Friday, February 28, 2014

My LOVES of Food

I like fruits and vegetables.  I really do.  Most the time they sound amazingly delicious.  I usually eat at least one fruit and veggie smoothie a day but man oh man does it not replace Apple Fritters or ice cream.  I mean I wish it could but no matter what they say: it doesn't.

Photo thanks to Lemon Tree Dwelling

The only time that I have ever come close to being able to let it go was a few years ago I was having some real bad health issues, so Chris and I did a  raw vegan diet and you simple forget to care or think about food... there is no question of what you will eat... It is a lot of the same.

Photo thanks to

Which brings me to this weeks LOVES...

  • Babymoons... even when short
  • Taking time to relax and enjoy life as it is without thoughts to what will change
  • Blue Bell Coffee: Ice cream is pretty fantastic but oooh man is this delicious
  • To a house unpacked and photos hung up on the walls!
  • Yoga: it is like hugs for my muscles
  • Getting time with my sister even with all the distance between us
  • Benedict Cumberbatch 
Photo thanks to

Makes me laugh every time I see this!

What is bringing you joy this week?  What do you choose to look at with joy?

Live. Love. Loud.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Confessions from my Crazy Mind

Hello my name is Rachel and I'm a little bit crazy.  Figured I should start at the base of the confession: my crazy crazy crazy self.

So this past week we moved into our new place.  I love moving.  Not for all the hassle of packing up, not for all the struggle of picking up and actually moving all the objects but for the process of cleansing you are forced into.  You have to rummage through all your stuff and purge the unneeded, the unused.  It forces you to organize.

Moving allows this brand new start.  So clean and beautiful.  I new start.  There is something so bliss filled and peaceful about it.  Yes, I get the work... the hassle... the plans upon plans... but in the end you get a new adventure... and who doesn't love change and a new adventure?  Or maybe that is just me (and all the other little kids that moved around a lot as a kid :D)

So for me I'm in a blissful new adventure.  I love our new place... getting to know the new area, getting reorganized, getting rid of more things that I can't believe made it through the first purge.

I know I'm crazy... but it's a cute kind of crazy right?

Live. Love. Loud.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why should I have an engagement session?

Talk about the importance for you to get to know them and them relax with you.

Each of my wedding packages include a complimentary engagement session and the most common question I get asked is "If I opted out of an engagement session would the package be less?"  And the least complicated answer is: No.  It isn't to be mean or unjust but it is simply put:

I offer engagement sessions complimentary because I know how important they are.  To prove how important they are in my opinion I offer them free.  Engagement sessions are one of the most important parts of the process for getting married because it allows you and your significant other to get to know me, it allows you to relax and by the time your wedding day comes along you know me, what it feels like to be in front of my camera and that it won't be half as painful as you think it would be :D

It is a time for me to get to know you, how the two of you relate.  It is a moment for you to be with each other and have those moments captured forever before the one of the largest moments of your life.

Plus, it is the start of what I hope to be a beautiful friendship!

So when you are looking for a wedding photographer, me or any other, remember that the engagement session is a great way for you to get to know the person who you will be stuck with on your wedding day: your photographer :D

Live. Love. Loud.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Equipment: Reflector

My amazing mother and father in law got me one of the worlds best gifts... okay well for me anyway :D  They got me a reflector.  I still like to use natural reflectors as much as possible but it is always nice to have a reflector handy for those moments when you have to work with what you got. This reflector has 5 different options for shading that allow me to keep the perfect light in so many different circumstances.  This means for you that your pictures will come out still looking as natural as ever, even in a harsh lighting situation we can avoid the pesky flash for a bit longer!  This pretty simple setup collapses and allows me to take it with me wherever I might go which is an amazing benefit for any and all of us who might travel around!

(photo thanks to Fotodiox)

This will be one of those tools that I will hope to not have to use on a regular and ideal day but will be perfect on a day when we need to get that shot it no matter the time or location and still have amazing natural light!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Getting Settled

Most weekends come with joy for me.  I'm excited about the weddings that take them up or the occasional trip we get to take or maybe just a silly and lazy weekend. This weekend was no different as far as my looking forward to it but unlike previous weekends I'm glad to see it finish and wouldn't want to relive it because we finally moved this weekend.

