2013 Goals Review ~ Chicago Wedding Photographer

Last year James and I had a year-end meeting where we reviewed what went well in 2012, and what we could improve on. We each wrote down our goals for 2013 (both business and personal) and compared notes. Then we compiled everything we had written and made one master list to live by in 2013. We titled our 2013 goal post “Be Better, Do Better” and gosh darn it, did we try our best! Here’s how we did… 🙂


(Because I always have to share a photo – here’s a current one from Christmas back in Wisconsin! Full post coming soon… :))



1. Faster turn around time. We did good on this! As far as I can remember (other than our last wedding of the year, because of travel & holidays) we got all our clients’ weddings back to them by the 4 week mark – which was our goal.

2. Outsource our wedding editing. YES! This was a growing pain FOR SURE, but was totally worth the initial effort to get our ‘look’ down with our editors, Fotofafa! I cannot say enough good things about them! They are a HUGE part of why this year was so much more manageable. Oh my gosh. Just… amazing.

3. Improve the overall client experience. Yes! 🙂 We made a few changes to make our client experience more specific to us and our brand, and I loved the changes we made! From what I’ve heard, our clients did too! 🙂

4. Include James in more business responsibilities and the process as a whole. Yup! Yup! He took on some of the wedding workflow and in turn it helped him get more hands on with the images, which helped him to see what images of his I was using & helped him to continue to get better and better!

5. Get info sheets from clients at least a month before the wedding with vendors and important information. Yeaaaaaahhhh. Nope. Did not do this. Thankfully though, a decent amount of our clients had wedding planners who had all this info for us! And those that didn’t – James has gotten amazing at going around to vendors on the wedding day and getting their information! We still could definitely improve on this though. 🙂

6. Include submitting to blogs in our wedding work flow. Ummm. No. Fail. haha. We have definitely been submitting more, but it isn’t a part of the workflow (largely in part because we weren’t 100% on top of #5. We need all the vendor information in order to submit – so we need to get on these this year!)

7. Manage social media time better. Yes! I am so much better about only being on it when necessary and getting back to work. Yay for priorities and productivity… thanks to my Daily Essentials for Happiness!

8. Throw a CTP client party during 2013 off season. YES! It was sooo much fun catching up with clients new & old… and we’re excited to make this an annual party!

9. Work smarter, not longer.  Again, thanks to my Daily Essentials – this was a success!

10. Hold another round of Advanced & Beginner workshops spring 2013. Yup!! They went great and I’m so excited to have sold out our 2014 spring Advanced Workshop!!! (I haven’t announced a Beginner workshop for 2014 because I haven’t heard anybody looking to attend. If you are interested – shoot me an email so I’m aware!)

11. Shoot more with James this off-season and critique one another’s work.  Fail. We did not do that last off-season! Maybe this year?!

12. Take at least one full day off per week. Oh my gosh – YES YES YES. I was so much better at managing my schedule this year!! (i.e. BALANCE)

13. Set 1 or 2 days a week that are AT HOME office days to aid in productivity – no meet-ups, no shoots.  YES YES YES. (see above!) It’s crazy to think I didn’t used to do this and this had to be written down as a goal! ha! I was crazy!

14. Book 35 weddings.  You know those goals you write down and you’re not really sure why? Yeah, this was one of them. haha. We have steadily been raising our rates as we gain more knowledge, experience, and get better at what we do… so there isn’t really a need to continually book MORE AND MORE AND MORE. I’m not sure why we thought that was necessary other than I saw other people shooting that much and we thought that was the definition of “success.” (Ahem, not true.) We’ve realized our sweet spot is around 28 big weddings. We shot 28 big weddings and 3 elopements in 2012, and shot the exact same amount of each for 2013! It seems to be the perfect amount for us and really helps us keep everything in order without being completely overwhelmed. We are also able to really serve our clients well with this number. We know all of them personally, have time to reply to all their emails/concerns promptly, are still excited to get out and shoot every time we do (because we aren’t burnt out), and can turn around their images quickly. That to me is way more important than booking a certain number that we pulled out of thin air! haha.

15. Include James in scheduling and keep him better informed of my schedule in general. Yes! Before booking anything, I always check in with James to make sure we’re on the same page and good to go. This especially was helpful when I was starting to want to book too much and he reminded me of our limits.

16. Get James the 85mm 1.2. Yup! He got this for Christmas this year! (Which he was happy about, but also made a point to mention that this was a “work present” and not really for HIM. haha. Touche.)

17. Update our website. Yes! I did this last off-season (here)! And we’re in for another BIG update & rebranding coming soon – which you’ll see in our 2014 goals! 🙂

18. Create a separate website for our Beautiful Sessions. Ummmm… nope. Again!!! I keep meaning to do this and it gets put on the back burner every off-season! Hopefully this year. Please please please get it together, Christy!



1. Have more date nights!  Yup!

2. Save $_______ by the end of the year.  It’s crazy how setting a goal & creating steps to meet it each month will help you reach it by the year’s end!!! We exceeded our savings goal – even after having to get a new car, and deal with an expensive car accident later in the year (oops).  I’m excited to set another goal for this for 2014!

3. Take a trip sometime during wedding season to reconnect and regroup. We had a little mini stay-cation in August when our family visited us, and it was just what we needed! And of course closing out a crazy busy fall with a trip to Hawaii was just what the doctor ordered too!

4. Be more present. I read this one to James (hesitantly, because I was scared of his answer) and he nodded his head and smiled. So — yay!! I think I was better about this, but there is always room for improvement – of course.

5. Workout at least 2x a week, even if it is just an at home workout. Yes! (Well, until November… that is. ;)) In late March I started doing the Nike Run App and walking Chloe every day and going for longer walks every few days & lifting weights at home. While I  don’t think I actually went to the gym all year – I did workout more!! (I should probably get rid of my gym membership… :-\ haha)

6. Move/walk more. See above. Yes!! 🙂 I have my buddy, Chloe, to thank for this one. 🙂 She always reminds me that we need to get outside and have fun! According to my app I’ve walked/hiked/run 342 miles in the last 9 months since I started tracking it!

7. Get life insurance before James turns 35.  Fail. :-\

8. Learn to accept the word “No” from James (i.e. don’t make social plans for us as a couple without discussing with him first). He says I was better at this (kind of), but it was not easy for me!! haha

9. Print personal photos and put in albums. Thanks to shooting film on our trips – I do have prints of our images!! I just haven’t put them in albums yet. And I did make a couple albums through Artifact Uprising!! I plan to do the same for our trips later in the year, and print all our Instagrams too! 🙂

10. Design and print our own wedding album!!  We shall not discuss this… haha. (I didn’t do it. Oops.)


I’m SO excited for our goals meeting (i.e. dinner out!) tonight where we’ll do the same thing for 2014 (which of course I’ll share with you)!



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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!