Rachael Houser Photography » Wedding Photographer based in Western Kentucky

I’d been chatting with Holly and Alan’s wedding planner, Abby, for a week or so before I finally got to meet the adorable couple. After dinner and chatting at Panera the couple told me they had one more photographer to meet but if I could give them one week to decide, they would let me know their decision. I agreed on the one week and expected to hear something from them the following Monday but instead, Abby emailed only a few days later, stating that I should receive the retainer fee for their wedding soon. Before the week was up they had booked their May wedding with me and we’d settled on a date to shoot their engagement session.

I met Holly and Alan for their engagement session at Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers and after shooting there for the an hour, we moved down the road to Lighthouse Landing for the second hour. From the booking meeting, I knew that Alan was the goofy one who can make anyone crack a smile but always had Holly laughing while Holly was the sweet girl-next-door who found her love for hockey and bourbon through Alan. Together, they are absolutely perfect for each other and they both kept me on my toes with interesting conversation during their session.

I simply cannot wait for their wedding at The Purple Toad Winery….not only is it going to be beautiful, but from what I know about the couple, it’s going to be a blast!

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Jenny -

Beautiful pics, as always!!

I finally jumped on the iPad bandwagon. Since Apple announced the arrival of the new iPad, the existing iPad 2 went on sale and I took advantage of that sale.

Before Christmas, Neil and I talked about getting an iPad for my business. He thought it would be great for me to take to meetings with brides and use it to show them my portfolio, instead of taking my MacBook Pro like I have been. My first thought was, it’s not completely necessary that I bring something to my meetings. I could go back to bringing my albums but then I met with a bride and groom who actually mentioned that one of the reasons they decided to hire me was the fact that I was organized in bringing my laptop to show them more than just my portfolio. When they told me that, I knew that it was time. That was several weeks ago and when I started looking into it, I found out that the new iPad was getting ready to be released. I thought I might want the new iPad but when the details finally came out, it wasn’t much more impressive than the iPad 2 but it was going to be more expensive. After thinking it through I knew the smart thing to do was to purchase the iPad 2.

And boy, was it a great idea! I’m currently blogging this from my iPad right now. Among many other awesome things about the iPad, it will allow me to showcase my work without having to clear the table from food or coffee, and get my MBP out. And! It fits in my purse! I look forward to using it to better serve my brides.

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Jenny -

Look at you getting all fancy! Congrats on your purchase!

Mel -

I blog from mine often. :) love it!

Erica -

congrats on the purchase. I want one so bad, just can’t justify getting one.

Many photographers have a workflow of sorts that they use to keep up with their portraits and weddings daily. When I first started my business I didn’t have a workflow, at least now one that I had written down and followed for each and every portrait session. One of my resolutions this year was to become more organized and when my business started growing near the end of 2011 it only made sense for me to come up with workflow that worked for me.

I did my research, looked at several photographers’ workflows on their blogs, and what I found was that each photographer took a few key points that were obvious (back up images, editing, emailing, etc) and then added tasks that were more specific to their style and business. This system of drawing up a workflow really made to sense to me. No one photographer is exactly like the other, just like no one business is exactly like the other. Why should photography workflows but cookie-cutter?

I sat down with a piece of paper and a pen and started writing down the key tasks that were required of all photographers…choose location, shoot session, import and back up images, edit images, back up images, and ship disc of images to client.

I used the few photographers’ workflows for inspiration and guidance but after the above was listed I started thinking about me and my business. The number one purpose of a workflow is to make sure that not even one task is missed for any client. At the same time, however, I wanted to make each and every portrait client feel special. I want them to know that they’re not just another portrait session to me. Below is the list of tasks I’m currently working with now as apart of my portrait workflow.

– Input client into database
– Email portrait questionnaire and information PDF
– Receive questionnaire
– Choose location(s)
– Confirm session information (locations, time, number of people, etc.)
– Shoot session
– Receive session fee in full
– Import images
– Back up the images
– Deposit session fee in bank
– Cull through images
– Color correct a few favorites for sneak peek
– Retouch a few favorites for sneak peek
– Share sneak peek on Facebook
– Email client about sneak peek on Facebook
– Color correct all images
– Retouch all images
– Back up all images
– Upload all images to online gallery
– Email client with link to gallery and instructions
– Pre-design products according to client’s favorites
– Email client about prints and products with link to pre-design album
– Receive client’s prints and products order
– Order prints and products
– Email client with Thank You, prints and products total, and timeline for order
– Blog my favorites from the session
– Receive payment for prints and products
– Deposit payment in bank
– Burn images to a disc
– Receive prints and products
– Package disc, prints, and products
– Ship or deliver disc, prints, and products
– Email client with a follow up to ensure everything is good with their order and info about referral program

I work best with a check list so once my tasks were decided I set down to Pages and created something that I could print out and add to each client’s section in my three ring binder (I have one for portraits and one for weddings). I added my brand to the design in Pages to look custom, just for my business. This is definitely one of those things in the photography business that benefits from my background in design. Here is a snap shot of what the page looks like after being printed on card stock.

