Alicia + Ben’s Elopement- Pu’u Poa Beach, Kauai

Rainy, wet and perfect.

Big aloha to Alicia and Ben for having me photograph their sweet beach side elopement. And thank you sunshine for giving us a few minutes.

Wedding planner: http://www.aliikauaiweddings.com/

 

 

Judy + Kenny – Hiaku Mill, Maui HI

This shoot had all the perks of a styled shoot but it wasn’t! Just a real couple wanting a few more photos after their wedding day on the mainland. They were honeymooning on Maui and had me pop over for a day of shooting at the Haiku Mill.

Gorgeous venue (even with the pouring rain!!), stunning dress and delightful couple.

I could get use to shooting wedding couples without the stress and rush of a wedding day. Not bad, not bad at all.

All shot on my contax 645 and canon eos 3 with kodak film pushed 1-2 stops.

Protected: Rachel + Tyson- Washington School House Wedding, Park City UT

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Brooke and Shea- Martha Stewart Weddings

It was an absolute thrill to shoot Brooke and Shea’s wedding for Martha Stewart Weddings last March. The icing on the cake was having one of my images chosen for the cover. Dream scenario. Brooke and Shea’s wedding was featured in their Real Weddings Special Issue Fall 2014. Big Aloha to the team at MSW for being so great to work with and big thanks to my amazing friend, Kris for assisting and helping to keep things running smoothly. Excited to finally share some of my favorites from their day.

(All images shot on a contax 645 using kodak portra 400 film. The last three images were shot with a canon 5D)

Sources:

Film Scans: Richard Photo Lab

Event Design, Flowers, and Stationery: Meet the Foleys 

Day-Of Coordination: Tiffany’s Party Designs 

Tent and Rentals: Apex Tent and Party

Catering: Vineyard Gourmet Catering (951-694-6355)

Watercolor Artwork: Consider the Lilies Paper Co.

Cake: Sweet Layers Cakes & Pastries 

Music: San Diego Partytime DJs 

Hair: Lindsey Neavitt Hair 

Makeup: My Girls on Film Studios 

Photobooth: MVS Studio Inc.

Vintage Car Rental: Classic Mustang Rentals

Nova 4 yrs


(all images shot on portra 400 with a canon eos3 and contax645)

Today I left on a work trip to Park City. You were wanting to give me a kiss and hug every 5 minutes as I got ready. We chatted as I packed my bags and dried my hair. You showed me your owies and asked if you could put on perfume and lipgloss. I kept asking out loud which book I should bring and you would excitedly say, “Oh Mom! I have the perfect book for you!” as you would run off and bring me back a book on underwater sea life or a book about woodpeckers. This morning you wanted to have a picnic on the ground for breakfast. I made you crepes and we sat around the world you created on the floor at 7 in the morning. Me loving on you and your brother and dad. Me missing you already.

What a year you have had.

Some moments were slow and savored

others happened in the blink of an eye.

3-4yrs has been an explosion of conversation and understanding.

We talk all day long together.

In the mornings you bound into our room talking non-stop in a mid-day voice. You talk about your jammies or how you slept. I ask about your dreams. You make jokes and laugh at yourself. You kiss and tease brother as he breastfeeds. One of you on each side snuggled into me. It is the time of the day where my heart feels the most full. I like being able to touch all the people I love the most at the same time.

You made your first big move (that you will remember) this last year, California to Kauai.

Since moving to this tropical paradise you have attended three different preschools as we have searched for the right fit.

All your teachers comment on how emotionally aware you are. And how well you talk. It feels like most of the kids in your classes sound younger than you. Maybe its the fact that you say things like , “I’m feeling a little sensitive”. Or maybe it’s because you have chosen to be a doctor when you grow up. “I’m Super Nova. I save people.” Whatever it is I feel proud that you are who you are and can express yourself so well. It makes things easier.

You have made so many friends at school and I love hearing you tell stories about them. As hard as it is to have you away from us 3 days a week, I love knowing you are making friends and LOVING your time with them. There have only be a couple days since you started school that you haven’t wanted to go.

There is rarely guessing how you feel. We know.

