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Everything up until now

by Rachel Gaetz

Hi everyone! Welcome to my official photography blog! I'm planning to share my recent work and sessions here. To start with, I just want to do a little look back to how I got to where I am now.

​Nearly seven years ago (at age 25), I  became a stay-at-home mom. My daughter Cece was about five months old and sometimes it broke my heart that we weren't closer to my family in Chicago or even my husband's family in St. Cloud, I started a blog keeping track of what Cece and I were up to. The interwebs had way less blogs seven years ago, but one that inspired me tremendously was love, Taza  (back then it was titled Rockstar Diaries). I was obsessed with the beautiful candid photography (even just iPhone photography) and I loved how the blog positively celebrated family, motherhood, and all of the simple, yet important moments in life. (You don't have to look far to find a fabulous blog on motherhood these days, but seven years ago, it was gold for me as a new stay-at-home mom.)

At first, all of my blog posts just consisted of iPhone photos that were edited with Instagram filters. I eventually saved up my dollars and got an entry-level DSLR. 

Above are a few photos from when I was first trying to figure out my camera. I can't get over how little Cece is. And boy, did I think a tilted horizon was the epitome of creativity. I didn't even notice that that above photo is totally out of focus. I still thought I was amazing and I became an addicted shutterbug real fast.

Slowly, but steadily, friends and families began asking me to take photos for them.
Here are photos from the very first session I did. It's my lovely bestie Sarah and her family from six years ago! 

My subjects are adorable, even on auto mode! So this was my jumping off point and I had my list of things to learn about. Like understanding how to focus the camera. Learning about lighting and the elements of exposure. How to conduct a professional yet pleasant session without just dragging people all over to different backgrounds. Being aware of my surroundings (I try not to have as many parked cars in the backgrounds nowadays). And how to get things right straight out of camera and not have such a heavy hand with editing. (Or at least a more consistent hand with editing)

​However, I was extremely grateful to have continued opportunities to keep shooting and improving with other friends and family.

There is about a one year difference between that first family photo session and this above one. After attending several seminars, learning what I could online, and by just practicing all the time, I began shooting in manual mode and  my images began getting cleaner. I still gravitated toward capturing candid moments, but I also strived to get those nice posed shots that can be used for a Christmas card!

The above photos were just taken a couple weeks ago with that vey same camera as the first session (but with a better lens). I'm quite literally never going to be done learning about photography nor am I ever shooting for perfection- there's no such thing! Instead I'm trying hard to have the mindset of progress over perfection. I strive to improve every time I pick up my camera, be it to take photos of my own children,  my friends, or a brand new client!

​ I could look at the work of more experienced photographers all day long and get down on myself about how I'm not at that level... how I don't have the experience, equipment, education, or editing-savvy. However, I choose to look back on where I started and where I am now. I feel that I've come a long way from when I first started shooting and have begun to really find my style, my voice, and my people!

Speak of finding my people, I'm not really sure how, but the universe kept sending me the most beautiful, yet incredibly low-maintenance brides over the past couple years. They just trusted me to do my thing while they married the love of their life. These were amazing and valuable opportunities. I've met so many spectacular people through shooting photos these past six years and have also reunited with old friends too.

So that's my photography journey in a nutshell (or rather a blog post). 

Right now I'm still mainly photographing children and  families. This year, I have branched out to creative portraits and headshots which I have been LOVING. I've also recently started holding and promoting different kinds of mini sessions, so stay tuned if that's something you may be interested in!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!

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I’m Rachel Gaetz
I’m Rachel Gaetz and I am a creative portrait photographer in the Twin Cities. I am also a busy mom of four and can often be spotted with a coffee in hand, a big messy bun on my head, and a baby on my hip. My goal is to create images that YOU will be obsessed with -- pictures you will be eager to post today as well as cherish decades from now. My business BelleAmiss Photography strives to take the stress out of photo sessions while capturing life's beautiful imperfections. You will leave feeling great about YOU and your photo experience.
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