Happily married to my high school sweetheart, Trevor. We live in sunny Huntington Beach, CA with our darling daughter Winifred and our grumpy cat Onyx. I was practically raised by a village. My large family is my backbone. I only have a handful of close friends, but they are some of the smartest, sweetest, kindest people I have ever known. I feel my knack for finding beauty through the lens, even in the most unlikely of places, is because of them. When you are loved like your husband, friends and family love you, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED.
I am inspired by my baby's one dimpled smile, my husband's sense of humor, my cat's creaky door meow, the selflessness of my family, the way Carl Sagan says billions, Robert Smith's hair, Peter Murphy's voice, Neil Gaiman's imagination, Walt Disney's motivation, Wes Anderson's aesthetic, Spock's humanity and RuPaul's femininity. And, yes I realize most of my heroes I've listed here are men. My women heroes exist in my real life and I just have too many to name.
Strangely enough I realized I wanted to photograph weddings at a funeral. Grandpa Joe had just passed. At the family gathering, I was sitting on the floor looking through the old family album. This was the album he showed us every year when we would visit for Christmas. Whenever he would bring out that album his eyes would light up as if it was the first time, every time.
The pages were made up of solid black paper. Aged, black and white photos of various sizes were taped on. Written on the back of each photo were names and dates in his cursive. Smiling faces of people long gone graced the pages, including his beloved Ethel to whom he was married to for over 60 years.
As I stared at their wedding photos I hardly recognized them. So young, so happy. It put a smile on my face during a time when sadness prevailed. It was then that it hit me that we no longer would have those Christmases together, but we would always have the album along with our memories.
I ended up inheriting Grandpa Joe's vintage Kodak camera that he took many of the photos with that are in that very album. It sits in a prominent place in my living room and in my heart. I take the photos that I do for the future generations. My only hope is that my images bring a lifetime of happiness and beyond for you and your family.
Since all couples and their weddings are unique, custom collections are available. Fine wall art prints, linen and leather books and a retro 3D viewer are all available a la carte to truly make your collection your own.
In addition to weddings, I also love to photograph portraits for baby milestones, maternity, families and in love couples.
I shot my very first wedding in 2009 and after that did all kinds of other type of gigs like headshots, concert photography, events, etc. Then, in 2011 I realized that weddings were what make me happy and I haven't looked back since.
My approach is photojournalistic, real and relaxed. My clients know who they are as individuals and aren't afraid to show it. I am inspired by gorgeous urban or natural locations, openness and laughter. My ultimate goal is to tell the story of the day and provide you with photos that will bring you happiness to last a lifetime. I love a good mix of candid, documentary with editorial style images.
I come from the old school days of film so I shoot and edit photos to resemble a timeless, film-like quality. I believe in truth and beauty and don't adhere to photoshopped standards of beauty. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I will work with you and help position you in the best light and the most flattering of poses.
Wedding photography has taught me how to shoot in all kinds of lighting situations. I utilize natural light up until I absolutely can't. If there is even a sliver of light I will use it. Once the sun completely sets, I use different setups depending on the space. Typically, I have a flash on camera and one off camera. I also may use a video light.
A family session is very much similar to the way I approach weddings. Documentary style since I have a thing for authenticity. As opposed to a stiff, unnatural smile type of photography, I love to capture people in their element doing things together that make them happy.
It's important to start off by finding a location that is meaningful to you and your loved ones. Like for instance, we could start off at your home and a second location could reflect a favorite activity like going to the local coffeeshop. For sessions involving kids I always like to incorporate something fun for them like Disneyland or a trip to the tide pools. Giving people a place to interact and play brings out the best of their personalities and a photo session with me is a reflection of your lifestyle.
Absolutely! An engagement session is a perfect time for us to get to know each other and to familiarize yourselves in front of my camera. That way on the day of the wedding you two will be pros. I have been in front of the camera a few times, so I know just how awkward it can be. I treat people the way I like to be treated during a shoot.
For the most part I am more interested in capturing the connection between you two. You'll mostly be interacting and focusing on each other. I like to keep things very casual and before you know it you won't even notice I am there.
Yes, for any unique to you photos you want captured, such as that special piece of jewelry your grandmother handed down to you or that unique gift for your wedding party. For family formals I recommend putting together a list of the different combinations of immediate family members to help expedite the process and get your family to the cocktail party as soon as possible.
However, I do not accept generic shot lists as I feel this can impede my photojournalistic style. I wouldn't want to miss a moment because I am busy checking off a list of things I would be covering anyway.
For weddings, approximately 500-700 edited high-resolution images with personal printing rights through digital download or on a custom USB drive. For lifestyle sessions, approximately 30-50 photos are included.
