Launching Rachel Abelson to #SOAR! (Recipient of our SOAR Scholarship)


This week is a special week for our community.  Together, we get to celebrate and launch our SOAR! Recipients to SOAR!  The SOAR! Scholarship is a program that Brian and I founded over two years ago.  With the generous help of SOAR! Partners like SONY, Adobe, The Wisdom Connection, Fastline Media, Smug Mug, Shoot Dot Edit, Pixel 2 Canvas, Jille and more, we spend a year equipping three ladies with all they need to soar with their photography dreams.  This week we want to celebrate ALL their hard work from last year and their new websites (thank you Fastline Media!)!

For those of you who followed the weekly blogs of these ladies, Rachel, Charisse and Ali, you share my pride in them.  You know how hard they worked.  And wow, I’m THRILLED at where they find themselves now.

Let’s start today with Rachel Abelson!  Going backward in time, this was her submission video for the SOAR! Scholarship.

I will never forget Rachel sitting in our AZ CONFIDENCE Workshop.  She introduced herself as the “Face of Auto”.  Between the three recipients, Rachel was the most green with photography.  But in her introduction she went on to say that even though she may rate herself as a level one (beginner) in photography, she was a level FIVE in confidence and determination.  Rachel showed this all year long!

As a military wife, she had unique challenges to her SOAR! year.  In the middle of the year, her family was uprooted from the East Coast and transferred to the West Coast.  And not only did she do a huge move, but she has two precious babies that keep her hands full.  In the midst of all this, she still did her SOAR! exercises and got her blog post up every Tuesday.  She also found beautiful ways to meet a personal goal of giving to the military community.  And I know that we have all watched her photography skills transform–I mean amazing!  Check out Rachel’s new website (and definitely leave her a comment on her new blog–you know how good those feel! :)).

Below are some final words that Rachel wanted to share with all of you…

As I sat down to write this post, I had another wave of shock come over me. A year ago at this time I was wondering who had won the SOAR! Scholarship and why nothing had been posted about it. I brushed it off and thought, “I’m excited to see who won, but I should figure out what I’m going to do now.” Lo and behold, just a few days later I get the knock at the door. You know, the one where I’m in running clothes, haven’t showered and definitely do not look my best! The one where Wendy (SOAR! Coordinator) told me the news and then I screamed so loud that I scared my 5 month old (check it out here). Yeah, that’s the day. It will forever be in the top 10 days of my life.

The past year has been such a whirlwind of excitement, stress, laughter, but most of all accomplishment. I honestly never once thought I’d grow up to own my own business-big or small. Now that I do, it is an awesome feeling.  I’ve had two really, really awesome things happen to me this year. When I moved last summer I was able to start introducing myself as a photographer. But even more than that…..Pete and I went to a guest dude ranch in Dec for 4 days (coolest vacation ever!). When we got home he told his mom that he had told people “my wife’s a photographer” and that he was really proud to be able to say that. Him not knowing that I was within earshot, me hearing him say that was such an amazing feeling.

This last year has taught me so many lessons;

-Figuring out a style is not easy.

-Finding a brand is even harder.

-There is always room to learn.

-People will support you even if they don’t know you.

Most of all…even if you never imagined them, great things can and will happen.

I am in tears right now (good tears) thinking about all that I have been gifted the past year. Amazing mentors, a business of my own, being able to capture special moments for people, and the gift of all the SOAR! women-who I admire in more ways than I can list.

You women have given me so much knowledge, feedback, inspiration and support. I can not thank you enough. Now I have one thing to ask of you-never stop believing in yourself, no matter what.

Thank you for a fabulous SOAR! year! I send each of you a big hug!!!

World, here is Rachel Abelson Photography-watch out!!!!!!!

Now, Go for it!!!


On behalf of all the SOAR! Partners and this wonderful community, we proudly launch Rachel Abelson to SOAR with her photography dreams!  I have full confidence that there nothing this woman can’t accomplish!

Rachel, we love you, I love you, and super proud of you.  We celebrate you today!

Your Cheerleaders Forever!

Me Ra, Brian, Wendy and this awesome community!

*I invite all of you to leave a comment of encouragement, love, celebration, wisdom…or all the above, in celebration of Rachel today!



  1. she seems like a great choice! Best of luck Rachel!

  2. Sara Arrigoni says:

    It has been great following all three of the SOAR women this year. The new website is lovely, Rachel! Good luck!

  3. Suzan says:

    Congratulations! I’m so happy and excited for you and your family! Looking forward to hearing more amazing things! xo, suzan

  4. ali anderson says:

    rachel, it has been a privilege to walk beside you this year. every step of the way. YOU, my friend, are an inspiring photographer, mother and friend. i walk beside you still and can’t wait to be inspired by all the good things to come in your future this year!



  5. huge congratulations to Rachel!

  6. Addie says:

    Congratulations Rachel!! Your website is beautiful, as is your work!

  7. Rose says:

    Yeah!! Rachel!! You Go Girl!! So proud of you.

  8. Carol says:

    Strong, bold, beautiful, Rachel….way to go! Can’t wait to go look at your website!

  9. KarenC says:

    Congratulations on all you have accomplished in such a short time!! Wishing you the very best! Thanks for sharing the year with us!

  10. Genie says:

    So beautiful Rachel, to hear you and to watch you grow. You are special in my heart and I am so proud to have participated in your journey. Your photography only gets better. The world needs to see that sunrise pregnancy image!! Congratulations!

  11. Rhonda says:

    Woo hoo Rachel!!!!
    You’re off to the best start possible. And I see the blog has been going on for awhile. I think I need to try out some of those crock pot chicken tacos 🙂