2015 Goals Check-In – Chicago Wedding Photographer

I’m going to be honest here and let you know that once busy season hit – especially in June & July – I really forgot to check in on these goals at all!! However, I think we managed to tackle some of them regardless, and others we crossed off that maybe weren’t even on the list! And if you ask me – making it through a full wedding season while moving into our first home and pregnant with twins deserves some sort of extra brownie points. haha.



Anyway – here we go! Let’s look back at how we did!



  1. Get pregnant via our IVF treatments this spring. || OR || If our IVF cycles don’t work by the end of June, we will start the adoption process and complete all necessary paper work so we are in the adoption pool at The Cradle by the end of 2015. Oh my gosh, I’m so incredibly grateful this dream finally became a reality for us this year after 6 years of trying to start our family!! We have been praying and praying for a healthy remainder of my pregnancy and are finally letting ourselves get excited to meet these two little dudes (hopefully) in early March if they can hang in there and keep growing for 8 more weeks!
  2. Buy a house. I’m still so shocked this actually happened too! We are still settling into our home and are so, so grateful we have a place to call our own to raise our boys! Shout out to the best realtor ever, Lindsay Kronk!! Seriously reach out to her if you’re looking to buy or sell in Chicago! She was a lifesaver!
  3. Put $______ more in savings. We did manage to put more money in savings among everything, even though we’ve definitely sucked more out savings this year with house purchasing (and furnishing a house) than we put in… haha.
  4. Have one date night a month where we try new things in the city, or activities (rather than just always defaulting to dinner out). Ummm – haha. I think we big time failed on this! Things got crazy busy with everything and we went into save money mode with the new house… sooo yeah.
  5. Get life insurance. We are the worst. This is on our absolute MUST DO list for the next few weeks & definitely before the babies come!
  6. Design & print our own wedding album. Heck yes! We finally did this just in time for our 6th wedding anniversary!
  7. Start saving for retirement & learn more about investing. Ha! I never managed to read the book I bought, “MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom” – and my old 401k has sat all year. Transferring this to a Roth IRA is first on my list for 2016 too!
  8. Hold hands more, be kind to one another, and more intimate (less on devices)I think we’ve been much better about this throughout the year! This is always ongoing and always can be improved upon though!
  9. Screen-free evenings from 7-10pm (unless previously agreed upon)… no laptops, phones, or iPads. Let me just really loudly laugh at this one. We failed SO BIG on this. Oh man.
  10. Make more time for friends (i.e. photography free friend time at least once a month). I think we did a pretty good job about this throughout the year! We managed to have friend nights & got out for social events once and a while even! Shocking, I know! 😉
  11. Separate myself from my business. I think I was sooo much better about this during the year than I have been in the past. I didn’t let anxiety over business situations seep into my life and really did such a better job at remembering that photography is ALL that I am made of or all that I do… it is a part of me – not who I am.
  12. Christy: Walk 60 miles a month with Chloe / Lift weights 3x a week / Stretch daily / Quit my gym membership (since I never use it!) I walked 60 or more miles a month through June, so I’m going to count that! haha. Once I got pregnant I started to drop miles the further along I got (the exhaustion & difficulty breathing with these growing boys was real!). July was 50 miles, August was 45 miles, September was 35 miles, October was 35 miles, November was 24 miles, and December was 16 miles! I did my best! My first priority was listening to my body and making sure the boys were growing strong. I did stretch daily though, and quit my gym membership – which meant another $42 a month put into savings! And I did lift weights, but more like 1-2 times a week, not 3. 
  13. James: Finish Associates Degree and enroll in a 4-year college to complete degree / Learn Spanish Well, he’s 2 classes away from finishing his Associates degree!! He is taking this coming spring semester off since we are anticipating life being a little crazy momentarily while we navigate life as new parents… but then he plans to finish this up! And learning Spanish? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Though I do have some pretty funny videos of him doing Rosetta Stone! (He wont’ let me post though! haha)



  1. Cap out at 25 big weddings. We ended up going over this just a pinch and finished with 27 big weddings this year, which was A-OK! We just couldn’t turn down a few more couples we loved & connected with!
  2. Get the Beautiful Website up and running, including a product page for clients. You know it!! This was finished and it felt so good to have it done finally! You can see the site here: www.beautiful.christytylerphotography.com
  3. Bring James to more engagement sessions. James did come for many more engagement sessions this year – though usually more so to carry my gear and help me out/assist than to shoot – since that is what we needed more!
  4. Get James more comfortable with directing and posing. James definitely got better at this – especially with our grooms during prep time. I’m so happy about that!
  5. Teach James how to shoot details. I did teach him this… though we realized that all the lessons in the world won’t make James see pretty little details the way I do… and that’s okay! That’s why we have two of us — because we balance each other out and compliment each other’s strengths/weaknesses! Turns out he is super at knowing how to light details for me while I shoot them. 🙂
  6. Book 4 commercial shoots this year. We did book one commercial shoot this year with Renaissance that is actually taking place next Monday! As it turns out, we wouldn’t have had time for as many as we thought we wanted throughout the year anyway – so that’s okay. We did maintain our relationship with Renaissance Learning, which was most important to us and look forward to continuing to work with them moving forward!
  7. Hone in on guys’ prep photos and get more consistent results that compliment the girls’ prep pics. I feel like James’ prep photos have grown by leaps and bounds! I’m loving that he is getting more comfortable asking grooms to move closer to windows and clearing spaces around them now to get better images. I think it is the perfect combination between his laid-back/no-fuss/”pretend I’m not here” coverage during prep pics, while also managing things just enough to get even better images.
  8. Shoot 20 Beautiful Sessions this year and find a way to give back via these sessions. Well… this is one of those that fell way by the wayside this year with everything else we had going on! I did shoot these sessions this year (though I wasn’t okay’d by clients to share the images – so you would never know)! Hopefully I can shoot even more in the coming year – because I love them so!
  9. Re-Evaluate our Pricing / Update Album Pricing. We did update pricing recently after re-evaluating our experience (145 weddings done now – crazy, huh?!), education, and cost of running our business. This is something we are constantly thinking about and a growing process.
  10. Start outsourcing all shoots. YES! This saved my life this year!! We’ve outsourced our weddings to Fotofafa for quite a while now, but outsourcing all our shoots really was such a relief during the busiest months… I cannot even tell you. Looking forward to continuing this since lord knows we won’t exactly have MORE time on our hands with twins! haha.
  11. Attend a workshop more geared towards business / finances / and get educated on possibly adding Associate Photographers or assistants. I didn’t manage to do this during the year… I’m still trying to figure out what would be good for me to attend?! Maybe something next year?! Though we did start chatting with a friend about possibly being an associate in the future. We shall see how this grows!


Well, we did really well on some things and totally forgot about others – but overall I’m really happy with how we did on our goals!! It was a really big year for us in lots of ways (more on the year in review to come!), and I’m looking forward to sitting down with James in the coming weeks and going over our goals for 2016 (which I’m sure will include – showing each other & ourselves grace as we navigate being parents to twins)!! 🙂


Christmas 2015 by Christy Tyler Photography_0040

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