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Monday Mash-Up

And we’re back! That break was exACTLY what I needed. I love my blog, and I LOVE writing! But sometimes it’s nice to take a step away and just BE. Having the chance to spend the holidays with my family, without the worry of needing to publish posts, edit images for the blog, etc.

My “shooting season” is officially over! I went straight through December, shooting all the way up until New Year’s Eve. It was AWESOME! I had the opportunity to photograph the most amazing couples and I’m SO excited to share these weddings and sessions with you. The off-season, though, is what helps me continue to be in love with what I do and why I do it- those couple of months away from shooting are a chance to rest, recharge my batteries, and figure out what needs to change for the following season. Also, it’s a chance to travel and shoot a TON of personal work :).

I’m at Creative At Heart right now and it’s ROCKING my world! You guys, if you’re a creative small business owner, this conference is for you. As I’m typing this, I’m listening to Rachel Brenke (the Lawtographer) speak to a group of 75 people about the top five mistakes small business owners make. And yesterday, we heard from Katelyn, Natalie, Krista and Lauren. The conversations, the heart-to-heart late night chats, it’s exactly what I needed.

As always, lessons learned/events that transpired over the past week:

  • Sirius (our new pup!) is a total klutz, and it is hilarious to watch. He has absolutely no spacial awareness, which results in a lot of the following: falling off the bed, falling off the couch, running into people/things, sliding across the hardwood floors. And for some reason, his paws don’t seem to find purchase on the floor at PetsSmart, so watching Sirius walk through the store was like watching a dog slide around on a patch of ice. IT WAS AWESOME.
  • …and people watching probably think I’m a terrible dog owner, because rather than being sympathetic about my dog’s inability to walk across a normal floor, I was doubled over laughing.
  • Knowing what’s always awkward? Meeting someone in person who you also follow on Instagram/social media in general. They’re like “Hi! I’m Jess!” and I’m like “Yeah, I know. Your wedding at Pippin Hill was so beautiful! I loved the florals.” ….creeper.
  • Ted’s Bulletin, I have such a crush on you. They have a “cinnamon roll as big as ya head” listed on their menu but it’s only available on weekend mornings, and we’ve never made it in time to try one. UNTIL THIS PAST SATURDAY. It literally came with a gravy boat of frosting to pour on top. And it truly was as big as my head.
  • I’m pretty sure I acquired a cavity and diabetes after said cinnamon roll, but it was worth it.

Ok! Lots of great stuff coming to the blog this week and next, so absolutely stay tuned :). Happy Monday, friends!

Washington DC ballerina photographer- Abby Grace Photography

Jess - January 6, 2015 - 11:29 am

Ahhhhhh!! I love this! And you! xoxo

Jean - January 5, 2015 - 9:03 am

Enjoy your off season. You’ve been a busy girl !

Favorites from 2014: Personal Work

I sat down to create a “favorites” post for 2014 and ended up pulling WAY too many images for one post, so I decided to break it into two! Today’s will feature all of my favorite personal work photographs- mainly ballerinas and travel :). And then in a week and a half, we’ll do a “weddings/portraits” round! Why the wait? Because one of my last weddings from 2014 is still a secret :).

Let’s start with travel. Here we go!

San Francisco film photographer- Abby GraceSan Francisco film photographer- Abby GraceSan Francisco film photographer- Abby GraceSan Francisco film photographer- Abby GraceSan Francisco film photographer- Abby GraceParis, France fine art film photographer- Abby GraceParis, France fine art film photographer- Abby GraceParis, France fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceDoolin, Ireland fine art film photographer- Abby GraceVenice, Italy fine art film photographer- Abby GraceVenice, Italy fine art film photographer- Abby GraceVenice, Italy fine art film photographer- Abby GraceVenice, Italy fine art film photographer- Abby Grace

And now, the ballerinas!

DC ballerina photographer- Abby GraceDC ballerina photographer- Abby GraceDC ballerina photographer- Abby GraceDC ballerina photographer- Abby Grace

DC ballerina photographer- Abby Grace

DC ballerina photographer- Abby GraceNew York City ballet + ballerina photographer- Abby GraceDC ballerina photographer- Abby GraceParis, France ballerina photographerVenice, Italy ballerina photographer- Abby GraceParis, France ballerina photographer

And then this image. Because it’s one I’ll always treasure.

DC Army homecoming- Abby Grace Photography

Kathryn Grace - January 5, 2015 - 10:47 pm

Your travel work is just stunning. I’d love to see a tips post on settings for that – I’m always hesitant about aperture settings for architectural shots!

Dad - January 2, 2015 - 3:16 pm

My favorite too, looking forward to being in Paris with you and mom this spring!

Jean - January 2, 2015 - 12:30 pm

all beautiful photos. You just get better every year!

Shalese - January 2, 2015 - 12:23 pm

Your personal work is s’marvelous! :) I especially love your travel photos with people — the man in the window, the painter . . . beautiful! And of course, I always love the ballerinas!

