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concerning new chapters…

Today is my 27th birthday. This is a big deal. It’s not a big deal because it’s my birthday— I absolutely detest being the center of attention, so a public celebration is out of the question. It’s a big deal for other reasons, that I won’t expound upon at the moment. Let’s just say that I’ve looked forward to being 27 since I was 15, so right now I’m a pretty happy girl.

I spent an hour or so at a coffee shop yesterday morning, to think, process, and write. I loooooove new chapters in life— new years, new journals, birthdays, anniversaries— because it gives me the chance to stop, look back, and to hope/dream forward. I wrote out four lists for myself, and my goals for the year. Twenty-seven is a big year for me, so it’s worth taking time to think about.


Personal Goals

  • Learn to love running (and exercise in general)
  • Spend regular time with family
  • Establish (and maintain) a healthy budget
  • Memorize Ephesians (halfway through chapter 2!)
  • Pray more, talk less
  • Read through the Bible 
  • Write more— once every two weeks
  • Slow down. Remember to savor life, and then do it.
  • Lose ten pounds
  • Go on two vacations— one with family, one alone.
  • Characterized by joyful contentment


Business Goals

  • Shoot 25 weddings and 40 portrait sessions
  • Hire part-time office manager
  • Work with two interns
  • Re-work pricing structure (move to à la Carte by April)
  • Stay better connected with my clients
  • Master good business systems
  • Promo video
  • Update (overhaul?) website
  • Do a mentorship of some sort (Mike Larson? Zach & Jody Gray?)
  • Start & launch a formal mentorship of some sort, specifically for weddings (start by July)
  • Specialize— figure out what I’m best at, and base my entire business model on that work
  • Business insurance
  • Create a good work space / environment
  • Replace camera / update back-up equipment
  • Purchase 1-2 zoom lenses and 2 primes
  • Find good equipment transport cases
  • Network with more DC-area wedding professionals
  • Foster and invest in the photography community, both locally and online (Showit and P31)
  • Schedule!!
  • Establish (and stick to) set work hours
  • Master reception lighting
  • Hire someone to evaluate my brand


“To Be” List

  • Thoughtful & sincere, warm & loving
  • The woman who has time to listen, care for, and love on people
  • Faithful
  • Disciplined
  • Deep (don’t let my busyness and stress suppress my sensitivity and care)
  • More grounded, less crazy



  • Canon 1DX and Canon 5D Mk3
  • Visit Italy
  • Shoot one destination wedding
  • Be everything on my “to be” list
  • Start speaking at photography meetings, conventions, etc.

.  .  .

So that’s what I hope for / plan for my 27th year of life. How about you? Any new dates or chapters coming up?

comments +

  1. Hannah Nicole

    February 25th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    This was so encouraging to read, Sarah! Praying that this year would be blessed beyond measure for you. 🙂

  2. Krissy

    February 25th, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I also love new “chapters”. I’m all about special days. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. They are “benchmarks” for me, I guess. Sometimes I work backwards though. Instead of creating goals, I’ll look back at a year and try to figure out how I’ve changed, or what things I’ve accomplished, what things I can add to my “Firsts” list. I’m about to add hang gliding! I’ve really been able to look at me and my life now and see the Grace of God all over it in the way I’ve grown in some areas. It blows me away sometimes. God is so good. It is so encouraging, after the way I can look at myself and come down hard on myself in all the areas I mess up. Keep on making progress, girl!

  3. Tori

    February 25th, 2012 at 10:32 am

    you inspire me to get more specific and dream bigger when setting goals.

  4. sarah (ampersand photography)

    March 4th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    thanks for your encouragement, friend.

  5. Johnna King

    February 25th, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Wow Sarah, some amazing goals!! Good for you!! Take each one a little slice at a time. God is using you each moment and that is awesome to relish in all of those divine appointments. =)

  6. Allix B.

    February 25th, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Happy Birthday Sarah <3 🙂

  7. Vanessa

    February 25th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    You inspire me. That is all. 🙂

  8. Amy

    February 26th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    LOVE that come to Italy made the list. Can’t wait to have you here!

  9. Rici

    February 26th, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Dear Sarah! I wish you the Lords blessings for the new year ahead of you! Happy birthday! I really liked to read through your lists. Love them! Especially the Italy part 😉 Amy wrote me an e-mail last week and I was overly happy! Many, many greetings (this time from Germany) Rici.

  10. karen a.

    February 27th, 2012 at 7:35 am

    so awesome sarah! the way you integrate and intertwine your faith throughtout your entire life (personal, business, family, etc.) is so inspiring and encouraging! i love the way you are so open and intentional about your faith. i absolutely loved my 27th year, so i am praying that it will be wonderful for you!!

  11. Laurajane

    February 27th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    happy past birthday!!! that is one big list. if i could just pick up and move myself to DC i would totally be your office assistant. and i’m pretty sure that you’re already all of the things on your “to be” list, especially the first one.

  12. sarah (ampersand photography)

    March 4th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    thanks for your encouragement, Laura!

  13. Hanneke

    March 4th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Great post! Makes me wanna create a list of new goals too! 🙂

  14. Thursday Q & A // 2013 Goals & Planning » Ampersand Photography | Blog

    January 3rd, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    […] 2013 goals yet. Thankfully there’s no official deadline for them (I didn’t finalize my 2012 goals until the end of February!). For the past ten years or so, I’ve used a list of questions by […]

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Hello, I'm Sarah Bradshaw! Classic-obsessed, coffee-loving D.C. wedding photographer. I’ photograph because I believe that all of life is beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.

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