Rachael Houser Photography » Wedding Photographer based in Western Kentucky

Downtown Paducah is definitely the most popular session location in our area… families and couples love it! And as a photographer who shoots at some locations quite frequently, said locations can become fairly mundane. However, I never deter a couple (or a family) from wanting to have their session at certain locations because I know it hold some importance to them… unless I know the location/lighting will not be good at all, then I help them find a better location. That being said, Downtown Paducah is very picturesque AND the lighting is always yummy!

Anthony & Jessica’s engagement session started much like any other Downtown Paducah engagement starts, however it quickly developed into a whole new experience! Theirs was my first session there this year in the fall. The colors and the light was absolutely delicious. Add in an amazing couple like Anthony & Jessica and you get one of your favorite sessions to date! We spent the second half of their session at my *secret* location, which I don’t will ever get old! And they brought their puppies!!! If you know me, you know there’s nothing I love more than dogs!

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Lauren called me very excited, but full of questions… She loved my work but Would I be able to do their engagement sessions in Paris, TN? and Did I allow dogs in the engagement sessions? and When I can get this thing going?? She booked me right away when my answers were Yes, YES, and ASAP! haha!! I love love LOVE an eager bride!

I met Dylan and Lauren at Dylan’s parent’s house in Paris, TN one afternoon and we started their session in the wooded area behind their house. The light was so lovely, I really could have stayed their all day! There’s just something else about the country setting (hint hint). We took a drive down to Breaker’s marina, where Dylan and Lauren met! So sweet!! She was working there after college and he was smitten with her right away! As the sun was setting, Lauren and I talked about the timeline of their wedding day and I tell you, she knows what makes this photographer’s heart flutter! When a bride will do whatever it takes (within reason of course lol) to get great pictures of her and her soon to be husband during the wedding day, it makes my heart smile. So excited for their day this coming May!!

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When my mom’s dad died a couple years ago I inherited his old film camera. At that time I’d only been a photographer for a few months and definitely wasn’t confident in taking up film photography yet. Fast forward to August of 2013 when one of my May 2013 couples, Britney & Jon, joined me for their rain check session. Side note: If rain on your wedding day (which is suppose to be good luck!) inhibits bride and groom portrait time, I offer a free rain check session for sometime after your wedding so we can get those beautiful images of the bride and groom all dolled up :)

The location and the light inspired me to pick up that old film camera and see what I was made of! I am definitely no where close to ditching my beloved Canon 5D Mark III and switching to film completely, nor would I call myself a film photographer but I’m incredibly happy with these images and would love to shoot film again! Now, if only it wasn’t so dang expensive…

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Back in September my friend Suzanne of Bella lei Glamour Photographie attended Katelyn James’ The Workshop Experience, a refined workshop that Katelyn James started hosting in her own home. While at the 2 day workshop, Suzanne was constantly instagramming. I’ve been following Katelyn James for YEARS and I’ve always wanted to go to one of her workshops but Suzanne finally gave me the push I needed. I register for the November workshop without hesitation!

Fast forward to Monday, November 4th, when I packed up my car with the clothing and toiletry necessities for a week in Virginia, my camera gear, and my laptop (naively thinking I’d had time to get some work done lol). I drove 6 hours to Charleston, WV and stayed the night in a Best Western and woke up Tuesday morning to finish the last leg of the trip to Richmond, VA. I stopped at the Richmond International Airport to pick up a fellow workshop attendee, Clare, and we made the 20 minute drive to the house that we and another girl, Megan, rented for the week. That night the three Patterson Girls (the house we rented was called the Patterson House and that’s what Katelyn James fondly called us :D ) ate dinner together at a Pub down the street and spent the rest of the night getting to know each other. By the end of the week we had grown incredibly close <3

Wednesday morning, The Patternson Girls met the other 9 workshop attendees at Katelyn and Michael’s (her husband, second shooter, and business partner) house for our first very full day. Day 1 included lighting, posing, details, editing, and much much more! I won’t go into too much about what we learned at the workshop because I don’t want to give anything away…. I recommend this workshop to those who are TRULY interested in taking their wedding photography business to the next level in every way.

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Day one also included the styled shoot and Katelyn and Michael’s lovely friends, Mary Beth and Caleb were our models!!! Here’s Emily of Emily Hudspeth Hair and Makeup Design working her magic on Mary Beth.

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Katelyn Freakin’ James! Yes, that is her real middle name ;)

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Check out this awesome table and floral design by Amanda of Anthomanic Event Floral Boutique! Katelyn told Amanda she wanted a winter theme and THIS is what she came up with… simply genius!

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The beautiful vintage table and chairs were graciously provided by Paisley & Jade and Korie Lynn of Weekend Type provided us with hand lettered calligraphy menu cards, name cards, and invitations! Gorgeous!

