Behind the Lens – The Life of A Wedding Photographer


behind the lensGrowing up in musical theatre I was always really into knowing what was going on backstage or ‘behind the scenes’. I would spend lots of time thinking about how they made the Phantom disappear or thinking about how the lighting was setup. So naturally when joining the photography world a lot of my theatrical knowledge comes out, from directing herds of groomsmen to seeking the best light theatre has driven me in many ways. It is totally natural for me to want to share what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ and i figure with the new year now is a great time to share what all goes on behind the lens/computer/mind of Rachel Kaye Photography.

To be honest I never thought I was going to become a wedding photographer. I always just enjoyed directing people and capturing raw emotions of people on their own, but as soon as I second shot my first wedding a LONG time ago I knew it was for me. I couldn’t help but enjoy the raw-emotion of a couple or a family together… and the fast paced nature keeps me going, it actually makes my heart beat faster and gets me really excited for this next wedding season. I just love LOVE, love between a couple, between family members, between you and your pets all kinds of love. There are a lot of things that go into photographing a wedding day, hours of preparation talking with my couples about the plans for the day, emails back and forth lots of calls and meetings. The most important to me is the engagement shoot, i get a chance to really get to know you as a couple and you get to see a glimpse of how your wedding day will go down!

I put together this post to kind of show you how I work and how 2014 went down! It was a fantastic, amazing fast paced year and I couldn’t have done it w/out all the people who took these behind the scenes shots (some are iPhone shots so excuse the grain!).

behindthescenes_rachelkayephotography02I got to visit Santa Maria and Big Sur, CA for my sisters wedding. I will NEVER recommend anyone attend / be in their sisters wedding AND photograph it. I think I am still tired from it! I learned so much about just going with the flow, taking things as they are and being yourself during this process though. Thanks to my Dad who has always had  a great eye for getting this shot!


A lot of this year was spent making amazing photographer friends. The photographer community can be incredibly competitive and cutthroat. I quickly learned there are amazing photographers who are very welcoming and created a network with them. I really can’t emphasize enough how important this has been to my personal and professional growth! Having a bunch of like-minded individuals going through the same processes has been amazing. Moving to Chicago made me super nervous but I have quickly grown my amazing group of photographer friends to include many Chicagoans. This Photographer meetup really was a ton of fun and helped to grow my amazing network!


I will do ANYTHING for the shot. Get in the snow, get in the WATER, lay down, creep around whatever it takes! I DO NOT RECOMMEND getting in the water like this unless you have really really really good insurance. Seriously. JUST DON’T DO IT. On a related note, I have really really good insurance 🙂 Plus this was a standing water lake (no waves or anything crazy!) I did however have a fish swim next to my leg and almost freaked out. But it was worth it.


Directing the groomsmen is harder than herding cats. Thankfully this group of laid back guys were really easy to work with but sometimes it is just not like that…. My background with theatre and directing has really helped me with the process of getting anyone and everyone to move where I want them to! I am LOUD and in CHARGE. Have a tough group to work with? I gotcha…


{as a second shooter I also carry yo’ gear! Check out me slinging Amanda’s backup…and check out my sweet bellybag…}


Hair Fail? I AM ON IT!!! I find myself helping fix hair all the time during weddings…from professionally done hair that seems to just fall out moments after leaving the salon to doing it yourself I will make sure you look fantastic in every photo!


^little babes get me everytime. They are so cute and I love interacting with them. If you have kids at your wedding you will probably have 50+ photos of them. So much energy and squishiness they end up  doing really cute things. No kids? No worries I will just end up hanging out w/ your elders and snapping tons of photos of them. In fact I usually am just running around capturing photos of all of your guests enjoying your party {because obviously you are having an amazing party!}


I am also here for you to lean on {no really lean on me!}. Belle was having issues w/ her shoes so  I helped her out!


I also crack a LOT of jokes and do a lot of silly things to get you interacting. I have no idea what I said or was doing here ^ but the shots ended up so cute 😀


(more cat herding)^


^Really odd positions for dress fixing.


either first or second shooting I am a total goofball and always seem to be having a good time. I have been told my energy is contagious and gets everyone going. You will probably find me dancing away with your family and friends while getting tons of shots…if I am not dancing YOU probably won’t be dancing. It just really helps (plus I LOVE TO DANCE!).


Rain or Shine, I am there to get the shot. Right before this wedding I SERIOUSLY cut my shooting finger really bad with a can of dog food. Instead of being a big baby I just super glued it shut and rocked that wedding! I did have to stop at the reception and re-glue but it worked out.


^So this is a lot of what you guys PROBABLY will never see! ME EDITING! Getting mad at computers and working on holidays, weekends through the night (or when your kind of sick like when this photo was taken). This is when the MAGIC happens. While I do everything I can to make everything look how I want it to in camera, post-process really zazzes things up A LOT! Thanks to my sister for capturing the JOY that can be editing (when things don’t go right…).

2014 was awesome both through the camera and behind it.  I am so beyond grateful for all of the experiences I have had and cannot wait to see what the 2015 wedding season has in store! I still have room for a few couples for 2015 and am already booking for 2016!

Thank you to all of my awesome fellow photographers for the shots in this post:

Alycia Choroszucha – #1, #3

Dad – #2

Sydney Miller – #5

Amanda Day – #9, #10

Anissa  – #12, 14, 15, 17

Nicole – #6

Lisa – #11

Andrea – #18

Destiny – #19, #20

Abbey Moore – #21

THANKS you all are babes 🙂

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