avoiding my laptop to create

I can admit that I can at times be a work-a-holic. Lately, I have been squeezing in sessions any where I can find the time meaning that I haven’t really been taking days off. On the days I am at home and “taking the day off”, Phil will walk in and see me in Lightroom editing (ekkk!). Sometimes, I can’t resist the little voice coming out of my laptop on days off saying “open me. play with me. edit. blog. respond to client emails.”

So this Monday, I avoided my MacBook at all costs by sitting down to work on a fun, creative photo project for myself that I found on Pinterest from Darkroom and Dearly. I have been wanting to make coasters from our apartment, so when I saw these DIY polaroid coasters, I was so excited to take some of my personal photography and create something I can enjoy every day.

I made these coasters for Phil since he loves the beach more than anyone I know.

And the cities around the world coasters for the city girl… me! :)

This whole project took me less than two hours (while watching Anthony Bourdain) and it was SO easy. If you are inspired to make your own, make sure you check out Darkroom and Dearly‘s step-by-step instructions.

an old friend and some bubbly

The last three weeks have been … well … hectic. I shot 4 weddings and a handful of portrait sessions. I felt that my personal life had taken the back burner as I devoted all my time to my wonderful clients. I had to keep rescheduling dates with friends, and I hate to admit it, but the most “catching up” time we had was via Facebook wall posts. Ekkk…

So after my marathon wedding weekend this weekend, one of my oldest friends, Molly planned us a dinner where I could finally put down my camera (sort of….), indulge in some bubbly and hear (in person) everything going on in her life.

As I sipped on my peach sparking wine with my friend of 15-years, I made a note to not let my relationships suffer even when my business can feel overwhelming. My friends are the people who encourage me and support me every day …. the ones who actually give me MORE energy and inspiration when I am around them.

Molly….thanks for always being such an amazing friend. The kind of friend who I can tell anything to. The friend who despite me being 20 minutes late acts like it is no big deal. The friend who lets me take photos before we could even take one sip of our delicious bubbly. A friend who can wait for that…. is a true friend :)

Special thanks to the hostess at Cooper’s Hawk who nearly had a panic attack when I handed her my Nikon asking for a photo of the two of us. “This is REALLY zoomed in….how do I work it…. oh my!”

the little things

I carefully unwrapped the red foil wrapper uncovering the smooth, dark Dove chocolate promise candy. As I bit into the chocolate a smile came across my face, and I realized it is these little moments that make life good. Like really good. Sure, an amazing vacation or a swanky party create great moments. But in between the daily grind, laundry and dirty dishes, it is the little things that really make life a little sweeter….especially when life has been as hectic as it has been the last couple weeks.

I thought of all the little things that I love in my day to day to remind myself that life is not about the designer handbag or the newest camera. The material possessions mean nothing if you can’t appreciate the little pieces of happiness like…..

– oozey grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in creamy tomato soup

– an unexpected kiss on the forehead from my best friend and boyfriend

– creamy root beer floats (my current after-dinner treat)

– hearing my favorite song come on the speakers and then dancing like no one is watching (even if someone is…)

– a phone call from a dear friend who just wants to “catch up”

– drinking bubbly water out of my “fancy” wine goblets

– a compliment from a complete stranger

– cuddling under a cozy blanket when nature decides it is going to rain all day

There are so many other little things and moments that make me stop and think, how did my life end up so sweet. Thanks, Dove, for reminding me that it is the little things, the little moments that make me the happiest.

my little black book

For as long as I can remember, I have kept a journal. And as each notebook would fill up, I would move on to the next… occasionally looking back at entries from years before. My junior high journals obsessed over the boys I adored (including some guy named Phil…), my high school journals vented about catty girls and friendship dramas, but as I got older, the journal became more of a confidant and a place for me to set my goals.

Lately, my poor journal has been neglected because this blog somewhat filled the spot that the journal once served. So as I dug the black, leather crocodile notebook (did you really think it wasn’t animal print?) out of the back of my closet and wiped off the dust, I immediately opened it to an entry one year ago. I love to do after I finish an entry because it shows me how far I’ve come.