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Of course Bokeh the Bichpoo was stealing the show every chance he got! Love him <3

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Daw!!!!

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Then our adorable couple/models joined us! Watching Katelyn James work her posing magic was awe inspiring! I seriously cannot wait for my next wedding to try out everything she taught us!

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Mary Beth and Caleb, you two are sooooo cute!

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I just love how Katelyn does the pose with the bride while she’s explaining it…. I die of her cuteness!

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And then this happened! Yes, it snowed! No, not really but it’s pretty right?? ;)

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Day two was jam packed with BUSINESS stuff, which is what left my head spinning! Bokeh looks about how I felt/still feel :/ But my new bestie, Megan left me an encouraging word on my notebook. It’s amazing the friends you make in such a short time.

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And finally, the end the trip, driving back home through Virginia was this scenic overlook. I seriously just can’t get over God’s glory! Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

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Amanda Truth -

Lady I’m beyond pumped for you!!! I am so glad you got to experience first hand the awesomeness that is Katelyn James!! Sad I didn’t get to see you while you were in VA, but I know you were having an amazing time being super busy! <3

Suzanne Taylor -

I’m so thrilled you took a leap of faith and attended her workshop. I can’t believe how much I’ve matured business wise since attending. I know big things are in store for my favorite redhead. God has a plan for you and I know you’re more than ready to take on His challenge. Excellent write up and spectacular images Rach. Luv u chickadee.

Sabrina -

So, I’m a tad behind on things and as I was looking at Katelyn’s blog today, I saw her workshop recap and in some of the photos I saw this beautiful redhead that I recognized! How fun that you were able to go to her workshop a couple of weeks ago! I went last spring (in 2012) and almost wish I could go again! Can’t wait to see how your business grows from everything you learned! Beautiful photos of the styled shoot, Rachael :-)

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Well, it’s ending the 2013 wedding season and I’m steadily booking for the 2014 wedding season so I feel like I have a few tips and tricks for brides preparing for their BIG day. Before I go to the Do’s and Don’t’s, the primary thing to know is that these are not directed toward any bride in particular. Mostly, these are just a few things I’ve picked up from other photographers. Another thing to know is that these are just my opinion. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to planning a wedding and you should only do what makes YOU happy. OK, moving on!

If at all possible, DON’T delegate the hiring of your photographer to your sister, your maid of honor, your mom, or your planner (though a planner should certainly be kept in the loop!). Do the research, the inquiring, and as much communicating as you can yourself. Sound harsh? Hear me out – I promise there’s good reason! The ONE person you’ll spend the most time with on your wedding day is your photographer. (More-so than your spouse!) I hesitate to think of any other vendor (besides your planner) who you’ll need to cultivate as much of an actual personal relationship with to ensure a solid job-well-done when the big day comes. Choosing a photographer is a PERSONAL decision. One you’ll be happy you made yourself! (P.S. I completely appreciate that situations exist in which this would be difficult. Say, if you live out of state, etc. That’s why I stress “as MUCH communicating as you CAN.) :)

DO reach out during booking season. Most photographers book up between 6-12 months in advance of a bride’s wedding day. While you DON’T want to wait until the last minute to secure your photog (for a plethora of reasons), you also don’t want to ask too soon. I’m much less able to guess what life will look like two years down the road than one. I’m also much less able to guess where my prices will be come February 2015 than 2014. When I get an inquiry for a date further than a year out, I ask the bride to get back in touch once her wedding is one year away. More than likely, I’ll still have the date open. AND I’ll be able to give her a more accurate estimate.

DO make moves quickly! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to let a bride down by informing her that the date she was interested has been taken off the market in her absence. (Which makes me so sad!!) It can be stressful to hustle. But it’s important! Most photographer’s calendars are in a constant state of limbo. Any date can be snatched up at any time and without warning. If you’re positive you want a specific photographer, don’t wait to book them! Waiting a month is much too long. But sometimes, so is a few days. You’ll be happy you hustled!!

DO hire a photographer whose style and approach you are completely excited about! Asking a photographer to curtail their usual style/approach specifically for your wedding day simply doesn’t work. But there is GOOD news! There are SO. many. photographers out there! All with unique tastes. Do your research. Find the one you love. And then love them wholeheartedly!! Giving them your full trust to create beautiful images.

DON’T give your photographer a shot-list with 17 different ideas from Pinterest. Now, I LOVE Pinterest. (And a few ideas are okay.) But remember! You should be hiring your photographer because you love THEIR vision. Instead of duplicating images seen on Pinterest, wouldn’t you rather YOUR pictures be the ones being pinned?!

Happy Monday! Hope this was helpful… let me know :)

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