The Journey

Last year at this time I was training really hard for my first half marathon. It was the first really athletic thing I’d ever done in my life! For me, it feels way more natural to be curled up on the couch with a book or a Netflix marathon than it does to lace up my sneakers and go out and sweat. I was the kid that hated gym class and wanted to be inside reading Babysitter’s Club books instead of playing outside. So for me, starting to run was weird and foreign. For weeks I trained and foam rolled my sore muscles and did twice the amount of laundry (the pile of sweatpants is twice as big when you’re self employed and you start exercising!). It was such a struggle, especially during busy season, I was so proud of how hard I had worked up until that point. Little by little I was proving to myself that despite all my doubts I could actually do it!

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(sidenote: marathon day photos are the least attractive photos you will ever have taken of yourself!)

Then one day, on a day so random I couldn’t even tell you anything else about it, John and I got on the subject of running the half. He said to me he knew that he could run the half if he had to tomorrow, with no training, because he believed in himself enough.    Oh HELL no. That statement made me so mad. I was indignant. I think I might have even cried. How could he run it tomorrow? Was he just saying that to be mean?? He hadn’t trained at all. He didn’t put in countless hours of sweat and tears like I did. As mad as I was, I (eventually) had to admit that he wasn’t wrong. And though he’s never really been much of a runner, he’s an athlete by nature. I’m not. So while it hurt my pride to hear that he could run the same race (and probably do it faster than me) without a single training mile logged, it was true.

If you’re wondering, the point of this story has nothing to do with running, nor does it really have anything to do with our marriage, which has happily survived me being incredibly indignant over what John said. The point of the story is, it doesn’t matter that John could run 13.1 miles easier than I could. What matters is that even though my journey was twice as hard as his would have been if he did the race too, I still fought through mine and made it to the finish line. There are times in the photography industry (and in regular life) when I look around at my friends and my peers and think to myself “Man, they have it easy”. They get twice as many likes on everything they post, they book the most incredible weddings, they’re booked way farther in advance than me, and they just seen to have so many wonderful opportunities that I don’t. I get caught up in that same emotion I felt when John said he could do what I’d been training for weeks and weeks to do in just a day. That all my struggles are basically for nothing since these random other people seem to have gotten everything so easily. It’s so easy to think like that! It’s hard to stay positive and not compare yourself to others. Especially when the world keeps getting smaller and smaller thanks to the internet and social media! In my opinion, the internet is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever invented. THANKS A LOT AL GORE.

In the same way that it comes naturally to John to do athletic things, some things come more easily to others than they do to me, and that’s just how it is.  Does that mean those people are not working hard? No, not necessarily. Even if John did run a half marathon without training, it would have been challenging for him, though twice as challenging for me. I try to remember this when it comes to my business. When I’m looking at other people’s successes and comparing them to mine, I consider my handicaps and how hard I’ve worked to overcome them. Every training mile I ran was a metaphor for how hard I had to work to book clients when I was starting out and literally didn’t know anyone getting married and only a few people even in that age group. I didn’t go to college and we had next to no money when I started the business so for me to compare my journey to someone who might have had a dozen sorority sisters book them or wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck and had more money to invest in their business up front does me a huge disservice. I’ve fought hard to get to where I am and to basically discredit all of it because I didn’t get it as quick as so and so or because I still don’t have x, y, or z? That’s crazy. Don’t diminish your successes. Own your own journey and remember that 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles  and no matter how long it takes you to get there, the finish line still feels pretty damn great. I like to think that most things happen for a reason, and I’ve been telling myself that things don’t come easy for me because I’m tough enough to handle it and ambitious enough to still go out and make them happen. So instead of feeling defeated when you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, use that negative energy to pump yourself up and get out there and do whatever it is you’re wishing you could do!

My last little thought before I go: At the end of a race, the last runners to finish are cheered for the hardest. Why is that? Because everyone knows it took so much more for them to get there. Cheer for the people around you. Cheer for yourself. And be proud of all the struggles because they’re what made you who you are!