(Photo thanks to Nexta)

I'm so excited about our new place and to get things all settled and in place but I'm so done with moving...  I don't know about you but for a while after a move, even after you get all the boxes unpacked, it always seems like there is stuff all over the place.

Today I wish that I could wiggle my nose or blink my eyes and have it all seem perfectly in place but for now I feel like we are doing pretty well.  Thanks to our amazing families all the furniture is in place and we even have things on the walls already!

So here is to a Monday: filled with new and exciting possibilities!

Live. Love. Loud.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Not just your ordinary LOVES

It's here: our move.  Whenever I move it always makes me pensive... mainly about how I could have collected SO much stuff and question if any of it is actually essential to my life. Questions like, "Do I really need more than one towel?"  Which I totally understand to be a ludicrous question considering I have the option to have more than one, yet all the same these are the same thoughts that roll around my endless rambling trap as the box after box sits in front of me.

So here is to a simpler life with less things and filled with amazing moments instead!

And to other LOVES

Ok, so this week is going to be a bit different.  Instead of my regular bullets of love I'm going to share some photos of things that made me smile... even in my pensive state.

Down side... I'd eat my phone

No down side... simply amazing.  So I may not really be a grown up. :D

Who doesn't love some cross dressing cos-play...

Ok, so this was more drool then smile...

So I will leave you now to try and find a piece of that cheesecake and to remind you to look for your LOVES this week... and if you have the time tell me what you've been LOVE-in. :D

Live. Love. Loud.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bewildered Confessions

I never thought of myself as a mother.  It wasn't in the plan.  I know that is a weird thing to admit but it's true.  I have billions nieces and nephews... ok really it is 10 but still.   I enjoy children but I never wanted one(s) of my own.  I thought about fostering before at the max.  I find myself now in a unique situation now.

I am going to have a child.  And because of this huge change in thinking I find myself pondering things.  I came across this photo and it hit me hard... as I'm sure it does for most.  Adopting is a beautiful thing, such a great picture of God's love.  It makes me sad how difficult the process is made that leaves these children alone for longer than is needed.

Now that I will be a mother I can't imagine not at least being open to allowing a existing child finding sanctuary in our home.  It wouldn't be easy.  There is baggage there but with it there can be such need for love and protection.

Any parent knows that the day your kid is born a great deal of your acting on selfish desires has to die.  It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the life change that is in front of us but all the same I can't help but look to those around me who have made their children (from their own body or adopted into their heart) a safe and loving home... it makes me know that the seeming impossible can be done.

Alas it makes it no less scary... no less life altering.

Live. Love. Loud.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Couple's Review

Bridal Review | Raleigh Wedding photography | Military Wedding My heart jumps a bit every time I get an email from one of my couples.  During the process of their planning I'm excited to hear of the new details, joys and trials that have popped up, and information as to any way I can help.  When their wedding has passed I love getting emails updating me on their honeymoon or how they are settling in their new place, but one of my favorite emails is when I get to know exactly what I can do to try and make their experience better or what they loved most! 

On of my last couples of last year wrote me this sweet note that I thought I would share with you.

I wanted to so THANK YOU SO MUCH for everything!!!! You helped make our day so special and we are so thankful. I am so glad you and your husband were a part of our wedding and you made us all smile and I know our pictures will be amazing because you are!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!


Melissa and Chance Ashley

Live. Love. Loud.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Eye Sores with Joy

We are moving this week.  It is always so interesting to find yourself winding through stacks of boxes in the effort to leave a room or find what you need. Makes me wish I was a kid cause I'm pretty sure I'd make a fort out of all the boxes instead of being frustrated.

Why is it that as kids we can find joy most anywhere and as we get older we loose that... missing it today.

(photo thanks to Quick Meme)

But soon all those boxes will be unpacked into our new place and each new thing will find it's home... and too many of them will end up in the misc drawer but it will be nice to be settled and not have to worry about a move close to when the new person arrives.

