START / STOP / CONTINUE // feburary

Well … well … well. It is February 9th …. and I am JUST posting my monthly goal / start / stop /continue list. Bad, blogger Brittany. I wish I had a good excuse for my delay, but really, I was just avoiding blogging for a few days. Phil and I have been in full-on trip prep for our South Africa / Europe trip (one week from tomorrow …. I’ll be in route!) that I sorta slacked on my daily blog post to flip through guide books and plan all the amazing locations I am going to shoot for an upcoming personal project I am working on. Despite that I am only hitting publish on this post today, I’ve wrote this list at the end of January, so I really have been working on these things for the last 9 days …. well maybe minus the last one. :(

// START 

1. Going to bed earlier // I have gotten into a bad habit. I stay up way too late … and then I sleep in way too late. I’ve always been a night owl (and sometimes it means I am getting loads of work done), but I need to structure my day like a normal person with regular hours. READ : 2 AM bedtimes should not happen regularly.

2. Cooking more meals // I feel like I maybe shouldn’t have included this for this month since we will be out of the country for two weeks, but I really want to start making more “meals”. It’s not like Phil and I eat frozen pizza and mac and cheese all the time (only … some … some of the time), but our dinners regularly consist of sandwiches, paninis, soups. Sometimes I wish I was more ambitious with making a warm, home-cooked meal.

// STOP

1. Feeling like I always have to be busy // I swear this runs in my blood. My whole family (including grandma, aunts, cousins, etc) is like this. While I’d rather be busy, I need to allow myself to lay on the couch (with a good book or my journal!) and pretend my constant to-do list doesn’t exist for a few hours … sans guilt.

2. Stalking the Paw Pad Goldendoodles website + Facebook page // WE ARE GETTING A PUPPY! I totally intended on announcing that in a cuter way once he was picked out and named, but I really, seriously need to stop visiting this website. Our little dude isn’t arriving until the spring when we are back in Chicago, however I literally look at the website every.single.day. Oh boy! I’m out of control.

// CONTINUE

1. Reading a book instead of watching tv // One of my start / stop / continue goals for 2015, is to read more and watch less “bad” tv. I’ve been shutting off the TV and picking up my Kindle if I find myself searching for something to watch. I read The Woman I Wanted to Be and Switching Time … two books last month, so I want to keep it up and hit my goal of 24 books this year. Any reccos, friends? I’m always up for suggestions. :)

2. Blogging in advance // I killed it in January. I pre-blogged nearly every blog post, and it felt amazing. Because this week, I didn’t have my posts prepared, and well, it was harder to get back at it. Just like in school, I need to have a rough draft prepped before my deadline, so I just need to do some proofing, and I can hit publish.

What’s on your START / STOP / CONTINUE this month?

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12 GOALS in 2014

You guys …. I cannot believe we are already one week into 2014. Eek! I have been a bit of a bad blogger the last couple weeks, and I feel really terrible about it (more to come on why soon).

The time away gave me some much needed inspiration and new goals for what is ahead this year. Trust me, I have a lot of goals I want to achieve this year. Heck, I probably have 12 different lists between personal, business, blogging goals and more that I want to cross off. But in an attempt to simplify my life this year (goal #2), I am aiming for just 12 goals. One for each month.

Brittany Bekas Photography // Chicago + Destination Wedding Photographer

1. Drink more water.

2. Simplify …. everything.

3. Read 12 books. Watch less TV.

4. Say yes, and figure the rest out after.

5. Teach myself videography.

6. Eat less carbs … and more veggies.

7. Get back to the gym … regularly.

8. Develop my social media plan for 2014. Pre-blog as much as possible.

9. Be in the moment.

10. Stop comparing myself/my work to others.

11. Submit more work to contests and blogs to be featured.

12. Create one personal photography project for me.

What are your goals for 2014? Let me know!

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GOALS// OCTOBER

Ah, October. I can’t believe it is already October! I adore summer, but October has a special place in my heart. The beautiful fall leaves, boots, hot chocolate, my birthday and halloween! I totally failed at my September goals (see below), but I am getting back on track this month. I promise….

>> Shoot one roll of film: Sigh, I have the film in hand along with a working film camera, but I never made it out to actually shoot it. This is for sure moving to October.

>> Update my portfolio with all the gorgeous wedding, engagement and glamour sessions that I have been shooting: Something tells me this won’t be happening until the off-season.

>> Create one new blog series that teaches my readers something: This is in the works ….

>> Try a new chili recipe (anyone have any suggestions?!): I pulled out the crockpot yesterday, but it isn’t a new recipe.

>> Have coffee with one new contact/friend: Ekkk… does quality time with an old friend count?

2013-10-02_0003 

Now for October ….

>> Decorate the apartment for Halloween/Fall including carving or decorating pumpkins

>> Use one weekday as a shoot for fun day … October is my favorite month to shoot

>> Start experimenting with my off-camera lighting gear that arrived yesterday! Yay.

>> Finally get my tattoo

>> Treat myself to something for my birthday (now… what will I pick?!)

>> Make my list of projects for the off-season

>> Enjoy some new ciders and seasonal beers
Brittany XO Signature 2

GOALS // SEPTEMBER

>> Post photo shoot style tip of the week // This has been such a fun post for me to do every week. If you missed them be sure to check out the first three WHAT TO WEAR posts here, here and here

>> Spend one day being a Chicago tourist // Sigh, I’m not sure I really did this. Does shopping on Michigan Ave count? I def want to do a tour or a museum day soon.

