Rachael Houser Photography » Wedding Photographer based in Western Kentucky


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 :)

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTTweetPOSTSubscribe

It’s been month, MONTHS, since I’ve written a snapshot post. I turned my computer on this morning and BAM, the date NOVEMEBER 1ST, 2013 is staring at me. I look back at my past monthly snapshots so I know I say this pretty much every month but how is it already November?!? Where has this year gone? According to my mom, time only gains speed the older you get. If that’s true then in that sense, I kind of miss the old days.

I 100% intend on writing about what all I’ve been up to for the past two months (oy!) but that is another post(s) for another day(s). November is FULL of extremely exciting and FUN times to be had! Are you ready, because I know I SO am!

– 5 engagement sessions, two of which I have to travel for!
– 3 family sessions
– 2 senior sessions
– 2 mentoring sessions (more on that soon!)
– and 1 photography workshop that I leave for on Monday!!! I’m crazy stoked for this and I seriously cannot wait to come back here and blog ALL about it. Be prepared ;)

– My husband’s birthday! Neil’s turning 27 years old and he’ll finally get to join his wife in the “late 20’s” age group :/
– My mom and I are steadily gearing up to bike a long distance ride, possibly planning one for Europe in the spring!
– and a trip to San Diego with our best friends! Neither Neil or I have been west of Texas so going all the way to California is a big deal! Never mind that I’ve been all over Europe ;)

Even though I have a whole month off from shooting weddings, I am going to be a crazy busy bee – preparing many NEW things for 2014!

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTTweetPOSTSubscribe
Amanda Truth -

Lady!! Do you ever slow down?? My goodness November is going to be busy for you!! But I can’t wait to read all about it, and, of COURSE, see all the gorgeous images you’ll produce!!

Brittany & Ashley, what a couple! I relate to this couple because Neil and I also married when we were 20 and 21 years of age. I truly believe in finding love at any age but when a lovely couple who has the support of their families to marry young come to me to photograph the happiest day of their lives, it makes my heart smile.

The day started off quite messy…. the weather, that is! When we arrived at the ceremony and reception site to photograph decorations, etc, it had just finished pouring down rain and the wind was picking back up again. By the time we got to where the whole gang was getting ready the clouds had started to move out and the sun was peeking through. Praise God! When it was show time the sun had dried up all the rain (recognize that from anywhere?) and it was a beautiful day.

Brittany wrote the sweetest letter to Ashley… I just love it when couples do this for one another.


Brittany picked her girls out different colored dresses and I have to say, they were so beautiful!


But nothing compared to her dress…. wow!


And finally, the gorgeous bride!


Brittany’s mother and sister (and best friend) helped her into her dress


Meanwhile, the boys were getting ready…. I’ve never watched a man do his hair before, mainly because Neil’s is buzzed so he doesn’t have t fix it, but it was fascinating ;)


The handsome groom… Ashley, you stud!


Brittany was simply glowing! I could have spent hours just on her bridals!


On the way to the ceremony! I had no idea limo rides could be so fun!


Brittany’s face as we were pulling up… love it!!


Finally seeing each other. Ashley’s face really does say it all!




Brittany & Ashley’s first dance! Even though the mayflies were slightly determined to gross us all out (they pretty much attacked us all) (see black things), this moment was nothing but beautiful!


Followed by the very emotional father/daughter and very sweet mother/son dances…


Brittany surprised her best friend and sister with the father/daughter dance she never got to have on her own wedding day. I seriously have never seen a more show of sisterly love!


Right before they left, Brittany changed into her going away dress, a dress fashioned out of her mother’s wedding gown. Seriously? It was heaven!


Off to the honeymoon!


Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTTweetPOSTSubscribe
Brittany Heppe -

Wow not only are u the best photographer, but you are also an incredibly talented blogger. What a beautiful summary of the most beautiful day of my life. Your the best


Since the beginning of time, or rather, since I started shooting weddings, I’ve included a complimentary portrait session in all of my collections. Only a few occasions have I had someone forgo the complimentary session for either money off their collection or a print credit and at the beginning I was fine with it. For the past couple years, however, I’ve really pushed the engagement session on my couples and those couples have thanked me in the end. But just the other day, I had a bride ask me, Is the engagement session really that important?? Here is what I told her:

When was the last time the two of you had professional photos taken of yourselves? In most cases the answer is never. It’s funny what happens to couples when they get in front of the camera together for the first time and are asked to do simple gestures. Holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes turns even the most down to earth people into deer caught in the headlights. Suddenly, the idea of being even remotely affectionate with each other seems like the biggest act of PDA ever witnessed, something akin to making out on a bench in Central Park. Don’t worry, this goes away after a few minutes of warming up, but without an engagement session this is exactly what you’ll experience the moment we go to pose you on your wedding day.

Sometimes it’s the very first meeting you have with your photographer. It happens more and more often, people are increasingly busy, live out of state, and I don’t always get the opportunity to meet with my couples until the engagement session. Even if we have met before, it’s nice to have that time to catch up. By the time your wedding rolls around, I feel like an old friend instead of a stuffy vendor who has to follow you around all day.

Practice makes perfect. By the time your wedding day arrives, you’ll know just about every pose I can possibly make you do. The scenery changes, and there’s more of a time constraint, but it’s pretty much exactly the same thing. You’ll feel far more comfortable and I’ll know exactly what work and doesn’t work with your two.

Some advice to prepare you for your engagement session. The best advice I can give you two on the day of your engagement session is just to be yourselves and have fun. As hard as it sounds, try and forget I’m there for a little while and just enjoy being in each other’s company without distractions.

Choosing a location. Engagement photos don’t have to be taken at sunset in a field (but they totally can be!). I always tell my couples to try and do something that’s meaningful to you both. You both love ice cream? Have your engagement session in a ice cream shop! You met at a local university? How cool would those pictures look? Give yourselves something to do, even if that means going on a picnic. You’ll feel more relaxed and the picture will be more unique rather than generic photos that don’t really speak about you as a couple.

If after you’ve read this blog post, you still don’t think you need the engagement session, the complimentary session can be used for ANY type of session: engagement, bridal, intimate, or day-after session :) Whatever works for you and your wedding!

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTTweetPOSTSubscribe
Amanda Truth -

Rachael I think this post is awesome!! I love all of the points, and I definitely agree!! Having an engagement session is such good practice for your wedding day, I always tell my couples it gives them a chance to see how I operate and it gives me a chance to see how they love each other!! And there’s absolutely no pressure!! Great post lady :)

Rachael -

Amanda, Thanks sister friend! I truly believe the engagement session is really that important and I’m so glad that another photographer feels the same way :)

Meagan & Travis. Words fail me when I try to describe their perfect day. It was hot but not too hot, the light was golden, and the food (and cake!) was absolutely delicious. The bride… she was gorgeous, glowing, and radiant! The groom… he was solid and handsome. His eyes held an amazingly strong adoration for his young bride. Through the her eyes… you could see the beating of her heart, so full of love for her groom. Is that a weird way to put it? I swear, it was exactly like that.


{credit coming soon}

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTTweetPOSTSubscribe