I can pretty much go without saying that 2020 was the weirdest years ever. No one stepping into January 1, 2020 could have ever imagined where we would be less than three months later and where we would be a year later.
I do an annual post each year of my top moments of the year. I always pick the year and pick my top numbered moments based on the ending year. I have done this traditional post now for I think 6 years?? So here’s my top 20 for 2020! With less weddings this year, my top 20 shifted a little, but I still have lots of wedding content for this post!
Top 20 of 2020
1) Three Hour Notice to Shoot a Wedding
10/10/2020 was probably the most popular date of the year; and ironically enough I didn’t have a wedding booked for that day. I don’t even think I got a single inquiry for that date, which surprised me. I posted about it in my Instagram stories that day and one of my photography friends, Jessica, saw my post. She is friends with Glen Wilson from Pixel This Photography. I’ve never met Glen, but Jessica called me to ask me if I would be willing to shoot a wedding for Glen as lead shooting with his wife, Becky, second shooting. Y’all following me??
I called Glen and told him I’d help him out, so I quickly got showered and dressed and hopped in the car to drive up to the gorgeous Chateau Elan. I love this gorgeous venue so much!! Sweet Emily, the bride, was the best! She took the day in stride and did an amazing job not stressing over the fact that her photographer and even wedding planner were not there for her wedding day.
2) Shot My Brother-in-Law’s Wedding
As an Atlanta wedding photographer, I have shot many, many weddings in our city; and even have shot weddings for three of my cousins! A lot of photographers will tell you that it’s not a good idea to shoot for family members as you end up working more on the day than actually getting to enjoy the day, but I personally love shooting for my family members. I get to be a part of the whole day that I wouldn’t have been there for and capture memories for my family. I always bring a second shooter with me so I can jump into the family pictures and so that I can
I was super blessed to have been able to shoot Michael and Esther’s wedding in August! I loved getting to be a part of their special day in such a special way. It was such a fun way to be a part of my brother-in-law’s wedding, whom I have known since he was in the 8th grade!
3) Shot Engagement Pictures for Two of My Former Students
Most of you know I am a former middle school teacher. I taught for 7 years and have been out now for 7 years, which is nuts when I think about it! My first group of students are 14 years older and many of them are getting engaged, getting married, and having their own children! This year, I got to shoot engagement pictures for two of my former students! While I love all of my brides, I especially love getting to take pictures for my old kids!
Sarah and Miguel are getting married this April. I can’t wait to shoot their wedding in a couple of months!
I shot Jackie and Chase’s engagement pictures this fall and had an amazing time getting to know them as a couple!
4) Shot Two Lord of the Rings Themed Weddings
I have never shot a Lord of the Rings themed wedding in all of my years of shooting and ended up shooting two of them this year! The first one was semi-LOTR themed. This one is my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding I already shared. Esther is a huge LOTR fan, so much so that she has a tattoo on her back of the White Tree of Gondor. Esther walked down the aisle to LOTR music.
I shot this wedding for Amanda Prior of A. Bloch Photo in October due to a last minute covid diagnosis. Their wedding was 100% LOTR themed and super fun! They had wedding details LOTR themed and even had their own LOTR swords from the book/movie! It was so cool!
5) Took All Pictures Outside in the Rain in 10 Minutes
This is the same wedding I shot for A. Bloch Photo. It POURED almost the entire day. We had a short part of the day that it rained to where it wasn’t pouring. We ran down the road to Sope Creek Trail for their First Look, couple portraits, and wedding party pictures. Y’all, I did these in 10 minutes… and in the rain… and with umbrellas! I have never worked so quickly to get pictures done! Days like this I’m thankful that I own 8 clear umbrellas to use for clients!
6) Second Shot More Weddings Than Shot of My Own
This year was a weird year. I usually only shoot around 12-15 weddings each year. With covid, I only ended up with 7 for myself, with 3 moving to 2021, so I only shot 4 of my own Mandi Mitchell Photography weddings. It was such a weird year for me in that. I have second shot often for other friends, but 2020 takes the cake… haha. I second shot for many friends this fall and lead shot for two photographers who needed me to take over weddings. I had the opportunity to do a few more that I ended up turning down for various reasons. I had a ton of fun second shooting for my friends this season!
7) Halloween Themed Wedding
I shot a wedding on Halloween this year! I have been shooting for 13 years and never have shot a wedding on Halloween. Shea and Kyle didn’t have a necessarily Halloween themed wedding, but they had small Halloween touches for the day. Their parting gifts were Halloween themed glasses. And their cake topper was a skeleton! We also made sure to take pictures during the Blue Moon as well, which was very Halloween-looking!
8) Shooting Four Days After Gallbladder Surgery
If you know me personally or follow me on my Instagram, you saw that right before Thanksgiving I had emergency gallbladder surgery. Monday night before Thanksgiving, I had the WORST pain ever! I waited about 5 hours in pain at home prior hoping it would go away to finally deciding to head to the hospital at 1am to get checked out. 24 hours after the initial onset of symptoms, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder. I spent half of the day in the hospital on Wednesday and rested at home on Thanksgiving and Friday. I was scheduled to shoot a vow renewal the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I called my second shooter, Evie, to see if she could take over for me if I couldn’t make it, and thank goodness she was available. I ended up feeling well enough to go to the renewal, but I still had Evie come and pick me up and be there to assist and help me. I am glad I was able to still shoot it! Had it been a full day wedding and not 2.5 hours of shooting, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
9) Most Successful Fall Mini’s
This year was my most successful year of shooting fall mini’s. I shot more this year than I have ever done prior and am so thankful for my clients who trust me from year to year doing pictures for them! I did four new locations this year and had a blast at all three of them! I did sunflower mini’s at Fausett Farms in Dawsonville, East Cobb Park, Roswell Square, and Lullwater Preserve.
