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Best of 2015

I feel like I’m kind of behind getting this post up towards the end of the first month of 2016. BUT, in my own defense, I did actually have a lot of other content to share this month too;)

I’m kind of sad to post this today because it means that the we’re finally closing the books on the 2015 wedding season. It was such a great year! We took part in 23 weddings from Virginia, to DC and Maryland, all the way to Cape May, NJ. We shot in the rain, the snow, the wind, meltingly hot heat and even a tornado warning, which was a first!

We’re so grateful to each of our 2015 couples for letting us be a part of their wedding day! I know I say this a lot, but it really is an honor to get to do this for a living and I’m beyond thankful to all of the couples who choose to work with us! Thanks for another great year!

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Our Hawaiian Portrait Session

Today I’m doing something a little bit different and sharing photos I DID NOT take! I’m in a blog post on my own blog for once! So weird, right? I had so many favorites from our Hawaii session with our friend Ashley Goodwin that I couldn’t help but share them. We’ve been married four and a half years now and finally taking our honeymoon was a BIG deal to us. Having an anniversary session seemed like the perfect way to commemorate taking such a big trip. These photos are the ULTIMATE souvenir!

I also think it was such a great experience for us to get in front of Ashley’s camera! As photographers we spend so much time behind the camera we can forget what it feels like to be in front of one. Being photographed by Ashley gave me a lot of perspective on what our clients feel during their sessions with us!

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite images!! I had such a hard time narrowing it down for this post. I normally don’t love photos of myself, but it’s amazing what a talented photographer can do to make you feel and look your most beautiful! Thank you, Ashley for making me feel gorgeous!

Photos by Ashley Goodwin Photography, Floral Crown by Ocean Dreamer

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I worked out for MONTHS with these bikini photos in mind!! Talk about motivation! 😉

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The rest of the photos are from adventures we had with Ashley just hanging out around the islands. Just drinking rum from pineapples and island hopping. In December. No big deal!

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Yeah Maui is just okay. 😉 JK

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If you’re a photographer, I HIGHLY recommend having photos done every once in a while! It’s such a good way to remember what it feels like to be on the other side of the camera! And, I think it’s important to practice what we preach, and take care to document our lives too. Life goes by so fast! I’m grateful that we will always have these photos to look back on from this particular moment in our lives!

Lastly, if you aren’t already, be sure to follow Ashley! She is so wonderful and you’ll be lucky to have her pretty photos in your feed!


These are stunning, Katie! You guys are such a gorgeous couple together. I may be biased, but I love a good mixed couple! :-)

These are incredible!! What a beautiful way to remember your trip! I just love the ones in the “jungle” with the flower crown!! Truly stunning! I am glad you two enjoyed Maui so much!!

SO OBSESSED with these, and definitely know what we are doing next time we make it back to Hawai!!! Ashley is so talented, and you two are so gorgeous!!!

LOVE THESE! So many favorites!!! I would have a hard time choosing which ones to hang up! Y’all are a beautiful couple!!!

It was good seeing you last night! Hope to see you again soon! :)

SO much emotion here. Lovely, lovely work

Favorite Unscripted Moments of 2015

This might be my favorite post when it comes to these “Best of” posts! Though I’m always a fan of bride and groom portraits and I love a good detail shot, these candid wedding day moments are where it’s at. It can be a delicate balancing act to work to capture the complete story of a wedding day with details, bridal party portraits, family formals, and of course bride and groom photos, but I think these little in between moments are so important too! I love to look back and see all of the moments that were captured over the course of the year, and I thought it would be fun to share here as well. Here are a few of my favorites “unscripted” moments from last year’s weddings!

Kristine and her two best friends were adorable getting ready in their cute robes!

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I loved the look on Rae’s face during her first look with Jon!

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Darby’s nieces (and flower girls) tried to sneak a peek of her as she got ready. They were too cute!

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Tiffany and Terry’s pup Kenny got tired of photos and decided he needed a break…and his mom’s gown looked like the best place for a little rest!

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Bonnie’s bridesmaids looked on from the front porch as she went to meet Quentin for their first look!

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I call this “But first, let me take a selfie!”

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I really liked this of Nicole and her mom as they got ready!

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This photo makes me tear up! These two shared an emotional first look that reminded me of how I felt at my own first look!

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I secretly love it when the groom cries. How sweet is this?

