how you can help (me & the world)

I told myself I would update my blog at least once a week, but here we are, over a month since my last post. But this one is an important one!DSC_0231

I posted about two months back about an incredible opportunity I have this summer (read about it here: my next adventure) and I want to tell you a little more about it and how you can help. I will be spending ten weeks serving with Josiah Venture in Central and Eastern Europe. Josiah Venture is an organization with the mission of equipping young leaders to spread a movement of God throughout society. I will be serving on the Communications Team as a photographer alongside six other talented artists in and traveling to many of the countries that Josiah Venture is based in. We will be working together to share stories of God and His love in Central and Eastern Europe with our art and talents that God has blessed us with. Super cool, right?!

So this is where you come in. In order to go out and serve this summer, I have to raise nearly $5,000 by May 1st. If you donate, not only will you be helping me go to Europe and experience something incredible this summer, you will be helping so many students see God’s love, maybe even for the first time. If you feel called to donate, you can give online by going to and clicking on my photo! Your gifts of not only financial support, but also prayer support, are crucial to the success of this trip.

If you want to stay updated on my internship, I will be posting weekly blogs over the summer about what I’m doing and sharing photos from my time there, so subscribe to my blog! Whether you choose to donate, pray, and/or subscribe, thank you so much for your support!

Yours Truly,

Rachel Joy


what’s in my camera bag!

This week’s blog is a little big more lighthearted :). img_0611For all you photographers out there, or just anyone who’s interested, this week’s blog is about what’s in my camera bag! My camera bag is pretty new – I got it for Christmas this last year. So far it’s really great! I hate bulky bags and that’s almost unavoidable when you’re lugging around a bunch of photography equipment, but this is a great size and still holds my two cameras. When you open the bag, this is what you’ll see.  I love it because not only is there the top flap that covers the whole thing, there’s also a zipper to close the main compartment of the bag. Inside, I have my two beloved cameras. img_0610And yes, I’ve lost the lens cap for one of my lenses. I know, I know, shame on me, but there’s a new one coming in the mail. On the left is my brand new Nikon d750 with my favorite lens, a 50mm f/1.8 on it. I love this combination, this is pretty much what I shoot everything on. The d750 is my first full frame camera, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but it’s a wonderful and pretty light camera. Paired with my 50mm, it takes beautiful photos and works especially well in low light. On the right is my older Nikon, a d7000, which is a crop sensor camera, with my 11-20mm f/2.8 lens. I don’t use this lens nearly as much since getting my new camera, and I don’t think I’ve touched the d7000 since getting the d750. Having both of these cameras in my bag fits perfectly, but it’s pretty heavy to lug around for too long, so generally I only take the d750 and bring the wide angle lens along if I think I’ll need it.


And here is everything else taken out of the bag. At the top of the photo is my Nikon d7000 (left) and Nikon d750 (right) again, with the lenses I use on each of them below the cameras, respectively. To the right of the cameras is my battery charger and two extra batteries.  If I’m just going out on a shoot, I don’t generally bring these along, but if I’m traveling, this is something I never forget. I have a pretty bad habit of leaving my camera on, so I’m constantly having to change the battery :). Below that are my countless SD cards. It’s pretty rare for me to need another SD card while on a shoot – especially since both cameras can hold two cards – but I keep them in here so they’re all in one place because I am always losing things. To the right is cleaner for my sensor. I should probably clean them more than I do, but I’ve only done it once because I’m too scared of touching the sensor (scratch the sensor and you ruin the camera)… And finally are my white balance cards. I don’t use these nearly as much since I started shooting in RAW, but I keep them in my bag just in case.

It’s not a lot of equipment compared to some, but I guess that goes to show that the quality of photos has more to do with the person behind the camera than the camera itself. Now go check out some of the photos I’ve taken with the gear you just read about! ( )

Yours Truly,

Rachel Joy


why I’m wasting my college education on studying photography

If you know anything about me, it’s that my biggest passion in life is photography. It’s pretty uncommon to see me without my camera in my handimg_0141, and most of my friends have just accepted the fact that I am constantly taking photos of them. It’s not only something I truly love and never stop being excited about, it’s become a part of who I am. The skills that I’ve developed (haha film jokes) and the knowledge that I’ve obtained didn’t just come to me overnight. This is something I’ve immersed myself in for the past four or five years. It started out as just a hobby, but as time goes on and as I fall more and more in love with the art, I’ve realized that I don’t want it to be something I do on the side of a better paying job for the rest of my life. I want to continue doing what I’m passionate about, and I want to focus all of my time and energy into it to be the best that I can be.

Deciding to pursue photography comes with a lot of risks. And I’ve definitely questioned if this is the right decision. But personally, I would rather study what I love and spend my years in college and beyond focused on that than study something I’m less passionate about and always be regretting that I don’t have more time to do what I really want. I came to college to study what I love, and I’m still putting in just as much work and learning just as much as everyone else here. Yes, I do get some funny looks when I tell people I’m majoring in art. But I’m so lucky to have family and friends that support me in whatever I want to do.

So what happens after I graduate and leave the safety of the brick-lined walkways and bayside views that is Western Washington University? It’s uncertain. And yes, that does scare me a little. But it’s also thrilling to know I get to pursue whole-heartedly what I love. I know that being a photographer won’t make me a lot of money. That’s a hard fact to face in our profit-driven, wealth-obsessed society. But life is short, and you only get one shot, and I would rather live it from behind my camera than behind a desk.

So this is my challenge to you. Pursue what you love. Don’t settle for something just because you think it will make you more money than what you actually want to do. Don’t settle for something because it’s what someone else wants you to do. Don’t settle for something because it’s too late to go in a different direction. Stop making excuses and start living joyfully and passionately and pursuing what you want to do in life. Have faith in yourself and know that the process may be hard, but will ultimately be worth it.

Yours Truly,

Rachel Joy