It’s crazy to me that we’re already into October now! It seems like the 2014 season just started not too long ago, and now we’re only weeks from the end. This time of year is the most beautiful time of year, which for us means it’s also the busiest! Not only do we have a large chunk of our weddings over the next couple of weeks, we also have lots of engagement sessions and lots of traveling on our schedule. Lots of balance is required this time of year to stay sane. This weekend our wedding was on Friday and we had an engagement session on Sunday, so I intentionally scheduled Saturday as a day off so we could rest…especially since we have a double wedding weekend next weekend AND the week after that! I’ve learned over the past couple of years that it’s so important to take time to recover. When we do, we’re at our best for our clients, and that’s important to us!

As busy as things are right now, I am so excited about our Fall schedule. Lots of great couples are getting married this month and we get to spend time connecting with a bunch of our 2015 clients too at their engagement sessions. Bonnie and Quentin , who are getting married in 2015, met up with us last night in Richmond for theirs!

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And on Friday, we had the pleasure of shooting Leslie and Dan’s wedding at the Trump Winery in Charlottesville! This was definitely a day to remember! I can’t wait to share more with you guys later this week!

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This afternoon we’re shooting yet another 2015 couple’s engagement session! So pumped to spend time getting to know them! Til then, I’ll be in the office, catching up on emails and editing. Hope you guys have a wonderful week!


Ah! Today is an exciting day!! We’re announcing our very first workshop for beginner/amateur photogs!!! Earlier this year I launched and hosted a workshop for pro photographers who are already in business and looking to get to that next level. But it occurred to me that there are so many people who have cameras, love photography, and really want to learn to take better pictures whether they see a business in their future or not. We get emails and questions from clients, friends, wedding guests, etc all of the time “how can I take better pictures?”. A lot of the resources out there right now for people who are trying to learn the basics are confusing, out dated, or just not really what people are looking for. This class is going to be the complete opposite! Attendees will spend 2-3 hours learning about exposure, shooting in manual mode, picking the right kind of lighting, and more. And best of all, there will be time for hands on practice with all the skills you just learned!

Photography 101

What: A beginners photography workshop taught by a kick ass wedding photographer
Who: Anyone looking to take better pictures with their DSLR (Limited seats available)
Where: Richmond, VA
When: December 6, 2014
To register: Head to the website!

If you have questions about the workshop, please email me! katie@katienesbittphotography.com.

Another one of my favorite things about my job is that when I arrive, people are happy and generally excited to see me! Not everyone can say that about their job! I’m lucky in that I get to meet so many couples and their friends and family, and spend one of the most fun, happy days of their lives with them. This is something I really treasure about being a wedding photographer! Liz and Alex’s wedding this past weekend in Richmond was no different. We arrived to a group of happy, smiling girls getting ready and singing along to Taylor Swift (John’s favorite…don’t tell him I told you!) and spent the rest of the day with this awesome group who made us laugh so much!

Liz and Alex’s day was perfect from beginning to end. From the beautiful weather to the heartfelt and hilarious toasts, we’re so thankful we could be a part of it! Enjoy a little peek into their wedding day!

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I’m one of these people that doesn’t like to start enjoying the new season while the last is still in full swing…especially if the season ahead of me leads straight into WINTER. I hate winter! It’s great for like a month, in December while everything is so cheerful and fun for the holiday season, and then it becomes 3-4 months of doom and gloom. So for this reason, I can’t in good conscience start participating in Fall things during August, or while it’s still in the 80′s/90′s every day. I get excited about Fall when sweater weather starts…I love wearing layers, and cool temps give me an excuse to rock my “self employed girl” look every day and not look like I’m wearing pajamas outside.

Since our Summer bucket list worked out really well and encouraged us to make time for fun things, I thought I’d make a Fall Bucket List this year too! A lot of people might not realize this, but Summer is actually not the busiest season for wedding photographers…that would be Fall! Our October this year is almost twice as busy as our May was! Things don’t really slow down again til early Dec!! Anyway, here are a list of things I’d really like to do for fun this Fall!