So here's to a happy Tuesday even if it means looking past the eye sores and initial frustrations!

Live. Love. Loud.

Monday, February 17, 2014

PASS the App= Fabulous

Every wedding photography package I offer comes with one of my favorite things.  A PASS gallery.  What this means I have talked about here.  But now not only does each wedding come with this amazing PASS gallery but now PASS offers a free App that allows you to all the more easily show off all your photos!

I'm so excited to share this with you and with all my couples past, present and future.  Not that you couldn't have pulled them up on your phone before but now the App makes it a one click till you can gloat over who quickly and easily you have access to your photos as well as how amazing you look in each shot! ;)  (I got your back!)

If you don't believe me take a look and see for yourself.  If you don't have a Pass gallery then it won't be quite as awesome but you can hit me up and I can send you a sample gallery so you can see it work its wonders!

I hope you enjoy this amazing new feature that is now at your fingertips!

Live. Love. Loud.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dreams Being Made and other LOVES

This past week I had the joy of finally meeting my ever amazing and talented designer (who created my lovely logo and designed my business cards!) Meredith over at Jack + Molly Designs.  She is as sweet as I ever expected and it was such fun to sip our coffee and chat about life.  The hours passed quickly without noticing and it makes me think over all the people in our lives that so much of the time we don't get a chance to get to know.  I sometimes wonder if my regular cashier went to coffee with me if we would become besties?  I mean how many lives we touch and how often we over look it!

(Logo thanks to the talented Meredith)

Well as a result of my falling for Meredith I am determined she is stuck with me!  In our continued conversations since our meeting she shared with me her new project she is launching and it made me think of all you brides out there looking for unique accessories.  She is starting a jewelry company called Poet Jane.  No pieces are up right now but I'm excited to see all she creates!

Which brings me to all my other LOVES:

French Toast: All the running to the store for bread, milk and egg wont' go to waste! #snow LOL
Weekends spent with friends: Best Valentines EVER
Almost time for our move: I'm so excited about our new place and getting everything out of the boxes!
Great and Talented new friends taking on bigger and better dreams!
Taking a moment to just be: so much of the time I am writing to do lists and trying to accomplish all that is on my lists I forget to just breath... maybe do some stretches.
Banana Split Sundaes: So I forgot how great bananas are on ice cream... they are amazing if you didn't know

What are your LOVES this week?

Live. Love. Loud.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why "Only Wedding Photography"

When I was a child I never wanted to grow up and when I realized I had no chose in the matter I started a desperate search for Neverland.  Convinced it was real I searched globes and scavenged Peter Pan to find if I could get enough information to make my way there. Sadly I found out the reality and thus started making other to find a tree that grew money so I could live as child.

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my dreams... or at least the money tree.  Cause let's be serious who wouldn't want a tree that grew money?

All that rambling to get to:  If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me why I don't shoot all types of photography I could hire a scientist to make the dream or a money tree close to a reality!

The only way I can make sense of my utter devotion to Wedding photography is to speak in specialties.  You don't question a Cardiologist why he doesn't know the whole body.  You may, if you are like me wonder at the story that brought him to his specialty but not think him errant in his choice.  It could be because of a family member, or because he had an instinct for that organ.

I don't question my amazingly talented designer and ask her to decorate my home.  Now could she give me pointers probably cause she probably has better taste then I do but it isn't her focus.

I think that all types of photography are amazing.  When I look at landscape art I'm amazed at how a building can almost come to life or how you can almost feel that sunset.  When I see a portrait photographer who has managed to capture the heart of a child... the mischievousness and yet still innocents I am amazed.  When I see wild life exhibits I can't help be fathom at the creation in front of me.  Each and every photography speaks to me as a consumer... as someone desperate to experience life.