>> Develop example timelines for different types of wedding days // Cranked this out on Sunday night … :)

>> Enjoy ice cream at least once a week before fall happens // Check. Loving the cookie dough that is almost gone.

 >> Dedicate 30 minutes a day to read – blogs, books or magazines // It may not be a dedicated 30 minutes, but I have been reading things a lot more and it has been so inspiring. 

Succulents | Brittany Bekas Photography

>> Shoot one roll of film

>> Update my portfolio with all the gorgeous wedding, engagement and glamour sessions that I have been shooting

>> Create one new blog series that teaches my readers something

>> Try a new chili recipe (anyone have any suggestions?!)

>> Have coffee with one new contact/friend

 

GOALS // AUGUST

A few days late on this post, but it’s better late than never. I’m sad that summer is more than half way over but excited for all the weddings and shoots this month. Here is a look back at my July goals and what is on my list for August.

>> Update Glamour portfolio to reflect current posing / shooting style // This is a project still in the works as I head into August, but I am so excited about the new work that I am producing, and I can’t wait to share it with everything soon!

>> Start waking up a little earlier (aka before 9 am) // :) You guys must thing I am such a bum, but I am not a morning person … I would rather work into the wee hours of the night. But I have been getting up earlier … not every day but I am making progress.

>> Take a few HD video clips during shoots or behind the scenes videos // This is like the one goal that keep making its way on my list … and I haven’t done. I am really, really going to set aside a day in August to teach myself HD video on my DSRL. Someone hold me to it.

>> Keep our apartment organized. Aka … no dumping bags/shoes/gear because we are running out the door // I was much better about trying to put things away in their “homes” as much as possible, but, hey, I’m not perfect.

>> Find the Stanley Cup and get my photo taken with it // Epic fail. Anyone know how I can make this happen?!

>> Have a film day and one day of shooting for FUN // I’m going to count my glamour portfolio update as a “fun” day … but that film day is going to be moved to August. I just need to order some batteries to get that camera working, and I am golden.

Chicago Skyline | Brittany Bekas Photography | Wedding + Destination

Here is what’s on the list for August….

>> Post photo shoot style tip of the week

>> Spend one day being a Chicago tourist

>> Develop example timelines for different types of wedding days

>> Enjoy ice cream at least once a week before fall happens

 >> Dedicate 30 minutes a day to read – blogs, books or magazines

GOALS // JULY

When I woke up this morning, I was slightly sad that it is already July. Summer always goes so fast … but it is even sadder because June was hardly a summer. Hello, when is it actually going to be warm out?! I’ve been crazy with shoots, weddings, the new website and spending time with friends and family. Here’s how I did on my June goals, and what I have on the list for July.

JUNE GOALS

>> Attend at least one Chicago fest // I was hoping to make it to more than one fest, but I will have to settle for a Sunday afternoon with my bestie, Christine at the Old Town Art Fair (which is my favorite fest of them all anyway).

>> Shoot only with my prime lenses (sorry 24-70 … I still like you…) // I’ve been shooting prime non-stop, and I am loving the results.

>> Launch the new BrittanyBekas.com. For real. // This should be launching very, very soon. Just getting the final details perfect before I switch it. Be on the look out for it early next week.

>> Submit at least 3 weddings/shoots for publication // I’ve been submitting all my amazing sessions/weddings non-stop but this got pushed back on the to-do list until the new site launches. But once it does, be on the look out for some fun features!

>> Take walks after dinner instead of vegging out on the couch // Phil and I have started to do this … but I’ve been working non-stop that there hasn’t been much vegging out.

>> Enjoy one weekday poolside. Guilt free. Reading encouraged. // If summer would actually come and stay for a while, this would would have happened more. But I have been at the pool two times this month, so I’ll take it. This is a must for July.

Brittany Bekas Photography | Grand Cayman and Destination Wedding Photographer

JULY GOALS 

>> Update Glamour portfolio to reflect current posing / shooting style

>> Start waking up a little earlier (aka before 9 am)

>> Take a few HD video clips during shoots or behind the scenes videos

>> Keep our apartment organized. Aka … no dumping bags/shoes/gear because we are running out the door.

>> Find the Stanley Cup and get my photo taken with it 

>> Have a film day and one day of shooting for FUN

Well that’s all for this month, babes. Hope everyone has a perfect July … and let me know what you are hoping to achieve this month.

Brittany XO Signature 2

GOALS // JUNE

May went extremely fast. I literally feel like I was just typing up my goals poolside in Grand Cayman … excited about the season getting busy. And now, one month into “busy season” … busy it has been. Here’s how I did on my goals for the month.

>>  Spend 30 minutes a week shooting with my new Nikon 105mm f2.8 macro lens. I have been totally, utterly in love with this new lens. I’m actually not sure how I went so long without this … so I have been using this lens a ton. So many gorgeous detail photos coming soon!

>> Contact old clients for quotes about their Brittany Bekas Photography experience. My new website is being coded this next week (yay for the new brand), so I have been in touch with old clients to get their stories/quotes for a new section of the website. Can’t wait to share them with everyone soon.

