The year has finally come to a close; it really just flew by didn’t it? These kinds of year-end round-ups get more and more challenging every year. I think it’s because time seems to go faster and faster and suddenly the year is over and I’m like “what even happened? Wasn’t it just January a minute ago?” Truthfully though lots of exciting things happened this year. Let’s recap some of them.
The Location Directory
For the first time, we launched a tool to help our clients (and really anyone in the DMV area interested in photography) find cool locations. The Location Directory full of useful details like parking info, permitting info, photos we’ve shot, historical information, and guidance about what to look out for and when to best use the space for photography. The directory now has over 100 locations and growing regularly. There are locations for just about any kind of event you might want to host, and just about any kind of portraits you might want to take.
Our clients have found it incredibly useful in finding places to hold their photo sessions that are both remarkable and convenient. It’s filterable by geography, session type, permit requirements, and location type. Our locations directory has also been baked into our wedding and event blogs, and soon will be baked into our photo blogs too, so when you’re browsing our blogs, you can quickly jump over to the location page to learn more about having your own session there. Give it a try!
In the process of working on our locations directory, we became great friends with the folks who recently launched a new historic venue in southern Maryland called Pleasant Hill House, and we paid them a visit to make a video for their new endeavor.
Speaking of blogs, this was the first year in a long time that I finally found a system that let me climb back up on the horse and start publishing photo blogs again after a long hiatus. Publishing photo blogs can be time-consuming when you’re starting from scratch every time, but with some planning and strategizing, I finally got a system in place that lets me do it more consistently without eating up time working on photos, shooting events, and spending much-needed downtime with family. And we’ve got lots of them just from the last year.
Our portfolio galleries are extensive, but if you really want to get an idea of what we do, how we do it, and why we do it the way we do, our photo blogs are just about the best place to explore.
Elevating Event Blogging
This was also the year that I finally cracked the code on how to keep up with blogging about weddings and events in a way that is both satisfying and informative, without taking up all of my time every day. For an event and wedding photographer, the strange thing about these kinds of events is that they are inherently narrative—this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened—and the whole way through capturing those narratives, we’re using a lot of on-the-fly intention when making choices about style, theme, and meaning in the angles we choose and the techniques we use.
Then, when we get into culling and editing the images, we’re refining that down even further—Why this photo instead of this photo? Why put this image before this other image? Then, when things are finally done, we see all these quiet sinuous details are often lost on everyone else, even the people who hired us to make them. And this, for the artists in us, often leaves a kind of ellipsis on the end of the whole project.
It’s like capturing and curating a narrative, but then having no one to really experience the prose as we imagined it having through all those hours shooting and editing. In so many ways, the event blog fills that gap and resolves that ellipsis. While images can, and often do, speak for themselves, the blogs offer an opportunity to give voice to the choices and directions that were chosen throughout the whole process that others don’t necessarily see.
It also gives rise to the opportunity for explanations revolving around the best practices involved with planning and covering events like these, and an opportunity to debrief what maybe didn’t work the way anyone imagined it would. Reflecting on how expectations were met or missed can be just as important as celebrating and highlighting the successes a complex project brings with it.
And, like our photo blogs, our wedding and event blogs have become one of the best ways to examine not just our overall style, but also demonstrate our prowess across a vast range of circumstances. They’re one of the best ways to get a sense of what we really do and what really comes out the other end.
Collaborating with Vendors
One of the challenges in publishing stories about the events that we cover is how to best credit the other vendors who participated in those events. Without getting overly technical, it can get real messy real quick when you work with the same vendors three times in a month and have to figure out how to credit them each time you want to share something. But here’s the thing, that credit is critical. Not just because wedding and event vendors depend on the visibility to get work (and that’s really something we care about), but also because the quality of our images depends a great deal on the dedicated work and meticulous attention of these individuals and businesses.
So, to help bridge this gap, we now create vendor pages for every vendor that worked with us at an event we blog about. These vendor pages give us an opportunity to highlight the vendors and consolidate useful, easy-to-update information about them, but also include some of the photos that explicitly showcase their work. These pages allow our clients to explore and connect with other professionals that we have worked with, as well as discover other events that they were involved in.
And, in the coming year, we will introduce a directory where our clients can explore vendors of all sorts and get an idea of those who really stand out. The vendors with pages on our website are not paying to be here, we just thought our clients would find it to be a useful resource and it would help to solve one of the main challenges we face in trying to keep up to date with our event and wedding blogs.
Mini Sessions and a Festive Finale
We held two mini session dates this year, one in the spring and one in the fall, and both sold out. We’re loving these bite-sized opportunities to work with folks who don’t really need the whole shebang. Each year we have been doing these we have added additional time slots to keep up with demand. We keep these simple — we’re not into pageantry and wild props, or gushy themes. We like people, in a natural place, behaving naturally and having a good time. You all have loved it, and we have loved doing them with you.
And, among the rush and last-minute bookings for the year’s end, we found some time to put together our silly little holiday video. This time with the “help” of ChatGPT and (the non-sarcastic quotes of The Voice of Brad). If you enjoy seeing me exasperated, this is a great edition of the yearly video.
And that’s about all I have time to include here right now. As always, enjoy about 100 of our favorite images from 2023. Funny, quirky, adorable, formal, impressive, and everything else. Can’t wait to see what we get to do together next year!