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2016 Film Favorites

I started last year wanting to shoot a roll of film every month. Looking back, it was a really ambitious goal for someone who lives in leggings and t-shirts 6 out of the 7 days in a week and rarely sees anywhere besides the gym, my home office, and the aisles of my local Target store. I felt like I didn’t have much to photograph on an everyday basis. Or at least not enough to take up 36 frames of my precious 35mm film! Instead of shooting a whole roll every month, I kept my little AE-1 on the hook by our door where we keep our jackets and grabbed it on the rare occasions I did go out into the world like a normal human who does things besides buy home decor and Cheetos after working out.

I waited until almost the end of the year to send my film out for processing. This was such a wonderful gift to give myself because unlike my digital work, where I can shoot, edit, upload, in a matter of minutes, I had to practice patience. I left my film in my top dresser drawer until right after my October trip to Charleston and then had to wait for it to get to the lab and then wait for them to process it. Downloading and opening the folder of images they’d sent over was almost like opening up an old photo album from years past…the images brought back so many memories from earlier in the year and took me back to different seasons in time. Looking through the images from my year reminded me not only how many great memories we did make, even in a challenging year, but that photos are always so important because they’re the way we’re able to time travel.

Another thing I love about film photos is that since you can’t take nearly as many as you can with digital (I mean, unless you are a bajillionaire…film isn’t a cheap hobby!) is that it forces you to be much more specific about what you take photos of. I have about 3000 photos of Lucy doing the exact same things on my iPhone. Can’t do that with film, so you have to be thoughtful about what you choose to take photos of. This means fewer photos, but less can sometimes be more if you let the number of photos you DO have, speak loudly.

Here are some of the little snapshots I took with my AE-1 last year. They’re all photographed on Kodak Portra 400, my favorite film. Scanned and processed by the FIND Lab, who I highly recommend for both pros and film novices/hobbyists like myself.

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2016 Wedding Detail Favorites

Details remain one of my favorite things to photograph on a wedding day! I believe that they incredibly important, because they add to telling the story of the day. Though it’s been over 5 years since my own wedding, I still remember how much work it was to carefully choose each little element and how much I looked forward to seeing the photos of them. One day we’ll show those photos to our children and eventually our grandchildren!

We worked with such a wide range of diverse clients in 2016 and their beautiful details were all so unique and personal to them! It was so much fun photographing these beautiful wedding days. Enjoy a few of my favorite detail photos from last year 🙂

Bridal clutch for a DC weddingSummertime Eastern Shore Wedding at Silver Swan BaysideBright and organic wedding bouquet with pink and red flowers Barren Ridge Vineyards Wedding detailsAlfresco wedding reception at the Wilton House Museum in Richmond VirginiaRomantic garden inspired bouquet with succulents by Isha Foss for a Southern wedding Unique organic wedding bouquets

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Stockton Seaview Wedding | Amy + Chris

Amy and Chris’ wedding at the Stockton Seaview in Galloway, NJ was one of my favorites to photograph last year! We drove up from Virginia on one of the first true Fall weekends and were treated to a crisp, sunny afternoon and an even better sunset!

Amy worked so hard to carefully pick out all of the beautiful details and made sure we had plenty of time for photos, which of course, we loved! I was so impressed by this sweet couple and their kind, hilarious friends and family. It was such an honor to be a part of this wedding day!

Enjoy a few of my favorite images!

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2016 Engagement Session Favorites

What can I say about another year of amazing engagement sessions? I mean, besides the fact that these sessions were some of my favorite moments of the 2016 season. Or that I loved every moment of getting to know our couples? We shot at some new locations and returned to some old favorites. We traveled (by train!) to Philly to photograph one of our destination wedding couples for the 2017 season, and we woke up at sunrise to fight tourists at the Cherry Blossom (here’s a hint…don’t go on Easter Sunday!). We took lots of photos, we laughed, I told bad jokes, and lots and lots of nuzzles and kisses were had. Mostly by our clients, but some by us too 🙂

We had the time of our lives in 2016 and we are so excited to get to know more 2017 and 2018 couples this year!

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2017 Goals

2017. This year holds so much weight for me personally because it’s kind of a big year…I’ll turn 30 in July and I’ll also celebrate the TEN year anniversary of when I started dating John in the Fall. It’s Lucy’s ten year birthday in February (how is my baby so old??!?) and it’s also the ten year anniversary of when I moved out on my own from my parent’s house and in my mind, officially became an adult. It’s pretty much  the ten year anniversary of what I feel was one of two of the most pivotal years of my life to date!