You are loud and bold and happy and sad and shy and interested and active.

You are creative and imaginative and enjoy your alone time as much as your social time.

You are a mix of almost everything. You are human.

I love being able to stand back and listen to you play. I love the worlds you create with seemingly nothing. I love hearing the conversations your dolls have and the way you soothe your babies to sleep.

There is something about being so close to a person that at times they don’t even realize you are there because of how comfortable you are around each other. I do not take this for granted. I am honored that you trust me enough to completely ignore me at times while you talk to yourself.

I am also grateful for the trust you have in expressing strong emotion around me. I never want any of my children to feel alone with hard and intense feelings because they feel a fear of judgement or lack of acceptance. I consider it the highest compliment when you allow me to support you during your hardest moments. Knowing that I love you (maybe even more) during the storm.

After the clouds clear it is so nice to be able to recap what happened and how we felt. Realizing together that those feelings passed and we survived!! Allowing you to work through all your feelings instead of trying to distract or avoid has given you the chance to see that you are brave and that those feelings aren’t to be feared.

Thank you for all the wonderful lessons we get to learn together.

You really truly are one of my best friends.

You love telling jokes.

One of your favorites this year was “Cows go on their first date to the mooooovies”. You are also learning knock knock jokes which has been fun.

You LOVE helping in the kitchen. You set the table, pour us water. You like to help stir, crack eggs, season. You love being a part of the process and helping to make decisions. You at times can even be quite bossy about where everyone sits while we eat. Thinking you might run your own cafe someday.

If asked you will say your favorite foods are chocolate and ice cream. But just for the record, you eat those two things very sparingly.

You have never been a big bread eater and still just eat the cheese out of the middle of the tortilla. You live off of eggs and cheese and still a fair amount of milk. You also like meat quite a bit, which is adorable for some reason. Most of the time when your dad and I make a meal for you, you thank us. So much sweetness and gratitude in your little self.

Bubbas and you share a room in our home up Kahiliholo. We were not sure how it would all work but you two wow’d us with how easy it has been.

We are renting a home and you like to tell people “There are horses on our property”. And there are are! It has been so fun for us to feed the horses and see them all day from our windows.

You flit around our yard visiting the horses, Ella, the macaw, and staining your bare feet with more red dirt.

Your favorite beach is Kalihwai.

You love digging holes with daddy and trying to catch minnows.

You want to introduce yourself to every young child you see, especially if they are girls.

Dogs make you a little nervous after a couple have chased you at the beach.

You only like to wear one pieces, I think because they are more comfortable to wear.

You like to climb over the lava rocks and pretend that we are mermaids.

I love seeing you so happy and free at these beautiful beaches I love so much. So happy we can live somewhere, where outside play is easy.

You still love princesses and playing chase non-stop. If anyone ever wants to play chase you are up for it. You and dad and bubs will run circles in our house.

You have requested a superhero birthday party. You want it at home and really wanted to watch a movie…but I am trying to persuade you to play some games instead. You also want flounder (little mermaid) cupcakes.

Naps aren’t happening that much anymore. We still do rest time but you spend a fair amount of that time begging for a show. We usually end up snuggling in bed while I try and rest and you roll around on me. Sometimes I think you don’t want to nap because its the time in the day when you can have alone time with dad and me.

When we first moved to Hawaii, we found out we were pregnant on the Big Island while we were there. 10 weeks later we miscarried. We explained it to you in terms of seeds growing and some not growing. You asked lots of questions and we included you in the process. We almost immediately got pregnant again and now I am 19 weeks pregnant (as I write this 2/6/15)!! You have been to an ultrasound with me and couldn’t be more thrilled. Due early July.

You often talk to my belly telling the baby how much you love him. You tell him jokes and blow kisses on my belly. You are also very aware of the fact that sometimes when moms are growing babies they feel sick and tired and you often check in with me to make sure my “belly doesn’t feel sick”.

Seeing you and Fairbanks over Christmas with your cousin Hazel made me so excited for another little baby in our home. You two lived to make her smile.

