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Featured Client: The Spehn Family

by Rachel Gaetz

I am SO excited to be sharing this month's featured client post: The Spehns! I met Mallory and RJ in late 2016. They were one of my first clients I worked with the year we moved to Hudson. Since those first engagement photos, we've done LOTS of sessions since, documenting some major milestone moments.

​For this post, I asked Mallory to give me some more background on her family and I wove in photos from their sessions over the years. I'm so pleased for you guys to "meet" them!

“My husband RJ and I moved to the Twin Cities 6 years ago from Chicago. RJ and I met and dated briefly in college in 2005 and always remained friends after. In 2014, we had reconnected via his now sister-in-law. After a couple days of talking RJ bought me a plane ticket to Pittsburgh (where he was living at the time) for the weekend. We knew immediately our relationship was meant to be.

After an entire year of long distance between Chicago and Pittsburgh, RJ was offered a new job in Minneapolis, and we made the decision to move here together. After two years of living here, RJ proposed in downtown Hudson.”

“We had a two year engagement, and then were married at A'Bulae downtown St. Paul with a small quaint wedding of just over 100 of our closest family and friends. Since we were married in June we decided to postpone our Hawaii honeymoon for that December to escape some of the Minnesota cold. We spent 14 gorgeous days on the beach in Maui on the most fabulous trip we had ever been on,” Mallory says.

“Just two weeks into the new year, we found out we were expecting our daughter."

“Genevieve Rose was born September 20, 2019 here in Hudson. GiGi is such a fun baby, very social and keeps us on our toes.“

“Literally one day after her first birthday, we found out we were expecting our second baby. Baby Boy Spehn is to arrive this May!”

When not modeling for me, Mallory, RJ, and Gigi stay quite busy.

​“Before babies RJ and I loved to travel, cook together, and get outside as much as possible. We look forward to traveling with our babies and giving them the experience of world wide travel and learn all about other cultures. Our first stop though, in 2021, as a family of four is hopefully to Disney in December,” says Mallory

I had to ask how Mallory manages to style their photos so well. Truly, I show up with my camera and a few ideas and the rest is taken care of.

​“I love a theme for all of our pictures. My first stop is always Pinterest. I type in whatever season it is and "family pictures" or for our engagement shoot with you the theme was champagne for our wedding hashtag #popthechamSPEHN so I typed in "champagne engagement photo ideas" and saw a ton of glamourous pictures which is how I ended up in a tulle gown and loved it!” she says.

“I read once that you should always have a pop of color in your pictures so I always make sure one of us is wearing something bold and I love how it always turns out.“

“Lastly - INSTAGRAM! I love looking at bloggers photos for inspiration - they literally get paid to take great pictures so I know their outfits are always well thought out.“ she explains… so true, right??

I always LOVE seeing client's photos come off the screen and into real life. It was so awesome to see printed photos of our sessions together.

​“We love gallery walls in our house. Recently I discovered "Smallwoods" on Instagram. These are prints literally done on very thin pieces of wood paper. We printed some of GiGi's one year photos from you on these and they look great in our upstairs hallway.

We also use all of your photos for our Christmas cards, birth announcements, Save the Dates, etc. And obviously my favorite is posting to Instagram :)” she says.

When asked about prepping for sessions, this is what Mallory had to say:

​"I make sure to plan our outfits a few weeks ahead - shop for any accessories. Props usually make for something fun and breaks up the nerves. With our engagement shoot it was shaking and popping champagne bottles, we used a sign in our Christmas pics, a banner, GiGi's cake, etc." Those pictures are usually my favorite. Also the candid photos are the best - we try to laugh a lot and just live in the moment. It's 20 minutes of undisrupted family time together, I love thinking of the memories we are making as we take the pictures."

I'm terrible at picking favorites, so I asked Mallory if she was able to choose any favorite sessions together. “I am still obsessed with our engagement pictures down by the river. I loved popping the champagne bottles - Also the sentimental secret in that shoot. I brought Moet Chandon champagne and RJ didn't know yet but my Hayley Paige dress was called "Chandon" so it was really fun revealing that to him later and something special I will always remember,“ she says.

“Also our maternity shoot. I felt very uncomfortable and sick in my pregnancy with GiGi but RJ of all people convinced me later (10 days before she was born) that I really needed to have you capture some pictures of me pregnant and they are some of my favorites to this day. Pregnancy was so hard but looking back at how amazing my body was to carry our sweet girl and having those gorgeous pictures makes me very thankful we had them done. I barely took any pictures of myself pregnant so all of those from that shoot I will forever cherish,” Mallory says.

Truly. I could build an entire photography business based on this family's photos alone. Mallory and RJ, I hope you both know that you inspire ME… and not just because you can rock each and every photo session, but because you guys are so kind and loving toward each other and that you prioritize fun, family, and making the most of life! I'm thinking of you all as baby boy Spehn's arrival nears.

​I absolutely can't wait to see you guys as a fam of four! Thank you for allowing me to capture the magic!

Author image
I’m Rachel
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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