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June | A review in instagrams!

Well, it looks like it’s already that time again…time to say goodbye to one month and welcome in a new one! Anyone got any good plans for this last weekend of June?

June Highlights:

  • Leaving my full time job to pursue a career as a wedding photographer. This was HUGE!! What a life changing decision! So far I’m really loving it, but it was a really scary/exciting decision for us to make, and one of the biggest choices we have made together since we’ve been married.
  • Lots of weddings! I shot a lot this month…three of my awesome couples tied the knot this month!
  • Maddie and John were featured on United with Love! Their fall engagement session made it on the wedding planning blog for DC area brides!

What’s next in July

  • My birthday!! I’m turning 25 in a couple weeks and though I am sad to say I feel like I’m getting older, I love an excuse to play flip cup…so that keeps me young…right??
  • The boudoir marathon. I can’t wait for this!! I actually still have a spot open, so if you are interested, please snatch it up before it’s too late!!
  • Shooting my first styled shoot. I will admit to being pretty nervous about this, especially since I’m planning on shooting with film.
  • Summer “vacation”. July is a slower month for me since it’s so hot out (wedding season slows down a bit) so I feel like I might have some time to pretend I’m on a summer vacation. Or maybe make it out to the beach every once in a while:)

Here are my instagrams for June!! Hope you have a great July! I’ll be back on Monday with my July giveaway!

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Let’s have beach days!!!!!! 🙂

is that a CHIPOTLE burrito? we are meant to be.

the best monday yet

Happy Monday!!! So this is just about the first day I’ve been able to say that in a long time without any trace of irony. It’s my first real day of self employment! This past weekend I shot Lesli and Neil’s ADORABLE wedding in Richmond…normally when I have a Saturday wedding I’m catching up on editing most of Sunday and prepping everything for the week ahead. Well this weekend I TOOK SUNDAY OFF. We went to Water Country USA and made an unfortunate trip to the Apple store because I pretty much DESTROYED the back glass of my iPhone. Being able to enjoy half of my weekend like a regular person was just the best feeling! I honestly think I’m most excited to get some balance back into my life. Here’s hoping I can!

Just wanted to share a sneak peek of this weekend’s beautiful bride and groom. This is exactly why I love doing what I do!!

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Looking good!

yayayayaayyayay gorgeous photo and happy first day of “work”!!!!!

Carrie

CONGRATS!! A happy Monday for sure!

Congrats on your first official day of self-employment! Woo hoo!

LOVE these portraits Katie and so happy you made the leap into full-time photography!!!

See? I told you it would feel real Monday morning!! Congrats to you, my friend! I can’t wait to see where this new step takes your business!!

I really really love the warm light in these as well as the ones on the full post!

The end of a chapter

I don’t want to be overly sentimental or anything, but today is my last day at my corporate job. When I started here almost four years ago I was freshly laid off from a creative job that I loved but had gotten burned out on. I thought to myself that a corporate job was safe and quiet and clean and would be a nice break from what I have found is the insanity of a creative job. When I started here I honestly had no idea where life would take me. I didn’t know if a corporate career was for me, but I thought it would be nice to try it out and see. After working incredibly ridiculous hours at my last job (one day I worked 22 hours…not even joking) I craved the predictability of a 7:30-4:30 schedule with every weekend off.

But the thing about predictability is…it’s predictable. As I settled into a routine I started trying to figure out if this was what I wanted to do with my life. Sure, I could come to this job, or a job like it every day until I turn 62. I could punch in and out and stare at gray walls and bright white paperwork for 2000 hours a year. Or, I could choose a different path. Do something that makes me happy and look at walls that are whatever colors I want them to be. Until 2011, I really had no idea what that different path could be, but it wasn’t long before I was craving a change.

I don’t believe in God, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason (to some extent). I’ve wondered to myself why didn’t I discover photography when I was 21 and freshly laid off? I had the summer to look for jobs and do not much else. I could have easily picked up a camera and changed my life that summer. Think how much farther I could be in my business by now if I had started in 2008! It’s almost weird that I didn’t figure it out then…my 21st birthday was a week before I accepted the position with my corporate job…John had surprised me at midnight on my birthday with my first digital camera.

I think I could have figured it out then. I could have decided that was what I wanted to do with my life and thrown myself into starting my business. But honestly knowing in my heart that things work out the way they are supposed to, I believe that I needed the time to mature and grow as a person. I really think that what they say about your 20s is true…you change SO MUCH. I have changed by leaps and bounds in the four (almost five omg) years of my 20s so far. I have seen John change so much too. I can’t say that I was ready or not ready to run a business at that point in my life, but I’m the most mature I’ve ever been and I now know that I don’t know everything. I know nothing. And the rest of my life will be spent trying to figure things out. I know this to be true.

Today I will gather up all my things from my desk, box them up with all of the lessons I’ve learned over the past four years, and walk out the door for the last time. This is the end of a chapter and though it’s kind of bittersweet, what’s waiting for me in the next chapter is too exciting to be sad for very long. So much adventure is waiting for me on the other side of the page. So many new lessons to be learned and friends to be made. I love how it feels to know that there are so many endless possibilities ahead of me. So many good things ahead.

