Rachel: Hi there! I'm so excited you're here!

Let me tell you a bit about myself and how I got started, and then Mark will chime in soon!

I started shooting when I was 12 years old when I got my first camera, a 35 mm film Canon that I used to capture the shenanigans that ensued with my sister and cousins. It was 1995, long before I would ever have a cell phone - or cell phone camera for that matter, which I still am not really good at using.

Photography was a passion of mine throughout school, but in college I chose to major in English and Music (Soprano, Voice). At Cal State San Marcos (I grew up in San Diego county), my music major was called "Visual and Performing Arts - Music", so for a required Arts elective, I took digital photography, and I fell in love.

I had spent years at three different colleges training to become a classical Soprano, while also studying to become an English teacher (as my day job), but everything changed when I took that photography class with this badass Army Photojournalist-turned-Wedding & Portrait Photographer, Nancy DiBenedetto.

I decided to switch gears, and in 2014 I left college just a few classes shy of double Bachelor's degrees to pursue my photography career.

Rachel Fawn Photo

2014 - 2021

By 2017 I was able to pursue photography full-time, shooting 48 weddings and hundreds of sessions in the course of just one year, with the trend continuing until 2020.

The beginning of something beautiful.

Rachel: In February of 2020, I was at church band practice and the new drummer and new guitarist started playing Radiohead's "Creep" together before practice was to begin. I was sitting in the front pew and started belting it at the top of my lungs right along with them.

Mark: That was me on the drums. I was like, "Who IS this girl singing?!" I was looking around and it wasn't my bandmates . . . and then I noticed the girl in the pews. And then I thought, "I gotta find out more about this girl."

Rachel: I had no idea that he was thinking all that. We actually practiced together with the band quite a few times, and I never had any clue that he liked me, except one time, I kinda saw him looking at me for a little longer, and I did look him up on Facebook after that, curious.

But then, of course - the COVID-19 pandemic required us all to shelter in place.

We lost touch from there. But on Good Friday, April 03, 2021, I finally went back to church in person. There was Mark up at the drumset. We waved to each other, and after the service, he came down and we chatted for awhile, got caught up, and he asked if it would be okay if he called me sometime. I tried my best to hide my excitement, and said, casually, "Yeah, sure." I remembered he had my number from before, when the worship team used to have practice at his house sometimes, that month-and-a-half before COVID-19 shut everything down.

The next day, passed, with no call, so I figured I better not be too excited about him. But then on Easter Sunday, after the service, he came down to talk to me again, and this time, we talked for so long, they shut the lights off on us! I kind of wanted that moment to last forever, but I had to go do an Easter family shoot in Tahoe, and he was going to go snowboarding. At the end of the conversation, this time, he said, "All right, well, I'll see you next week."

My heart sank, as I thought, "Darn. So much for calling me then, I guess." But regardless, I was excited knowing that I'd get to see him again the following Sunday, since wedding season wasn't yet in full swing.

Mark: I knew that Rachel had a photo shoot in Tahoe, and I was thinking, while I was snowboarding at Sierra at Tahoe, that when I was done, I'd call her to see if she was still around, and see if we could get dinner together. But I chickened out.

Then, I thought, if I drove towards South Lake, I'd work up the courage to call her on the way there. I was pretty sure I actually saw her drive past me at the summit, though, so I turned around, and thought, "All right, now I gotta call her on my way back." I eventually pulled over where I had service, so I would know that I wasn't going to get disconnected. I finally worked up the courage, and hit "call".

Rachel: When Mark called, I was so ridiculously excited. I thought it was so cute how he took so long, stammering, talking super slowly, to finally ask me out. I said, "Yeah! Whenever, wherever! Oh - except I'm really busy with editing, and I have a lot of shoots coming up . . . but . . . how about tomorrow?"

He was cool with going out the next day, so we went on a hike and cooked dinner at his house. I don't know if the pandemic had something to do with it - well, okay, maybe the pandemic did have something to do with it - but also, Mark and I just really, really liked each other, loved doing the same things (hiking, exploring, music, comedy, being with family, pets . . . he had a cat ramp going to his bedroom window for his cats Link and Zelda - and I'm a cat person) - but over the next couple of weeks, we quickly became inseparable.

So much so, that we said our vows to each other in less than a month, on May 1st, on a beautiful morning, privately on the trail behind his house, just us, and God - and it was perfect - before taking our kids (my Louie and Ophelia and his Kyler and Haven) to a cave for a day of fun. On May 5th, he officially proposed in front of the kids, after they beat the ring he got at CVS out of a piñata (he also got me an amazing ring later). I had no idea that he was going to do that. It was so magical.

(And of course I had my camera on me. I always do!)

Rachel & Mark Photography

May 2021 to July 2022

Rachel: Like I said - we were inseparable - so Mark was also going with me on engagement shoots and weddings to help me with my equipment. At one of the engagement shoots, I went ahead and let him use one of my cameras (since I have, well, maybe way TOO much gear, lol). I was floored - so many of his shots were actually BETTER than mine! He was a natural.

It didn't take long for me to decide to make Mark my second shooter, officially - and we became Rachel & Mark Photography! We also had more of a little elopement in the backyard, on May 20th.

Rachel & Mark Photography & Films

July 2022 to Now

Mark: I loved getting to see Rachel work and watch her perform her craft - her art - and I love to see the passion she has for capturing a wedding and all the details and the whole story from start to finish - every little nook and cranny of a wedding. I like seeing her enthusiasm when she’s trying to get people pumped - she could get everybody to jump off a bridge with her enthusiasm. (She wouldn't, but she could.) After a year of shooting with her, taking pictures, and us having the greatest time together, I was hit with the inspiration to start doing films. I think my wife is capable of handling all the photography, while I create videos.

Rachel: I love you so much, honey. I'm so excited for the next part of our journey together!

Mark: I love you too, Sugar Muffin Butt.