>> Start a book club. I have a group. I sent out a survey. This club will be starting soon. If you are interested in joining, please let me know …. we have a great group of people already.

>> Build my glamour portfolio. I haven’t had much time to work on my glamour portfolio because I have been focused on the new website, but this is in the works and will be a goal for June too. If you are free for a shoot during the weekday, contact me so we can have some fun.

>> Eat more salad. This has been so fun because I stocked up on so many yummy veggies. Jicama … snap peas … cucumbers … roasted corn … oh my. Lots of salads have been consumed. Phil is digging our healthy dinners + protein  so this will be something I keep doing all summer long. Have any good salad recipes? Let me know.

GRAND CAYMAN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER SUNSET | BRITTANY BEKAS PHOTOGRAPHY | CHICAGO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Now that summer is officially here … I will be focusing on more personal goals than business goals …. here are a few things on my list. Stay tuned for a summer to-do list coming soon.

>> Attend at least one Chicago fest

>> Shoot only with my prime lenses (sorry 24-70 … I still like you…)

>> Launch the new BrittanyBekas.com. For real.

>> Submit at least 3 weddings/shoots for publication

>> Take walks after dinner instead of vegging out on the couch

>> Enjoy one weekday poolside. Guilt free. Reading encouraged. 

Here’s to a great month with 4 weddings, lots of shoots, and one weekend off! :)
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GOALS // MAY

April showers … bring May flowers! I am dying for those May flowers to arrive for all my  sessions/weddings that are happening in May. Despite all the gray, rainy, Chicago days, April was here and now gone … so fast. Probably because I wasn’t really in Chicago for most of the month (nor am I there now). :)

>> Spend more time living. This was my biggest priority this month, and I def made this be the most important thing on my “to-do list”. I had so many coffee dates, lunches, dinners, cocktails and trips … I was always around people and enjoying life. I hope to keep this goal up throughout the rest of the year.

>> Finish BrittanyBekas.com redesign and launch it. Eeekk… Peter, if you are reading this … don’t judge. I was hot, hot, hot on getting my new website designed for about 2 weeks. After lots of indecisiveness, the project was put on hold …. but I promise, I will have a new and improved site in the next few months. Promise.

>> Sell …. prints, books, canvases and more. I have been following up my all my clients explaining the benefits of professional prints and products, and I am seeing that my clients are loving the end product even more.

>> Explore as much of San Fran/Napa as possible. And document everything about it. My 5 nights in San Fran/Napa went so fast … I packed in a ton of the city into a short amount of time. If you missed, the blog post, you can read and see all about my trip here.

>> Spring clean even more. Before I left for Grand Cayman, I spent a whole Saturday morning purging. I threw out so much stuff that we do not use, and it felt wonderful. Traveling only makes you realize how MUCH you have, and how LITTLE you use. So I’m hoping once I get back to Chicago, I can eliminate even more.

CHICAGO + DESTINATION WEDDING + LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER | BRITTANY BEKAS PHOTOGRAPHY

April was really the last of my “slow” season, so as I kick off May … I know things will be hectic until November. On my list of goals for this month are >>>

>>  Spend 30 minutes a week shooting with my new Nikon 105mm f2.8 macro lens.

>> Contact old clients for quotes about their Brittany Bekas Photography experience. (If you want to send me some love, I would love to share it on my website!)

>> Start a book club. I’ve tried getting into an established one, but I can’t find the right fit … so I am starting my own. Even if it is only 2 people .. :) Want to join? Let me know.

>> Build my glamour portfolio. As my brand grows and my style evolves, I want to refresh my boudoir work to my current style.

>> Eat more salad. As the weather warms up, I love digging into a fancy, swanky salad, so I am aiming to make some yummy green dishes all month long.

Pumped for May.
Brittany XO Signature 2

GOALS // APRIL

I’m so excited for April to finally be here because this month is going to be  whirlwind, and I’m so ready for it. Between my first visit to San Francisco for a much needed trip to see my college friend, Cortney, to a stylized shoot with a great creative team, and another trip to Grand Caymen to visit Phil …. I feel like I’ll hardly be at home.

MARCH // GOALS UPDATE

>> Practice shooting in sh*tty light. After learning from a bunch of amazing photographers and reading a ton of photo books, I have been putting my new knowledge to use. Sure, I may have had to practice with a Budha figure for a lot of my sessions, but it was extremely helpful, and I am feeling like I have a new bag of tricks for April.

>> Spend less time on social media. Hm, well this is hard to judge, but I would say that I spent way less time on social media.

>> Define my brand words. The last half of the month, I have been crazed with rebranding, getting a new logo and updating the look of Brittany Bekas Photography. I am hoping to launch a new and improved www.brittanybekas.com sometime in May, and I’m so excited to softly roll out of the new brand. A more mature, chic, sophisticated look. Think editorial, fashionable and modern.

>> Eat more fruits and veggies. It’s hard you see … because I have this committed relationship with carbs. I felt like I was cheating on them. But I have been working more clean, fresh fruits and veggies into my diet, and I’m hoping to kick the carbs cravings even more this month.

>> Spend one afternoon at the bookstore. I loved this goal when I wrote it, and I loved it when I made it happen 2x this month. I learned a ton just by flipping through some great photography books and turning through the glossy magazine pages. I am hoping to make this a monthly date with myself.

