RACHAEL HOUSER » photography for couples & families

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now everyone’s gearing up for Christmas, I definitely am too. But before I put my Christmas decorations up (we’re doing that today!!), here’s a little recap of my Thanksgiving this year!

I chose to focus on my family instead of focusing my camera last Thursday. Like that little photography pun there? Haha! I didn’t even bring my camera to my mom’s house that day! Crazy-sauce! So the images below are the few that I shot with my iPhone, just of table details because my mom worked hard on everything, right before family started arriving. I didn’t pick my phone back up until after everyone had left and after I helped my mom put the house back together in preparation for Christmas decorating. The day was filled with great food and even better company. I really do love spending time with BOTH sides of my family and it was a treat to be able to do that. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I pray that this Holiday season treats you well :)

I baked from 9pm to midnight the night before: Mashed potatoes, corn casserole, pecan pie, and french chess pie (or french coconut pie).


I used Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie recipe and my grandmother’s French Chess Pie recipe. They were soooo delicious, if I do say so myself ;)


My mom is such a nerd, but in the best way! She made us all name place cards because she knows that everyone spends about 15 minutes right before eating figuring out where they’re going to sit. In total, I think they’re were 22 of us this year so smart move momma! Below is the “grown up’s” table. In other words, anyone older than 40 lol


The “kids” table. There were only two actual kids this year so at this table sat me, Neil, and my cousins. There was another “kids” table that sat my brother, his family, and our cousin and his family.


After dinner everyone say around and chatted and watched the football game. Aly is kind of (really) nervous and anxious around people she’s not comfortable with so after everyone left she was pretty much wiped!


My dad and Neil went hunting, per tradition, that afternoon until sunset. When they returned, mom and I heated up some leftovers and it was time for round two with just the four of us.


And finally, after dinner Neil and I came home and got to work! Excited to show more soon!


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{image from our Christmas Card session last year}

Ahhh December! One of the slower months out of the year for a wedding photographer in our area. It’s the beginning on our “winter break”… kind of like how teachers have summer break. They still have the occasional meeting but other than that, it’s a break from work. This year my winter break doesn’t official start until after my December 28th wedding but my first wedding of 2014 isn’t until March. Trust me, I have plenty in store for next year so even though I’ll be on a “break”, I plan on being in the office about 4 days a week.

December is probably my favorite month. I just LOVE the Christmas season! I love the cold weather (in fact, I could stand for it to be colder!), the snow (I hope we have a white Christmas this year!!), the food, the shopping (yes, I actually love the hustle and bustle!), the giving, the family, the friends, the music (I’m not kidding when I say we listen to Christmas music 24/7 in our house around this time of year!), and  last but certainly not least – It’s my Lord and Saviour’s  Birth Day! There is no better reason to celebrate!!

But other than Christmas, here’s what I’ll be up to this month:

– several last minute Christmas Card Sessions
– one wedding at the end of the month
Help Portrait Worldwide is this coming Saturday and I’ll be helping out for the first time! Sooo excited and blessed to be able to do this for our community!!
– more work on SECRET projects ;)
– and second shooting a wedding with my dear friend Makenzie!

– Decorating for Christmas. I list this because it’s a big deal in my house :D
– A few house projects. More on that later!
– Spending tons of time with friends and family! Working every Saturday during 3/4 of the year makes it hard to spend time with friends in particular. It won’t make up for my lack of social participation and neglect that I know a few may feel but I intend on being a good, no GREAT friend while I can! Get ready, friends of mine!

And now for the Cyber Monday Sale details!

If you’ve come from Facebook, then most likely you’re interested in learning how you can save $400 on your wedding photography.

Book your 2014 or 2015 wedding with Rachael Houser Photography before January 1st, 2014 and pay a retainer fee of $1,000 and I will knock $400 off your remaining balance, due one month before your wedding! It’s that easy!

Fine print time: The Wedding Collection for 2014-2015 includes up to 10 hours of wedding day coverage; a complimentary portrait session of your choice; private gallery for viewing, sharing, downloading, and printing of both engagement and wedding images; and digital files of all fully edited high resolution images with printing rights. This collection is priced at $2400 with a retainer fee of $600 due with contract. The Cyber Monday Sale Wedding Collection (including everything mentioned above) is priced at only $2000! Spend $400 more now, save $400 overall!