You are such a loving and fun big sister to Fairbanks. He copies your every move. You two love to wrestle and climb like monkeys on the beds and window frames. Sometimes you hold hands while we drive. Of course you like to test your control over him (like any big sibling would) but you also share and bring him toys when he is sad and really more than anything love playing with him. It has been nice to see him getting old enough to be your occasional playmate. I can see the relationship between you two growing more and more.

He calls you Sissy and you call him Bubbies most of the time. He loves seeing you when you come home from school and you love to be the first to walk into his room when he wakes up from naps.

I watch your every move…like any obsessed mother does.

I see your strong resilient body move with such skill as you skip, run, scooter and climb.

I see your mind working as you listen to a story or see a child in need.

I see your problem solving skills develop as you come up with solutions, “Ummm, I have an idea!”

I see your big smile and sparkling blue eyes look at me with wonder when I catch you off guard with silliness.

I hear you sing happily to yourself with made up words about the things you love.

I watch you with wonder and with my deep deep deep deep deep never-ending well of love.

What a treasure you are in our family. Always the brightest star. Always my sweet side-kick.

Lets run and jump and roll in sand more this year. Lets laugh more and listen closer.

I can’t wait to know you more and love you more.

Happy 4yrs sweet pickle.

 

 

Erin + Scott’s Wedding- Smith’s Tropical Garden, Kauai



Another beautiful wedding on magical Kauai.

So fun shooting at all these new locations and getting to meet all these sweet couples.

Ceremony: Smith’s Tropical Gardens

Wedding Coordinator: Ali’i Kauai Weddings

Beach Location: Papaloa Bay

 

Erin and Scott, I loved meeting you and your family. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your wedding.

 

Amy + Ryan’s Wedding- St Regis Resort, Princeville Hawaii

Another wedding in paradise.

These are really, really smart couples choosing to get married on Kauai.

The ceremony was so picturesque placed under those giant trees. I had to use some super human photography ninja powers to deal with the crazy light directly behind…and I think  I won. Part of the reason I love shooting weddings is the fact that every one involves different light, locations, people…constant variety keeping my brain on it’s toes.

Amy and Ryan, thank you so much for having me be a part of your wedding and I think you could come back every year to celebrate with the island and a new set of photos on Hanalei Bay.

 

(images shots with a contax 645 on portra 400 and canon 6d using Mastin Lab Presets. Film developed by The Find Lab)

Joy + Max’s Wedding- Hollywood, CA

Joy and Max picked two stunning locations to celebrate their wedding. Their ceremony was at the Greystone Estates  and their reception was at the Andaz hotel. Beautiful grounds and beautiful views….but my favorite part was listening to the toasts. I met Joy and Max the day of their wedding (like a lot of my couples) and I love getting to know them more through the words of family and friends.

One of the best moments was finding out Joy’s family is from Maui! I had no idea I was flying from home on Hawaii to shoot an LA wedding with Aloha spirit. Made me happy.

Such a generous, kind couple with an amazing sense of humor. Everyone was laughing and crying through the whole ceremony and I loved how welcoming Max was with me while I was photographing them getting ready. He had a million things on his mind and still made it a point to ask me questions and help me feel welcome. It was really sweet.

Yet again another couple I wish lived next door. Feeling so grateful for all of these amazing people I get to meet and connect with.

 

(Shot on a contax 645 with portra 400 and a Canon 6D using the Mastin Lab Presets)

Wedding Planner- Nick Gentile 

 

Shannon + Justin’s Wedding- Hanalei Bay, Kauai

This wedding pretty much sealed the deal for me. I knew Kauai weddings would be magical…I just didn’t think I would fall this hard and this fast.

I only shot for 2 hours. Just me, Manulele (the officiator who I will be highly recommending to all my couples), Shannon and Justin. A destination elopement that left me near tears and wishing it would never end.

Justin and I tracked down the perfect ceremony spot at Hanalei Bay a few minutes before we started. I am so glad we found this private, gorgeous spot…since it was just what Shannon and Justin wanted. It was at the public beach at the St. Regis Resort in Princeville. Manulele had the most beautiful Hawaiian ceremony. We finished up chasing the last light of the day, said goodbyes and I drove home to tuck my babies into bed.

