Meyer Family :: Lifestyle Documentary Photography ::

I want to preface this post with a little story.

In November, Melanie asked me if I could come and do some family portraits for her family at their farm
and I was immediately excited, because, as you may know, my favourite sessions are home sessions. I was still expecting a formal portrait session.
I was just headed to the Real Life Conference, in Canmore, Alberta, so I was looking forward to having this session to come home to Brooks, AB to afterwards.
Fast forward to the day of the session and Melanie says something like this to me, at 8.30am as I show up to their house;
“We will get dressed for a couple nice portraits, but then we are hoping to just get playing in the yard, feed the chickens, start a little fire
and have you photograph us as is.”

If only my heart could make an audible sound.

This was like a gold nugget landing in my lap.

This, if you have read my previous post, is what I am talking about.

Melanie and Ben have a farm just outside of Brooks, AB, along the Rolling Hills HWY, they grow all sorts of crops and have a focus on potatoes.
They have a large backyard with a bright red chicken coop and the most intricately feathered chickens. I had to laugh at some of their names;
Kip (the dutch word for chicken). Little miss V was happy to show me around the coop, which had the cutest curtains hanging at the window, and
was also so kind and generous as to send me home with two eggs, which turned into tasty lunchtime treats for us in the frying pan.

Being able to just hang about and watch the Meyer family have a tickle fight in the leaves and then see R having a moment of discomfort as crunchy leaves fell down his back,
and witnessing the always glee filled moment of V jumping into the big pile of leaves was the kind of photographic fun I was hoping for.
When it became a little chilly, everyone huddled around the fire. Pinecones were tossed in, marshmallows were consumed and a little family moment was captured.

Enjoy this lovely November session.






meyerfamily_1884 meyerfamily_0050








January 16, 2017 - 1:23 pm Kerri Moeller - Love, love the images captured by the lifestyle photo sessions ❤️

January 16, 2017 - 1:57 pm Amanda Martin - Love the idea of real life pics! We live on a farm/ranch with cattle and have always wanted pics with cattle.

January 17, 2017 - 2:46 pm Kayleigh Paddock - I absolutely love this idea of real life photos!

Oh, but my darling, What if you fly?

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, “What if I fall?”
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?”

- Erin Hanson

A dear friend of mine recently reminded me of this quote, which has circled many a pinterest and etsy board, and it feels so pertinent right now.

Once flying was in my head, I felt like everyone was flying… much like when starting looking for a red car, there are suddenly red cars everywhere.
I even began to see flying in my own work, so I have dedicated this end of year, beginning of the new year, post to flying and all of the flying
photos I have taken in 2016.

Oh, but the fall, the big bad fall!
Sigh, I think we’ve all been afraid to fall, but I’m learning that the flight is actually very amazing and if you do take the time to scroll down, you will see the
immense joy on every single child, family, husband and wife and even dog’s face that is in flight.
It struck me so hard when I realized, this simple simple thing. What. If. You. Fly.

So, the short version to a very long story is that I’m inspired. I want to fly!
I’ve been contemplating change in my photography work for several months now, but figuring out how to convince you dear reader, or
how to implement the change has been my hurdle. What if I fall?!!

The change I am after is authenticity.
I’m not going to bore you with my narrative about how I feel like Instagram, Facebook, and the social media world is hindering authenticity.
I’m inspired to start telling stories again, and more specifically your story.
I’m interested in the ordinary, how you spend your time, how you interact with your family, with your friends.
Who are you? As in, who are you really? Not who do you post, or share or curate, but what is truly a real moment in your life.
What makes you fly?!
What are your daily activities, how do you spend time with your kids, what do you wear when you are comfortable?
Who are you with when you are happy?

I believe that the ordinary is really interesting and worth remembering.

I am going to shift my photography focus closer to lifestyle documentary.
That is where my heart has been since the beginning, since I studied photojournalism at the now closed Western Academy of Photography with amazing peers like
Tim Smith, Jennifer KlementiMike Berard, Adrian Marcoux, just to name a few.
I also worked in newspaper in Squamish, BC and Canmore, AB and interned at Magnum Photos in New York City and studied at the International Centre of Photography in NYC,
and that past is really really important to me.

So, I’m announcing that I have come full circle, and I’m hoping you dear clients and readers trust me with your story telling.

2017 is going to be a great year of telling your real stories; your extraordinary ordinary.

 I’d like to do a giveaway for 2017, to inspire you to help inspire me.
I’d like for you to share below and comment on what is your extraordinary, what moments do you wish could be captured in your life.
Be honest! Lets all be a little more honest.
I will randomly draw a winner in 10 days, and that person will receive a 2 hr lifestyle documentary session with me.
Travel is NOT included in this giveaway, but I have some travel planned for 2017 (Newfoundland, British Columbia…maybe international) so please
enter and we will work to make the connection happen.















