There’s a reason I chose to make a career out of photography: weddings—being a part of the celebration of marriage is something that will never get old for me. Of course, weddings are that much more special to me when I have the honor of photographing a friend’s big day. When Rachael asked me to be a part of her day not only as a guest, but as her photographer, I about melted.
Rachael and I met back when I was a full time nurse and she and Tyler were still in medical school—Rachael, a northeastern girl from Massachusetts and Tyler, a southern boy from Texas. They fell for each other, and it was so obvious from the beginning that they’re the perfect match.
Rachael was so different from the medical students who had previously done rotations in my office—she was warm, kind, and invited me in to see patients with her. We instantly became friends.
Tyler proposed after a joint graduation party for Rachael and Tyler at her parent’s beach house in Cape Cod, which just so happens to be where they ended up getting married (but that wasn’t the original plan!). The country club they’d originally planned their wedding at canceled all events, due to COVID-19, so Rachael and Tyler moved their plans beachside to her parent’s house.
The reception was SO much fun. All of the guests (I mean all) were dancing, singing, and enjoying themselves. Near the end of the night, Rachael called out to me and asked me to put my camera down and dance with her. After about 14 hours of shooting, and feeling happy with all of the shots my assistant and I captured, I put my camera somewhere safe and joined her on the floor.
I’d never been to Cape Cod, and was so excited to see the beautiful landscapes and cottage-style beach homes. A couple days before the wedding, I arrived with my husband to enjoy the wedding festivities, like the beach party and rehearsal. After the wedding, we took a couple extra days of vacation and explored Martha’s Vineyard and downtown Boston to get a feel for the place that’s so special to Rachael (and I’m sure glad we did).
The morning of the wedding, I arrived early to take in the energy of the venue and the wedding party. I spent time walking the beach and finding all the best angles and lighting to capture. Typically I bring a style board with me to photograph the details of the day: the invitation, the rings, shoes, jewelry, and florals, but because vendors were running behind and I couldn’t bring my style board as a carry-on, I got creative. I took one of the bridesmaid’s dresses and clippings from the flower bed outside and styled the details of the day.
After helping her button her dress and put on her shoes, I prepped them for their first look. But first, her bridesmaids got a chance to see her—don’t we all deserve girlfriends’ like this?!
Y’all, I love first looks (and this won’t be the last time you hear about them). It's a special time where the bride and groom get to spend an intimate moment with each other before they’re surrounded by friends and family. For formal photos, I’m always happy to help with posing (and I’ll be brutally honest if something looks off), but for first looks, it’s all about the couple just being in the moment. Here's Tyler's “Oh my gosh, this is my wife. She’s stunning.” moment.
The ceremony was beautiful. There were many laughs, happy tears, and a cool breeze. You could feel we were surrounded by so much love.
sweet words from the bride
“Where do I begin?...She travelled from Alabama to Massachusetts to make my husband and I's dream come true—capturing our love with such clarity, all while making us look like naturals in front of the camera. Rachel is extremely organized and near-doubled as the wedding planner keeping all the vendors in coordination. She made each and every person in our family, bridal party and even extended family & guests feel special with a simple click of her camera, not missing a minute of our day!...I had absolute confidence in choosing RAW Images as our photographer, not only because of her big, Southern heart but because of her endless dedication to bettering herself in her field...She is the total package.”
My style—which took over three years to master—is usually airy and bright, but I can’t always predict the weather. What’s more important to me is capturing the essence of the scenery and the day, no matter if it’s sunny, rainy, or foggy. Before the reception, I noticed a fog rolling in across the water, which is typical of the East Coast, so I pulled Rachael and Tyler over to the beach for a quick shoot. Notice the bright feel from the first look earlier in the day:
And post-ceremony with the fog (check out that just-married glow!):