10) Got a New Camera
For years I have been wanting to get a mirrorless camera. Sony has some amazing mirrorless cameras, but I honestly didn’t want to switch from Nikon to Sony. Nikon came out with some awesome mirrorless camera options a couple of years ago, but none of them had dual memory card slots. As a wedding photographer, especially, it is important to have two memory card slots. If one of my cards corrupt, get broken, or get lost, I have the rest of the wedding on the other card. Well, Nikon came out with new versions of their mirrorless camera with DUAL SLOTS! I ordered my new Nikon z6ii the day it came out and LOVE IT! I have shot many sessions and lots of my kids with this new camera! I can’t wait to shoot my first wedding using it this spring!
11) Shot Three Epic Proposals
I had the opportunity to shoot three really awesome proposals this year, two of which were at the same location. I love shooting proposals and had a blast getting to capture these moments for these sweet couples!
12) Taught for Two Amy-Cole Workshops
Amy Sullins of Amy-Cole Photography is an amazing photography educator in Atlanta and one of my good friends. She asked me to teach at her virtual workshop. I taught about blogging and second shooting. Very fitting that I taught about second shooting seeing as I second shot so much this past year! I also helped mentor and took pictures for her in person workshop a month later! It was a fun fall getting to teach and educate other photographers!
13) Second Shot a Double Sister Wedding
In all of my years of shooting weddings, I have never shot a double sister wedding! I second shot a double sister wedding with Rochael Photography in October and had a blast! It was so cool getting to take pictures for one of the sisters while Rochael took the other sister. We did a lot of pictures together throughout the day as well. It was such a cool experience! I’d love to do something like that again!
14) Launched My New Site
In January of last year, I launched my new website look! I love the new look and cannot believe it’s been a year already since I launched my new site! If you haven’t looked through the whole site yet, feel free to check it out!
15) Traveled Six Hours Roundtrip for an Engagement Session
I traveled to Providence Canyon earlier in the summer with my son, Levi. I had always wanted to visit Providence Canyon and had always wanted to check it out for a photo shoot, so when I finally made it this summer, I knew I HAD to do an engagement session or styled shoot there sometime. When Anna Marie and Austin were discussing locations for their engagement session, I threw out Providence Canyon and they were all about it! We drove six hours roundtrip for this session and it was worth it!!
16) Boudoir Marathon
I have only shot one boudoir session ever and have been itching to do another one, so I set up a boudoir marathon in December with 5 of my brides/former clients. I had SO MUCH FUN getting to do these shoots for the ladies to give to their guys. I really hope to be able to grow these sessions more into my business!
17) Lil Dicky Commented on My Instagram
I make a handmade gift for all of my clients that I give them on their wedding day, Kelsey and AJ included. It is a drawing that always relates to them as a couple whether it’s how they met, where they got married, or even a fun sports “house divided” drawing. Kelsey and AJ’s meeting was very similar to how many of my couple today meet, through a dating app; but how AJ found this app is the funny part of the story! AJ was listening to a song from Lil Dicky that mentions the dating app, Hinge, at the end of the song. He had never heard of it, so decided to check it out. Shortly after joining Hinge, AJ found Kelsey and the rest is history! So I made them a hand lettered version of this line of the song. I can say with almost certainty that this was the first time a line from a Lil Dicky song was taken and made into a pretty hand lettered drawing! haha. I shared it on my Instagram and Lil Dicky commented on the post after I had tagged him!
18) Lots of Amazing “Lockdown” Pictures of My Kiddos
We were stuck at home like everyone else for a while in the spring. It was a weird time, but also a fun time for our family. We did school at home, but it only took us a couple of hours each day, so we spent the rest of the time doing a lot of fun activities. We learned about different countries almost daily for a month. We did fun scavenger hunts and field day activities. We went on a lot of hikes. We tried new foods. We went to fun new outdoor locations in the Atlanta area. Some days I want to homeschool just to have more flexibility in our schedule like we did in the spring! haha
19) Weddings Had a New Look
Weddings this year had a new look to them. From micro weddings to wearing masks to Zoom/Facetime with family members to smaller than anticipated weddings to no more self-serve buffet lines to rescheduling 3 times, weddings looked very different this year! Despite all of that, I am very thankful for my clients and myself to the ones who were able to get married this year and have their weddings!
20) Word of 2020: Flexibility
As a wedding photographer with weddings on the calendar for 2020, it was all about flexibility and pivoting! I have had so many phone calls, texts, and emails with clients this year with rescheduling, changes, moving things. I have felt it so much for my brides. Many of them got married in a smaller ceremony to plan their big party for 2021, so praying that those will still happen for my girls. Many cancelled or rescheduled spring sessions for my family photo clients. And just flexibility in my personal life! My husband started working from home in March and hasn’t been back to the office since. Levi was virtual school in the spring and I had to sit with him the entire time and assist in everything since we only did two 30 minute Zoom calls a week. I had to be okay with Abigail not going to school in the fall like we had planned. There was so much that got changed in 2020, and I know many more were impacted deeper than I ever was. Flexibility and a good attitude are what was needed to survive 2020 sane! haha! Still working on it at the beginning of this year as we are starting back this semester doing virtual school again and I’m working. But we will make it! We all will. Here’s to 2021 and the goal of getting back to the way things were. 🙂