Contact me to reserve your wedding date today!

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This wedding was beyond fun! Pretty sure I could talk about the reception all night but I should probably start at the beginning ;)

I met Jayla and her girls at Di Sorellas Hair & Nail Design where the lovely Lindsey made our already beautiful girls wedding ready. I snapped photos of the girls just hanging out before we all headed to the church… it was almost picture time!


I know I can’t be the only photographer who is almost as excited to see the bride’s dress as they are to see the couple see each other for the first time that day… almost! Every dress is so different and SO unique to every bride. This Allure Bridal dress from Wendy’s Cincinnati Bridal just screams Jayla and man did she look amazing in it!


Jayla’s aunt, Rocia of Rocia’s Exquisite Designs did such an amazing job arranging the florals and decorating the ceremony and reception… it’s awesome when you have friends and family with such talent!


This year I chose to gift my brides with custom, personal dress hangers that really accent their gown. Bonus! It’s theirs so they can use it after the wedding too!


Her girls wanted Jayla to do a first look with them… what a cute idea! Their faces totally make my whole day worth it… and I’d only been there a couple hours!


Josh & Jayla opted for a first look and I am SO glad they did! We would not have been able to get this reaction out of Josh otherwise and I wouldn’t have been able to get these pictures. So sweet!


I love Jayla’s little brother’s expression (hidden) in this picture!


We had to hold off on Josh & Jayla’s portraits due to rain so we snuck away for a quick little bit right before the ceremony… the light was perfect!


Jayla, you’re stunning!


Gift time! Jayla gifted Josh the ole wool socks for cold feet… and a sweet note that produced an expression to rival the look he had during the first look.


And they’re married!!


The reception site was gorgeous… the building itself is nothing to comment on but Rocia worked her magic!


This cake! Or rather, cake and cupcakes! They were delicious AND brilliantly designed. Kudos to The Blue Pinky Bakery!


Short but incredibly romantic and sweet first dance…


And an even shorter father-daughter dance with style! Dad knows how to twirl!


The rest of the night was a pure party! Monte of Hensley Twin’s BOMBSQUAD productions had everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, up dancing the whole night!! Definitely made for some awesome pictures!


Other vendors:
Ceremony | Harrison Street Baptist Church
Reception | Robert Cherry Civic Center
Coordinator | Kim Keeling
Hair and Makeup | Lindsey Manker
Invitations, programs, menus | Wedding Paper Divas

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Holly Greene -

you did a great job Rachael! I’d like to order some of them!

Holly Greene

Rocia Keeling -

Your photography is outsanding! I will definitely recommend you to my brides!


First off, I wrote this post Wednesday night, not today, so in case you’re wondering, I am still out of the office. I just wanted to stop by and wish those who are online today a very Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’re reading this between the hours of 10am and 5pm Thursday November 28th, 2013, I am at my mom and dad’s house celebrating with both my mom’s family and my dad’s family. This is the first year that both sides of my family are joined together and it’s really exciting! I absolutely love my family (every single member of it!) and there’s no better time to gather together with everyone under one roof than on Thanksgiving Day. Well, maybe also on Christmas Day… but you know what I mean ;)

My mom always hosts her side of the family and for the past several years, we haven’t gotten together with my dad’s side. For no reason other than it just got to difficult too work around everyone’s crazy work schedules. I don’t know why it’s easier for my mom’s side. And normally, Neil and I go to his parent’s house Thanksgiving night to have dinner with his parents and his siblings and their spouses and kids (as of right now, there’s only one kid) (no, I’m not pregnant). But this year, due to everyone’s crazy schedules, we actually had The Houser Thanksgiving a couple weekends ago! Which, I think, is better because I got to actually enjoy that meal instead of not fully enjoying my mom’s meal and then a few hours later, forcing myself to eat more. Pretty sure we’re going to do it this new way from here on out.