What I woke up to this morning…my cat, silly as always and my alarm clock, which I am happy to say I don’t need anymore:)

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YAYY!!!!!!!! i’m so excited for this next chapter of your life 🙂 🙂

Katie – I’m wishing you ALL THE BEST on this new path in your life! I have no doubt you’ll do amazing things! And feel free to write me to chat anytime about the new challenges/fears/awesome things going on in your life and business!!! xoxo!

So I’m a little late to reading this, but I just wanted to say that I am so so excited for you. You definitely deserve this and I know you will do great things!

Book Review – Worth every penny + The glass castle

I finally bought a kindle just a couple of weeks ago, and since then my love for reading has come back in full force! One of my goals is to read more business books, so the first book I picked up was Sarah Petty’s Worth Every Penny. I had seen it recommended by Justin and Mary and felt like it would be a good read for me.

Well…it was! The book is basically about how to create a boutique business that will attract customers who are willing to pay what you are worth. A lot of the principles I already knew…some are just good common sense. But there were also a few really good nuggets of wisdom that I think will really be helpful if I apply them to my business. I think this book would be GREAT for someone who seems to be struggling with having all of their clients leave them for Sears Portrait Studio or the Picture People. Worth Every Penny is a manifesto of sorts for boutique business that don’t compete with those big box places because they don’t have to. The book teaches that by providing something those big stores don’t have, you have an edge!  What you lack in volume you will make up for in style, expertise, and the personal attention you can give your clients! Worth Every Penny breaks all these things down for you  in a very easy to read, very light way.

As my personal read this month, I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Oh gosh. What can I say about it, except SO GOOD?? If you haven’t read it already, it’s a memoir (picture me saying that MEM-wah like Kris Jenner) about a girl’s childhood in an extremely dysfunctional family. I’ll be completely honest and say that since I half knew what it was about, I thought it was going to be a difficult read. I was worried it would be depressing and that I wouldn’t even want to finish it, but once I started reading it, it was SO hard to put it down. The Glass Castle is so thoughtfully written that even Jeanette’s incredibly neglectful parents seem to have their redeeming qualities. I. Loved. It.

Yesterday was the first day of Summer…what have you been reading by the pool? Anything I should add to my list??

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YESSSSSSSSSSS THE GLASS CASTLE IS MY FAVORITE BOOK. oh my golly. SO GOOD. so glad you read it!!!!! gah i want to read it again now

Now I really want to read these books! I’m so happy I’ve had time to read lately, I can hardly get my hands on enough books 🙂

For photographers: figuring out your brand

Let me just preface this by saying I’m nowhere near an expert on branding. I’m not even close! But I do understand how overwhelming it can be to try and figure out a way to express your personality in a visual way. When I first started trying to decide what I wanted this blog to look like, I had a bunch of random ideas that I thought were “professional” but weren’t really me. I knew I had to come up with something that showed off my own style, but I honestly wasn’t really sure what my style was. Style??? I never wear jewelry and I can’t accessorize to save my life. Figuring out my style was actually pretty intimidating.

One thing that has helped me a lot is the ever popular pinterest! I created a board  for my brand and searched and searched for items that I was drawn too. After a while I started to see common elements in a lot of my pins.  I noticed I like deep, muted colors like charcoal gray and lots of modern, urban elements. Before I started cultivating the brand board, I really thought I wanted my brand to be rustic and handmade…I love DIY projects and mason jars and would die over a barn wedding, but I’m just visually attracted to mid century furniture and quirky illustrations. Seeing all of those things pinned together helped me discover patterns in the things I’m drawn to and uncover a “style” that suits me better than barns or butterflies.

Another great thing you can do to figure out your brand is to go into your closet and take a look at the types of things you wear on a regular basis. Are you into sequins or glitter? Maybe your style is very glam. Do you wear lots of polo shirts and pearls? You might be classic and preppy. Or maybe you’re like me and you wear cardigans, skinny jeans, and lots of stripes. That could mean your style is pretty casual.

Also, if there are things you really, really love…like Apple products, funky earrings, horses, or junk food, make that a part of your brand!! The more things you incorporate that showcase who you are, the better! We know Jasmine Star loves magazines, and Katelyn James always comes to mind when I see something teal. And I always think of my own wedding photographers, Jodi and Kurt, when I see a cameo or some pretty lace! These photographers didn’t become associated with things they like by accident. They made sure they included things they liked in their branding because not only do they set them apart, but they also attract other people who like the same things! If you incorporate your love for NYC into your blog, a bride who loves NYC might read it, feel a connection with you, and decide she just has to have you at your wedding. And that’s what you want!

Lastly, work with a designer! A great designer will help you figure out how to take all of your ideas and make them visually cohesive! A designer can also help you elevate your brand into something that is also very professional, but still very you at the same time.

I know these tips probably seem pretty basic to some people, but I feel like there are others, like me, who might need a little bit of help. So hopefully this post might have given you some more ideas that will help you succeed with getting your brand headed in the right direction!

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Great tips! Branding is SO overwhelming! 😀

so much good info 🙂

love this! I’m trying to figure out my style and branding right now and it’s taking a LONG time.. this is tough work! great blog post 🙂

great post Katie! you are so right on all aspects! : )