18 Projects in 18 Days

I did 18 projects in 18 days – one new project each day! It was a lot of work, and it took me anywhere from 2.5-6 hours each day. My projects focused on photography and advertising, as I wanted to develop those skills. Some of these I’m happy with, and others I’m not. One struggle with having one day as my project deadline is that I couldn’t go back the next day and see what I missed or what could be better! I learned a lot from doing this project, though, and here are the results.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

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Day 9

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Day 18

5 Affordable Rexburg Family Photographers

Affordable Rexburg Photographer | Design & Photography by Rachel

Rexburg, Idaho is a place with a lot of students and young families, and that often accompanies having tight budgets. Here are a few affordable Rexburg Family Photographers that can help you out when your wallet is slim! These guys all do some beautiful work and honestly, probably undercharge what they reasonably could. Without further ado…

5. LisIn Chen Photography

LiSin Chen does some absolutely BEAUTIFUL work. She is a stunningly good photographer. Most photographers charge $200-300 for a one-hour photo session, and she’s up there with the best so she could. But she is one of the most affordable Rexburg Family Photographers there are. Check out her other prices to see if she’s a good fit for you! When I found her, I told my husband I found our next photographer. If you’re looking for some beautiful pictures for a good price, she’s someone to look at!


Tori Elisabeth Photography also does an absolutely fantastic job, and she charges $110 for a one-hour family photo session! I was stunned to see her prices after I saw her work. She has a modern, creamy, classy style and all of her photos are of the top quality. I honestly can hardly believe that such a talented photographer is one of the most affordable Rexburg photographers, but it’s true! Her prices here will convince you of that if you don’t believe me. She’s amazing!

3. Isabelle Lane Photography

Photo by: Isabelle Lane Photography

Isabelle Lane Photography did my engagement photos! When my fiance (now husband) and I saw them, we basically squealed over how much we loved them. She did a beautiful job! She does a really nice job with her family photos in making sure people have fun and laugh! She’s so good at capturing moments and making sure everyone feels comfortable and has a good time! She’s a very comfortable photographer to work with. Again, I don’t know why she charges as little as she does, but she is a very affordable Rexburg family photographer!

2. Design & Photography by Rachel

Photos by Design & Photography by Rachel

That’s me! ๐Ÿ™‚ My goal is to provide quality family photos at an affordable price. It can be so expensive to get good photos, and I really want to make sure anyone can have them who wants them! I know how hard it can be to find an affordable Rexburg family photographer, and how much people charge, and being on the tight budget side myself I want to make sure I provide what I always wished I had! Family Photos are my favorite (though I love the rest too!) and I love working with kids, so I can promise that if you book with me I’ll try to make sure your kids have a good time and laugh, and get the cutest photos out of it!

I currently have a deal going that is $20 OFF any family or portrait session if you book before the end of July, bringing it down to $79 for a one-hour photo session! Check out my prices, and message me to schedule your session!

I’ve found one affordable photographer who charges just less than I do, though, which brings us to our #1….drumroll please….

1. Ashley Richter Photography

Ashley Richter Photography only charges $60 for a one-hour photo session! She has some really nice work, and if you’re looking for someone really affordable she’s the person for you! Check out her work on her Instagram to see if she’s a good match for what you’re looking for. Her photos are fantastic for the price!

Find an Affordable Rexburg Family Photographer Who’s Right For You

These 5 Affordable Rexburg Family Photographers all have different styles and different things to offer. From $60 to $150, from up-and-coming to professional, from golden light to modern editing, you’ve got lots of options to choose from! Take a look around and figure out what matches your vibe. One of these affordable photographers is bound to make your dreams come true while keeping your budget intact!

How to Plan Family Photo Outfits (On a Budget)

Design & Photography by Rachel

Planning family photo outfits can be a struggle, especially when you are on a tight budget. Find a good family photo color scheme that everyone in the family will like can seem impossible! Here are a few of my best tips for planning good family photo outfits on a budget.

