Wedding Photographer in MD | 2016 Goals

Posted on Jan 1, 2016 in Jennifer Smutek Photography | 2 Comments

confetti drop at your weddingWell, here we are… 2016!!!!! Happy New Year!

I’m not normally one to make New Years resolutions. I know that they rarely stick and I’m the type of person that likes to work on things on and off throughout the year. However, I do always have a few goals that I would like to complete and, to me, goals are much easier to reach than trying to maintain a resolution, so to speak.

2015 Goals

still life of applesLast year, my goal was to complete a Project 52 Photography Challenge. And while some weeks were easier than others, and I’m still finalizing my last few images from 2015- overall, it went well! (I can’t wait to share the final gallery with you next week!)

I also had some personal goals I wanted to do:

  • Take a kickboxing class (check)
  • Start hiking (check)
  • Spend more time with my family (fail)


Wedding Photographer in MD | 2016 Goals

This year, I’ve decided to get a bit more organized and make a list of formal personal, professional and creative goals for 2016- things I plan to work on throughout the year!

2016 Personal Goals


  1. No More “Mom Car”  Seriously. In the five years that I have been a mom, my car has taken on some serious abuse. No more cheerio dust covering every inch of the interior. Or, at the very least, I will carry everything in after each outing. My goal this year is that when Emily wants to a ride from the first venue to the second, I won’t need to move the trash & action figures from the front seat to the back seat to do so.Rodgers Farm Maryland
  2. Run a Sub-33 Minute 5k As a runner, I’ve never really been interested in speed as I’m definitely the tortoise of my running groups. I can honestly say that I’ve come in LAST at more than one race, and am often beaten by people in their 80s. (Whatever, I’m having fun!) I’ve always preferred distance over speed. However, I would like to finally see if I can push myself for a speed goal and a sub- 33 minute 5K is on my “to do” list.baltimore photographer
  3. Twelve Hikes Last year, I made a personal goal to start hiking, and I did! (Thanks to Maggie & Chris for the inspiration to get started) Unfortunately, with my super busy schedule, I only got out a few times and I want to make a commitment this year to go out more. I can hike once a month this year, or at least the equivalent of once a month! Anyone what a hiking buddy?IMG_8720
  4. Spend More Time with the Hubs As it turns out, after you have kids (especially one with autism), it is pretty challenging to spend time alone with your spouse. It seems one of us is always working or we are doing something together with our little man. Last year, the hubs and I did manage to have a few dinners together, and we even had two day-outings! This year, I’d like to see us have an outing and dinner together at least once a month. We can do that… right? Okay, maybe every other month. More than twice. Yes, at least more than twice. Baltimore_Museum_of_Industry_wedding-277
  5. Give Back This last goal falls really in both the Personal and Professional Goals category. Before we had our son, I used to provide photography services to a local non-profit. Once I became a mom, my focus (appropriately) became more about our son and I wasn’t giving back the way I used to. Now that the parenting dust has settled a bit, I want to use my skills to give back more. Last year, I signed up to volunteer with Magic Hour. Magic Hour is a non-profit that matches photographers with people and families who are touched by cancer, to provide them with a free photography session. I had my first Magic Hour session in December and it was a fantastic experience. If you are a photographer, who is looking to give back, I highly recommend signing up with Magic Hour. Additionally, I would also like to find a way to provide my services to special needs families. I know that for most special needs families, professional photography is not something that is attainable; I’d like to find a way to make sure that more special needs families have access to professional photography.firefly
  6. Invest on Experiences Now that our son is older, my focus this year is to focus more on experiences, rather than things. We don’t need any new toys or computers, but we do need more time outside, more time together and more time exploring the world and each other. Hopefully this year we will take more day trips and spend our money on things that add value to lives, rather than clutter to our house.

 2016 Professional Goals

ring shots nikon 105 micro

  1. Shoot (a lot) Less I know you think you read that wrong, but yes, shooting less is one of my goals this year! The past few years, my son had been in a half-day school program, which meant that he was home a good bit, during the week. This meant, that in order for me to give each of my wedding clients the experience they deserve, I took on less of my own weddings and second shot more weddings, with other photographers, on the weekends. Last year, I photographed a total of 45 weddings and events, between my clients and my second shooting jobs. This year, now that my son is in a full-day program, I plan to photograph more of my own weddings and take on less second shooting jobs, to allow for more weekend time with my family.
    Project 52
  2. Organized Workflow Last year, I got tired of managing my client workflow with a spreadsheet, and I signed up for 17 Hats. 17 Hats is a client & project management system, that has completely changed my workflow. My goal this year is to fine tune my workflow and maximize all of the benefits that 17 Hats has to offer. If you are a photographer and are considering a client management system- you can use my referral code for a free trial!
  3. Learn QuickBooks No, really. I promise. This year is the year. (If my accountant, Ryan, is reading this, please stop rolling your eyes)Swan_harbor_farm_wedding-262
  4. Network This is something that I have been getting better at over the last few years. There are so many wonderful people in my industry and in the wedding industry as a whole, and I would like to get to know them more. This year, I will attend at least 5 networking events. Did you read that?.. FIVE. I can totally do that… right?

2016 Creative Goals

bride getting readyMy goal here is to simply be more creative.

Paint with my son. Dance in the kitchen. Make things. Bake.

Last year I did the Project 52 Photography Challenge. And, the thing that I took away most from that, is that somewhere along the line, I’ve lost my creative streak.DSC_1757

This year, I’ll be doing a different photography challenge (details later this week) and I really want to focus on the way I see things and to better utilize the tools that I have to create the things that I envision.

So here, I won’t be listing a set of goals per-say- but I will be participating in a new creative photography challenge, which should help me better myself technically and creatively.

So, bring it on 2016! I’m ready!!!



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  1. Brea
    January 1, 2016

    These are such great goals! I can’t wait to see where 2016 takes you. I’m so thankful to have you as a friend!

  2. Emily
    January 1, 2016

    Hahahahaha the “mom car” one is clearly the best here… But in all seriousness, these are great goals and good for you for writing them down! 2016 is going to rock!


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