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2017 Detail Favorites

The beginning of another year means getting to take a look back at some of my favorite photographs from the last year! These posts are actually super fun for me to put together because I get to take a bit of a walk down memory lane. It’s always hard to believe another year has come and gone, but it’s always fun to relive some of the events from the last year!

While I was pulling detail photographs to put this post together, I started thinking about why I love details so much and I think it’s because the little details are more than just things. They’re what turn events (or even just ordinary days) into experiences. I believe that life is all about creating experiences for ourselves and details are a huge part of that. They add character to our stories and give us a way to express ourselves in a tangible way. On a wedding day, details are so carefully chosen, yet they’re still things that may be harder to remember as time slips by. This is why I believe they’re important to document! So that they’re easily shared and enjoyed after the last of the flowers die and the last bite of cake has been eaten.

With all that being said, enjoy just a few of my favorite detail photographs from this past wedding season! I can’t wait to see what my 2018 clients will come up with!!

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King Family Vineyards Wedding Sneak Peeks

My 2018 season started this past holiday weekend and it couldn’t have been a better way to begin a new year! King Family Vineyards is one of my favorite Charlottesville wedding venues, but this is actually the first time I’ve ever photographed there in the winter. The light was so warm and beautiful, you’d never know it was windy and 20ish degrees!

Another really special thing about this particular wedding was that I had FOUR of my past brides in one place…that’s probably the first time that’s ever happened! My 2017 bride and friend, Sarah, was my second photographer for the day, my 2012 bride Amanda was the florist, my 2013 bride Ann Carlisle was a guest, and of course, the lovely Heidi was the one getting married! How funny is that to have so many past clients in the same place?

I’m so excited to share more from this wedding! Amanda’s florals were so perfect, as usual!! Here are a few sneak peeks until I’ve got their full blog post ready to share:)

I hope your week is going well so far! This is my first day back to work after taking Monday off for the holiday, so I’ve got lots to catch up on!

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2018 Goals

Can you believe it’s 2018?? So many opportunities to make great things happen are ahead of us and I think that’s incredibly exciting! For me, this year is going to be one of big changes and lots of growth, both personally and professionally. With that in mind, I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to put on my to-do list for the year.

Here are a few of my business and personal goals for 2018!