January 9, 2017 - 9:51 am Ryan Kiedrowski - This is actually a challenging question! I could settle on two scenes that hit me when I read your post. The first would be to recreate the family drawings our daughters design - all the vivid colours and askew angles; mis-proportions and general rule-breaking involved. The second was a scene my wife and I watched in a TV show recently. It was where a guy - trying to impress his girlfriend - invited the guests of her surprise birthday party to his house (following a brass band, no less!) where he had dozens of cakes - one for each year of her life. Then, the entire crowd proceeded to engage in the largest, most sticky food fight ever! Excellent blog post, and all the best in your upcoming work! You are truly a fantastic artist!

January 9, 2017 - 10:30 am Taryn Ramsay - I'm thrilled for you Rachel!! Documentary style photography is so beautiful, I can't wait to see all of the stories you will share. Our "extraordinary ordinary" is what I try my darndest to capture, the simple everyday moments that make up our lives. I hope to tuck away the memories of putting on their tiny sweatshirts, buckling on the helmets, handing out the water bottles and making our way to the old library, with our trusty chariot and their wobbly balance bikes. Crunching leaves with their tires, stopping to say hello to the earthworm making his way across the path, and parking our crew at the tiny outdoor table in front of steaming cup, for mango smoothies on our way home. That's a very typical day for us, and that's what I wish to remember.

January 9, 2017 - 10:35 am Jackie Minnaar - I always felt as though I was born to be a parent. I loved my babies through all their stages in life. I loved giving them room to be themselves. I loved learning from them. People always say how great it is to become a grandparent, and I've truly loved being one. But more than that , I love seeing my kids as parents. The choices they've made in the partners they chose, fills me with love and pride and admiration. If one could capture the love of our family, they will grasp what it means to fly.

January 9, 2017 - 11:32 am Heather Anderson - The greatest risk is not taking risks. Fly high and free!

January 10, 2017 - 2:01 pm Meredith Easton - What an awesome idea Rachel! Our ordinary is playing hockey in the basement, learning to skate on the lake, and the everyday ritual of supper.

January 11, 2017 - 7:50 pm Theo - I can feel your words spewing from your mouth. Love the concept. And I would love to capture resiliency in my life. I jumped on the "2016 sucks" band wagon and yet life goes on. And, when your heart is full of gratitude you don't have room for heavy things like guilt, resentment and anger. Can't wait to see where your brilliantly creative brain will take you this year.

January 11, 2017 - 8:14 pm Natalie Hull - Rach - you've always been one to pursue a flight path that deviates for the predictable routes. Great idea for your next point of focus. My extraordinary moment of the day is our sit down family dinner where we do a cheers to the Monday, to the Tuesday, to the sick days, to the ski days, etc.. My other extraordinary is being greeted every single day by two VERY enthusiastic dogs and one VERY enthusiastic 3 year old. High levels of stoke to see me, and it makes me very happy. xoxox.

January 11, 2017 - 10:02 pm Rhonda Jewett - Come hiking and skiing with us in the mountains!

January 12, 2017 - 2:26 am Alison C - Time with family doing the day to do. Not doing anything exciting or out of the box - going to the park, a quiet snuggle on the couch, giggling, wrestling, exploring our space.

January 13, 2017 - 9:13 am Amber Hudec - We will always trust what you want to do with that camera of yours. It always makes magic happen for us! Good luck and good for you, following your heart!

January 13, 2017 - 12:42 pm Alexis Syvret - Your talent for capturing the magic in everyday families is so awesome! As my family grows I look forward to your help in capturing the joy they bring me!

January 13, 2017 - 7:42 pm Natalie Sturch - This idea is amazing, and your posted shots are so intimate and fabulous! In our household right now, chasing our kiddo is almost literal flight, as well as metaphorical. It is so much fun! I look forward to a summer of playing and splashing in the yard, and gardening as a family. I hope we can get a chance for a session this year - as a contest or otherwise! Very inspiring!

January 13, 2017 - 9:22 pm Melanie Meyer - I love that you are choosing to fly. It's inspiring and making me think and pounder. We had so much fun with our life session and even my hubby thought it was pleasant and easygoing. My pictures are perfect. I have always wanted to have pictures of our normal life but done professionally and you did so with a lot of fun.

January 14, 2017 - 7:23 am Amanda Cross - These photos are all amazing! I'd love to have you photograph us again sometime....capturing our new normal ten years post-wedding!

