no Traditional Reveal because there was no need to differentiate and put a title to it. There was no option: it just was. The first time the bride and groom saw each other was when the bride walks down the aisle. So, naturally, we didn’t know any different and it didn’t bother us.


Fast forward to just two years ago when I became a wedding photographer and First Looks were a thing and for good reason too. Suddenly, brides had an option and I wanted to give it to them. At first I was unbiased but the more I saw it, the more I read about it, and the more I photographed it, the more I realized: First Looks are great! And when brides ask me my take on First Looks (and I’m so glad they ask my opinion!) I tell them this:

The answer is threefold: 1) If your ceremony begins even an hour before sunset, there will be little to no available light left to shoot in afterward. And naturally, having your ceremony start after sunset will mean the same thing. In instances like this, I really encourage clients to do a first look because I want you to come away with images like the ones you saw when first making your decision to book me. That is, all images shot in beautiful, natural, and available light. The downside of not doing a first look in this case would be bride/groom portraits, bridal party portraits, and family formal portraits that all have a completely different aesthetic than what you’d expect from my work as a natural light photographer. That’s not to say creating nice images in these circumstances isn’t doable. But again, the whole aesthetic you’d once preferred would be missing.


2) Your wedding day will, without a doubt, fly by. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before, from each and every married person on the planet, and it’s true! As one of the most important days in your life, it is often one that is hard to remember simply because of the pace of it all. Having a first look will ensure that you and your bride/groom have one-on-one, face-to-face TIME with each other on your wedding day. Yes, you will be with each other throughout the day. But the intimacy and beauty of that moment when you’re alone (with your photographers shooting away from a distance) is something that none of my clients have ever regretted.


3) Seeing each other before the ceremony will by no means take away from the gravity of the moment when those doors finally open, the music crescendos, and you lock eyes at the end of the aisle, with everyone you love most serving as witnesses. The two are both completely different experiences. The first is intimate and private and special in its own unique way. Whereas the second is dramatic and intense and “Oh my goodness, THERE s/he is! And here I am. And in five minutes, s/he will be my all mine. Forever!” POWERFUL. I’ve never met a groom that felt his reaction at the end of the aisle was muted by the fact that he and his bride had done a first look prior. If anything, it just adds to the craziness of it all. The awesome and sudden realization that THIS is it. The same goes for brides out there. Trust me, if your man cries during your first look.. You better bring a whole BOX of tissues to the ceremony!


All that being said, if you decide to have a traditional reveal, I will not be upset or anything of the sort. After all, it’s your wedding and it should go how you want it to go :)

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This time last year we sat around a dining table – Jason, Maggie, Neil, and myself – at Jason and Neil’s work Christmas party. Neil, of course, already knew Jason but I felt like I knew Jason & Maggie. How was that possible since that night was our first meeting… and then it hit me! My mentor, Stephanie shot their wedding back in 2011! Small world huh?! More recently we were able to hang out together in Destin Florida because we just happen to be there at the same time! Yes, it is a small world!

Neil and & I are so blessed by Jason & Maggie’s friendship and we’re sad to see them move to Alabama but I am so thrilled that they asked me to photograph them, hopefully not for the last time! I mean seriously, check out these models! Actually, Maggie use to be a model. I freakin’ love my job!


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New mom Kelly’s mother and my mother have been friends for a number of years, so when Kelly found out she was pregnant, I was hoping and praying that I would get a call. Even though it was only a few hours, when I spend time with Kelly, I’m reminded how awesome she and her husband Kyle are and I am incredibly honored that they chose me to photograph their first baby, a little girl, only 11 days after her birth.


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