Merry Christmas!

Well, it’s 10:56 on Christmas Eve, and I’m typing a blog post while sipping a glass of pinor noir and binge watching episodes of The Walking Dead with Matt. And I finally turned on my Out-of-Office responder! Life is good, my friends. Life is good. Except for the whole… blogging-late-on-Christmas-Eve-when-I-should-be-dreaming-of-sugar-plums-and-stuff. But since I comPLETEly forgot to do this earlier, 10:56pm it is!

Merry, merry Christmas, dear readers. I hope this holiday is full of blessings and good cheer, and that joy permeates every area of your lives! The most jovial of Christmas wishes from the Springmanns!

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And Sirius, obviously. We took our Christmas card photographs before we realized he’d be joining the family :).

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I’ll be taking a few days off from blogging, but will be back around New Year’s Day or so! Happy last few days of 2014!

2014: Best [and Worst] Practices

This is about the time of year that you’ll start seeing the “year end wrap-up” posts on photographers’ blogs, and I am no exception to that! This particular post is one that’s been a long time coming- I dubbed 2014 the “year of disorganization” early on, and it didn’t get much better as the year went on. Being organized is something I’ve always struggled with, so I’ve found that the more STRUCTURE I have in my business, the easier it is for me to keep things in place. When there isn’t a system for a particular area of my business, that’s when things gets messy.

Here are my Best & Worst Practices from the past year!

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BEST

1. Refocusing from just weddings, to anniversaries + weddings- this is one of the biggest success stories for me. I’m still in transition, as these kind of changes don’t happen overnight, but having the chance to hone my business into a niche market I’ve created for myself has been so, SO life-giving! (read more HERE)

2. Outsourcing album design- holy cow, Align has been my SAVIOR on this! Albums are now completed and ordered with way more efficiency than I ever managed while designing on my own, which means my couples get their books in hands much faster! (read more HERE)

3. Interns- my 2014 AGP Interns were the BEE’S KNEES. I’ll be posting a bit more about them after New Year’s, but just know that making the switch from the “different second shooter at every wedding” method and the “AGP Interns” method made things WAY better!

4. Pixifi/Paypal- Prior to Pixifi, I’d been collecting paper contracts, and paper checks for payment. This meant there was often a several weeks-long delay in verbally confirming a booking, and actually BOOKING it when I received the contract and payment. Now with everything online, the process is faster, smoother, more secure, and I can access my client information/booking calendar from anywhere in the world that has internet :). (read more HERE)

5. Day Designer- having a daily planner that allows me to keep track of my calendar and has room for goal setting, notes, daily breakdowns, etc. was golden. I didn’t use my DD to it’s full extent (something I’ll work on for next year), but it’s been really helpful in keeping track of tasks! (read more about how I use the Day Designer HERE)

6. Switching to Kelvins- yeah. GAME. CHANGER. If you’re still shooting on Auto White Balance 100% of the time, do yourself a favor and go read this blog post. It’ll change your shooting life.

New York City High Line elopement- Abby Grace Photography

WORST:

1. Not outsourcing my editing- this has been harder for me this year than ever before, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the mental aspect of it all, knowing that I need to buckle down and just power through 6 hours of editing, but I’ve really struggled with allowing my editing to spill over from week to wee this year. I’m hoping to change that in 2015 by finding an awesome editor to take over editing weddings for me!

2. Failing to take my meds- I’ve made brief mention of it before, but with adult ADHD, it’s often really, really hard for me to get through normal tasks that others can breeze through without a problem. I know that my Adderall helps me focus, but I struggle with feeling weak when I take it. It’s a lie I tell myself, and I really just need to buckle down and take the dang meds. But it’s part of the reason I have issues with organization and getting through my editing!

3. Workflow- this sort of relates back to editing; I don’t have structure in place for when I’ll edit images after an event. I need to come up with something like “Editing portraits on Mondays, Album and Product Orders on Tuesdays….” etc. Otherwise I wake up, shower, and then ask myself “what do you WANT to do in the office today?” Which almost always results in blogging or Facebooking, and never results in filing my monthly sales taxes.

4. Inbox-ing- my usual lighting-fast response time has definitely suffered this year, and I’m going to credit that in part with laziness, and the other part due to a failure to have specific e-mail times during my day. I typically just leave my Gmail window up in the background and answer emails whenever I’m trying to procrastinate editing. This means I do short, unfocused bursts throughout the day, which doesn’t usually result in my inbox decreasing much, if any.

5. Working from the couch- some people are couch potato-working masters, but I can’t do it. I get distracted, visit the kitchen for tea way more often than is necessary, and typically end up fooling myself into thinking I can watch Netflix and edit at the same time (I can’t). Newsflash, Abby: we bought a house WITH AN OFFICE DOWNSTAIRS so that you could run a business from it. And while our lovely sectional couch is wonderful, it’s not an office space. So hop to it.

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What about y’all? What are some of your best and worst practices of the year? What can you not WAIT to change in 2015?