The USB drive comes in a lovely wooden keepsake box along with complimentary 4x6 prints of photographer favorites. I recommend backing up all photos in more than one place. You also will receive an online gallery to view, share with friends and family and purchase professional prints through. This will be available to you for 2 weeks.
For weddings, editing time takes no longer than 6 weeks. Engagement and portrait sessions take up to only 4 weeks. The photos you receive will be chosen and edited by me. Every photo is individually edited to adjust (if necessary) white balance, contrast, brightness, the occasional blemish will be removed and a portion of photos will be black and white to emphasize emotion.
It's simple. I offer linen and leather books in 4 sizes to choose from. 4x4, 8x8, 10x10 & 12x12. Books come with a hard substrate between the photographic pages. The pages are flush mount meaning that the photographs are printed throughout the whole page. Linen books are perfect to compliment your engagement session, as a sign-in book or a family portrait book. Leather is highly recommended for weddings.
All books are handmade in America and are of the utmost quality in order to last from generation to generation. All come with a cameo of your favorite photo on the front. You have a variety of colors to choose from and the choice to further custom and add 2 lines, such as your names and date of your wedding on the cover. A linen dust cover is also included to protect your keepsake for years to come.
I do all the custom designing of the book to tell a cohesive story of your day. You are able to make changes before final approval. The process is done all online.
No travel fee is needed for the LA, OC and SD counties. I charge a nominal fee for anywhere else in the world. Usually just enough to cover two hotel stays and mileage. So far, I have yet to do any bucketlist destination weddings. If you are interested in flying me out to I may do it just for cover of the travel expenses. For the right couple and destination, of course!
It's certain, like death.
To start the booking process, please use the contact form or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me as much as you can, such as hours needed, are you interested in an engagement session, wedding book, etc? Upon receiving your e-mail, I will send you my collections info and possibly put together a custom collection.
Once you have a chance to go over the info and choose a possible collection, I recommend scheduling a complimentary in-person meeting over coffee with you and your partner. I feel an in-person meeting is SO important. Weddings are such a personal event. It's imperative to not just get along but to share a similar approach to life and photography. So, let’s get together and chat over some coffee! If meeting in-person is not possible FaceTime or a Google Hangout is the next best thing.
Once we meet and decide we are a good fit, a 50% non-refundable retainer is due upon signing of the contract to lock in your date. Check or ACH (eCheck) payment preferred. Credit cards are accepted as well. The remainder is due 30 days before the date of the wedding. Everything from quotes to contracts to designing your album are done in an eco-friendly manner online.
I have years of experience shooting weddings starting in 2009. This is my full time job that I dedicate myself fully and completely to with my whole heart. I continue to educate myself, use professional grade gear and provide you with American made, top of the line keepsakes that are not only beautiful but are meant to last through the years. I am fully insured and a member of PPA, Professional Photographers of America.
"My husband and I enjoyed working with Rachel and her team. She captured and produced amazing images just as how we envisioned it."
- Karina & Andrei
"Rachel McCauley wasn't just our photographer; she was our wedding hero. My husband and I can honestly say that our wedding wouldn’t have been the amazing and memorable event it turned out to be without the support of Rachel and her assistant. From the moment she stepped foot in our venue, Rachel made it her personal mission to make our wedding as perfect as possible. You can imagine how much could and did go wrong with my mother both planning and coordinating the wedding (with no prior planning experience I might add).
Rachel did everything she could to help us plan the schedule, keep the wedding on schedule, and work out any issues that arose while taking the most incredible wedding pictures! She took the time to get to know us and knew exactly what we were looking for. Her photographs were so candid, real, and yet unbelievably beautiful. The other photographers we considered were more inclined towards the formal poses and we just don’t think they could have captured this amazing wedding like Rachel did. If you are looking for a professional photographer with technique, sincerity, and passion, Rachel is your gal. She really did save our wedding and for that we will be forever grateful to her!"
- Cynthia & Brandon
"One of the most important things for my wedding was a good photographer. I was looking for more than just your typical wedding photos. I really wanted someone that is artistic and has a vintage style. When I saw Rachel’s work, I knew I wanted her to be our photographer. Not only was she there every step of the way, our pictures were beyond expectation.
There is not one picture I don’t love. They’re gorgeous, I can’t get enough compliments on them. When I go through the pictures it’s like I’m in that moment all over again, she really captured the happiness we felt that day. Rachel and her team were really patient with all of us as weddings are hectic and lots of running around. I never had to look for her to capture a moment, she knew her cue. It was a real pleasure to work with such a professional."
- Reina & Matt