Chicago and destination wedding and lifestyle photography photos

GOALS // APRIL

>> Spend more time living. Instead of stressing about the dirty dishes and laundry or my never ending to-do list … I want to put friends, family and life before the mundane day-to-day.

>> Finish BrittanyBekas.com redesign and launch it.

>> Sell …. prints, books, canvases and more.

>> Explore as much of San Fran/Napa as possible. And document everything about it.

>> Spring clean even more. Yes, including dusting … but mostly learning to live a minimalist lifestyle.

Brittany XO Signature 2

GOALS // MARCH

Welcome, March! I am itching for spring flowers and warmer weather …. so melt away snow. I’m excited to kick off wedding season with the talented Jill Tiongco and be busy with a bunch of amazing lifestyle sessions this month. I have no big personal plans this month … just enjoying the last of the “off-season”. So with that said, let me recap my Feburary goals and share what I have the list for March.

:: Start shooting more horizontal shots! I kept my camera set up to shoot horiztonal shots a lot more this month … just check out Jessica + James’ Evanston engagement session. This is something I will be keeping in mind as I get into busy season though.

:: Get creative without using any photographs and/or my camera/iPhone :: During the off-season (aka now) my creative itch isn’t being filled as much, so I put my right-brain to work. I made a handful of adorable handmade cards, a super cute booze bouquet for Phil and a bleach dyed t-shirt. It was nice to use my creativity for something not photo related. 

:: Volunteer :: This is in the works. I reached out to two awesome organizations to start volunteering with. Their meetings are not until March, so while I didn’t technically volunteer, the process has begun.

:: Watch less TV Bravo :: I spent less time in front of the TV this month between cleaning, reading magazine and photography books, working out and being creative. I was thinking I had broken my Bravo addiction … until I got sucked into a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills marathon two weeks ago. It was cold and windy, and I just needed a little … and then I couldn’t stop. sigh.

:: Plan a stylized engagement/wedding photo shoot :: My best friend (forever!) is an amazing event and wedding planner at A Perfect Event, so we are in the process of concepting and putting together a stylized shoot … likely in March or April.

:: Surprise my past clients with a fun new product. Details to come soon! :: This month, I was so excited to send my clients this awesome new product I am now offering – a custom iPhone/Android gallery app with the best photos from their session. I got some great feedback on it, so I can’t wait for my 2013 clients to start getting these … they are so awesome!

Cozumel Mexico | Brittany Bekas Photography // Destination Photographer

As I enjoy the last few weeks of the “off-season” …. here is what I’ll be working on.

:: Practice shooting in sh*tty light.

:: Spend less time on social media.

:: Define my brand words and make sure photos/posts/marketing fits with them.

:: Eat more fruits and veggies. Adios carbs.

:: Spend one afternoon at the bookstore being inspired by books & magazines.

Brittany XO Signature 2

GOALS // FEBRUARY

February is one of my favorite winter months. It is the shortest month. It has Valentine’s Day = I will be eating chocolate all month long. And I’m going on vacation!

But before I dive into all my goals for the month, let me share how the first month of 2013 went …

– Develop a consistent social media/marketing plan :: This is a work in progress, but I have started to refine what topics I am posting, what type of content I want to share, and I have a bigger picture for the year. And that was the goal, right. :)

– Blog in advance (aka not the day I need to post) :: I have been picking a day each week to crank out my blogs so I can either schedule them in advance or so I can tweak the night before I post. I have been posting in the morning which means I have ’em ready to go the night before. Whoot!

– Try one new thing a week (food, workout, experience) :: Lots of new things happened in Jan. I made some new recipes, I bought two new bottles of vino, I went to the shooting range and shot a gun (oh yes, don’t mess with me now .. ha), I lunched at Feast, I read 5 new books. I also took a pasta making class with mom (blog post coming soon!) I found myself saying yes and asking people what they had in mind to help me get out of my routine which is why this month felt so long … because I was experiencing things out of the mundane.

Chicago Cooking Academy Pasta Making Class | Brittany Bekas Photography

– Get back to the gym (like everyone else this month…ah ha) :: The perk of the “off-season” is more downtime. Despite wanting to stay inside and avoid the cold air outside, I bundled up in many, many layers and walked my butt to the gym. And I must say, it felt good to be there.

– Finally learn how to use the HD video on my cameras :: I was hoping that by the time I was updating this post, I would have been able to say I started this, but I have not. Sigh. However, I am setting aside 20 minutes each day to start learning this, so I can use it on the Caribbean Cruise I am taking this month.

So, what do I want to accomplish this month? As usual … a lot… but here is a few things.

– Start shooting more horizontal shots! (As I was updating business things, I realized I shoot A LOT of verticals.)

– Get creative without using any photographs and/or my camera/iPhone

Volunteer

– Watch less TV Bravo

– Plan a stylized engagement/wedding photo shoot

– Surprise my past clients with a fun new product. Details to come soon!

Here is to making the shortest month a great one!