Because my mom always hosts at least her side, and because I am the only daughter she has (other than my sister-in-law who is busy helping her own mom), I spent half of yesterday shopping for anything my mom needed and cooking anything that my mom needed me to cook. This year that included creamy garlic mashed potatoes, Indiana corn casserole, and pecan (peh-kahn) pie. Even though those errands cut into my work day, I’m reminded that I am so incredibly lucky to still have a mom to help with the cooking and a family to cook for. Which brings me to what I wanted to blog about for today…

My Thankful List! This list is definitely not an intent to brag but a way and a place for me to look back upon and remember all that I have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for…
… My faith. If I didn’t have the faith that I have, if I didn’t have a Savior to whom all the praise goes, I wouldn’t be so blessed; and I wouldn’t feel the gratefulness I feel for just being His beloved.
… my husband. Neil is the most patient, understanding, and supportive man I know. Lord knows he’s gone through the ringer this year, what with our infertility diagnosis and me quitting nursing and going full time with my photography business. But he has stuck with me and stood beside me throughout it all. Never wavering. I freakin’ love that man, y’all!
… My parents. Golly, I could go on and on about how thankful I am for my parents but to keep it short… my mom is my best friend. Seriously. And my dad is my hero. I know a lot of daughters will say that of their dads but it’s so much deeper for me. He has been there and will always be there for me in any way I need him to be. It’s an incredible feeling.
… My family’s health. For the most part everyone is in good health and lives balanced and active lifestyles. It is such a blessing!
… My dogs’ health. If you know me at all you won’t find it weird that I list my pups, Aly and Benny. They are our fur babies, our only babies, and just simply their being make my life such a happier one. Their lives are so short compared to ours and I cherish every day I have with them.
… Our home.
… My business. My situation is different from most part-time turned full-time photographers. I actually loved my nursing job but everything else in my life was suffering from trying to do everything 100%. I felt like God was calling me to pursue my photography business more and it really was the only way. I thank God every day for the success He’s brought to me and my business!

I could go on to list the smaller things that I’m thankful for but I’m afraid this blog post would never end. It’s not that I have more than others, it’s just that I’m able to be thankful for what I do have (instead of wanting more and more and more) because my Jesus gives me peace and the ability to find happiness in my life as it is. Next year, God could choose to take some things away from me or He could give me more. I trust in His plan for my life and I will continue to be thankful and praise His holy name, no matter what. I don’t talk about my faith as much as I would like to (something to start doing more of, maybe?) but if you’re hearing all of this for the first time and/or you’d like to know more about this love I’ve found, a love that can only be found, in Christ, PLEASE email me! I’d love to share my faith with you!

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Wee wee -

I love you and am proud of u has the wonderful woman that u have become !!
Ur aunt
Wee wee
The pecan pie was the bomb

So there’s this service I’ve been using for about a year now… it’s called Thumbtack and out of all the other online advertising communities I’ve used, I get way more exposure and book more jobs with them! Looking at my profile right now, it says I’ve only booked one job through them but it’s a tad misleading because once I’ve made contact with interested clients we continue everything through direct email and they just never return to Thumbtack to complete the process and marked that they’ve booked with me. So far, I’ve booked three family sessions, one engagement session, two weddings this year AND have three weddings booked for next year… all from Thumbtack!

It’s a super simple process, both for small businesses and for those looking to hire a small business! Customers search by area and service and choose which small businesses they’d like their quote request to go to. The small businesses then receive an email from Thumbtack with the details of the customer’s request. I look over the request, which lists details like location, kind of shoot (family, wedding, etc), budget, and when they’d like their shoot to take place. I can choose to either send the customer a quote based off their request OR I can pass on the job. I don’t pass on many jobs, but when I do it’s almost always because they are outside my travel area. For example, I have my profile set up to send me jobs within a 90 mile radius because I’ll shoot weddings pretty much ANYWHERE (as long as travel expenses are covered) but I won’t travel 2 hours for a portrait session.

Once I’ve submitted my quote to the customer, they’ll receive an email with my quote and profile information. I write a short personal paragraph with my quote to tell them a little more about myself and services. If they are interested, we’ll start conversing, mostly through email, but sometimes through Thumbtack. I love that they give you that option! So whether you’re in the market for a wedding photographer or math tutor, you’ll find all the best pros on Thumbtack! Are you a small business? Then you’ll love the easy and fast process and the great exposure!

*this post was sponsored by Thumbtack.com written by yours truly*

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