Design & Photography by Rachel

Family photo outfits don’t have to be fancy.

My first suggestion is to choose TWO OR THREE COLORS. Choosing family photo outfit color is a little outdated, but besides that, it makes things a lot harder. Finding the same color and the right shade of that color for everyone becomes a harder and harder task the more people you have. Choose 2 or 3 colors, and you’re much more likely to find a color for everyone. If you want ideas of what colors will go well together, check out all the examples in this post and google “2-3 color combination” and look for ideas. You should also check out this Pinterest board! Another tip for choosing colors is to choose your favorite shirt, and Google the “[color of that shirt] complementary color”! Make sure you look good, and make your family photo outfits match you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Design & Photography by Rachel

It’s okay to have some variety.

Another idea is to change things up a little bit. Instead of sticking to 2-3 colors, you could put everyone in a different color. The trick with this is just to make sure all the colors go well together. There are plenty of color schemes with 4-6 colors that are different but would make great family photo outfit colors! I have another resource for you if you go this route. This website is called Coolors. It generates color schemes for you! You can even have it pull colors from a photo you like. It will give you 5 colors from the photo!

Thrift stores are your friend.

I can’t stress enough that your family photo outfits do not need to be expensive! Very few people can afford to go out and buy all new outfits just for family photos. One of these days I’ll make a post with all my favorite Rexburg thrift stores, but for now here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Thrifted Lennons
  2. Deseret Industries
  3. Second Helpings Thrift Store
  4. Daisy Links
  5. Revive and Thrive Clothing

The best is when you choose a color scheme where most people in your family already have clothes that match, and then you can go out and find just one or two shirts! Thrift stores are a fantastic way to find clothes that match without breaking the bank.

Design & Photography by Rachel

“You have to wear jeans” is a myth.

It’s true that jeans are a good way to keep everything consistent and then all you have to worry about is shirts matching. But some of my favorite outfit combinations have included dresses and skirts that match the color scheme! As crazy as it sounds, it totally works to have some of the family in jeans, some in khakis, some in skirts, and some in dresses – etc.! You name it! As long as you have an overarching color scheme for your family photo outfits, you can take liberties and still have it work beautifully. I promise you don’t all have to match your style of pants. Just make sure it either matches or doesn’t distract from the color scheme! Sometimes, jeans are the way to go just because they don’t distract from the colors and they’re an easy way to make sure everyone matches! Just know it’s not the only way to go.

You can do it!

Family photos can be a struggle. But you’ve got this. If you need more encouragement, check out this post. If you want to schedule a session, contact me!

How to Find an Affordable Photographer

You want to find an affordable photographer who will give you quality photos. You don’t have a big budget for that. Maybe you have a special reason for wanting those photos, and you can’t seem to find anyone that you can afford. Here are some tips for finding someone you can!

Tip #1: Search for Affordable Rexburg Photographers on Instagram or Facebook

Google can be a great place to look for photographers, but typically, those who have their websites optimized to show up on Google aren’t going to be as affordable as those who do most of their promotion on social media. This isn’t always the case (for example, I’m pretty affordable), but it’s a good general rule of thumb. This is often because if a photographer has not only photography skills but web design and other graphic design skills, they typically feel they can charge more – and the truth is, they can! Another reason is that when they can show up on Google, they get a lot more business so even with their high prices they never run out of people asking for photos. Smaller businesses will keep their prices lower to stay in the competition!