Business Goals:
  • Return to blogging on a regular frequency. I took a step back from blogging much besides most of my recent work, but in 2018 I’d like to return to blogging at least 2-3 times a week. I noticed that blogging consistently actually did make a big impact on the business, especially when it came to booking new clients. I love writing blog posts, so I’m going to make this a priority again this year!
  • Work outside of the home 1-2 times a week. I work from home Monday-Friday and I’m always looking for ways to be more productive. I’ve found in the past that I can get more work done in 2-3 hours spent working at a coffee shop where I’m truly focused (without the distractions of wanting to get a snack, do a chore, or whatever else might grab my attention at home) than I can at my desk. I’d like to incorporate working outside of the home into my regular routine to see if it helps speed up parts of my workflow!
  • Get creative with my marketing budget. Last year my big experiment was spending a little bit of money (less than a couple hundred dollars a month) on real deal online advertising. I’ll have to blog my thoughts on this at some point, but the gist of what happened is that I learned that traditional forms of advertising are not for me. I’m glad I tried it, but I’m looking forward to taking that same amount of money and seeing what I can do with it each month to build the business. If you’re interested in hearing about how that goes, let me know and maybe I will share more!
  • Meet my booking goal (obviously!). Not much else you can say about this one, right? I’ve lowered my booking goal from years past to allow an even more personalized experience for my clients and also create more of a work/life balance than I had in years past and also give myself a little bit more freedom to work on separate projects…like a book I want to write! See more on that under my personal goal list 🙂
  • Create new ways to streamline client experience. Client experience is something that I prioritize when it comes to the business and I think this should be something that continues to evolve over the years. I’m going to sit down and write down each step of what my clients experience from initial inquiry response to final delivery and analyze what can be done better and more efficiently.
  • Create an album site. I’ve had a pricing website that’s super easy to update for a few years now and I’ve realized that it’s time to convert my album PDF into an online site too!
  • Re-do my pricing website. Again, I’ve had this site a few years, so I’d like to give it a refresh! I’ll also be re-examining my pricing structure and deciding if it’s still working the way I want it to.
  • Update my main website to Showit 5. When I updated my site in 2015, it was only a few weeks later when Showit moved over to HTML5…which made me so sad, since I loved the site as it was and wasn’t ready to make changes just yet!!! The time has come to finally migrate, with the help of Three Fifteen Design…who I have been working with for SIX years now!!!
Personal Goals:
  • Read 2 books a month. At first, I thought I’d like to make it a goal to read 100 books a year…until I realized that meant I’d have to read a little more than two books per week. That’s probably doable in off season, but I couldn’t keep up with that in busy season! 2 books a month is way more manageable and still a decent amount of reading!
  • Run my second marathon. Four years ago when I ran my first marathon, the experience changed my life. Since the start of that training,  I’ve gone from someone who was a complete couch potato to becoming someone who genuinely loves fitness. I’m excited to see how the marathon goes this time around!
  • Begin writing my book. I’ve been saying I’d love to write a book since I was a teenager and I think it’s finally time to make it a reality! I’m still working on ideas, but I’m committed to making this project a priority for myself. There’s no time like the present to bring a dream you’ve had for years to life!
  • Incorporate more regular stretching into my fitness routine. I’m terrible when it comes to making time to stretch, but I know that more stretching can only be a positive addition to my life!
  • Finish the incomplete items on my 30 Before 30. I wrote a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30 last July in an effort to push myself out of my comfort zone and do all kinds of things I’ve always wanted to do or try. I made it through about 13ish of the things on the list before my 30th birthday, but I’ve realized that just because I didn’t meet my deadline it doesn’t mean that I can’t finish the list…the purpose of the list still holds up, so I’m going to work on finishing it!
  • Pay off my car.Pretty self-explanatory, boring, grown-up stuff.
  • Travel to two new places. I love traveling. Like deep down in my soul love it. I can’t imagine a year without it, so this is obviously on the list.
I think goal setting is an important part of starting a new year, but setting your goals is really only the first step! In order to set yourself up for success, I think it helps to break down each of the goals into manageable steps (and also set deadlines for when you’d like to complete those steps!) to create accountability. What are some of your goals for this year? I’d love to hear about them!! Leave a comment with what you’re planning to accomplish in 2018!
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2017 Wedding Outtakes

Sharing behind the scenes funnies is one of my favorite ways to round out another year of shooting! I started sharing these outtakes after seeing my friends Jen and Ashley post theirs maybe 5 or 6 years ago…since then a ton of people have begun to do these kinds of posts and they’re almost always freaking hilarious!

Here I am taking a photo of two of my brides…one a 2015 bride and one a 2017!!!

Here I am thinking out loud about something…”Maybe we should move bridal party photos up and do family after the ceremony…or maybe we should just go over to that little barn area NOW…”

Pippin Hill Farms makes the best backdrop for family formals!!!


On a wedding day, I am constantly arranging and re-arranging the bride’s dress. This was pretty tricky when I hurt my back. Also, I’m always leaving my things somewhere, as demonstrated in this photo…luckily no one’s taken my bag yet….haha!

Sharing a back of camera sneak with Mary and Simon!

Erin’s makeup artist was kind enough to stay for bridesmaids photos and help!! Here she and I are adjusting Erin’s train.

This one was taken by my good friend Serena, who worked with me on Kimmy and Ross’s wedding day in August!

Making sure my detail shots are in focus!! Also, this photo is a good example of how chaotic the getting ready portion of the day can be. See how much stuff there is surrounding me??

Note to future couples: GELATI CELESTI AT YOUR WEDDING IS AN AMAZING IDEA!!!

More detail shooting! I try to pick a really good, bright corner of the room to work in.

Not too sure what exactly I’m doing here…

My calf muscles have really grown since becoming a wedding photographer…that’s what happens when you’re short!!

More dress fluffing…just call me your personal Pippa Middleton on your wedding day…haha.

This is such a fun image because I shot this wedding for John’s cousin with the help of one of my own brides!!! Two of this year’s brides were photographers and I have worked with them both now!! This is so special to me to have been able to do this!!


And here I am shooting Caroline’s wedding...in Puerto Vallarta!!! This was another first!! I’d love to go back…hint, hint if you’re reading this and planning a wedding in Mexico!