Brittany XO Signature 2

GOALS // JANUARY

Here we are 2013! I’m so so so excited to kick of this year … because I know it is going to be amazing. I’m having flashbacks to where I was at that this moment last year, and it feels so great to be HAPPY!
With that said, let me recap my Decemeber goals and share a look at the month ahead ::

– Update all of my lifestyle pricing including offering new products. I cranked out a ton of business and marketing objectives the last few weeks of December. Everything has been updated, and I couldn’t have done it without Phil, Peter and Jennifer! :) Thanks.

– Launch my 2013 Senior Model ProgramI am SO excited for this! If you missed the details about this, you can read all about it here. 2014 Senior Model Casting 

– Shoot that personal project.o.m.g. I partnered up with the most amazing creative team to pull together a gorgeous fashion shoot. Annie from AK Style & Edit styled on trend looks, Morgan Marie Beauty did the stunning make-up and Peggy from Flux Salon teased, styled and curled the models gorgeous tresses. It was so inspiring to work with so many talented incredible people. Check back tomorrow to see the end product (but there is a sneak peek below).

– Go ice skating. Fail. I don’t want to discuss, but if you want to go … let me know. :)

– Just be. This was a little easier towards the end of the month as I was spending time with friends/family, but otherwise I was very overwhelmed and stressed about 2013 business planning. Once that checklist was checked, it was lots of r & r.

Editorial Lifestyle Photography - Brittany Bekas Photography

Here is what is on the list for January (and the start the best year yet!). This is just a snippet of my 2013 goals.

– Develop a consistent social media/marketing plan

– Blog in advance (aka not the day I need to post)

– Try one new thing a week (food, workout, experience)

– Get back to the gym (like everyone else this month…ah ha)

– Finally learn how to use the HD video on my cameras

Brittany XO Signature 2

GOALS // DECEMBER

Ok. I’m not going to lie …  I am getting pretty anxious that 2013 is less than 31 days around the corner. I can’t believe how FAST this year has gone by … and I still have so much I want to accomplish and cross off my ever growing list.

– Work on one personal photography project. My personal project is in the works. Yay! I partnered up with Annie from AK Style & Edit to start concepting and bring this shoot to life!

– Cook two dinners a week: Hmm… cooking. Not really my thing. Between Thanksgiving and Phil getting a nasty, nasty bug, we weren’t eating too many home cooked meals. Eek.

– Spend time with one friend I haven’t seen in a long time: I fit in a lot of afternoons and evenings with friends where we just talked. I spent one night laughing about Lapso Alpsos with my cousin Heather. I had a Quartino’s date with my new photographer friend, Cassandra. I caught up with my dear friend Molly and finally got to see Lindsey’s beautiful new condo!

– Post at least one personal blog post a week: I was much more on top of this, this month. I found myself walking around the city brainstorming fun personal blog post ideas. So the next few months, you will be seeing more posts about my life .. not just my work.

Now for my December goals … here we go.

– Update all of my lifestyle pricing including offering new products.

– Launch my 2013 Senior Model Program.

– Shoot that personal project.

– Go ice skating.

– Just be.

Here’s to making it an amazing last month of 2012.
Brittany XO Signature 2

 

GOALS // NOVEMBER

The months are seriously going by faster and faster each month! November? How are you here ALREADY?!

– Shoot everything in manual mode. Check, check. It actually seems a little unfair that I  put this on the list because I pretty much knew I would check this one off. But it has been SO great to be rockin’ everything in manual again. It was like a bike, once I got back on it was smooth riding. 

– Master my flash. I was def using my flash a lot more this month because I was shooting a lot of details indoor in the evening. However, I know that this is something I can ALWAYS be working on.

– Focus on what I have vs what I don’t: :) It is amazing how much my mood changed when I focused on me and all the good I have. Great things started coming my way. My inbox was filled with client requests. My calendar was booked with sessions. I shot for A Perfect Event and was published in not only Debi Lilly’s e-mag but also Glossed & Found.com. Thank you … I know it was all the positive thinking from the Secret.

– Explore one new neighborhood in Chicago: Eekk.. Fail. Big Time. My workload was so hectic, I was happy to fit in a little stroll around River North. Maybe in the spring. Ha…because now that 40 degree weather is here, I will be camped up in my living room.

– Incorporate books into most of my sessions. A great idea but it seems like this is going to be something that I need to work into my over all business plan for 2013. 

As my hectic month winds down, I have a zillion and one things I want to accomplish in the off-season. Here are a few things for next month that I am hoping to cross off.

– Work on one personal photography project: I spend so much time creating work for my clients, that I haven’t created images for me. I loved shooting my seniors the last couple months, so I am going to organize an editorial fashion shoot just for the fun of shooting.

– Cook two dinners a week: I admit it. There are days that go by were Phil and I are digging in the freezer and cabinets looking for something to eat. Since we are often on different schedules, I haven’t been the best girlfriend and preparing nice, home-cooked meals. I’m putting those Pinterest recipes to use this month.

– Spend time with one friend I haven’t seen in a long time: My birthday made me realize that I have so many amazing friends and many of those great friends and I hardly see each other. I need to plan a date with them before the craziness of the holidays hits.

– Post at least one personal blog post a week: I follow a lot of photographers. I follow their blogs. Their FB. Their tweets. And trust, me I love oodling over their work, but I truly adore their blog posts that are personal. The ones that let me learn about them outside of their photography. So…I am going to sneak in some more personal blog posts so my clients “know” me better too.

