Ryan + Shanda- Orange County Engagements

These two finding each other, being in love, planning a wedding, finishing school, parenting four kids and doing it all while being the best looking couple in all of California.

And guess what??? They are two of our best friends and we have tickets booked to come to the wedding!!!!!!!

It was rainy and cold and not what we were expecting. But we pushed some film, found the light and I think the rain was scared of our determination because it stopped for exactly the one hour we shot. Then I got to eat dinner with these two and do what I do best, drill them about their relationship.

Counting down the days until November.

Meili + Damian's Engagements

I felt like a true VIP when these two flew me to Salt Lake to shoot their engagements.

There is something I like even more than shooting photographs, spending time with my favorite people. And they are two of my favorites. This shoot ended up feeling more like a vacation and less like work.

Damian was friends with both Grant and I  before Grant and I were even a "we". He is one of our dearest friends. After the first time we meet Meili, we got back and our car and gave each other eyes. Something was up and it smelled like love.

Really looking forward to road trippin it to Utah with the whole family to shoot their wedding in a few weeks.

Couldn't be happier for these two.


(shot with a contax 645 and canon eos3 with portra 400 & 160)

Morgan + Brock's Engagements

Yep. It's true. I get to shoot these two on their wedding day in June. Lucky me.

The weather will look slighty different which may make me a little sad since this was so fun to shoot in. The upside to snow is, gorgeous. The downside, numb body parts. We shot all these frames in about 30mins and that was plenty of time. I think any longer and Morgan might have turned in to Anna in that Frozen lake scene (frozen ice sculpture).

While editing these I keep thinking about how much I really love shooting couples.

Thank you two for making my trip to Utah complete with a snowy photoshoot. Lets flip it on it's head in June and frolic through some flowers!

Raegan + Michael

Kind of fun shooting in the Utah snow...but when I saw her bare legs I was a tiny bit alarmed...apparently it was all for nothing because they were both great sports. "Hey, go over there and trek through that snow", " Is it comfortable with that frozen water wrapped around your ankles?". They were great. I am so excited to shoot their wedding this coming May. I am guessing it will be more flowers and less ice by then.

And I can't really let this blog post go without talking about her eyes. I mean, seriously. Those peepers are hypnotizing.

Mandy + Matthew- San Francisco, CA

Did you know you can take photos for any ole reason? Doesn't have to be ONLY when you are getting married or sending out Christmas cards. Like these two...they just kind of like each other and thought "even old married couples deserve updated portraits" (Obviously they don't look old at all!..did they get married when they were 14?? Spring chickens).

It was such a nice day trip up to San Francisco for the shoot. We had sunshine and clouds...AND I ate an amazing lobster roll while I was there from http://woodhousefish.com/. Matthew and I even had a nice bonding moment discussing our love for lobster rolls.

Thanks so much for having me you two. And if anyone else in SF ever needs photos I am only a hop skip and a jump away. Love shooting (eating) there so much.

Becca + JR

These engagements are some of my most favorite I have ever shot. That second shot down in the grass?! I'm sorry I just have to pat myself on the back for that one...I love it so much.

I also consider Becca an honorary little sister...so I'm loving pretty hard on her right now, too. And just for the record everyone should know JR might be the biggest sweetheart I have ever photographed. He kept making Becca and I walk on the inside of the sidewalk, further from traffic and kept offering to catch us in case we fell while trompsing through the forest. I almost fell just so he would.

So excited for their wedding only a month away!

(All shot up Topanga Canyon on my Contax 645 and Canon eos 3)



Dave + Danielle

You may have needed to put on a pair of sunglasses for these. I have been wanting to play with colored gels for awhile...and not subtly. Go big or go home. I wanted color and LOTS of it. This was so much fun for me (and I think for them). I mixed and matched my effects while I was shooting and created some candy colored gems. For some of you this amount of color may have you running for the bathroom screaming "My eyes!! My eyes!!"...but for me this amount of color makes me want to tuck a few prints under my pillow and dream sweet dreams.

Doesn't hurt that these two super-modeled it up. Shooting their wedding day in May. EXCITED.

Jeff + Becca

So this wasn't an engagement shoot. This cute duo have been happily married for 7yrs. They just wanted some current photos and I was glad.

Anyone else want to be a redhead after seeing this beauty? The height difference between the two bestowed her with the nickname "wee".

Thank you so much for posing in my make-shift studio and rolling around in leaves for me. There is nothing I would rather be doing the last hours before sunset.

Carol + Ryan's Day After Shoot- Sydney, Australia

Yep. These two were wed the day before and then met up with me for a few more photos around the Rock's District of Sydney.

It was kind of nice. Usually I am so sad leaving weddings..wondering if and when I will see my couple again but this time no sad goodbyes! Just see you tomorrow's. I like prolonging goodbyes as long as possible.

More of these two this week!

Miriam + Matt

These two crazies are getting married next weekend!! I will be there to photograph every single move they make (not unlike a song sung by Sting).

They are fun (and pretty) and this 30min shoot at Seal Beach is proof.

Benny + Malan

Benny is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We call ourselves the "Truth Seekers". We love to stay up all night and analyze love and light and heartache and any and every questions under the sun. I consider him a brother and I am his sister. When we stayed with him in his NYC apartment he gave up his bedroom for our crazy trio. He would do anything for me, Grant and Nova. I would do anything for him. He is without a doubt one of my true loves. We have been friends since we were 9yrs old. He lived across the street from me and we would meet in the middle and lay on the warm asphalt of summer and talk about growing pains. My life is fuller and richer because of him.