Bake muffins/banana bread
Cook chili in the crockpot
Go to a Football game
Eat many fried things at the State Fair
Go camping in the mountains
Pick apples and make applesauce
Carve pumpkins
Watch Hocus Pocus AND drink hot spiced cider with rum
Make second Thanksgiving (a Nesbitt tradition)
Run a half marathon
Go kayaking
Check out an Oyster Festival

Note that scary movies are not on my list. I’m way too much of a wuss for that. Are they on your Fall bucket list? Let me know what you’re hoping to do by leaving a comment!

My summer goal was pretty simple…shoot film and take my camera everywhere I went. I wanted to ensure that we’d have tons of memories to remember every second by…and I really wanted to practice shooting film as much as possible! I can’t say I took my camera EVERYWHERE, but I did take it on our weekend trips. It was fun to work on a few rolls by taking a few shots here and there all summer and then send them in to be scanned and get back a little mini overview of what a wonderful season it was. There were lots of trips to the beach, crabbing, fishing, lots of wine (and beer!), tons of great times with friends, and a fun spur of the moment trip to New Orleans with my main dude. I’m so sad Summer is over, but I’m glad to have these photos to remember it by! Can’t wait to order prints of them!

Here are a few of my favorite shots! Scanned by Indie Film Lab and shot on 35mm. Portra 400 and Fuji 400H

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Holy cow! It still hasn’t really set in that September is more than halfway over, and that tomorrow is officially the first day of Fall. It just doesn’t feel like Fall yet, despite there being pumpkins and pumpkin products almost everywhere. I do enjoy Fall, but I love that where we live we get to have these beautiful Indian Summers….I’d like to delay the inevitable (Winter) as long as possible!

Over the weekend we shot Liz and Alex’s wedding day in Richmond! The weather was as different from last weekend as you could get (sunny and warm as opposed to chilly and rainy), and it was all around an awesome day! Enjoy this little peek to tide you over til Thursday!

Richmond Wedding Photographer

Also this weekend, I discovered two new favorite treats….Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate Raspberry Pretzel Stout…and biscuits with sweet pepper jelly from Trader Joe’s. I’m basically a sucker for anything they put on demo at TJ’s! (The biscuits, not the beer). I highly recommend both things!

After nine years (nine!!) together, Michelle and Dan finally became husband and wife this past weekend! Their wedding day was an amazing celebration from start to finish. Champagne started flowing in the bride’s getting ready suite early in the day, and kept the party going late into the evening! I’ve never seen a couple with such an awesome group to support them, party with them, and celebrate with them! These guys were so much fun all day that our 9 hour day felt like it went by in the blink of an eye!

It was supposed to rain all day, but the skies cleared just in time for an intimate first look. I love overcast days so much! They add an intimacy and a romantic moodiness to images that just makes my heart so happy.  And the light, you can’t beat that clean, beautiful natural light. The clouds are like a huge soft box making everything look extra pretty! All of the beautiful decor and flowers were put together by Intrigue Designs. She’s is incredibly talented, and working with her on this wedding was wonderful! You’ll love the AMAZING bouquets and centerpieces she created…she’s a master!

Enjoy a few of my favorites from this wedding day!

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Venue: Harbourtowne Golf Resort
Flowers + Decor: Intrigue Designs
Hair + Makeup: Up Do’s for I Do’s
Music: Jason Burns
Donuts: Bay Country Bakery
Rentals: Party Plus Rentals
Stationery: Sugar Paper
Cake: Julie Bakes
Bridal Gown: Betsy Robinson Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses: JCrew
Calligraphy: Ebb and Flow Ink

Hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday so far! I just wanted to pop in for a quick announcement! Christmas tree farm mini sessions are coming back! We’ve done them the past two years in a row and they’re one of my favorite things to shoot! I wasn’t sure if I had time to do them this year, but quite a few people asked about them, so they’ll be happening again this year!

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These mini sessions are 1/2 hour long each and are for up to 4-5ish people max. They’re perfect for couples AND families! I don’t usually have a ton of time for family sessions, so if you’ve been wanting to work with us for family photos, this is a great opportunity!