Photo by me

Tip #2: Look at Follower Count

If you can’t find their prices on their Instagram (which you usually can’t, unless they have a highlight that tells you!) and you don’t want to have to click on every single website link in their bios, a good way to tell at a glance if they’re going to be affordable or not is to look at their follower account. Similar to what I said about people who show up on Google not needing to fight for customers so they can charge more, people with a lot of Instagram or Facebook followers won’t necessarily need to keep their prices low in order to get people to hire them. This can be a good way to find an affordable photographer. Often, those with a lower follower count will charge less so that they get more business. I can’t stress enough that this does NOT always reflect on the quality of their work! Use this blog post as a guide to see if someone who doesn’t have a lot of followers will give you the quality you’re looking for. Often these people are very good, but photography is a side hobby and they don’t spend the time and money on social media promotion that bigger, full-time photographers do.

Photo by me

Tip #3: Don’t Compromise Quality

That being said, do be careful with who you go to for photos! Take seriously the task of finding someone who will provide you with quality photos. There are times when you don’t just choose the cheapest option. There are plenty of affordable photographers who will still do a fantastic job!

Here are a few local photographers (besides myself) who are affordable AND quality:

Tip #4: Mini Sessions can make a photographer affordable

Often photographers will offer 20-30 minute sessions for a little over half the cost of a normal session! So if you see someone and love their photos but can’t afford the cost of an hour, you can see if they’ll give you a mini session! They’ll usually give you about 20 photos for that amount of time, so you will still have plenty of results for the price! This can turn a pricey photographer into helping you find an affordable photographer.

Photo by me

Anyone Can Find an Affordable Photographer

There are options out there. Don’t settle for someone super expensive, and don’t settle for someone who still uses a 2010 DSLR with 12MP picture quality (that’s just a fancy way of saying, someone whose photos aren’t very good quality)! Look for someone who knows what they’re doing, but won’t charge you more than you can handle.

Here at Design & Photography by Rachel, I try to always keep my photos affordable. I’m a professional photographer with years of experience and months of training, and my mentors have encouraged me to charge more than I do. But for me, it’s about more than getting the maximum amount of money possible. Growing up, my family couldn’t afford family photos very often because it’s just so expensive! When I got engaged, and then married, finding photographers within our budget – who lived up to my expectations for good photos – was a challenge. I am very aware that a lot of wonderful, beautiful people out there have the same struggles!

When I became a photographer, I made a decision to always keep my prices to what most people would be able to afford. My prices have gone up slightly as I’ve received more training and have more skill, but I still charge less than average. For a basic session, I charge $99 for an hour (except I have a sale going on right now that brings it down to $79!) and I only charge $499 for weddings for 3+ hours. And I’ll let you in on a secret: If you come to me and explain that you are looking for a certain price range, I’ll definitely work with you! I want everyone to have the photo experience they deserve.

4 things to look for in a good family photographer (and how to tell if theyโ€™re not)

It’s that time again. You need family photos, and you need to find a photographer in your area. You’re looking for someone who will give you quality photos, and you want a balance between not breaking the bank and finding someone who will actually do a good job. You may see some affordable photographers out there and be unsure if they’ll be able to give you the quality you’re looking for. How can you even tell if they’re a good family photographer? There are some subtle things that I as a photographer would notice immediately that would tell me if they’d do a good job, and I’m here to let you in on some of those tips.

1. A good family photographer always EDITS

This is the biggest one that can be surprisingly hard to tell for those who aren’t experienced in taking and editing pictures. Let me give you an example.

This is a good, quality, cute photo I’ve taken:

Photo: Design & Photography by Rachel

This is from a senior pictures session. Isn’t she cute? The lighting didn’t leave any weird shadows on her face, it’s a nice background, and you can see the nice blur in the background from having a good quality camera and good focus (which I’ll get to in a moment).

But THIS is after I edited the same picture:

Photo: Design & Photography by Rachel

Can you spot the differences? A good family photographer will ALWAYS, ALWAYS edit. No matter how good a camera is, it can never capture exactly what your eyes see. In order to keep the same quality as the original setting was, a good photographer will always edit their pictures. My personal style is always to lighten images and make them warmer, but as long as pictures come out well-lit, with balanced light, and things like blemishes or other distracting elements removed, you can safely bet that they were edited well.

