October Goals

Monthly GoalsNeha SharmaComment

Ah, the air smells of pumpkin spice (if you're in a Starbucks),

the fall clothes are coming out (maybe if you live in the Northeast),

and the air feels crisp and cool (just kidding, it's 90° outside).

Anyway, you know the drill! 


It's amazing how much more energy I've had since training my body to fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier. Having a slow morning to just relax, catch up on YouTube videos, take my time getting ready, etc. is an incredible way to start the day. I'm generally not a morning person, but I could be if every morning starts out this way.


I got back on the running train and definitely worked out more than I did in August! I even threw a little yoga in there during some of those slow mornings. 


Gettin' it done. *brushes shoulders off*


I'm really enjoying these monthly goals! They're small, doable, and help me fine tune what I really want to focus on for the next few weeks. Here's what I'm planning on tackling during October:


One of the reasons I haven't been around on the blog is that I've lost sight of my mission and what the purpose of this blog truly is. I have pages and pages of great blog post topics, but I lack the drive to actually write about those things. I want to shift my focus on what I love to write about and what truly brings me joy. Having more of a lifestyle blog is the direction I'm heading in. The hope and dream is that I'll find that love for blogging again with posts that I'm actually excited to write about and share!


I was listening to this episode of The Lively Show with Jadah Sellner when it struck me that I haven't made green smoothies in a long time. I think I took a break from them after one tasted an awful lot like a blended salad... It was terrible. I remembered how good drinking them made me feel, so I wanted to start back up on drinking them! So far, I've already been having one for breakfast each day for the last week and a half, and I'd like to keep up with that all month long.


I'm guilty for choosing to make quick meals over nutrient dense ones. It's not that I hate cooking, it's just that I would rather be doing something else. I'm the exact same way with reading books. Once I find something that I like to make, though, I have no problem spending a little time making it, even if it only takes me 5 minutes to gobble it up. I've been bookmarking recipes on Pinterest and I'm pretty stoked to try them out! If it isn't obvious already, I'm on a journey to make better choices about what goes into my body. When I got home from work today, I felt a little lazy, so I traded making something healthy for dinner for eating a lot of unhealthy snacks, and I definitely regret it. I feel gross! After consistently eating healthy food every day, it's amazing how your body responds to eating something unhealthy. You don't feel good eating it, and you don't feel great after the fact. By finding healthy recipes that I love to make and eat, I want to find joy in cooking and being intentional about what I'm putting on a plate and into my body. 

Have you come up with any goals for the month? Share them in the comments below!

September Goals

Monthly GoalsNeha Sharma2 Comments

I woke up this morning and went outside to find that it was...


Yep. A minor "cool" front came through and, though I always prefer being too hot over being too cold, it felt refreshing! Definitely a sign that fall is just around the corner. (Don't worry, though. It'll be back up to 96° in a few days.)

Before diving into my September goals, let's take a peek into how last month's goals went:


95% done! I have bags of clothes to sell or donate and just have two things left to tackle: jackets and shoes. Those shouldn't take more than an hour, though. I've also purchased a couple staple pieces like a striped dress and this tote bag from Target. It's perfect for work and is EXACTLY what I was looking for!


I ran one whole mile last month, so... Hey, that's better than running zero miles, right? Just keepin' it real. I have, however, gone running more so far in September! #Progress


50% done! I finished Lean In and it has been a game changer for me. Ladies, I seriously do recommend it.


Well, considering that the only post that went out was the goals post... Haha, again, just keepin' it real. Life happens and with a full-time job and projects on the side, it's easy to throw this blog on the back burner. However, I do want to prioritize this, even if that means getting up a little earlier to bust out some posts that I've been meaning to write.


Not too bad for the first round of monthly goals! My biggest one was to purge the closet and I'm so glad that's almost done. I'm feeling better and better about it every day. Even though we're already almost halfway through the month, I've been working on some new goals:


I've been working on training my body to fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier. Some days are harder than others, but I want to get up early and have a slow morning instead of a rushed one. Really, I just want to be more intentional with my time.


This kind of goes along with the previous goal because I've been trying to do a little yoga in the morning before work. I've only done it a few times so far, but it feels so good to wake up and just stretch my body, breathe deeply, and focus on my intentions for the day/month. Between that and running, I'm starting to feel better! I just need to keep it up and try to do as much of both as I can.


I'm starting to get a much clearer picture of where I want to go and where I want to be, so I'm feeling supercharged to get things done right now. I've been incredibly inspired by other photographers and people around me, so I'm ready to put my head down and work hard to pave my own way.

What are some goals you're working on right now?

Ten Photography Tips I Learned During My First Summer Wedding Season

Neha SharmaComment

Since April, I have worked FIFTEEN WEDDINGS.

In my first summer wedding season.