At the beginning of ever year I will revisit my workflow tasks and based off of the year before, I’ll decide what worked and what didn’t and change it as I see fit. A business should not be static but dynamic, ever-changing with the times. What works this year might not work next year.

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I drove up to Owensboro the other day to visit my friend Jenny, whom I haven’t seen since her wedding last July. It had been way too long. After chatting in her home for a little bit she took me out to Yellow Creek Park for a walk around. Before I left my home for Owensboro earlier that afternoon, she mentioned that she had somewhere lovely to take me. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take pictures of such a lovely girl in such a lovely place so, of course, I brought my camera!

Just like most parks, Yellow Creek Park has a few playgrounds, a frisbee golf….thing, and a walking trail but what THIS park has is not JUST a normal walking trail. It is a magical walking trail, I tell you! It starts off with a bridge leading you across a large creek (a yellow creek maybe?). After that, you can either go straight or go right, over a smaller covered bridge. We did the latter.

The MAGICAL walking trail starts after the covered bridge.

There are a few parts of the trail that are wider than others, which had Jenny and myself trying to plan a wedding in those few spots. Being a wedding photographer, I kind of have WEDDING on the brain non stop but Jenny still has the sickness since she planned her entire wedding.

Another thing plaguing this photographer was all the beautiful PERFECT portrait spots among the trail. I made Jenny promise me that before her and her husband Clay move that I’ll get to do a session with them at Yellow Creek Park. I mean, just LOOK at this…

It was obvious that Jenny had been here SEVERAL times since she’s moved here last August. When we came upon this tree down across the trail she pointed out that the tree must have fallen during the last storm because it wasn’t like that before. I completely understand why she comes here so often. It’s a gorgeous and peaceful place.

It was getting darker and darker by the minute since it was now probably after 5pm. We were at the half-way point when we came across another bridge and the sun setting in the background. I took two pictures, one metering on the sunset itself….

…and one metering on the bridge. One day I will remember to bring my tripod with me and I will be able to practice my HDR photographer. ONE DAY!

Right after crossing the second bridge, we came upon the third bridge.

This one is positioned perfectly…. I, once again, made Jenny pose for me. I don’t think she minded too much :)

She has SUCH an adorable smile!

I think she was smiling because she knew what comes after the third bridge……the fourth bridge. A swinging, bouncing bridge! Right before she stepped on it she warned me, How on to your camera! She proceeded to dance/walk across. I lost my balance a few times so the camera wasn’t being used too much during my crossing.

At the very end of the trail (or had we gone straight when we first started walking, this would have been at the beginning) is this amazing little pioneer village set up. Apparently, a long time ago this little village (plus a few more buildings I’m sure) WAS Yellow Creek. Yet again, Jenny and I planned a wedding here.

I’m having Jenny find out where their office is so that I may set up a few brochures there. I MUST photograph a wedding there. I’ve been to my fair share of parks but this one is special. I can’t wait to go back!

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Jenny -

These pics are so beautiful! I can’t wait for you to see the park when it’s alive and green!

Stephanie -

Oh my goodness, I love all of those bridges!! The third one especially. In all of my nerdiness I’m drooling over such a pretty place for outfit photos. ;)

Jenny makes a wonderful model subject!!

Rachael -

Jenny, I can’t wait either! Start picking out outfits for you and Clay cuz we ARE SO DOING this photo shoot!

Stephanie, You should totally come to Yellow Creek Park so that I can do a photo shoot in a few of your outfits! Or maybe find a place in Lexington for me to photograph you at when I come the weekend of the 24th….maybe that Sunday morning??

Stephanie -

Ohh I wouldn’t turn that down! I’ve always wanted to do some photos on railroad tracks around here! =) That would be so fun. I don’t really have anyone to go with me on photo adventures!

emmysuh -

This is where ROMP is!

And I do believe that this change will be just that. A good thing.

I’ve been keeping a personal blog since July 2008. I started my photography blog not too long ago. I’d been struggling with the decision to keep them separate of merge the two. This afternoon I finally gave into my instincts and viola, Rachael Houser dot Com is now the home to both my personal and professional blog.

I’ll be working on the kinks for a few days but I really do think this merger will provide my clients a deep insight to me as a person and a photographer and my personal blog readers can enjoy my passion. This union will allow me to be more active as well. I’ll be updating more. That alone makes me happy.

In the mean time, please bear with me and PLEASE let me know if there’s something that’s not acting right or looks wacky. Thanks!!

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Jenny -

The merger looks great! I love the look and color scheme. The only suggestion I have is making the font color a slight bit darker. When you publish a paragraph, it can be kind of hard to see. I can’t wait to explore your site further!

Pam -

I agree with Jenny. It is really hard to read. But good choice on combining both!!