Here he is with his Malan. These two are an amazing couple. AND amazing uncles to our sweet Nova. One night while I was taking a break in the shower I could hear Grant, Benny and Malan playing with her and I could hear her giggling and chatting away..so I stayed in the shower a few minutes longer.

I love both of you. Thank you for the amazing weekend in the city. You are both my "pipocas".

("just because" photos taken on the highline park. Have you been there? Amazing.)

Caitlin + Loren's Engagements- Byron Bay, Australia

My job is so cool.

I am shooting this couples wedding in Maui this coming summer....BUT they live in Byron Bay and the timing was perfect when I was over on that side of the world for a wedding and I popped on over for a day trip to shoot these.

It was maybe the longest day of my life. Woke up in Sydney, got ready, feed baby, took the wrong train to airport, barely made my flight, flew to Gold Coast airport, was picked up by Mel, Dave and Miss D and spent an hour with them as they drove me to Bryon, had a quick 3min photoshoot in a parking lot with them, met up with Caitlin and Loren and then proceeded to have one of my funnest shoots to date. Wanted to marry both of them, WIND, grabbed waters and coconut juice, raced to the Ballina airport, barely made my flight, landed in Sydney, took bus to international terminal, reunited with my Grant and Nova (who while I was shooting packed our bags, did laundry, checked out of hotel and got to the airport all sans mom), ate delicious airport food (not really), boarded a flight to New Zealand, took off over an hour late, most turbulence on a flight I had ever been on, landed in Christchurch around 1am, shuttled to hotel...3am tucked in bed and ASLEEP!

You know what? It was worth it. That day kicked my butt but Caitlin and Loren were a treat to photograph. I only wish their wedding was happening tomorrow so I could hang out with them again sooner.


Big Changes- Giveback #1- $500 Wedding Credit

(All with our current favorite cameras. Nova's is a limited edition vintage variety called the "nutty cam". It's in very high demand.)


I have (not) so patiently waited to share this stupendous news with you...

After years of us talking about it, Grant has decided to partner with me and join our photography business. As of today he is officially part of the crew.

This is HUGE news. Our excitement and gratitude at us being able to do this is pretty much through the roof.

Any of you who own your own business know that, whether they like it or not, your family is involved. I do not have a 9-5. I bring my work home with me. My work is at my home. I am my work.

As of now the changes will mostly be internal and things will mostly appear as the always have. We aren't changing the business name. You can still find us at "Rachel Thurston Photography". I will still be the one shooting. I will still mainly be the one you hear from via email or the blog. No need to worry, this change will only affect our dear clients in the best of ways.

Those of you we've had the privilege of working with the last couple of years might have noticed our growing pains. With the increased, and delightful, demand for my shooting time my days have been shortened and my turnaround times slightly increased. Then I went and had myself a baby...now my days felt less like 24hrs and more like 2. Things needed to change. I needed help. The timing was right. Nova and I batted our eyelashes and made our goodbyes to Dad as he left for his "job" more and more pitiful. Like the sirens we are, he had no choice (actually it was ALL his choice...but for the sake of my story)..he said YES.

This is the most important part...We are only able to do this becuase of all of the people, clients, friends and family who have supported us, trusted us, my photography and helped it thrive. We feel like the most blessed family there ever was. It will be a lot of hard work. It IS a lot of hard work. But we are up for it. We are ready and we are thankful for the patience you have all shown as we have gone through these growing pains..and we want to show our gratitude.

Today through Friday will be:

Giveback Appreciation Week

We will be offering a different Giveback daily, announced here on the blog and on Twitter. They are based around what my clients are asking for, have asked for or if I was looking for a photographer what I would want.

They will only be available for a specific time range, so check in daily to see if any of the givebacks are something you would want to take advantage of.

Let's start things off with a bang:

Giveback #1

Any new weddings booked in the next week that are taking place between today and April 30th 2012 will receive:

$500 credit to be used towards ANY product.

Albums, album upgrades, prints, engagement inserts, prints to display at your party/reception, upgrading your disc of images, a huge custom canvas print of your mother-in-law's face. ANY product.

Wedding contract must be signed and in our inbox by midnight PST on Oct 10th (next Monday night).

Shoot us an email for more information and pricing... and send inquiring soon to be newlyweds our way (hint: referral giveback later this week).


This is going to be a great week. Feel free to give Grant a warm hello.

Jessica + Troy

This was a first for me. Since I couldn't shoot Jessica and Troy's engagements before their wedding, they decided to have me shoot some causal shots of the two of them on their wedding day. After the ceremony they changed clothes and we headed up Millcreek Canyon, Utah for a quick 30mins. How great is that? Wedding days can be so busy and it was nice to slow down in the middle of the day and frolic with trees and the breeze of the canyon.

Wedding day photos coming soon!

(ps. editing on a temporary monitor..here's hoping the colors aren't too wonky for you)

Caitlin + Adam, 30min Photoshoot

My super hot cousin Caitlin is marrying this awesome dude come November. When I was in SLC I had an extra 30mins of time to fit in some engagement photos. 30 minutes was the perfect amount of time. We were able to shoot everything and then some without me feeling like I was rushed or giving them the short end of the stick. I will definitely be taking this in to account when scheduling future shoots. If I can shoot what I need too in less time then it means more time with my family. I always say yes to more time with my family.

(My two favorite shots are the 5th image, with her peaking out from behind his shoulder and the 5th BW one, a close up. Both super simple with pretty light. What are you favorite shots?)