Film Photographer

Portraits - Sacramento, CA Lifestyle Session

Every January, I take a bit of time to reflect on the past year of my photography. I identify my weaknesses, where I feel uncomfortable, where I have been slacking and which areas I would like to learn more about during the next year. Portraits were an area that I didn’t feel 100% confident. With two people, it is easy to let their interactions and feelings towards each other shine through. But, what about just one person? Without a “pretty” backdrop to distract your eye. No bouquet or other accessories to hold on to. Minimal to no modeling experience. So I bribed my girlfriends with a morning full of brunch, mimosas (or maybe just straight champagne) and snapped their photos. What I did not expect was to have one of the most enjoyable mornings filled with girls bonding and building each other up. These ladies are the real rockstars here.

Alina & Al - Sacramento, CA Engagement Session

On February 2, 2019, Alina found a lump in her breast at 33 years old. That next week, she was diagnosed with stage 2B Breast Cancer. She started her first of six rounds of chemo on March 8, 2019, the day after these engagement photos were taken and had her chemo port placed earlier that week. Usually, engagement photos are a time of joy during the “stressful” wedding planning process. Being with these two, watching them go through this journey and doing so while engaged, planning a wedding and life together definitely puts things into perspective.

Society places too much emphasis around weddings and not enough on marriage. There’s pressure to have the perfect engagement photo session, engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette weekend and to have the wedding of your dreams. What if for some reason, life gets in the way and doesn’t allow for that? I feel that during this season of engagement, we lose sight of the end goal, a successful marriage.

This shoot was planned in a handful of days and rain or shine, it was going to happen. We picked up her stunning bouquet made by the talented Walnut and Main, threw on our rain boots and walked around the beautiful American River Parkway Trails outside of Sacramento. My favorite memories of this particular day were seeing Alina & Al take everything in. I witnessed these two truly love and appreciate each other. They laughed, smiled and shed a few tears but most importantly I watched them forget about cancer.

Alina & Al; I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness. It is my hope that during this journey, you never lose the light within you. That you continue to be brave. You are not fighting alone.

Photography: Rachel Leigh Photography | Film Lab: The FIND Lab | Floral Design: Walnut and Main