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Darby made the most radiant, beautiful bride! Definitely a favorite “getting into the dress” image!

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Marlayna and Adam gave each other gifts during their first look and their reactions were priceless!

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Amy’s bridesmaids reactions when she opened the door and came out in her wedding gown = perfection.

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This last one is a probably an all time favorite! The colored petals along with Rachelle and Zeke’s obvious joy made this one so special!

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Want to see more of the best of 2015? Check out the best of details here!


I’m literally wanting to smash my computer right now — dealing with a stupid coding issue. BUT, I took a few minutes to refresh, and I saw this post … it made me so happy!! :)

FBO: Staying Productive During Off Season

It’s technically “off season” but that doesn’t mean as photographers and wedding vendors that we’re actually off…a lot of people probably think that since we aren’t photographing every weekend right now, we just aren’t really doing any work. But, the reality of being a small business owner is that you have to work at it year round, even when your business is slower than the rest of the year. During off season, I’m much less motivated to work though because a lot of the tasks on my to-do list aren’t things I technically HAVE to do and sometimes playing another round of Candy Crush seems so much more appealing.

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I’ve learned a few tricks to help make sure I’m still being productive even when I’m not as busy. Here they are!

  1. Use the time to work on bigger projects. This is the time to work on all of those things that we really don’t have as much time for during busy season. If you’ve got a big project you want to work on, this is the time to do it! This year I’m working on my taxes (isn’t that the ultimate big project for small business owners??), designing a few PDF guides for our clients, and a couple other things. I also like to use the “downtime” to write up blog posts in advance, read business books, update my website, and submit any work that hasn’t been submitted yet.
  2. Make a list of things you want to get done and assign the tasks required to specific days. At the beginning of every week I make a list of things I’d like to accomplish that week and then I assign those tasks to different days of the week. To me, breaking down a to do list makes it seem a little bit more manageable than just feeling like I have to slog through a list of 30 things every single day and can’t stop til it’s done. I’d rather do 6 tasks a day and do something else I’m excited to do when I’m done with those 6 tasks.
  3. Utilize a timer to keep on track. Although I’m also a fan of multi-tasking, when I’m really struggling to be productive, I find it helpful to commit to small chunks of time to working completely uninterrupted on one task. No email, no Facebook no phone, texting, etc. Just one task and nothing else. I use the Pomodoro timer app for Mac because I like how the time remaining stays in your toolbar at the top of the screen and notifications pop up when the timer goes off. It’s automatically designed to alert you after 25 minutes of work that it’s time for a break but you can set it for whatever you want.
  4. Work in your office. When I’m really busy, sometimes I work from the couch or from the dining room table instead of my office. I just feel like I’m in the office too much and need a change of scenery…and  I feel like sitting where I want is a self employment perk! When I’m not feeling super motivated, sitting in my office at my desk is the perfect way to set the mood for getting work done!
  5. Give yourself a break. You earned it! I like to think of this slower time as similar to when teacher friends are off for the summer. Yes, there’s still things that need to be done to keep everything going, but you also earned the right to relax a little bit and enjoy the slower pace!

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that as a business owner you’re in charge of managing your time however you think is best! My goal is always to try to strike that delicate balance between work and life. If your scales tip a bit more towards the “life” end this time of year, that’s okay too because it’ll all even out in the end!


The Top 10 Reasons I love being a Wedding Photographer

When 2016 arrived a few weeks ago, I realized that in April of this year, my very FIRST wedding clients will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary! It’s crazy to me how much time has passed, but also how quickly it went by. When I photographed my first wedding, I desperately wanted nothing more than to be a full time wedding photographer with a “successful” business. Though I still feel on a day to day basis like I’m striving to get to that place where I can finally feel successful, I technically have all of the markers of success as I defined it five years ago when it was my dream to do exactly what I’m doing today. That just blows my mind because I can’t believe how lucky I am to get to do this!

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Anyway, thinking back to the first wedding I shot made me reflect on the job and I decided to make a list of the top ten things I love about being a wedding photographer. I’m sure all of us wedding photogs have different things that we like (and sometimes dislike, let’s be real!) about the job, but here are my favorites!

1. I love seeing people get married. Witnessing each wedding we photograph reminds me how much I love marriage as an institution and how valuable my own marriage is to me. I love hearing the vows and seeing each couple at the start of something new and wonderful.