2. A good quality camera will leave the background blurred

Composition is one key component of photography, but think with me for a moment. I’m sure most of you have taken a photo on your smartphone that you felt like was a good photo, the composition and lighting were good, and maybe you even edited it up a little to make it look better. But it still didn’t look like a professional picture with a real camera. Could you pinpoint why? One HUGE way you can tell a good family photographer is a very simple tip: Is the background blurred and their subject in focus?

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. This first photo is a picture I took on my phone of some models out in West Yellowstone. I want you to look at the models, how they’re in focus, and also wayyy back at the background: also in focus. It can be cool to take photos like this: the composition was pretty good, a decent angle (not my favorite, but it’s decent!), there was a cool sky and a cool background. Not too bad!

Photo: Design & Photography by Rachel

But contrast that with the following photo:

Photo: Design & Photography by Rachel

It’s a clear, obvious difference: the second one looks professional, and the first one, while it looks okay, doesn’t. In the second picture, taken with my “real camera” (a Nikon DSLR), my subject is sharp and in focus, but the background is entirely blurred out. Just like that, it looks professional.

Add this indicator to looking for good editing and if they check those boxes, you’ve got a pretty good family photographer! You’ll probably like how your pictures turn out. If that’s all you want, you can even stop here! The other tips take it up a couple levels.

3. Social Media presence & portfolio

Here’s a tip: If they have a lot of followers on social media, they’re most likely a good photographer. The only problem with this tip is that a lack of followers does not necessarily mean that they’re NOT a good photographer! With the risk of you all only taking stock in my first sentence and thinking I’m not a good photographer after this, I’ll give my Instagram as an example.

Photo: Screenshot by Design & Photography by Rachel

I’m a professional photographer with a lot of training and a good portfolio, but I haven’t always had the time to keep up a good social media presence. As a result, I don’t have a lot of followers.

That’s why portfolio is also important! Check their photos in addition to their follower count, like my portfolio here.

But honestly, if a family photographer has a lot of followers, you can be pretty confident in the fact that they’re a good family photographer.

4. How Much They Charge

As sad as it is, it’s true that really good photographers charge more. If you’re looking for a good quality affordable photographer, then as I said before you can look for those first two things and be done. If someone charges more than $200 for a 1-hour session, you can be pretty sure they’re good! N Laylor Photography points out that someone who doesn’t charge a lot is probably just starting out in photography and doesn’t feel confident charging a lot yet, while more experienced, good family photographers know what they’re worth.

Now, just as with the last one, this isn’t an all-encompassing guideline! For example, here at Design & Photography by Rachel, I have made an effort to be an affordable, professional, quality photographer. I don’t want to overcharge my clients, even though I could, simply because I know what it means to have quality photos and be able to afford them! I’ve never been able to afford more expensive photographers, and I’ve been frustrated with the lack of quality from more inexpensive family photographers. I determined to make my prices affordable and work with people so that even people without a lot of money can have the dreamy pictures they deserve!

If you’re looking for a good family photographer, keep these things in mind. And remember – I’m here to help. Contact me with questions or to schedule a session!

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4 Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools That Will Change Your Designs

Discovering Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools

I love Adobe Illustrator. I get to know it better every day I use it, and today I wanted to share a few lesser known Adobe Illustrator tools that I’ve gotten to know recently.

1. The blob brush tool

Listen. You can use the pencil tool or the brush tool all day when your goal is to draw something by hand. But when it comes to filling in that shape, what do you do? Like, seriously, what is your go-to? Do you make the brush bigger and scribble? Heaven forbid you try the same thing with the pencil tool.

Here’s what happens when you fill something in with the brush tool:

Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools blob brush tool brush tool example
Mercy me. What ARE all those lines doing there? Is all of that really made of strokes? Yes, yes it is.