January 14, 2017 - 11:27 am Lacey Flynn - Your photography is beautiful. I would just like to be captured as being a mom..,that is my most important job! I'm a single mom so everyday is challenging but I would never give it up...he makes me who I am!

January 15, 2017 - 8:03 pm Rosanna - My "ordinary" is me with my boys. We spend a lot of time outside, just playing. In all seasons. Wandering through the woods, at the playground, in the backyard. I take plenty of pictures of them, but I'm not in the photos. I want them to remember me being present in our adventures!

January 16, 2017 - 9:50 am Heather anderson - I would LOVE to have my family captured by The Rachel Boekel. If I win I think I would want to have cooking supper through bath time captured. I know I'll always cherish the memories of cooking with my kids and dancing with my husband while the music blares and the soup boils over. Bath-time giggles with a wet bathroom floor and squeaky clean kids. How awesome would it be to have photos of the everyday to treasure forever. A physical, tangible piece of art to display the memories that are forever etched in our hearts.

Ugly Mug Pottery Party :: Brooks Alberta Photographer ::

Brooks, AB has so many great artists and artisans and I always love an opportunity to
meet a new one, and also try out a new craft.
Pottery has always been pretty unattainable in my brain as something I could do. I’m crafty with my
eyes but not so much with my hands. Recently I have been trying to do more with my hands and last year I started taking
Thursday night painting classes with Rita at Red Roof Studio. Whoa, have I ever enjoyed it!
Pottery was just as much of a creative feast.
We met up with Meg from Ugly Mug Pottery and Yoga at the Brooks Handicraft guild for a evening
of pottery hand building. Meg gave us easy and attainable instructions and then left us creative control.
We got to roll out, cut out and build the clay houses, and Meg took over to dry, fire and glaze the pieces.
We also drank wine, laughed and teased and enjoyed the evening, and I think I enjoyed it as much
as the painting classes because it was such a social and tangible experience. And, as a bonus, there is a finished product.
I know that Red Roof Studio has been hosting a lot of parties and I think its a great way to celebrate a birthday,
bride or just your friends, and I think of this pottery experience in the same way. This new little
house that I will get to pull out every year at Christmas will remind me of a wonderful evening spent with friends.

I think the gift of art and experience should be at the top of everyones Christmas list this year. Lets spend more time together!
Red Roof Studio and Ugly Mugs and Rachel Boekel Photography (shameless plug) all do Gift Certificates! #letsmakememories

If you scroll all the way down, you’ll see the finished product lit up, it’s a perfect little piece to
pull out for Christmas.







Van Der Linde :: Rachel Boekel Photography ::

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I am moving in the direction of lifestyle documentary photography.
This is definitely not new to me as I studied photo journalism in school, worked in newspapers and interned at Magnum in NYC.
All of this was with the focus on documentary photography, so it feels really natural for me to be pulled back to where
my heartstrings pulled me in the very beginning.

With this fun photo session below, with the always fun and exuberant Van Der Linde family, I asked if we
could start the session at the hockey arena where they spend a lot of time during the winters watching, supporting and cheering
their boys on with hockey. I really do have the best clients, and I am appreciative for the trust and creative freedom I am so often
given and I feel lucky to get a chance to capture their extraordinary ordinary.

The boys play in the Brooks Minor Hockey  League, and the arena was full of parents taking in their children’s hard work
on the ice. The Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks (home to the Brooks Bandits) is a pretty boss facility to play hockey in, and I love the space that
is available for families to run around while games are happening on the ice. Well mostly for the kids to run around!

One thing I think is really important about lifestyle documentary photography, is that it is completely unique!
It is completely about your story, your life and your experience.
Especially photographing family documentary photography in Brooks, Alberta and area there are so many
great stories to tell, so many wonderful experiences in our little community.

F who was on the ice that Saturday scored 2 goals, just shy of a hat trick!

After our time at the Centennial Regional Arena we headed back to the Van Der Linde house to
capture a few moments of them hanging out. Erichs Mom was visiting from South Africa
and it was important to capture them all together.
My favourite image of this group might just be the last one in this blog post.
These boys are known to me, so I loved directing their energy to jump, move, play and laugh together.
You’ll have to scroll all the way down to see!

Merry Christmas!














The Growing Summach / Berg Clan :: Rachel Boekel Photography ::

 We have been very lucky to call the Berg Family friends for many years now
and every time we turn off of the Range Road and onto the Broadview Ranches long driveway and down into their carefully considered,
tree-ed in homestead, it feels like you are being drawn into a very special place.

Sarah and Ryan are expecting their third baby, and I was so happy to be able to meet up with them
just outside of Brooks, Alberta at the place Sarah grew up and also where they were married, to
spend some time chasing them around in their merriment.