Thanks to Shannon and Justin for having me document all these sweet moments. I was in photographer heaven.

 

 

MacIntyre Family

I have been crushing on this family since we first met a couple years ago. Yes, they are cool and have great style and blah blah blah…but who cares? They just feel good to be around. Their home just feels good. Their conversation just feels good. The way they parent just feels good.

A short few weeks after this shoot a sweet baby girl joined their family. Mama delivered that baby ninja style in her home. Getting tucked into your own bed after giving birth is pretty amazing.

I know for people shooting this far along in a pregnancy feels weird…why not just wait until the baby comes? Well, I hear you. I do. But I think the moments “before” are so special. So much excited energy and appreciation for what is and was. It is about being in the moment and preparing as a united front for the change to come.

Big big love to this family and all the goodness that surrounds them.

All images shot on the contax 645 on portra 400 pushed a stop. Developed by The Find Lab.

 

Sutten + Jacob’s Wedding- Newport Beach, CA

The same day I shot this wedding, I moved out of our home in Anaheim. It was crazy. Truth be told, sneaking away from the moving chaos was pretty nice. Instead of staring at the loose ends of our messy house, I sunk my toes into sand, squinted into the late afternoon sun and got to drill Sutten and Jacob with 2o questions while we drove from location to location.

Such a sweet, fun couple PLUS her family is native texans and her dad  smoked his own brisket for the wedding.  Give me good light and good food and you will find a happy me.

Thanks to Sutten and Jacob for being so good looking and fun to hang out with.

 

 

Jordyn + Cody’s Wedding- San Diego, CA

 

A happy, light filled wedding day. Pretty sure these types of days will never get old.

On the other hand, looking at this couple makes me feel old. They are so young and fresh. Sigh. But the thing I found most intriguing was how wise and thoughtful Jordyn was. She is one of the most accepting, loving, genuinely happy brides I have ever photographed. She couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful her new husband was and how great he is. It was a heart warming thing to witness. Of course he adored her as well. Duh.

Super happy about all these people finding each other and loving each other. Glad we don’t have to be alone in this world.

So excited for your life together, Jordyn and Cody. Honored to have documented your first day as husband and wife.

 

Salisbury Family- San Francisco, CA

Just another amazing, causal, REAL, family lifestyle session.

We just walked around the Ferry building, chatting, swapping stories and capturing some great moments of this family of three being together.

Man, I love my job.

If you are interested in a lifestyle family shoot at your home or at one of your favorite locations, email me at info@rachelthurston.com

(shot on a contax 645 on kodak portra 400. Developed and scanned by The Find Lab)

 

Baby Theo

Calmness and chaos coexist in the home of a newborn. The chaos is hard to detect if you aren’t around at 2am when the whole world is asleep expect for you….but I have to say these three had a very strong calm over chaos ratio. I wasn’t sure anyone was even sleep deprived. All I saw was starry eyes.

So fun to see friends go from no baby to baby and have it seem like they have always played the role. Morgan and Joel are complete and utter naturals. Parenting instincts blow my mind!

Theo is a very loved and very blessed baby to have the family he does.

All my love and sweet singing lullabies to this new family. xxoo

 

(shot on the contax 645 with kodak trix and portra films)

 

 
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Lowe Family


Often after I shoot a family with small children (specifically toddlers and newborns) I have to reassure the parents that although it felt like a tornado, we did in fact get some really great shots. Every hair won’t be in place and all faces smiling at the camera is a rarity BUT we get something even better. We get something with movement and emotion and smiles and tears. We get something real. We created something that you can all look back on years from now and say with confidence “that’s what life felt like”. To me, that matters way more than creating something fictitious, but then again, I have never been one for faking it.

Thank you to my friends Sarah and Alex for having me document your new family of four. So much happiness going on between all of you. AND Sarah is a stylist and has mad style. I am mildly obsessed with her nursery.

If anyone is interested in having me photography a lifestyle session with your family, email me at info@rachelthurston.com

(shot with a contax 645 on Kodak portra 400 film. Developed and scanned by the FIND lab)