Introducing: The blob brush tool. This lesser known Adobe Illustrator tool is a game-changer for anyone who likes neat endings and hates stray anchor points. Just do shift+b instead of b, and this is what you’ll get:

Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools blob brush tool

This tool draws shapes instead of strokes, and it automatically connects shapes to each other when they overlap. This is all one shape, instead of several strokes!

2. The pattern brush tool

Go to Window>Brushes or go to your little icon that looks like this:

Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools pattern brush tool icon

This is your brushes pallete. Did you know that you can add anything – any shape or combination of shapes – to your brushes and then use it as a brush? Just make a shape, drag it to the brushes pallete, and then click “ok” on the boxes that pop up.

More than that, you can choose how you want the stroke to change on curves, corners, and ends by adding your custom shapes to the brush!

Once you have your pattern brush created, you can apply it as a stroke to shapes, pencil strokes, pen strokes, and anything that has a stroke. This lesser known Adobe Illustrator tool can lead to some really cool designs, and save you a LOT of time and trouble!

3. The blend tool

Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools blend tool color

Object>Blend>Make or Command+Alt+B

This takes two objects and blends them. Above is a simple “smooth color” blend, where it took the two objects (text that was converted to shapes) and created a new object with a color tone right in the middle.

This is what the above picture looked like originally:

Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools blend tool before blending

And then the blend tool gave the middle shape.

But this lesser known Adobe Illustrator Tool can do more than that. Object>Blend>Blend Options gives you more tools:

Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools blend tool specified steps

You can choose a number of steps between your two objects and it will give you a transition. This works for two completely different shapes, too, and the middle shapes will be some combination of the two shapes.

4. The symbol sprayer tool

Lesser Known Adobe Illustrator Tools symbol sprayer tool

This can be super handy when you’ve created a logo. Once you’ve created something and you have it selected, you can open up the symbols palette (Windows>Symbols) and add it to your symbols. Then you can go to your symbol sprayer tool, click on your icon, and click where you want the logo to go. You don’t have to place or import or copy or drag a .png that you’ve made and saved – this lesser known Adobe Illustrator tool will change the way you do things!

For example, I wish I’d known about this tool when I was adding my logo to all of these photos.

For more lesser-known tools that will enhance your creativity, see Bittbox’s article.

Personal Style Mockup

Hello! I know I’ve been posting for a while, but I wanted to stop and take a moment to introduce myself and my photograpy. My name is Rachel, I grew up in a small tiny little town in southern Virginia, and I’m currently a student at Brigham Young University – Idaho. I’m studying visual communication, which sounds like it might have something to do with my other passion of American Sign Language, but is in fact mainly graphic design, photography, and advertising! I have an obsession with editing photos, and I absolutely LOVE golden hour portraits. I’m an old-fashioned sort of person so I love anything vintage, and I incorporate that into my photography whenever I can! I also love graphic design and I hope to share more about that in the future. There’s a little bit about me, and now let’s go on to my personal style mockup project!

I’ve worked to develop a personal style over the past few months, and while it’s still in the process, I have a good start. I enjoy photographing individuals and families, and so my personal style centers on that! This post shows a personal style mockup for a project I’ve been working on.

I’ve put together an idea for a physical portfolio that is 5×7 postcards in a vintage style book, to go in line with the creamy vintage photography vibe that I try to go for.

I don’t have my book box yet (it’s coming in the mail any day!) so I decided to do a mockup to show what it could look like with the photograph postcards in the book.

Personal Style Mockup with Book

Design & Photography by Rachel - Personal Style Mockup - Open book
Design & Photography by Rachel - Personal Style Mockup - Closed book

My postcards are here, though, so here is a spread of all of them!

