Rachelle and Stephen won their free portrait session over at A Practical Wedding last month because of Rachelle’s tear-jerkingly beautiful explanation of their love. I’ll just repost it here so you can cry, too. :)

      houston engagement photography at the museum of fine arts

      When the husband-elect and I met, he was an engineer and I was working at a non-profit doing event planning. We would text each other all day as he died of boredom in his cube and I avoided crazy volunteers who liked to yell at me for no reason. I went over to his apartment many, many nights after to work to cry my eyes out and drink margaritas, and he struggled constantly with feeling like an unimportant number in a huge corporation. We were floating along in post-college life, with no idea what we should do with our lives or even what we wanted. It was scary and awful, but we had each other and that made it worth it somehow.

      Then a year ago I decided to quit my job and move home and go to graduate school for something completely different. A serious thing, a businessy thing. And it was absolutely terrifying. But he was there, telling me he believed in me and that he knew I could do it. How could he know, when I didn’t? But he did. And it made me believe that I could too.

      Almost as soon as I got settled in to grad school, he was laid off from his awful job. I helped him find openings, I helped him write letters and I helped him with applications. And then I saw it – his dream job. An opening for a professional brewer at a local brewery. As a man whose brain truly operates in the language of mechanical engineering, who home-brewed for 2 years and built all of his own equipment, it was the most perfect thing for him to find. He struggled with applying, and then accepting, the job because of the huge pay cut, but this time I got to be there to tell him to go for it. To tell him that we would make it somehow, together, no matter what.

      So now, he’s got his dream job and plans to keep making his career dreams come true. I’ve got half a graduate program done, half left, a killer GPA and 2 internships lined up. We’re engaged and planning our lives together. We’re making it happen, for ourselves and each other, RIGHT NOW. It’s the most amazing thing I never could have predicted, and I thank my lucky stars every day that we get to be so happy and so blessed, and that we get to do it together.

      We make each other stronger and braver. We pick up the slack when the other can’t, and trust that the scales will tip back the other way eventually. He makes me believe in us, in him and in myself in ways that I never thought I could. Our wedding song will be “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds because we truly feel like that, every single day together.


      We shot their session in the Museum District of Houston, at the Cullen Sculpture Garden and then in front of the Contemporary Arts Museum. There’s a very special Part 2 to this session, to be revealed later…

      portrait session at contemporary arts museum houstonportrait session at cullen sculpture garden houstonshadow kiss houstoncouple in front of contemporary arts museum houston camhcouple in front of the camh houston

      Part 2 coming soon…


      Sweet post and lovely images, am a bit homesick for Houston now!

      […] Rachelle Stephen unmasked. As shot by a extraordinary Elissa R Photography in Austin, […]

      I LOVE the shadow shot!!

      the silhouette shot is BRILLIANT!

      really nice. love the shadow photo. cant wait to see the rest!

      Love the RT reference! Looking forward to seeing more!!

      Totally reminds me of the royal tennenbaums!

      Elissa, great job! Can’t wait to see the rest because what you’ve already posted is pretty freakin’ awesome!

      I love the reflection ones against the steel walls!

      That shadow photo is crazy good, lady! I can’t wait to see more of this set (if I haven’t gushed about that enough!)

      I love your use of space in these photos. What a unique set. Love!

      Love the last two photos – so unique and unusual!

      Love that shadow shot. Really looking forward to part 2!

      that looks like a really fun couple!

      That shadow shot is perfect! Nice to have this up for Valentine’s, to boot.

      Great story! Love the “husband-elect” term :p. Backlit photos are the best!

      Wow. They are super cute. Love the silhouette shadows.

      shadows, sun, dope wall… all wicked stuff here!

      that location is awesome. interesting last shot too… i like what you’re going for :)

      I looooooooove that shadow shot. That makes the whole shoot for me!

      Also, how come you’re always stalking couples from behind bushes and tree leaves? ;) Hehehe.

      @Becca – Haha, it’s because I am a creeper :) Nah, it’s because I love the added texture.