2. I get to work with happy people! I don’t think there are really many people who are happier than a bride and groom (or groom and groom, or bride and bride) unless maybe your job is delivering pizza. In which case, I think you have a lot of happy clients too…you might even have the upper hand because EVERYONE loves pizza!

3. I’m good at it. I think it’s really important to seek out a job that is a good fit for you. If you think about it, it makes so much sense for each of us to do jobs that we are well suited for. We’re happier, we do a great job, and we feel fulfilled doing things that we have a natural affinity for. It’s a win/win for both the clients who benefit from our jobs (whatever they are) and us as well. As a visual person, I LOVE doing photography and a lot of it comes somewhat naturally (along with hard work, of course) and I’m an entrepreneur at heart. My job helps me utilize my talents in a way that’s fulfilling!

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4. Every day is different. I was never really all that into working in an office environment. Possibly because a lot of those types of jobs can mean doing the same thing day after day. There are definitely similarities to each wedding day and you come to learn to anticipate what might happen next, but there are always so many unique things about each wedding and it keeps me on my toes! I also rarely spend every single weekday doing the same work. I’m spending time working on social media strategies one day, blogging the next, preparing my taxes, emailing with clients, packaging gifts, designing albums, bookkeeping, etc. There’s always something different to do! You can never be too bored!

5. I get to travel a lot. It’s given me the opportunity to explore my state (and John’s home state of MD, too!) from corner to corner. We’ve shot with our toes in the sand and literally driven up and down mountains to be alongside our clients on their wedding days. It’s fun to be able to combine two things I really enjoy (photographing weddings and traveling) into one job!

6. I get to do it with John. Not every wedding photographer works with their spouse. I don’t think it would work for everyone, but it works really well for us! I love having my best friend at work with me on the weekends. He’s so at photography and he’s also really patient and adaptable so he makes the perfect second photographer. We make a great team!

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7. It allows me the freedom and flexibility of making my own schedule. I love being able to manage my workload the way I want to during the weekdays! I love being able to go to the gym during the day when it’s quieter or have lunch with my mom or another fellow entrepreneur if the opportunity arises. I like being able to travel without having to use vacation days. I also really appreciate the fact that one day when we have kids, I can be at home with them more during the week and still have a career that I love. Wanting to create my life in this really intentional way was a huge catalyst for starting my business and one that helps set the tone for the way I do things now.

8. I actually really love running my business on the back end. I think a lot of creative people struggle as business owners because they don’t have the mentality that you need to run your own business. I’m kind of odd in that I love to do creative things, such as (obviously) photography, but I am also really analytical and business minded. I love blogging, bookkeeping, marketing, etc. I love planning out my goals and figuring out how to accomplish them. I think I’m so lucky to have a job that lets me work both parts of my brain!

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9. I’ve made genuine, life long friends through the business. This is a huge gift that I never expected to receive when I first picked up a camera and thought to myself “Hey, what if I did this for a living??”. A lot of people have friends who become clients, but I’ve been lucky in that a lot of my clients have become friends! Some of them are such good friends I know I will still be friends with them forever, even if I stopped running my business tomorrow. I also have a few photographer/industry friends that I consider my “forever friends” who are always there to share a laugh or commiserate.

10. What I do actually means something. I have to start this with the disclaimer that I really don’t think what I do is going to save any lives or anything like that. I’m not a solider or a firefighter or a nurse, or even a teacher. What I do doesn’t impact tons and tons of people, but it does offer something meaningful to the people I work with. My job takes memories and makes them tangible. It turns them into something beautiful that you can hang on your wall or make into a book. My job saves stories for future generations. And even more than that, more than the images, which are a huge part of the legacy I help document for each of our couples, my job is also to help add something positive to each wedding day I have the honor of being a part of. To me, it isn’t just about taking photographs and passing them on, it’s also about making people feel good about themselves. It’s about taking people who feel less than confident in front of the camera and making them feel beautiful (and/or handsome). What I do actually means something because I’m in the business of making people happy. Does it get better than that?

I can’t close this post without a thank you. Thank you to all of our clients….past, present, and future. Thank you for trusting us with your memories and letting us be a part of your stories! Thank you to all of the friends and vendor pals who believed in me from the beginning, and of course, thank you to YOU, the person reading this, for reading and supporting the blog.