Rachelle Rawlings Photography in Houston, TX

You Be You—As traditional (or not) as you wanna be

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

There is nothing better than a longtime reader who pours her whole heart into creating a wedding business that solves the very problems that led her to APW to begin with. Today, that’s Rachelle Rawlings Photography in Houston, whose 2011 wedding (and coolest engagement session in the history of all time) is so ingrained in my mind that I can recall it by heart. These days, Rachelle is creating classic, emotional, unfiltered photos and prices starting at the I-don’t-know-how-it’s-possible rate of $1,750. And she’s working hard to support clients that are a little bit traditional, a little bit unique, and a whole lot of themselves. In short, she’s been working crazy hard to build a business that allows her to work with APWers.

Over the past few years, Rachelle has been busting ass building a portfolio and getting acquainted with the local Houston wedding market, so she’s got skill and experience to spare. But because she is still building her own client base, Rachelle Rawlings Photography is crazy affordable, especially for the Houston area. Her wedding day coverage starts at $1,750 and includes eight hours, a second photographer, high-resolution files, and an online gallery. Complete collections with portrait sessions and albums start at just $2,000. Which is crazy, in a barely covering costs kind of way. Jump on this now, because with Rachelle’s talent, it’s not going to last long.

Here is what Rachelle figured out when planning her own wedding—it’s not about how far left or right of center you can be. It’s about being yourself. Back in 2011, she put it this way:

Even in the non-WIC world, it’s still all about model-esque pictures and fancy DIY projects and being the craziest, quirkiest, most unique thing possible. But you know what? You don’t have to do any of those things. You don’t have to be WIC and you don’t have to be a DIY queen and you don’t have to look like a model to be happy with your wedding. Maybe everyone else already knows this, but I didn’t realize it and maybe I’m not the only one.

There’s a tendency in the indie wedding world to judge and immediately discard all things associated with traditional weddings. But Rachelle Rawlings Photography doesn’t care if you’re throwing the bouquet (or not), doing a garter toss (or not), getting married in a traditional venue (or not), as long as you’re being you. Rachelle takes everything she learned from planning her own wedding, and puts it into being the best cheerleader for your wedding. Rachelle says:

I work with a lot of couples who consider themselves “laid-back traditional.” I believe that weddings are made up of two very important aspects—the traditional and the personal. Parts of the day will follow traditions: most people will wear special clothing, say vows, have witnesses, and be presented to the community as a married couple. And parts of the day will be personal to the couple and guests: the details of the day, the exact words said, the location, food, and activities hosted.

I think that both of these elements, the traditional and the personal, are equally important to a wedding day, and I love working with couples who feel that way too. I work with couples who aren’t afraid to include (or eschew) things because they are traditional or because they are unique. They ultimately let themselves be their own guide and trust their choices—and in my eyes that makes for a wonderful wedding day, no matter what the specifics are.

When you pair Rachelle’s no-judgment approach to weddings with her crystal clear, unfiltered images, you end up with really good stuff. Rachelle says:

I don’t believe that showing a true, real reflection of your day is at odds with making everything (including you!) look really beautiful. I have been photographed professionally several times, including on my wedding day, and I understand firsthand the power of seeing a photo of yourself that both captures something really true, but also makes you feel like you look really great. I strive to take the natural beauty and joy intrinsic to your relationship and your day and help make that look ridiculously amazing in photo form.

It can be really hard to find a wedding photographer who understands both the indie and traditional side of weddings (especially in areas more typically dominated by tradition, where the only alternative ever seems to be super, super indie). But Houston’s Rachelle Rawlings Photography gets it. Rachelle herself is one of you from way back, and I’ve been watching her work grow ever since she signed off as a wedding graduate and moved on to kick ass at doing her own thing. (I even got to help her a little along the way!) I have no doubt that Rachelle is going to take off in a huge way this year, and you could be one of the lucky ones to nab her while she’s still in the building phase. So get to it, because an absurdly talented photographer who charges under $2,000 is like the Hale-Bopp Comet of wedding photography—rare and magnificent.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • MisterEHolmes

    Dangit, first Texas APW photog and here I already had to book someone else! Good luck, Rachel!

  • As a client, I’ve had photos taken by Rachelle and I can confirm that she is awesome, talented, and she really CARES. As a wedding photographer, I can tell you she is an incredible value because her work is leagues above her price point. Get on this.

  • I’ve hung out with Rachelle, photographed her face twice, shot alongside her multiple times, and basically have been a barnacle on Rachelle’s side for about 3 years now and she’s one of the sweetest, most down-to-earth, razor-wit hilarious ladies I’ve ever met. And she’s so friggin’ talented. I canNOT believe the deal she’s offering here. Rachelle is a whiz behind the camera and y’all need to book her like RIGHT NOW. Go Rachelle go!

  • Guest

    I am just SO happy to see a Houston vendor on APW! For such a big city, we get little love.

  • cortneyk

    I am both Rachelle’s friend and client (3x over). She is so dedicated
    and passionate about her work. When she is photographing you she finds a
    way to actually capture you – not just your smile or a pose, but your
    essence. Somehow, through her photographs, she is able to show those
    unique characteristics of your personality that make you proud of
    yourself. My now husband and I took photos with her at Saint Arnold
    before we were engaged, she took my bridal portraits, and she took some
    boudoir photos for me as well. My husband and I were both nervous the
    first time because we aren’t photo-ready people – but she captured our
    sense of humor and love for another and love of laughing (and beer) in
    some really phenomenal photos despite the hellish hot day. I was
    incredibly self-conscious in my very heavy but beautiful (even though I
    wasn’t feeling pretty at the time) wedding dress. She made me laugh and
    genuinely smile. I saw the pictures and I saw ME. Not just some made up
    photo of me but ME. Lastly, my boudoir photos – THE SCARIEST PICTURES OF
    MY LIFE – she made my see myself as beautiful. She doesn’t like to
    overly alter the photos so that the person in them is not the person she
    sees through her lens – she wants to find a way to show and display
    your beauty, both inner and outer. Rachelle, on every account, made me
    feel beautiful without Photoshopping me out the wazoo, which I honestly
    thought was the only way to make me feel beautiful. Additionally, she
    LOVES what she does. Your shoot is not just fun for you it is fun for
    her. She likes to play with lighting and lenses and environments… she
    finds a way to shoot the COOLEST photos. She and her husband even make
    her own lenses! Rachelle is so amazing that I recommend her to everyone I
    know (and not just because she seriously is worth like 5x what she
    offers her services for). In 6 more months I will be booking her for our
    one year anniversary photos (she didn’t shoot my wedding because she
    was in it!) and I just KNOW she will shoot my little ones when they are
    born. She is amazing at making little babies look like little models – I
    don’t know how she does it but she is FANTASTIC with kids. Seriously,
    check out her photos on her website. She is …. I mean words cannot
    describe how fantastic she is at her life (not job, because she is so
    passionate about photography she made it her life). Plus, I am super
    proud of her. :)