Here is what the entry said:

I’ve been a little lost lately – and I know I’m still finding my way. Being lost is a part of life, right? As I start to figure out how the pieces of my life will come together….I think I have really found my passion that can be my career – photography. I want to be a wedding photographer…a full-time wedding photographer. I know I can do it. And more importantly, I WANT to do it. I really feel like this is what I was supposed to do.”

It makes me smile to know that today…..I’m living my dream…that I have reached that goal in one year. Somedays, I feel like I just woke up and this all landed in my lap, but I know that it is because of the support of friends and family and my amazing clients who allow me to live this dream each and every day.

how i got here

I called crying. I was burnt…to a crisp. My job demands were pushing me to my max and all I wanted to do with throw in the towel and walk away from advertising (my full-time job last year). On the phone, my mom kept saying “remember, what you do now helps you for whatever is next.” Ya, sure, Mom, I thought. In the moment it was not comforting, but like every piece of advice your mom tells you growing up….I later realized she was right.

Now that I am running my own business a year later, I am so thankful for all that I learned during my journey to find my passion….you know that job that you love so much that it doesn’t feel like work? Well, I didn’t get here overnight.

As some of you know, I had plenty of jobs before I decided to start my own business (by plenty, I mean 5 different gigs..I tried them all until I realized my dream was in front of me), and I can admit that each one of them helped me build it.

  • I use my journalism degree when learning about my clients and their big day.
  • My writing skills are put to the test in my blog posts (I know the grammar is far from perfect and it is not AP style…but it from the heart which is why I always loved writing.)
  • I design my logo, packaging, website and blog (with the help of my HTML expert my brother, Peter) using my graphic design skills.
  • I am confident when pitching guest blog posts and sending my work to publications because of my experience in public relations.
  • I am obsessed with timelines, confirming details and working with other vendors because of my job in experimental marketing/event planning.
  • However, my years in the crazy, stress-driven adland helped me the most. I knew that my brand needed to be one voice, that my packaging had to reflect that voice, that I had to have a strategic social media plan and I needed an “ideal” target client. I have process documents, status documents, finance budgets, superior client service skills…and so much more….

You see, I could go on and on, about how my round about way into photography makes me the total package of a businesswoman. Years of communication experiences, marketing strategies, and client service demands set me up to develop my baby, Brittany Bekas Photography.

If it had been any other way….me creating this brand, this company years ago… I don’t think the success would taste as sweet. I now know my hard work on other clients’ brands, lead me to be crazy (bananas!) about my brand.

A special shout out to all of my amazing clients that trust me to make beautiful photos for them….. thank you! Without you, my dream would not be a reality, and right now I don’t want anything to change it.


setting sail

The night came at the perfect time. I had been feeling completely overwhelmed with building my business and trying to feel like I had it all together. I was trying to do everything perfect….above and beyond what people were expecting from me. So when my bestie, Christine, organized a girls’ night setting sail on Lake Michigan with some of our amazing girlfriends, I knew I could take a deep breath and just be me for the night and that form of “me” would be perfect for these girls.

We set sail from the gorgeous Monroe Harbor with our captain Tom who endured a night of gossip, girl talk and wine and cheese. What a trooper!

I was LOVIN’ this gorgeous light….so I had to sneak in a couple shots of our uber prep for the evening. Frankie, you look like a model for J. Crew. Chicago Yacht Club…here you come.

Christine certainly knows how to plan an amazing night for us. Check out her blog for tons of lifestyle tips and ideas.

I can count on these girls for everything….and our “funny friend” Frankie always knows how to get the group laughing. Rachel, Claire, Frankie, Amy, and Christine….It was such a perfect night!

We ended our evening watching the Navy Pier fireworks and admiring the beautiful Chicago skyline. It was one of those moments where all I could think about is how lucky I was to be here with these girls.

pretty little things :: packaging

I am so. so. so excited to finally share the final packaging that my clients will be recieving starting today.