Here is to a month of being very thankful. xo.

my list of goals :: october

When did October happen?! September was my busiest month to date, and it flew by WAY TO FAST. I’m hoping I can savor the month of October because it is one of my favorite months (my birthday month!)

Before I get into my October goals, here is how I did with my September ones.

– Get back to the gym and tone-up my arms and back. Um… I was shooting more so that counts as toning, right? My camera is at least 5 pounds.

– Set aside one day (per month) where I go off the grid. Sigh. I did not do this…I’m making this happen this month by marking the date on my calendar. Today.

– Take less photos. During my portrait sessions, I have been shooting less and being happier with the quality of the photos I am getting. :)

– Take more photos. Because my life was SO crazed this month, there was very few days to just spend with friends and family capturing my life in the in between. With two weekends blocked off for my dear friends’ weddings, I will be making this happen in October.

– Update my website portfolio and images on all my branding. This is something that is ever evolving. I was able to post some of my engagement sessions, but once mid-October hits, I’m going to do a huge update of everything from the last 6 weeks including 5 gorgeous weddings. Here is a gorgeous photo of my stunning bride from this weekend….

Here is what is on my to-do list for October.

– Shoot everything in manual mode: I’m admitting on here that even though I learned photography on film (yes, film …where everything was manual), I have been shooting in aperture priority a lot. Which is great to be able to catch little moments but it varies so much from shot to shot. All manual is the goal…and I was already doing this in September, so it should be an easy goal to check off.

– Master my flash: I know I do not use my flash for all the ways I could. I’m going to try to practice shooting with it during the week to learn some new techniques.

– Incorporate books into most of my sessions: After watching a great CreativeLIVE class, I realized that while it is great that my clients get the USB drive with their hi-res photos, they do not have something to hold in their hands to look at. I want to start offering my clients books with any session they have so that when they are 70 they can see all the amazing photos and hold them in their hands.

– Focus on what I have vs what I don’t: This is something that I try to do all the time in my personal life but while building my business it has been too easy to desire new, better gear or an ongoing influx of amazing clients or have envy over another blog feature from X photography. I’m vowing to focus on all the great things I have and the success I have been fortunate to have right now.

– Explore one new neighborhood in Chicago: I am guilty of living in my 6 block radius of a bubble in River North. Whenever I take the bus, I see all these fun little areas but I never head back to explore the shops, bars and restaurants.

Here’s to a great a month ahead!

my list of goals :: september

Well, I am slowly embracing that fall is around the corner….but mostly because I have been dying to get into my fall boots (one of the few perks of the end of summer). I cannot believe September is here (and I know this blog post is a few days late!) The next four weeks will be the busiest four weeks of my business yet. Before I get into my goals for this hectic month, here is what I accomplished from August.

August Goals :: 

– Have two “dates” with Phil where we explore this amazing city we live in. Hm, well I’m going to count this however it was more like 1.5 dates. One Tuesday night, I rocked a new outfit and we went to Ai in River North for sushi. A new restaurant. New outfit. Definitely a date. As for my 1/2 date, I cooked up some vodka pasta and Maggiano’s  salad. Vino + movie = 1/2 date.

– Develop a Brittany Bekas Photography workflow document. Essentially a guide for each step of how I want to handle my business. This is a work in progress. This month I developed a status document for my clients. I also started putting together how-to documents including tips and rules for my 2nd shooters. I worked on e-mail templates and portrait contract templates. Things are def getting in order and therefore helping my workflow. :)

– Find 3 new places to promote my brand and my work. Well, I’m not sure if I really hit the 3 new places. However, I did network with a lot of new people. I am now out there socializing with people telling them about my brand and passing out my cards. I spoke with reps from the Knot, travel agents and business people. The word is spreading!

– Start adding dreamy lens flen into my portrait sessions. I almost did not achieve this, but then I was in the gorgeous Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and my clients’ allowed me to shoot two sunsets where the dreamy flair was captured in their wedding photos.

– Start planning Europe. Phil and I have been talking about spending 6 weeks in Europe….time to actually pull out the guidebook and make it happen. This has been put on hold because we are looking into traveling to Mexico, Belize and Central America again in January….but if anyone has any tips, tricks or ideas for Euro, let me know. I will be making this happen soon.

 – Make the leap into using PASS. My clients deserve the best, and they want to share their images easily. This company will make it happen! My first PASS gallery will be posted sometime early in September from my destination wedding. After that, all of my wedding clients will be getting their own PASS galleries.

– Develop a sample wedding album to show my clients how gorgeous the investment is. And it will be beyond stunning when I include my gorgeous Punta Cana wedding! I am beginning to work on this but with the number of portrait sessions and weddings I have this month, I have a feeling this may not happen until November.

Here is what I am hoping to cross off in September ::

Get back to the gym and tone-up my arms and back. I know this has been on here before, but after shooting 3 weddings in August, I realized that my 6 pound Nikon cannot be the only weight I lift. So between the gym and Tracy Anderson, I will be getting these arms in shape.

Update my website portfolio and images on all my branding. My style and work has changed so much in the last few months. I have been creating gorgeous photos for my clients, so it is time to sit down and edit and replace some of my old photos on my website and Facebook so that prospective clients see what my work looks like now.