You will start to notice a few changes in my work coming up. I guess I’m slowly trying to ease
you my dear readers into it, but I am going to be working harder at chasing down your ordinary.
I believe that real life is actually pretty interesting, and I’ll share a more in depth blog post on that soon.
In the meantime, I’ve been lucky enough to have some wonderful sessions, with a twist of lifestyle documentary photography
included into it, and I am excited to share this with all of you.

Ryan and Sarahs session was pretty natural to begin with, I feel that often while photographing kids, you just have to
follow them around to see what kind of magic will occur.
Sarah and Ryan are avid bikers and despite being late November, we were able to get the kids on their Spawn bikes for a rip around
the ranch yard. I have loved watching E’s determination to get her two wheeler working for her, and L was flying around
like a complete boss on wheels, these two can cover a lot of ground when their little legs get pumping.

Photographing in rural alberta always gets my heart fluttering. I love the sweeping landscape, the giant sky and the
unknown of what seems to some as simple space. Ryan pointed out some cactus and enticed his girls to get close to their
prickly thorns for a thorough look. Animal tracks were visible through muddy sections of prairie, and the animal poop all
around left much room for conversation about which animals had been there; horse, deer, rabbit… the observing is endless.

One thing that is very important to me with family photo sessions is watching relationships evolve between family members,
and if you wait long enough and are patient it’s a pretty wonderful thing to be able to capture the twinkle of these moments.
I loved watching E throw sticks with the ranch dog, or L being tossed into the air by her Dad, and
the gentle hand gesture of Sarah tucking E’s hair behind her ear
and photographing these relationships is becoming more and more important to me.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear the news that the latest little Summach has arrived.
This really is the most wonderful time of the year!












Rachel Boekel Photography :: Kendall and James are Married ::

Kendal and James had a very bright day for their wedding.
The sun beamed beautiful warmth down on them and their family and friends.

The first time I met Kendall I could tell her wedding was going to be wonderful.
Kendal is laid back, happy, and had a very simple, yet elegant idea of what her wedding would be and
I was immediately hooked. Also, she mentioned she studied horticulture and being able to
talk topiary and plants with anyone willing, makes my plant nerd heart really happy.
When I met James it was the same thing.
I loved how happy these two are.

My favourite weddings are these rural, family, community and local weddings.
I feel very lucky to work with the wonderful people that I work with in Brooks and area!

Enjoy this balmy wedding on this very chilly December winters day!


























Rachel Boekel Photography :: For the Love of Family ::

This session is really important to me.
It’s important because it’s full of love, and also real life.
Ouma was visiting from South Africa and her and sweet Lise spend a lot of time reading together,
so I spent a lot of time watching them interact and play and be together.
What a wonderful gift it is to share your children with your parents, and I love the moments where
Mama is also involved.

I can’t wait to share some upcoming changes to my business with you, but this session is
a beginning of the new path. Your ordinary is pretty interesting.











Pop Up Photography Event :: Brooks, Alberta Photographer ::

I am super excited to be hosting another pop up event in Brooks!
I’ve had it floating around social media for a few weeks and if you’ve made it to my blog for information,
scroll down to view some fun sessions that I’ve photographed recently!

The pop up event is a very quick, very fun, very efficient and also great way to get some
family photos taken, and just in time for Christmas Card Season.
I will also be coming off of a very inspirational photography conference and
will aim to put some new ideas and skills to work.

There are only 5 spots left.

If you are interested, please email me: to book your spot.


Canmore Alberta Photographer :: Ashton Family ::

I’ve known Jessie for a very long time, and grew up close to her family in Canmore,
I also photographed her and Steve’s wedding and was so excited to be
invited back into their lives to photograph their adventures as a family of 4.
One thing I enjoy about photographing in Canmore, Ab is the space, the total pureness and rawness of the landscape.
I love that we met up in some familiar old stomping grounds and it was a great place to
photograph them being the wonderful family that they are!

I am back in Canmore this coming weekend.
If you are interested in a session, I have some space available and to celebrate the wonderfulness of the Bow Valley,
I am offering 15% off of your session fee, for Canmore this week only!
Contact information is on my website.

Thank you Ashton Family for all of the high flying, high kicking and high loving fun!















The Johnson Family :: Brooks Alberta Family Photographer ::

I have been lucky lately to meet up and photograph families that are up for a bit of adventure.
This tree climbing, leaf throwing, lake splashing session was so much fun for me, I love the opportunity
to be creative and  explore with kids especially and this was a great experience.
Thank you Johnson Family for a great morning out at Kinbrook Island Provincial Park!