Photo by Rae Marcel Photography

Rae Marcel’s dynamic photos capture everyday people in a way that conveys empowerment, intimacy and romance with a modern editorial twist – often at important times in their lives. Luckily for St. Louis and the surrounding area, she put down roots by opening a new studio in Edwardsville.

“Each customer leaves more confident than when they enter,” says Marcel. “It’s not the model – it’s the vibe and the experience [bringing it] out of them.

Hailey Maternity Session

Photo by Rae Marcel

The talented photographer had previously moved from Indianapolis, where she had a studio, to St. Louis for her husband’s career. Her search for a bigger studio closer to her family’s new home ended when she walked past an eye-catching space in historic downtown Edwardsville.

“When we first moved [to the area], this place used to be a clothing store and I didn’t even do photography at the time,” says Marcel. “I thought, ‘Oooh, if I ever started a business, this is where I want it to be!'”

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She laughs and adds, “Fast forward to now, and that’s mine.”

The location appealed to her not just because of its open aesthetic, with brick walls and a large storefront. Marcel says the small-town friendly community provides security for her and her mostly female clientele, and it’s the perfect place to foster partnerships with local businesses.

“I work on maternity projects — I try to keep a low profile about that — providing resources for maternity clients,” she says. “I have a passion for mums, and being a mum, and going through that motherly stage – even after birth. So I worked on a few things to help mums transition into that.

Marcel envisions a town center for new mothers. Far from that of a hospital, mothers could work here with a nurse or doula to develop their parenting skills through services such as lactation consultations and do so in a comfortable setting.

By becoming a photographer and new business owner, Marcel says she has become a better mother. Facing new challenges at work and as a parent, she learned the importance of making time for her family and being intentional about how they spent those times together.

“My daughter seeing me doing something I love is the most ultimate,” she says. “I’m glad I took the time to learn the trade and…the craft, because it’s been more rewarding than I can imagine.”

Rae Marcel Studio Promotional Photos

Photo by Rae Marcel Photography

In the near future, expect more community collaborations from Rae Marcel Photography that provide Marcel with greater opportunities to capture empowering images as his clients celebrate important life moments, from marriage to motherhood and to the next steps.

Rae Marcel Photography, Edwardsville,


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