– Set aside one day (per month) where I go off the grid. While traveling in Punta Cana, I realized how nice it was to be removed from my laptop, internet, cell phone, and English TV. So I am going to try to bring this into my life by turning everything off for 24 hours a month.

– Take less photos. WHAT?! How can I want to shoot less? When I first started shooting portraits and weddings, I would get a little shutter happy. Not like a crazy, proud parent, but I was overshooting and not really thinking about what the shot looked like – the expression on the client’s face, the position of hands, the background, etc. So I’m trying to take the time to make sure I love the shot before I click. Just because I shoot digital does not mean I should not apply my film training and save the click for the right shot.

– Take more photos. No this is not a typo per the above. This goal applies to my personal life. I get so shutter happy during my weddings and sessions that when I am spending time with friends and family, I hardly ever pull out my camera. I always have a point and shoot and my iPhone on me.  So let’s see if I can capture some of my life in between moments this month.

11 days in…let’s see if I can achieve everything in the remaining days ahead.

my list of goal :: august

Every year when August arrives, I get a little very sad. I know that the end of my summer bliss is around the corner. However for once, August is bittersweet for me. My schedule for August is jam packed with weddings and portrait sessions, so even though the summer sun will be only be around for a few more weeks, I will be working my butt off! :) And this is good because I somewhat failed my July goals. Ek!

JULY GOALS ::

– Learn to shut down my computer one hour for bed (i.e. stop bringing work into the bedroom!) I did a pretty good job at this mostly because I finally set up my “office” in our apartment. Yes, I have officially taken over our kitchen table with my laptop and monitor. So, I keep my work in our kitchen (better than the bedroom!) until I get the big girl desk Phil said I could have.

– Launch Brittany Bekas Boudoir. I’m so excited for this to finally be up! My webmaster/brother had his tonsils removed mid-month, so I wasn’t sure if we would hit this goal, but being the hard worker he is….we did it! I can’t wait for people to check it out :: Boudoir by Brittany Bekas

– Spend two afternoon/evenings shooting things that inspire me around Chicago. I spent one day shooting. tear. I am making it a goal to put two days on my August calendar to just enjoy the pleasure of creating.

Brittany Bekas Photography | Chicago

– Read two books – one non-fiction and one fiction. I finished up the Hunger Games series (which I loved!), and I am halfway through a book about digital branding. It is a little easier to put that one down. ;)

– Create my new packaging for my clients. After hours of shopping, running errands, getting quotes, and designing my custom printed pieces, my packaging for both my portraits/weddings/events and my boudoir work are finally complete. In fact, my clients will be receiving the new packaging starting Aug. 1. I’ll be sure to post the packaging early this month.

Now on to my August goals ::

– Have two “dates” with Phil where we explore this amazing city we live in.

– Develop a Brittany Bekas Photography workflow document. Essentially a guide for each step of how I want to handle my business.

– Find 3 new places to promote my brand and my work.

– Start adding dreamy lens flen into my portrait sessions.

– Start planning Europe. Phil and I have been talking about spending 6 weeks in Europe….time to actually pull out the guidebook and make it happen.

– Make the leap into using PASS. My clients deserve the best, and they want to share their images easily. This company will make it happen!

– Develop a sample wedding album to show my clients how gorgeous the investment is. And it will be beyond stunning when I include my gorgeous Punta Cana wedding!

Here’s to the end of summer + an amazing month ahead!

my list of goals :: july

Summer is officially here, and I can’t believe I’m writing my list of goals for July already. July reminds me of the mid-summer point…so as excited as I am for the upcoming month, I am hoping to make the long days last. While this post is a little late, it is better than not posting it. :)

Before I get into my July goals, I wanted to update you on my June goals.

– Network with other photographers and learn from their experiences/mistakes. I have been working on this a lot – especially by reading lots of forums online and staying in contact with all my J* Facebook people. I am hoping to have a meeting in the next few weeks with my cousin who is a wedding photography superstar.

– Photograph the bachelorette party I am hosting like a stylized shoot. Submit it for publication on wedding blogs. Well, I was avoiding answering this one because I did not achieve this completely. In my crazy, overambitious mind, I thought I could be the party host, rockstar bridesmaid, friend and event photographer. Let’s just say I took on too much. By the time I was ready to shoot my hor’ dourves spread, it was half eaten.  Live and learn.

– Get back into the gym. For real. It is beach season now….I made it there a few times. That is progress people.

– Use my speedlight more including as a fill flash on outdoor shoots. I started doing this more toward the end of the month, and I can see a huge difference in my work already. I will keep at this goal.

– Increase my number of Facebook likes on Brittany Bekas Photography. I am not exactly sure what the number was when I posted this, but I have had more likes over the last month. Now I just need to keep at it!

– Make 4 new recipes. At least two recipes need to include meat for the boyfriend. I’m not going to lie. I totally waited until about 8 days before the end of the month to do this. (Oh yes, procrastination.) But I successfully made a burrito pizza (con polllo) that I had ripped out of a magazine 2 years ago, three cheese steak sandwiches (thanks Food Network), spinach dip cups and mini peanut butter cupcakes (Pinterest). All were delicious.

Now here are some of my July goals:

– Learn to shut down my computer one hour for bed (i.e. stop bringing work into the bedroom!)