Let’s face it, in the digital world, people hardly send anything in the mail which means if you are like me, your mailbox gets very little love (unless it comes from Amazon.com….). So when I started thinking of my packaging, I knew it had to be sassy, chic and a complete reflection of me and my brand.

Here is what I came up with……


friend, bridesmaid, photographer

On July 7th, one of my closest, dearest friends, Molly, married the love of her life, Mike.

It is funny. I feel like Molly has always been in my life, but I guess it wasn’t until 6th grade when we actually met and became friends. We experienced life together – jr. high dances, cheerleading competitions, first loves, dance team, college visits, breakups, University of Illinois, a broken foot, weekend trips, Chicago nightlife, late nights of talking (ok, gossiping..), dancing until 4 a.m., El Burrito trips, and so, so much more. So when Molly’s special day was finally here, I couldn’t have been happier to be right by her to be the best bridesmaid I could be.

The day and the details were absolutely perfect. Mike and Molly wed at Old St. Patrick’s Church and partied late into the evening at Eaglewood. It went by in a blink of the eye, but I am so happy that I was able to sneak in a few photos throughout the day that I hope she will look back on for years to come (because I know I will….).

Congrats again to a fabulous couple. I know that the years ahead will be full of amazing memories, and I’m lucky to have two wonderful friends in my life! I love you both!

i live in the shutter speed

I sat at a table near the dance floor watching friends, family and the newlyweds shake it it to the Black Eyed Peas, laughing, smiling and getting lost in the evening. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched these people, many of whom were complete strangers to me. As a guest at the wedding, I admit, I was tempted to join them out on the dance floor but something was holding me back from jumping out there.

It was because I was capturing these moments in my mind. Moment watching. People watching. And then as if it was a natural reflex, I grabbed my Nikon and clicked my shutter moment after moment.

And in those moments, I realized why I love being a photographer. Not that I hadn’t thought about it before. It just was something hard to describe. For some reason it was so clear to me in the fuzzy, I had-one-to-many-reislings evening.

I love being a photographer because while everyone is living the moment, I am capturing it. Capturing it on my camera and in my mind. I am perserving a moment that may have gone unnoticed for ever. We all learn to live in the moment. I like to think I live in the shutter speed (cheesy, ya, ya, I know…). I live in the one nanosecond where I can capture the groom’s eyes welling up as his bride walks down the aisle or the half-second where the bride looks at her father to signal she will always be his little girl.  I look for the moment of the bride laughing with her friends and for grandma kissing her beloved husband. The moments between the first kiss, cake cutting and first dance. I capture the in-between.  The moments that people might not notice, but the ones that are the most amazing to see after the cake has been cut, the dance has been danced and the honeymoon is over.

Photographer or not, I am always viewing a wedding through my viewfinder and looking at things one shutter click at a time.

the fire in my dreams

We were sitting in the yard enjoying the bonfire when the nearby tree caught fire and started to blaze around us. The flames engulfed another tree and were continuing to grow. I quickly grabbed my purse and iPhone and ran. And ran. And ran. As far as I could to escape the fire that was surrounding us. I feared what would happen if I slowed down.

…..beep. beep. beep.…. My alarm clock chimed. Whew, IT WAS ONLY A DREAM. Relief came over me as I recovered from the realistic visions that danced in my mind only moments ago.

I have always been intrigued with what subconscious thoughts race through our minds as we sleep and what the underlying meaning is around those images. I’m no doctor, but I really think the thoughts reflect things we are going through but are not ready to deal with in our conscious state. So, after my morning cup of green tea, I booted up my laptop and headed over to DreamMoods.com. Phil laughed at me for turning to such a website, but I love it (and secretly live by this and horoscope.com).

I was pleasantly delighted to learn the meaning of my fire dream which is:

“Depending on the context of your dream, to see fire in your dream can symbolize destruction, passion, desire, illumination, purification, transformation, enlightenment, or anger. It may suggest that something old is passing and something new is entering into your life. Furthermore, the dream may be a metaphor for someone who is “fiery”. It represents your drive, motivation, and creative energy.”