To be honest I just don't have the skill set for most of them. Yes, I know how to use my camera.  Yes, could I do a "decent job" at most... well maybe? :D  But do I know how to make a child relax and be themselves... crazy and wild or timid and soft yet both still amazingly beautiful?  NO, I wish.  I have nieces and nephews galore.  Believe you me if I had those talents you would be seeing SO many kid pictures it would drive you crazy.  I can take an "Olan Mills" portrait, which there is no shame in that but that isn't what I love to do nor do I think that you would love that photo as much as you would love a Sarah Petty  or Neito Photography shot of your kids being wild and freely themselves!

My skill is getting adults, women or men, to relax with me and remember how beautiful they really are.  So many of us have had years of practice "Stamping" that smile on or feeling like no matter what you do your picture won't come out well that we almost tense in front of the camera.  It reminds me of the funny episode of Friends when Monica and Chandler are trying to get their engagement pictures done... Oh Chandler's smile!  Makes me laugh every time.  

(photo thanks to HelloGiggles)

That moment of getting you to be you... beautiful, fabulous you (or for the guys out there: strong, handsome... I can't bring myself to call a guy beautiful... just seems off)!  

My attachment of wedding photography goes back to watching a friend of mine get married.  She was timid and felt unsure and the photographer they had was inexperienced and didn't know how to make my friend who was a bride feel as beautiful as she really was.  What day should you feel more relaxed and more beautiful then your wedding day?  What photos will be most viewed for the rest of your life that will remind you of the joy or your new life?  What photos will you pull out with your children as they grow up or when they are getting married and want to laugh over the hair or dress you had on your wedding day?

This is your one and only day to get married to your favorite person.  You won't have that again.  That's why I love Wedding photography.  That's why it is so important to me.

What is important to you?  What is your passion?

Live. Love. Loud.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Raves of the Bright and Beautiful Brandi

Wedding Photographer Review | Raleigh Wedding photography | Featured wedding photography This past year I had the joy of shooting Brandi and Stephen's wedding.  Brandi had done so much hard work to make all the details perfect and "just there" that it was hard not to be swept away in it all.  On top of what a wonderful day it was I was overjoyed that it was my first wedding to ever be featured!  The amazingly talented and busy Amy Long over at The Lovely Find.  Chose their wedding out of hundreds to feature in November.

To say that I was excited would be putting it mildly.  

Just as exciting is when I get to open up emails from my brides after the wedding and see or hear their joy over the work.  I mean I feel like I invest and try and make their days the best I can but to know where I succeeded or where I failed helps me become a better photographer for the next amazing couple as well as make the situation as right as I can.

When I received this email from Brandi I was elated!


They are awesome:)!!!!!!! We can't thank you enough for all that you have done including getting these to us so quickly!! They are soo AMAZING:)!!!  I don't even know how I'm going to pick which ones to print :)


If you got married: what was your favorite part of the day?  If you are planning: what is your focus?  Is it going to be a family affair, a party till dawn or an elegant swaray?

Live. Love. Loud.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Making Wedding Planning Easy

Wedding planning made easy | How to make the most on a small budget | A conversation that changes your wedding Over the years of attending, participating and working in weddings I have determined something:

Weddings are expensive. Which can be disconcerting if you get married as I did: with little to no money.  If you are engaged or soon to be engaged you need to really stop and think:

The first thing I suggest for you to do is stop and take a moment to figure out what is most important to you.  Ask around to those who have gone before you and ask what they were their favorite parts of the wedding or their least favorite parts.

When I got married it was young and I didn't take my own advice.  I went the route of trying to spend as little money as possible.  As a result there are some things I don't mind having cut corners:
 I wore a used  dress
We did family only
We had limited flowers
We didn't do favors
Chris wore dress clothes instead of a tux
My sister did my hair
A friend did our music
We set up our own chairs and paid a friend to take the down and wait for the truck pick up

Those are all things I don't mind.  They are moments that passed and didn't bother me much.  There were fleeting moments of doubt but that is about it.

There are two regrets to my wedding day:

First a friend did our wedding photography as a favor and I am eternally grateful but were I going back I wish I had invested in the only thing that is left when the day finishes... the proof :D

I wish I had not caved on having a wedding cake.  I wish I had done something else... like an ice cream bar or pie or???  But that is just a silly thing.