– Launch Brittany Bekas Boudoir. I have been shooting boudoir throughout June, but I want to get my boudoir site up and start booking more clients! Anyone interested?!

– Spend two afternoon/evenings shooting things that inspire me around Chicago. I get so caught up in weddings, events and portraits, I forget to sometimes just capture the day to day around me.

Chicago Photography, Chicago Theater

– Read two books – one non-fiction and one fiction.

– Create my new packaging for my clients. I’m thinking purple, black and white….just need to tie everything together!

Well, here is to achieving these goals in the next 21 days!

My List of Goals :: June

I can not believe how quickly the month of May came and went! It has been a whirlwind of a month, and I know that the months ahead will only get craziner with personal and professional commitments. But let’s be honest. I LOVE crazy, busy days. :)

As May winds down, I wanted to update you on my progress from my goals and let you know what is on the list for June.

Read one book for pleasure. I’ve been reading so much about photography and having a business that I have neglected reading just to read. I managed to exceed this goal with flying colors. I curled up on the couch and outside to read 3 fiction books this month including Fifty Shades of Grey. (I mean after all the buzz…how could I not?)

Books and Photography Books that Brittany Bekas Photography is reading

– Blog more about industry ideas, tips and personal posts. This will always be on ongoing goal for me, but I think that I blogged a decent amount this month, and that I was able to share some helpful info to all of you, right?! :)

Continue to be happy with less. Since coming home, I have been eliminating so many things that I do not really “need”. I want to keep letting go of things and only hold on to the things I really treasure. A few days after posting my goals, I was packing up my boxes to move into a new apartment. I eliminated (and left behind) a lot of things, however every day I am looking for something to let go of. For every new thing I get, something old must leave.

– Start doing the things that I have pinned via Pinterest. I’m a pinning machine, but I keep forgetting to actually make the crafts, cook the recipes, or use those helpful tips and tricks. I am still pinning more than I am doing, but I used a lot of my photography inspiration boards this month for shoots with my clients. I made a delicious orzo soup. And I started rounding up and executing some great ideas for my dear friend, Molly’s, bachelorette party.

– Stop comparing myself to others – especially other photographers. I think we can all agree why this is not good to do. Sigh…..this was a bit harder for me. After my sessions, I would come home and critique my work…comparing it to my inspiration shots. The positive of this is that I am forcing myself to grow and improve.

– Get back into working out (regularly). ehh…I am doing a lot more walking around the city. That counts, right? This will be a June goal…again.

Hot pink flamingos in aruba by brittany bekas photography

– Submit my work to photography competitions and blogs. I got so caught up in the day-to-day that I did not submit to any competitions or blogs. However, I do have a creative review with a photography studio. That is progress…I think.

– Be spontaneous. This is something I am constantly trying to work on because my Type A, planning personality likes everything figured out…however my boyfriend is the opposite. :)  I made baby steps on this when my high school best friend expectantly came into town…that counts, right?

– Continue to tell people about my business and look for new ways to grow my business and surprise my clients. I passed out business cards and created some new marketing plans. I even have an industry networking event scheduled for June.

 

Here are my goals for June. :)

– Network with other photographers and learn from their experiences/mistakes

– Photograph the bachelorette party I am hosting like a stylized shoot. Submit it for publication on wedding blogs.

– Get back into the gym. For real. It is beach season now….

Mexico beach in Playa Del Carmen by Brittany Bekas Photography

– Use my speedlight more including as a fill flash on outdoor shoots

– Increase my number of Facebook likes on Brittany Bekas Photography.

– Make 4 new recipes. At least two recipes need to include meat for the boyfriend.

Hope that June is an amazing month for you all.

 

My List of Goals :: May

I’ve been spending a ton of time learning, growing and challenging myself since returning from my South America/Central America trip. However, I am a firm believer in writing down my goals in order to make them a reality. I have always done this … and probably will always continue to do this …. so that I can evaluate myself and the things I have accomplished (and mostly because it is one more list that I can check off…love my lists!)

After stumbling upon Cassandra Eldridge’s blog, I decided to borrow the idea of having a goal list every month that I share with my readers – both professional and personal. I normally write things like this in my personal journal, but I wanted to hold myself accountable to all of you. And maybe it will inspire some of you to do the same. :)

Each month I’ll update the list to let you know how I did, and I’ll create a new/updated list for the next month. So here goes my list for May!

– Read one book for pleasure. I’ve been reading so much about photography and having a business that I have neglected reading just to read.

– Blog more about industry ideas, tips and personal posts.

– Continue to be happy with less. Since coming home, I have been eliminating so many things that I do not really “need”. I want to keep letting go of things and only hold on to the things I really treasure.

– Start doing the things that I have pinned via Pinterest. I’m a pinning machine, but I keep forgetting to actually make the crafts, cook the recipes, or use those helpful tips and tricks.

– Stop comparing myself to others – especially other photographers. I think we can all agree why this is not good to do.

– Get back into working out (regularly).

– Submit my work to photography competitions and blogs.

– Be spontaneous. This is something I am constantly trying to work on because my Type A, planning personality likes everything figured out…however my boyfriend is the opposite. :)

– Continue to tell people about my business and look for new ways to grow my business and surprise my clients.

If you have any goals for this month, feel free to share them below or send me a note at brittany@brittanybekas.com :)