Janine A. Enold - January 2, 2015 - 10:36 am

Hi Abby! Sorry about that! There was an issue with another post on another site as well and they got swapped :-(! Oops! I am looking forward to 2015 as well! New Year, New Goals! Time to Make it Happen! I agree with outsourcing your editing! It helps me so much with my workflow! I have a fantastic editor that I work with who is listed on Katelyn James’ editor list! I highly recommend him and I can send you his email if you are looking for someone! Hope you have a Happy New Year!

Janine Enold - January 2, 2015 - 10:17 am

Hi Audrey! I know what it can be like to have a full time job and a photography business. I too am working on transitioning to doing photography full time. A lot of your goals are in line with mine for 2015! In terms of workflow, I know that outsourcing my editing was a big help! I have an editor that does all my basic editing (color correcting, white balance etc) and can even do retouching or Photoshop work if necessary. It’s really helped to free up some more time in my workflow and allows me to focus on other hands of parts of my business such as client service and marketing. I am making a lot of changes this year! I can send you his email if you were looking for someone to help with this – He will be accepting new clients in 2015! Best of luck with everything!

ashley mitchell - December 29, 2014 - 1:09 pm

We have several of the same goals for next year! I am determined to outsource my editing this year – I haven’t even seen Frozen but I imagine I would be singing that Let it Go song somewhere about here? Also, big check on the “you have an office now USE IT” category – I’m sooo guilty of this!

Jessica Fike - December 24, 2014 - 8:14 am

Great post, Abby! I like this kind of “end of year” post better than the “behind the scenes” posts. Maybe that’s because I have like three pictures of me in action, ha!?! But really, I like evaluating and putting together a list of good things and bad things that happened. I’m definitely going to do it! :)

Jessica Bulloss - December 23, 2014 - 9:25 am

Love this post! First off, I can relate to so many of the struggles above and you said it so well! Also you are rocking the anniversaries!! Congrats on making it happen :) :)

Monday Mash-Up

Happy Monday! Today’s a very special kind of mash-up, because today, I’d like to introduce you to our newest addition to the family- Sirius!

We found Sirius at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and I fell in love with his cock-eyed ears! The shelter wasn’t able to tell us anything about his previous owners except that they gave him up willingly. As far as his breed, we’re guessing he’s a mix of German Shepherd and Lab.

Sirius the German Shepherd mix rescue pup

It’s been a bit of an adjustment, both the added company for Lily and learning to handle a bigger dog. Sirius is twice as big as Lily, so learning to walk him has definitely proven a challenge! But we’re making progress, slowly but surely. Lily was scared to death of him for the first week, but they’re finally starting to get along and play together. We just make sure to give Lily extra treats and tell her she’ll always be our favorite :).

Sirius the German Shepherd mix rescue pup

That black & white thing in the background? It’s a stuffed cow chew toy that my best friend Sarah sent- he’s torn every shred of stuffing out of poor Bessie. Look at that carnage!

Sirius the German Shepherd mix rescue pupSirius the German Shepherd mix rescue pupSirius the German Shepherd mix rescue pup

This photo was accidentally taken as Sirius bolted from the house and led us on a half mile chase across a busy road and into the next neighborhood. The only reason I managed to find him was because he crawled into a drainage pipe and couldn’t turn around, so I waited to grab his collar as he scooted butt-first back out. Funny in hindsight, but it scared us to death when it happened!

Sirius the German Shepherd mix rescue pup

Look at that face!

Sirius the German Shepherd mix rescue pup

For those of you wondering, yes, we did name him after a Harry Potter character :). Happy Monday, friends!

Sophia - December 29, 2014 - 7:09 pm

Gah!! What a cutie! You’re making us want to adopt a friend for Mo :D

Minh H. - December 22, 2014 - 7:21 pm

i love that you rescued Sirius from a shelter! He’s so cute, and it’s great that Lilly is starting to play with him

Jean - December 22, 2014 - 2:37 pm

i’m sure Lilly will love having a playmate! I’m wondering how you got them to stay still long enough to get that great picture!

Rachel Wells - December 22, 2014 - 1:45 pm

Those ears! How adorable!! We just got a new pup, too and it’s been so fun!!

Urška Majer - December 22, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Awww, such a cutie! I’m sure Lily and Sirius(what a cool name!) will be best friends soon :)

Elizabeth V - December 22, 2014 - 12:52 pm

Oh my gosh what a cutie!! Those wrinkles!! We have adopted pups two years in a row at Christmas, so I have puppy fever… but this little condo just can’t hold anymore puppy cuteness. So excited for you guys!

Rebekah C - December 22, 2014 - 12:33 pm

So cute!! Merry Christmas!

Dad - December 22, 2014 - 12:27 pm

Does his ear do that naturally? Or is that posed?

Lorinda Leigh - December 22, 2014 - 12:25 pm

Oh. My. Gosh. He is adorable. I love the ears too!