I started out assisting/third shooting in a handful of weddings a year ago just to get a feel for the wedding photography industry. This year, I assisted in a few more at the end of spring, but I second shot most of the weddings I worked throughout the summer. Almost every Saturday came with a new wedding adventure and lessons learned along the way. Even though for years, I always told myself wedding photography was NOT for me, I've come to find that I actually do enjoy it. As a second shooter, I essentially show up on the wedding day to wherever the couple is getting ready, get the cards to shoot on from the primary photographer, shoot all day, give the cards back at the end of the night, and I'm done. I don't edit the photos (though, I have edited some from a few of the weddings for my portfolio), set up any appointments with the bride and groom, or anything else involved in the wedding process. Being a second shooter has worked out well for me because I have my full-time job from Monday through Friday, I shoot the wedding on a Saturday, and then I have Sunday off to relax. Busy life, but it means that I still get to regularly pick up my camera and shoot each week!

I've learned quite a few lessons along the way and feel that it would be useful for ANYONE who is thinking about shooting weddings with another photographer.


Don't forget that you're shooting someone's wedding. There's only one of this day, so producing good quality work is important. If there's anything you need to know from settings to flashes to where to shoot from during the ceremony, ASK THE LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER. Having that communication will ensure that your work is in line with their expectations and that your photos are used in the final set of pictures that go to the couple.


Since I never meet the bride and groom before their actual wedding day, I enjoy chatting with them while I'm shooting pictures of them. It allows for us to be comfortable with each other and for me to get a little insight of what their story is like. Plus, I find that they just light up when they talk about how they met, how he proposed, etc. and that always translates well in photos! I never want to be just some photographer at their wedding; I want to develop a relationship with them throughout the day so I'm part of a really positive wedding experience. Think of it like good customer service. 


DO - wear clothes that are dark and blend in
DON'T - wear bright clothing that stands out (this isn't your show)

That being said, also be sure to dress appropriately for the venue, location, etc. Wearing sandals to a barn wedding definitely wasn't my best idea (I should've worn my cowboy boots to handle the mud), and wearing a lot of layers would've been a terrible choice for the outdoor celebrations, especially the ones that require running around under the hot Texas sun! Luckily, I found an amazing black maxi dress that's dressy while being incredibly lightweight. It's perfect for any venue! Don't forget to generally look put together and professional, too. 


Put your camera, schedule, a pen, and all other necessary items together the night before a wedding. Charge your batteries, format your cards (if you're using your own), and make sure everything is ready to go. If it helps, make a reusable checklist to ensure you don't forget anything. Wedding days can be stressful at times, so having this one task done the night before takes away a little bit of the prep on the actual day. 


I always have a granola bar and a couple Advil and Claritin tablets in my camera bag because you never know when hunger or a headache will strike. If you're shooting an outdoor wedding, HYDRATE! Drink plenty of water before you even get to the venue. It's easy to get overheated in the summer, especially if you're running around all over the place outside. Even though there's a chance you won't even need the medicine or snack, it's good to have just in case.

Above images shot for Tracy Autem & Lightly Photography


Every now and then, you'll leave 45 minutes beforehand to get to a venue that's 30 minutes away to find that traffic is backed up and at a stand still. Check traffic online or in an app if the venue is farther out or if you know there's construction along the way. If you've never been to the venue before, definitely leave early to allow for the one or two (or five) wrong turns that can happen. Better to get there early and have extra time to scope out the place than arrive late and under even more stress!


Chances are, you'll be working with the same people again and again if you're serious about shooting weddings. Introduce yourself to the DJs, videographers, coordinators, etc. It's always nice to see a familiar face at a wedding, so make some friends! If you really like their work and think they did an awesome job, let them know! If I loved every song the DJ played and wanted to get out on the dance floor myself, I make sure to tell them just that!


One of the things I learned after my first time second shooting was not to overshoot. It just means that the lead photographer has even more images to cull through. Getting the same shot a hundred times is unnecessary. Instead, find the moments you want to shoot, and then get a few stills. You also have to be in tune with what's happening around you to make sure you recognize those moments. Naturally, this comes with time. After a few weddings, you start to pick up on those special interactions, details, etc. and it becomes second nature. Before you know it, you'll be spotting those from a mile away and shooting a large quantity of well composed and thoughtful images.


I love getting to see what I shot. I can usually look through the blog post or Facebook album from a wedding and pick out which photos I took. Especially after your first few weddings, ask the lead photographer if you can see the photos and for constructive criticism. Find out what you did well and what you can do to improve on your next wedding. Feedback is so important to grow!


Weddings are a celebration of love and happiness. Don't stress out too much on the day and just go with the flow as much as you can. At receptions, the photographers I work with and I lip sync songs at each other and always do the Wobble when it comes on (and you can definitely find me dancing to Turn Down For What if the DJ plays that). Sure, you're working the wedding, but it doesn't mean you can't have fun along the way! It's a much more enjoyable experience when you really let yourself be part of the couple's celebration. Also, eat a slice of wedding cake when possible. Very important. 

If you're new to the wedding photography game, don't stress out! Be sure to work with photographers who you are comfortable around and always ask them (and yourself) what you can do to get better. Before you know it, second shooting will be like second nature! 

Do you have experience in photographing weddings? What are some things that you've learned along the way? If you'd like more information about specific topics related to shooting weddings, let me know in the comments! 