I believe my subconscious is telling me to finally letting go of my old life and enter into the next phase which is full of complete bliss, utilizing my talents and finally learning to trust myself and go after my dreams.

the first man i loved taught me to LOVE photography

I learned on his Nikon. A vintage Nikon. Film. Manual exposure and autofocus. A Nikon that is at least as old as I am (yes, it still working after 26 years now). It was the camera that made me love photography.

This past Sunday, I was so happy to spend the day with my wonderful Dad, Ken. He has been such an amazing father is so many ways – teaching me to ride a bike, cooking me delicious dinners (pulled pork, chicken enchiladas, egg plant parm… I learned to make it all from him!), taking our family on incredible vacations, and more.

He is also the person who really helped fall in love with photography.

Fathers Day, Nikon

From letting me use his vintage Nikon, to getting me new lenses, to surprising me with a new Nikon as a high school Christmas gift, to building me a mini dark room in our basement, to running around to camera stores with me…..my Dad really showed me this amazing art.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. You have made me a better person through all your support, love and advice.



friday fancie :: bentley

I am shocked that it has taken me more than 6 months before I have posted a photo or post about my little muffin, Bentley.

Bentley is my family’s Westie who I am completely obsessed with. This little guy is a total lover. He wants to be right by your side at all moments and is the sweetest pooch I have yet to met. I’m smitten with this little guy, and I can’t wait to see him Sunday.

Happy Friday everyone. Have an amazing weekend!

Brittany Bekas' Westie dog, Bentley. A sweet, lap dog.

me … the photographing bridesmaid

Two weekends ago, my cousin Anthony married his soulmate Theresa. It was a wedding I was looking forward to for over a year, and it was a special wedding for me because I was a bridesmaid in their wedding. :)

I loved every moment of being a part of the wedding party and all the excitement around the wedding. But let me tell you, it was SO hard to not be behind my camera all day. I wanted to document Anthony and Theresa’s love all day long (and all of the little touches Theresa worked so hard on), but I forced myself to put my Nikon down and actually be. Photography by Imagine captured the day, however here are some of the photos I was able to snap in little moments in between.

Congrats again to two amazing people. I love you!

Vendor List

Hair :: Adam and Eve

Make-up :: Tara B Artistry

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 :)

Lost In A Moment

The band jammed. Gorgeous flowers adorned the tabletops. Laughter and smiles spread throughout the room. Molly, Christine, Frankie, Rachel and I danced our hearts out as if was an ordinary girls night out.

But then I pushed my mental pause button, just for a second, and I reflected on the moment I was in.

I wasn’t thinking about the blister starting to form on my toe. Or how Molly always has the best dance moves. Or how stunning Christine looks when she smiles. Or how Frankie’s personality lights up the room. Or how Rachel’s face is beaming with happiness and love. (All of which were true!)

Instead, I thought about how lucky I am.

….. lucky to be sharing one of the most important days in Rachel’s life (her wedding!) with some of the most amazing friends. Friends that have come into my life at all different points, yet friends who seem to have been there throughout it all.

It was a moment where I wondered how life turned out this way. How all the crazy paths I took led me to this perfect moment where everything seemed, well, perfect.

Molly. Frankie. Christine. Rachel. These women are truly incredible, and I am so lucky to have them be such a huge part of my life.

When I am with them, I am always in the moment, but at that moment dancing at Rachel’s wedding, I was lost in a moment.

my christmas surprise

As I unwrapped a gift from my boyfriend, Phil, thoughts of what it could be kept running through my head. Something to decorate my apartment? UGG Slippers? Jewelry wrapped in a large box? We talked about not spending a lot on Christmas gifts this year, so I was expecting something within our gift limit.

As I tore back the colorful holiday paper, I did a double take at the exposed box as I read (and re-read and re-read it again…) to see a Nikon 24 – 70 mm f2.8 lens. I looked at Phil and was in complete shock. But moments later, I was just a like a little kid….beaming as I looked at my unwrapped gift and cradled it like a new baby (I mean this lens IS my new baby).

