2014: Fine Tuning ~ New Year Goals ~ Chicago Elopement Photographer

If you read the blog this week – you saw that we started off the week with an update on how we did on our 2013 goals. (After 2012 being a rather difficult year for us, we realized we really needed to sit down and each separately write down our goals for the year – for both our business and personal lives – and get on the same page.) It went so well doing this last year, that we decided to continue to do it every year! My favorite part is that we come up with our goals separately and then compare notes. Sometimes I’m surprised by something James says, and other times we say the exact same thing. 🙂

Anyway, I think it is so important not only to make goals (and implement daily steps to get there), but also to share them with others so you’re held accountable! Last year we did okay on our goals, but if I’m being honest – I kind of forgot about some of them! So this year I’m going to do my best to check in on these every now and then to remind myself of the path we’re on and what we’re aiming for in 2014.

So – here goes! This is a list of mine and James’ goals for 2014 in no particular order!



  1. Create a vendor directory for each client/wedding. This way we have all the information in one place and are able to easily share with anyone who asks, submit to wedding blogs, and include in each of our wedding posts. James will be in charge of managing this and sharing all our images with vendors when they are ready after the wedding.
  2. Book between 25-28 big weddings for 2014. We have 20 booked currently, and are looking to add 5 more couples we love to our schedule for 2014. (And possibly a few more if we really connect with the couple!) The past two years we’ve shot 28 big weddings and that number worked really well for us, but we would be just as happy with 25 weddings this year so we can make room for more teaching & workshops – since I just love love love being able to share what we’ve learned and help others follow their dreams! I’m aware I could probably do just as many weddings, but I really want to maintain the balance we’ve been working towards and not over-do it.
  3. Launch our new branding/website/blog. I have the colors, textures and logo set for this and ordered our new print collateral, but need to implement it for the website & blog redesign ASAP.
  4. Create a Beautiful Session site branched off from the main site. This has been on the list for a couple off-seasons now. Not okay. I really hope to make this happen with the new branding – since I’ll already be in there working on my site!
  5. Update the template for our wedding client’s custom websites with the new branding/web design. I don’t know if this means I have to transfer all 2014 clients’ custom websites to the new design or not… or if I’ll just start with the next one I need to create. I have to decide on this yet… haha.
  6. Do a great job on the Advanced Workshop & come up with a new name for it for the next time around! We added a day to the workshop and are including lots more in the curriculum since we continue to learn more we want to share each year! And the name “Advanced Workshop” just isn’t cutting it anymore… so I need to think of something better! :-\ haha
  7. Host our 2nd Annual Client Party. I can’t wait to get the details for this ironed out!
  8. Shoot more intentionally. I don’t need to shoot 20 shots of the bride’s shoes. I can narrow this down to the look I’m going for and shoot half as many. Also, I’m hoping to be more conscious about thinking out a photo before taking it. I’m really good at doing this when I’m shooting film because it is expensive and I don’t want to waste it – but I’m not so good at doing this when shooting digital.
  9. Cull all sessions and weddings while photos import. I started doing this last year at the tail end of the year and it makes my workflow so much smoother/less painful!
  10. Find somewhere for Chloe to stay when we shoot weddings in Madison. My sister & her husband already have 3 kids and a big dog… throwing Chloe into that mix is just a bit too much.
  11. Get a 50mm 1.2 for James. He currently has the 1.4 in his bag (which I started with wayyyyy back in the day), but generally avoids using it because it isn’t super reliable.
  12. Sit down with James and really go over everything to fine tune skills/knowledge. (As he called it in his list… “A workshop for me”)
  13. Learn video. This is another one on James’ list… which I thought was awesome. I’d love it if he could take some video clips now and then… or get video during proposals, or who knows what! Also, I studied video in undergrad (and video editing) – so I think we should be able to do this!
  14. Maintain last year’s progress. (Another from James’ list. Yes to this!)



  1. Make a baby! This has really been on our list for years, but we never shared it before, obviously. This year – it is going right at the top of the list – even if the way we make it isn’t super conventional. We’ll start our first official cycle with our doctor at FCI in March. I’m anxiously counting down the days and praying it works.
  2. James finish his Associates degree and start looking into what 4-year college he will transfer over to! For those of you that are unaware, J never finished his undergrad back when he was a young tike so he has been working on tackling this big goal for the last couple years. While we are aware he doesn’t “need” the degree to run this business with me, we both really value education and this is a really important thing for him especially. He’s at the tail end of his associate’s degree from a local city college and we’re looking to get him into a 4-year school soon!
  3. Save at least $______. We set a goal for this last year and thankfully exceeded it (just barely!), so we’re holding ourselves accountable this year again! For so long we put any extra money we had right into investing in our business… so it has been great that now we’re finally actually putting money into a SAVINGS account instead! Maybe some day we’ll even be able to afford to get a place of our own! (Even if it is 15 years from now… haha. Chicago isn’t cheap, people!)
  4. I want abs. (Directly quoted from James’ personal goal list. hahaha)
  5. Choose positivity and happiness. Because we all know it is a conscious choice to shut out the negative and focus on the positive! Sometimes I find myself in this spiral of negative thoughts, and I’m going to do my best to get out of it this year.
  6. Walk 45 miles per month. This is my goal. Last year when I started tracking how far I was walking on the Nike Run app my goal was 40 miles per month. Most months I (barely) hit it (except Nov & Dec, I believe)… so I’m upping the ante this year!
  7. Do yoga 1x a week. I need to be better about stretching/breathing/slowing down… and yoga is perfect for that.
  8. More intimacy… in the form of holding hands, cuddling on the couch, and scratching each other’s backs. It can get really easy to just live side by side – especially during busy season, so I’m going to make an effort to be closer to James… because the power of touch is a real thing, and can instantly make us go from feeling like we’re on different planets, to being on the same page.
  9. No phones in bed before we go to sleep. This goes along with the point above. Lately we each get on our phones in bed – laying on separate sides of a king-sized bed with Chloe in between us and read crap online or on social media until we pass out. This year our goal is no phones in bed before we go to sleep. We can read or listen to music, but we must be laying next to each other holding hands or cuddling. (I just realized we should make this a rule in the morning too. At least 5 minutes of cuddling and waking up together before we can turn to our phones.) It seems silly – but it really has started to drive both of us crazy and makes us feel distant… and yet we keep doing it! Stupid phones.
  10. Continue to shoot film for personal trips. Yay to this! This reminds me to order some film for our trip to Arizona in a month!
  11. Mid-wedding season vacation/social media break. Even if it is a stay-cation – we need a few days off the grid to reconnect and reboot.
  12. Get Life Insurance! For real this time.
  13. Design our Wedding Album. We will have been married 5 years this coming May. It’s just ridiculous at this point! I need to get this done!
  14. Speaking of our 5th anniversary… Do something for it! Take a full day off to have a date day in the city just the two of us, hopefully trying something new or fun together!


So there you have it! Here’s hoping we can stick to these goals and continue to grow together! And because every post needs a picture – here’s a photo I took when Chloe and I were out enjoying the snow on New Year’s Day!! (For some reason I really like how she’s looking down the sidewalk that appears to go on forever…)



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