August Goals

Neha Sharma4 Comments

One thing I've learned about myself is that "big picture goal setting" is not my forte. Sure, the end goal is sparkly and shiny and looks amazing, but that means nothing if I don't have a game plan filled with baby steps in place to reach it. Instead of just saying, "I want to run a 5k," I need those smaller goals like running x amount of miles each day, making sure to eat xyz before/after, etc. to make the big goal seem less daunting and more doable! (Are you like this, too?)

Thus, I'm trying out monthly goals.


I graduated from college over two years ago and my closet still resembles that of someone living on campus. I've been thinking about this for ages, but since I work full-time and second shoot weddings almost every Saturday (gotta love wedding season!), I just haven't had the time to sit down and really dedicate my time to it. Since I have free weekends coming up soon, the time is NOW! I love looking through Caroline's capsule wardrobe posts and videos on YouTube about purging the closet and adding in good quality staple pieces. I feel like having good, age appropriate clothes will make me feel more motivated to get things done during the day! Now, I'll still hold onto some of those TCU shirts, but a majority of my closet will be cleared out!


Two weeks ago, I spontaneously decided to start running again. I've maybe gone running three times since my foot surgery back in December, so it was more of a test to see how well I could do. Surprisingly, I was able to run/walk 2 miles in about half an hour! I know that doesn't sound like much, but for someone who generally loathes running and has a derp foot, that's pretty solid for me. I started thinking about having a goal to run a certain amount of miles in a week, maybe a month. For now, the goal is simply to run more and pair that with eating better. I used to be on a smoothie kick a while back, so I want to get back into that, start meal planning, and generally make better food decisions for my body, inside and out. I want to try throwing some yoga in there, too, especially on the weekends. The ultimate goal here is to be fit, healthy, and feeling great in my own skin.


My sister recently recommended that I read Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. A day or two later, I picked up the aforementioned book and the audiobook as well as another book by Sandberg that I spotted it on the shelf at the library. So far, I'm in chapter three of Lean In and I'm enjoying it quite a lot so far! I highly recommend it to women and have loved listening to the audiobook on my way to work in the mornings. The goal is to finish it and then read the other book I picked up, Lean In for Graduates, by the end of the month! I have a long list of books I want to read, but never prioritize doing it. By having a goal of two books this month, I feel like it's a manageable way of starting to tackle that list!


Hello editorial calendars, planning ahead, and engaging with the community! Every little bit counts here and I've already started thinking about the smaller goals within the big goal. From interacting with other bloggers to sticking to a posting schedule, I want to have some consistency in order to pair pushing out great content while networking and getting to know other people in this wonderful community. This is a major one that I really hope to stick to!

So there you have it! I'll start with these goals and see how it goes throughout the month. If I really like doing the monthly goals, I'll pop another blog post in at the beginning of September with an update on how I did with these goals and another set of monthly goals to tackle!

Do you have any major goals for this month? How do you plan on moving forward with them?

Back in Business

Neha Sharma6 Comments

For a couple months, I decided to take a blogging break. A little hiatus to take a step back, figure out where I want this blog and photo biz to go, and how the heck I want to brand the whole thing.

One thing I didn't anticipate happening is that halfway through my branding overhaul, I panicked. Is this really what I want?? Is this the direction I want to go in?? Does this FEEL right? Do these colors make sense for ME? Who knew that something as simple as a color palette could drive me crazy. From organic lettering to geometric shapes to names, logos, and colors, I started to go nuts. I spent hours, days, and weeks doing research, sketching, planning, and working towards something I was really starting to love and hate all at the same time.

At that point, I took a leap back (or forward, depending on how you look at it). What's important to me as a photographer? What's my message? What brings me joy? What is my ideal client like? Who do I want to shoot for? What makes SENSE for me at this point in my life? Why? Before I can work on my brand, I need to work on what's important to me.

Am I trying to be someone I'm not or am I actually growing into who I want to be? 

After slowly working in the backend of my website over the last 3 months, everything finally feels right. My branding concept is still the same as what I was dreaming about months ago, the direction of my blog and photography makes sense, and I'm happy with it. It's been tough being out of the blogging and blog reading game for the last few months, but I needed it to focus on other things in my life. Everything is falling together the way it's supposed to and I feel so motivated to bring to life the ideas I've been writing down for over a year. 


Moving forward, let's be open and talk about our goals, dream jobs, and strategize how we're going to get there. I want to share my knowledge and help in any way I can, because I feel like we're all in this together. Let's support each other and all experience success in our own ways. Since I also work in digital marketing, I want to share what I've learned with you to help you and your creative business grow. 

A new series that I've been dreaming about is finally about to come to life and I am so ready to see how it's going to help you grow and change the way you think about competition, business, and creativity. Be on the lookout for that and subscribe to my blog on Bloglovin' so you don't miss any updates! 

It feels SO good to be back to blogging after that much needed break to re-evaluate, recharge, and hustle. See you soon with a new post on the branding and website change! 

If there's a topic related to digital marketing or photography that you'd like for me to talk about in a blog post, let me know in the comments below!