First wedding of last year!! Bekah and Chris at Airlie, a favorite venue!

Oh, just pretending to be a bridesmaid. I’ve never been a bridesmaid, but always wanted to. I like to think of myself as an honorary extra bridesmaid…I’m there to make sure you look great, keep things upbeat and fun, and of course, take photos of it all!

Me being specific about foot placement…or possibly pointing at that funny leaf.

“Can you guys scoot this way just a little bit?” – always with the crooked finger point..haha

Checking how much time we have left for portraits!

“So, I’m going to have you guys all group together really close…like you like each other”

DO NOT LOOK AT MY MESSY, 100 PERCENT HUMIDITY HAIR. Look at Caroline’s expression after seeing a slideshow of some of her images I prepared for them!

Dancing? Or??

This is probably why my posture is so terrible. This and hours spent on my phone playing Candy Crush Saga….

Parts of this wedding day were super windy, but I loved how Sarah just laughed through it all!

Again…terrible posture!!

Can you believe this wedding was in May?? It’s not super often I wear a coat to a May wedding!!

And this wedding was a super warm, beautiful day in October!! Y0u never know what weather you’ll get in Virginia!

And last, but not least, here is a snap from my last wedding of the year. This bride is a dear friend and fellow photographer and her wedding was a true honor to be a part of. Loved every minute of celebrating her wedding day with her and her fantastic new husband, Chris!!

I had a blast shooting each of my weddings this year and I am so excited to start my next season…2018 you’ve got a lot to live up to!!

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Photo Enthusiast

In this day and age, chances are if you don’t have a professional photographer in your life, you most likely still have a friend or family member who loves photography! Whether that person snaps photos for fun or their profession, this list is designed to help you shop for them this holiday season. I’ve hand selected a few things I love using myself that I believe would make great gifts!

Here’s a link to the full list on Amazon (which is super convenient if you’re still shopping, like me, and you have a Prime subscription!!)

Some of my favorite items from the list:

  1. Fuji Instax Smartphone printer. I have one of these and I love it! It’s perfect for creating little polaroid prints of your phone photos. These make wonderful gifts and mementos! I printed out a bunch of photos from my 30th birthday party this summer and sent them to some of my guests inside of thank you notes I had written them. These little prints are always a hit and I like printing them from my phone rather than using my actual instax camera, because I can already tell the photo is going to be good rather than wasting expensive Instax film. Read my full review on this product here.
  2. Pre-paid Lightroom and Photoshop Adobe Cloud Membership. These days anyone can use the new cloud based versions of Lightroom (my personal choice of editing software) and Photoshop for $9.99 a month using Adobe’s subscription plan! As a professional photographer, I write off my subscription to Creative Cloud as an expense on my taxes, so this might not be the best gift for me. However, if you have a photographer friend who’s just starting out or learning as a hobby, this would be a fantastic gift!!
  3. Canon 50 1.8. If you know someone who is venturing into the world of portrait photography, this is an amazing little lens for an incredible deal. This was one of the very first lenses I owned and I still have a spot in my heart for this little guy because it works so well, especially for the cost!! I can’t recommend this enough for a hobbyist photographer! If your budget is a little bigger, consider the 50 1.4, which is a big step up from the little 50 1.8.
  4. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. By the author of Eat Pray Love, this book talks about what it’s like to be a creative and shares an interesting perspective on harnessing our own creativity. I felt it was both inspiring and encouraging and would suggest it to anyone who enjoys creative work or hobbies!
  5. ONA Brooklyn & Bowery bags. I own both of these bags and not only are they incredibly well made, quality bags, they’re also timeless, stylish pieces I’ll be able to use for many years! I love that they don’t scream “CAMERA BAG”, which is perfect for travel, as they just look like regular bags, as opposed to bags carrying thousands of dollars worth of equipment. They’re discreet, and they go with any outfits!! The Bowery bag fits a large DSLR and one extra lens. The Brooklyn bag fits a large DSLR and two lenses. Both have a removable, adjustable dividers (the Bowery has one and the Brooklyn has two) as well as pockets where you can stash your phone, keys, wallet, etc.

That’s just a quick little recap of a few of the items on the list! Hopefully this will help you spoil the photo enthusiast in your life this year! Feel free to reach out with any questions…or if you have gift ideas of your own!

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