My point isn't to make you go through my memory lane but to give you an idea of what I mean. You and your significant other need to think through what's important to you.

For me a dress wasn't important but it could be a huge deal for you.
A big wedding wasn't me but it could be the most important thing to you!
We didn't have a big dinner but that could be a family tradition that is the world to you.

You get the drift.  You need to think through and make a list of your top ten.. THE most important things to both of you.  From that list you will come out with your perfect wedding for the two of you... and you might just get to have a lovely date in the process of figuring it all out!

Here's to your amazing wedding being everything you ever dreamed!

Live. Love. Loud.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Top Ten Things That Change...

Top Ten Things That Change When Pregnant | Funny Pregnant Moments | Preggers I starting thinking about things recently. I still have a long way to go on my pregnancy but it seems to take over any and all conversations with those around me so I figured I would share the love by giving my... Top ten things that change when you're pregnant:

(comics thanks to Funny Pregnancy)

  • You are no longer capable of everyday activity in most people's minds 
    • In all their love and protection people try and tell you want you can and cannot do.  This is up to you and how you want to handle it but I have to be really up front about it. I don't do well with being told what to do by anyone I haven't put over myself ... if that makes any sense?  But be sure however you handle it that you remember it comes from love.
  • You are constantly asked "how are you feeling" as they stare at your stomach 
    • Much like when you get married and everyone asks "So, how's married life?" and you're not sure how to answer, people try and feel connection to you but don't always know how so they ask you the one thing that they think of.  If you get tired of answering it: you can do as me and be playful and list off some of the dwarfs :D
  • No matter what you know, when you look down you feel fat 
    • No matter how much I know that I am putting on weight for a good reason I can't help but feel huge.  I mean the baby isn't in my thighs yet they grow too.  I don't have the noticeable "baby bump" so when I look down I feel like I ate... well, all the ice cream LOL
  • You go from seeing a billboard of a food to needing to eat then not it being the last thing you want to eat
    • Chris literally laughs at me when this happens (notice the "s" because it has happened more than once)
  • PJ's never looked so good 
    • I'm pretty sure I will break down more than once and run over to the grocery store in my fleece pants...OH maybe I'll get a cute pair of yoga pants then it looks like I'm in them for a reason other than comfort?
  • You can't have amazing things like sandwiches, sushi and any type of cocktail 
    • Oh how I miss you.
  • Everyone has opinions that have to be shared... and sadly most contradict each other.
    • I get confused at times trying to keep them all straight.  I don't mind hearing them but one person may tell you that ____ is bad or _____ is good.  I feel like it is like "eggs" every few years they change whether you should eat them or not.  I use a few well placed books to try and balance all that I hear. 
  • You pee ALL the time... ALL the time 
    • I feel like Bourne only I'm scouting bathrooms not exits
  • In the beginning, most people feel like you're dying
    • It does pass... everyone is different.  I have one friend who didn't have any stomach issues and another that had hers last through most of her pregnancy.  I hope for all the women out there that this stage runs its course SUPER quick.  Eating often was the only thing that helped me (small amounts every hour).
  • Everyone wants to talk about your baby...even if you don't want to 
    • They are all so excited and they don't live with the kid in your stomach.  They want to be a part of it.  I don't have a fix for this one.  For me I take a deep breath and try and remember it is their first time having this conversation. And hey maybe you'll love to talk it all over and so you'll love this! 

 I hope that brought you a laugh!

Live. Love. Loud.

Friday, February 7, 2014

LOVES-in on some New Beginnings

Looking on the bright side | LOVES | Wedding Photography Endless emails have been passed between the two of us but we have not met yet.  I'm excited this Friday I will finally meet the wonderful and talented Meredith of Jack and Molly Design.  She did the amazing job on my logo and business cards and more work soon to follow but for now we are going to finally strike up a great friendship in person.  We have hit is off smashingly on email but now it is time to make it official and what better way to do that then over a sugary coffee beverage and maybe even a pastry :D

So here is to another week of busy but great beginnings.  Which brings me to this weeks LOVES...