The lens is such a special and generous gift, but the lens stands for so much more than just another piece of Nikon gear in my bag. It was Phil’s way of telling me that my dreams are within reach and that he believed in me. And for that, I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.

20-some questions [about me]

Welcome to my blog and my very first post on here! I’m excited to FINALLY have this up and running.

For the last couple days, I wondered what exactly would be my first blog post. For some reason, something about the first post felt like a lot of pressure. Like it had to be perfect. And then I took a deep breath and realized it should just be me.

This week, I am in the process of rewriting my bio/about section for my new webpage, so I thought it would be a fun way to capture who I am (and help me figure out what I should include in my bio) by posting a list of questions so you can learn a little more about me (and I can too!). I’m not going to lie. I was stumped on some of these….

  • What was your favorite food when you were a child? Grilled cheese. And this answer would be the same if the question was “what is your favorite food as an adult?”
  • What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod? One of Those Days, Joshua Radin. His music always calms down my Type A personality.
  • What is one of your favorite quotes? Ahhh! I have so many, but my life mantra is “what’s meant to be always finds a way.”
  • What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Photographing. Followed by shopping….I think.
  • What chore do you absolutely hate doing? Cleaning out my refrigerator. It is always the combination of smells that puts me over the edge.
  • What was the first thing you bought with your own money? I am not sure if this was really the first thing, but I remember it was one of the more expensive things I bought. It was a tan suede jacket from Nordstrom. I bought it in 3rd grade and I was completely obsessed with it.
  • What is your favorite form of exercise? Dancing with my friends. It never feels like you are exercising
  • What’s your favorite color? Purple.
  • Which would you rather have, 100 million dollars or true love? Call me a romantic (which is why I LOVE the idea of love (and weddings!), but I would pick true love. Money doesn’t buy you love.
  • What’s your favorite animal? Polar Bears. Butterflies. Zebras. (I can have three right?)
  • Name one regret you have: Not studying abroad while in college.
  • Which do you prefer, sweet or salty foods? Both. My solve is the dark chocolate almonds from Trader Joe’s that are sprinkled with salt. Hits. The. Spot.
  • Is a picture worth a thousand words? Wow, what a question to ask a photographer! Yes! Even as a writer, I have always believed that a photograph can capture the most special/intimate/emotional moment that is too hard to be described in words. Photos evoke emotions and touch people in the heart. They bring you back to a moment in time that often you might not have been aware was even happening.
  • Are you mostly a clean or messy person? Clean.
  • Any tattoos or piercings? My ears are pierced, but that is about it.
  • Have any celebrity crushes? Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Heart him!
  • You’re given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on? A trip around the world with my boyfriend. And then a Nikon 70-200 mm f 2.8 and Nikon 35 mm f2.8. I’m sure there is a lot of other photo equipment, but I won’t bore you.
  • If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? I have a lot of places on this list, and the order changes every day. But here are my top destinations: South Africa, Greece, Spain, Australia, Tahiti, Italy (again)
  • What sound do you love? Crashing waves.
  • If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? Bianca. My mom was planning on naming me this but decided to go with Brittany Rose after meeting someone in Italy who just named her daughter Brittany Rose.
  • Which celebrity do you get mistaken for? Sophia Bush is probably my closest celebrity look alike.
  • If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Jasmine Star. And I didn’t even hesitate with this one.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A wedding photographer. :)
  • When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?  It depends on my mood but it is either organizing a closet, cabinet, drawer, etc, looking on Pinterest or watching a little reality TV (Bravo is my guilty pleasure).
  • What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received? My Nikon 24 mm – 70mm f2.8 lens from my boyfriend. He gave it to me for Christmas. If that isn’t support/encouragement, I don’t know what is.

I hope that you learned a little more about me from reading through this (if you made it through the whole post). :)

I want this blog to serve as insight to my personal life, a way showcase my work and my amazing couples, and a way to see my business grow. I hope you’ll check back often and join me for the journey.