Fun props are included in the cost of the shoot. So are color corrected digital files and right to print them. The images are wonderful for Christmas cards or to give as gifts! Whose parents don’t like getting pictures of them??

The sessions will be held in Williamsburg, Virginia and are $200 each. I only have six spots open, so make sure you grab yours quickly!

Can’t wait to see you all there! Email me with questions or to register for a spot!

When I started out as a wedding photographer, I never thought I’d end up being part of a husband and wife team. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to bring John along for the ride…he was into photography even before I was! Documenting memories has always been important to him, he loves videos and photos as much as I do, if not more! Originally the decision to bring him on and make him a member of my team (okay, so my team is just the two of us, and Lucy as an honorary member…) was born out of being burned out. I was worn down from traveling 3+ hours to and from my weddings every weekend for months on end without seeing my husband. I was lonely, sick of traveling alone, and needed a change. Bringing John on also meant I would have a consistent second shooter…someone who knows me well, knows how I work and how I think, and works seamlessly with me as a team. I can’t recommend having a consistent second shooter enough…even if that person isn’t your spouse, having someone as your regular sidekick is invaluable!

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Photo by Katelyn James

Here are a few things we’ve learned so far as a husband and wife team! We’re by no means experts at this, but after shooting 36 weddings together, we’ve definitely learned a lesson or two when it comes to working together!

The first thing you need to do when considering having your spouse work for you is come up with a list of expectations on each of your parts. What part do you expect your spouse to play in your business? What role does he or she expect to play? I wanted John to work with me as my second photographer, but also as my driver. I hated driving long distances alone to weddings every weekend. Driving by myself is NOT one of my favorite things. Really, driving isn’t something I love a lot. It can be stressful! When we started working together, the expectation was that he would also be the person who drove us to and from each wedding. I also explained to him what I felt the role of the second photographer was and what I expected from him at the wedding itself.

A lot of people probably think that I don’t pay John to shoot with me, because he’s my husband. But, I do! When he’s working for me, he’s working. I respect his time spent as my employee. The time he’s working for me he could be working overtime at his regular day job, or he could be enjoying a nice Saturday off, so I pay him what I would pay another second shooter to work with me, which ends up being comparable to what he might have missed working OT for his day job. I think it’s important to compensate your spouse if you’re going to be working together. Not only does it show John that I respect his time and efforts, it also helps create a distinction in our employer/employee relationship on wedding days.

Try a trial run
When we first started working together, we had no idea how it was going to turn out. Working together with your spouse can potentially be a disaster, if things don’t go right! So instead of jumping in with both feet (which I’m prone to do), we decided on a trial run to see how things went. The trial run went for a month or two and when it was over, we talked and decided to make things official.

Make sure your spouse can actually shoot
(Or, if you’re not a photographer, make sure they can do whatever it is you actually do). I think it’s a huge disservice to clients to bring along a spouse, fiancé, or any other person like that if the person can’t actually deliver. My biggest thing with John was that he’d have to learn to shoot, and shoot well, in order for this to work. When it was first an inkling of an idea, I started teaching him how to shoot in full manual on my camera. As he grew as a photographer, he was slowly brought into the business. After many of his first weddings with me, I’d go through his images with him and explain to him what made a good image and what didn’t. I’d show him the ones I thought he did great on, and explain what he could have done to create something better on the ones I didn’t like. He also took the initiative to start reading my blog every day and studying the images I shared to learn “my style” as best as he could. Not only is it important that he shoot well, but that we shoot alike for consistency’s sake.

When you show up to work with your husband or wife for the day, whatever conflicts or things that might be going on must be left at the door. We’ve had disagreements in the car on the way to a wedding and had to shelve it for the day and work together like everything was perfectly peachy. This is more challenging for me, personally, because I like to handle conflicts immediately. But if you’re shooting a wedding together, all of those things must be set aside. In the same vein, you also can’t be pda’ing all over the place at a wedding when you’re shooting with your spouse. Keep it classy, people.

This was just a quick post with some things that we’ve learned as a team over the past year and a half, but if you have questions about working with your spouse or have an idea for a future “For Photographers” post, hit me up with an email!