  • Apple Fritters... So have to make a trek to Donut World!
  • Days spent with Chris snuggled up and enjoying the cold
  • Great conversations with Close friends
  • Meeting up with my amazing Designer for a great cup of coffee and a nice pastry if I can swing it
  • PJ's/yoga pants... pretty sure God let a little bit of heaven out when these were created
  • Viber: it is an amazing app that lets me keep in contact with a close friend far away: I love technology...

What do you LOVES this week?

Live. Love. Loud.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February Goals... And Another One Bites the Dust...

Monthly Goals | Achievable Goals | Professional and Personal Goals As the month flies on I can't help but think of all of what has been done or what is to do.  So much of our personal life seems to be in the for front at the moment.  We are moving this coming month and then the ever present looming of the forever change and all the prep that goes along side it.  I can't but help feel like I need to better balance my life.  I need to focus more on planning out the stages of my business and my husband's work and when I'm home I do that but man o' man do people like to talk about baby stuff.  I think it is like when you go on a trip or when you get married and people don't know how else to communicate/figure it is the only thing on your mind.  They are often shocked when I share that Chris and I don't often have "baby" come up in our day to day conversation.  I mean we are reading books we would have previously not seen the need to read or occasionally have to work out our schedules to do classes but on a normal day the most that is discussed is Chris having to remind me to take my vitamin cause I'm the worst at that.

Get my "Referral Program" up and running
Post on Twitter at least 2 times daily (m-F)
Post on FB at least 2 times daily (m-f)
Post at least 1 Instagram per week

Exercise at least 3 times a week
Do my daily stretches
Keep my sugar intake to a minimum
Do a better job of keeping up with friends
Go on Babymoon

So much of our lives are in doing life.  Don't let the busy get in the way of the important.  I have to tell myself that SO much that I'm pretty sure I should have it needle pointed on a pillow somewhere...

Live. Love. Loud.

Confessions and Cravings

Pregnancy Cravings | Top 4 things that Pregnancy makes you crave | Rachel Abi Photography Part of being pregnant is that you are supposed to eat well.  Everyone is supposed to eat well all the time but it is all the more important... or so "they" say.  But my confession this week is that though I try I still can't seem to shake some cravings:

(picture thanks to Girly Girl)

Boxed Mac n' Cheese... I'm pretty sure that's not healthy... AT ALL
Doughnuts, let's face it they are AMAZING
Hog n' Rags.  Chris has gotten to the place of begging for not having to eat them anymore... but I told him I couldn't promise that cause they are SO DELICIOUS
Sour Skittles if I could ever find them

Don't get me wrong I try and eat all the high iron, fiber, and vitamins and all that... just it is so hard to shake some things that are so delicious.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Live. Love. Loud.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Others and Inspiration

Photographers that Inspire | How to give back to your community | Jasmine Star and Michael Jordan Smith I've been thinking over those who inspire me and thought I'd share.  Though I know none are without flaws it is always nice to have those to look up to in some complicity or another.  Sometimes even their flaws and how they handled them can be my inspiration.

A fellow wedding photographer, Jasmine Star, has given me much joy.  Reading her posts and confessions has been inspiring.  She is completely transparent.  There are some who hate, but I think you can't get around that but even this past year when she made a big mistake she owned up to it with grace and honor.  She continues to be bluntly honest and a wonderful reminder that you can be you and become a success... mistakes and all :D

(photo thanks to Jasmine Star's website)

Another photographer, though a he focuses on fashion, has inspired me greatly.  His relation to people and his efforts to enjoy life and create a relaxed work environment for all involved has been something that I aspire to more alike.  Micheal Jordan Smith is amazingly talented in his work but it is actually his attitude and personality that set him a part from those around him.

(photo thanks to Michael Jordan Smith's Vimeo profile)

An amazing photojournalist who seems to capture the seemingly mundane in a way that makes me more than envious is Benjamin Lowy.  The way he views the world in a way to tell a story of the small moment captured of the strangers he meets or simply passes takes my breath away at points.

(photo thanks to Photographers in Conflict)

Who inspires you to follow after your dreams?

Live. Love. Loud.