Design & Photography by Rachel - Personal Style Mockup - Postcard spread

Personal Style Project Plan

This is the plan I wrote at the beginning of the semester, and I’ve had an awesome time following it! I’ve enjoyed doing photoshoots and creating edits that match my vibe. One thing that has been hard this semester is that I haven’t gotten as many golden hour lighting portraits as I wanted to, but I’ve tried my best to make up for it with editing.

Design & Photography by Rachel - Personal Style Mockup - Personal Style Plan

Fine Art Print Mockup + Favorite Photos

This is another personal style mockup of a photo I’ve ordered to be printed!

A great place to go for mockups is this website!

Design & Photography by Rachel - Personal Style Mockup - Fine Art Print mockup

And here’s a full version of that picture!

Design & Photography by Rachel - Personal Style Mockup - Golden wheat

This picture is a personal favorite from a photoshoot that really shows the creamy vintage vibe I try to achieve in my photography.

Design & Photography by Rachel - Personal Style Mockup - Personal style golden wedding

If you want some creamy, golden photos by someone who is passionate about photography and will edit your pictures to near-perfection, you’ve found the right person. Contact me today and schedule a session!

See pricing information here.

Rachel Nielson Professional Imaging Portfolio

Rachel Nielson – Professional Imaging Portfolio

This semester as a student in a Professional Imaging class I have had a number of opportunities to improve my photography abilities. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been able to build my portfolio. I would love to share a few of my favorite photos from this semester, below.

Fine Art Print

This is the piece I decided to print as a full-size fine art print.

Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio wheat grass picture

And this is a photo I took the same day at the same time, that I also really like!

Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Golden wheat grass picture

Shooting at The Venue Studios Portfolio Builder

As documented in the post at the link above, I had the opportunity to photograph at a studio in Rigby, Idaho. Here are some of the results.

Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - The Venue Studios room with couch
Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Bridal photos, couple leaning against a wall
Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Christmas decoration
Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Spiderman

Yellowstone, Island Park, and The Grand Tetons

Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Smoke bomb portrait

I LOVED doing light painting. I think my light paintings are some of the best things for a professional imaging portfolio!

Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - light painting portrait
Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Yellowstone
Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Buffalo River

Idaho Food and Product Photography

Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - Food photography

Rachel Nielson – Light Painting Addict

Rachel Nielson Portfolio Professional Imaging Portfolio - light painting

See more photos from my blog posts linked on my portfolio page! Rachel Nielson Portfolio

To see more photos from someone else who took this professional imaging class, check out this blog!

Cabin Architectural Photography in Island Park

Cabin Architectural Photography in Island Park

I recently had the privilege of staying at Riverfront Retreat in Island Park Idaho. It was a beautiful place to do some cabin architectural photography, and I want to share a few of the results!

While I was there, we had a few days of cold and rain, but the cabin was cozy and warm.

Indoor Architectural Photography

Riverfront Retreat is absolutely beautiful, in and out. Every detail demonstrates particular grace, and nothing is out of place or overlooked.

Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - bedroom
Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - kitchen area
Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - kitchen

Cool Lights at the Cabin

Here are a couple of the interesting light fixtures there! I didn’t expect to find something quite like this doing cabin photography, but I was thrilled to find such neat subjects.

Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - cool lights
Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - dining room

Outdoor Architectural Photography

This is what Riverfront Retreat looks like from the outside. It is so beautiful!

Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - outside
Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - full angle

Even while doing architectural photography, I love getting up-close detail shots.

Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - stone wall
Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - log details
Design & Photography by Rachel - cabin architectural photography - other full angle

I had such a neat experience photographing at Riverfront Retreat! You can see more of my photos from my stay there at this blog post, as it sits right on the Buffalo River.

If you are looking for a cozy, comfortable place to stay when traveling to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, or even just a weekend getaway, consider booking your stay at the Riverfront Retreat! It’s in the middle of peaceful, quiet woods, it’s a luxury stay, and it’s in a perfect location.

Rachel Sevy | Photographer | Graphic Designer | Web Designer | Lover of music and books | Friend to everyone | Photo editing addict