So, this year, I think I want to focus on building out my long term business goals a little more. What is my vision for my future? What would I like my life to look like in the next ten years? It’s kind of scary to think about my vision for the next decade, but, I kind of take solace in the fact that you never really know what the future holds. For instance, I never would have imagined ten years ago that in 2017 I would have been a wedding photographer for almost six years and that I’d have been married to John for nearly as long! So many amazing things are ahead in our futures, just hidden from us until we get there. So while I want to plan for the long term, I also realize that you can only plan so much because you’ve also got to let life take you where it wants to!

Here are my goals for this year:

  • Meet my 2017 booking goal and book half of my 2018 goal
    Pretty much speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I think it’s important to have booking goals based on the income I want and the amount of work I’d like to take on this year. If you haven’t made a booking goal based on actual numbers rather than what you think sounds good, now would be a great time to work on that!
  • Strive for authenticity.
    I’ve felt for some time now that there’s a lot of fake-ness in the wedding industry. So many people feel like they have to hold up a certain facade in order to seem successful or to be popular. I really value authenticity, so I want to be sure that everything I’m doing in the business this year is something that’s really true to who I am (and who my business is!) at the core.
  • Look for ways to be more strategic with my business income.
    So many of us as small business owners fail to look for the big picture and think like CFOs. I want to strategize my income this year in a way that sets me up for success in the future! Maybe there are things I’m spending on now that are not super efficient. Or there are better solutions and I just haven’t found them yet! I’d like to let my money work harder for me, so I don’t have to!
  • Start a retirement fund.
    Speaking of letting my money work for me…I’ve been self employed for almost FIVE years now and I’ve yet to set up a retirement fund for myself. It’s been one of those things that I say I’ll do tomorrow…which becomes next month, then next year…and finally I wake up nearly five years into running my business full time and I STILL haven’t done it! No excuses this year…I’m turning 30!!!
  • Blog 3x per week
    I let the blog slide a little bit last year because I couldn’t tell if it was making a difference or not…and I really just needed a break after blogging five days a week for four years! I’m committed to this blog though, because it’s done really great things for my business over the years. It is, after all, a free way to market and advertise, and what’s better when it comes to marketing than FREE?? The only thing it really needs is a bit of love and care, so I’m going to re-commit myself to it for 2017!
  • Start a monthly duty day
    This one has also been on my list for years! I was so inspired by Katelyn James’ idea of having one day a month set aside for random menial tasks that just need to be done and knocking them all out in one day. BUT…I never went ahead and actually implemented my own! I’m realizing that this would be so helpful in getting through some of the tasks that are never as fun, like tracking mileage and shipping packages!
  • Create an inventory list for all of the packing/packaging supplies I use regularly
    One thing that was frustrating last year was constantly running out of packaging supplies. Whether it was notecards, envelopes, boxes, etc, I felt like I was always having to wait to send things because I was out of something. I think creating an inventory list would help me out a lot, because I’d be able to go through on a bi-weekly (or somewhat regular) basis and see what I’m getting low on so I can do a re-order once a month or so.
  • Utilize Instagram more efficiently
    This year I’d really like to become more intentional with how I utilize my Instagram for my business. I’ve been somewhat attempting to do so in the past, with using hashtags and trying to curate my feed, but I think I need to sit down and overhaul how I do things and really look at what exactly I want to accomplish with my account and how I think I can do that.
  • Be more of a source of encouragement for others
    Have you ever noticed yourself thinking encouraging things when you see other people, either in real life, or on social media? I do it all the time…at the gym, out in public, of course on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll see someone who is doing a great job, or who looks like they could use some kind words and I’ll think it to myself without actually approaching that person. I think it’s because I’m more of an introvert than not, but I’d like to make it a point to reach out to more people to encourage them this year.

Personal

  • Create 2-3 more home videos
    I’ve discovered I have a love for putting together little videos! It started with my Hawaii video at the end of 2015 but has grown into a fun little hobby. I hope to make a few more of these this year!
  • Finish my 30 Before 30
    Kind of speaks for itself…if you haven’t heard about my 30 Before 30, read more here!
  • Spartan Trifecta
    Last year I ran a Spartan Sprint and enjoyed it so much! It definitely gives me something to work towards in the gym every day and I find that I am so much more productive fitness wise if I have a specific goal (like running a marathon or deadlifting x amount) so I think this will be really good for me! Plus the bragging rights are pretty enticing 😉
  • Eat more vegetables
    I want to take care of my body better in order to keep it healthy for racing and lifting weights and shooting weddings, so I think this is a necessary goal!
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Darby J Sinclair

Katie!! I’ll be 30 too and my 2 sweet cats will be 10 as well. Cheers to you always being authentic and this year of milestones 🙂