When you have an idea, a big idea, it’s hard to know where to start sometimes. And writing this blog post today is no different because I’m so excited to share with everyone the “big idea” that I’ve been secretly working on behind the scenes here for the past several months.

You know, I can’t even say when it started, but I’ve just had this feeling that there needed to be something more within the wedding photography industry. A better way to “be”. At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. So I’d write myself a little note here, another thought there. I wrote down so much of what has on my heart and tried to formulate an idea of how all those thoughts could manifest themselves into something greater. And then all that ended up crumpled on the floor, several times, as I tried again to make it clear.

As all these thoughts swirled around in my head, I was fortunate to have the mentoring and guidance of some of the photographers I’ve looked up to and gotten to know over the years. People like Mary Marantz, Katelyn James, and Melissa Jill (to name a few) were instrumental in helping me clear the clutter and find a path when I was too bogged down and too close to the details of it all. What came from all my brainstorming and all my hopes for the wedding photography industry is what I’ve been working on.

I am so thrilled to finally announce The Second Shooter Society!

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Of course, the natural question then is just what is that? The short answer is that The Second Shooter Society was created to be the leading resource for growing wedding photographers to find support, education, and opportunities as interns, assistants, associates, and second shooters.

The longer answer lies in the “why” behind it all. Over the years, I had the same struggles and self-doubt as any other beginning photographer. Am I good enough? Is it worth all the time and effort? Will I succeed? I also had difficulty finding a reliable way to hire second shooters during wedding season. What if my usual choices weren’t available? Will my friends share their recommendations? Will Facebook postings and scouring websites result in any good matches?

Of course we also all learn that being a good photographer is more than just taking good photos. It’s doing things like helping a bride repair her dress when she was in tears because it ripped early in the day. It’s taking photos that are the last photos a family has together before a loved one passed away. It’s seeing my second shooter calm a mother by showing a sneak peek on the back of her camera to reassure her that photos weren’t going to be ruined just because power had been knocked out for the entire reception.

A big part of my success has been exceptionally serving my clients like this and in so many other ways. Which means I need to work with second shooters who share those same values. Who can best represent my business, who can provide the same care and thoughtfulness, and who can capture photos with the same anticipation and excitement.

Recently, I realized that all these are related. The new photographer looking to grow, the established photographer looking for help, the clients needing our very best – it’s all related because it’s all about making a connection and serving others. I realized there needed to be a better solution for all of us.

That’s where The Second Shooter Society was created. To create a resource for the new photographer to be welcomed and embraced. To have a thoughtful platform to make connections between photographers. To raise others up through education and community. Because at the heart of it all, if we can create a better community and a more educated industry of photographers, then we can better connect and serve one another (and our clients) when it comes to working together on wedding days!

So I welcome you to check out our sneak peek! As we prepare for our full launch, I invite you to download our free ebook and learn about “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received” from myself along with some of the industry’s top leaders including Abby Grace, Amy and Jordan Demos, Caroline Logan, Erin Youngren, Jamie Delaine, Jasmine Star, Katelyn James, Mary Marantz, and Melissa Jill. Come see what has most impacted their growth as a photographer over the years and has helped them achieve some of the success they enjoy today.

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In the meantime, I can’t wait to celebrate all within our industry and lift up those around us as we all continue to grow as wedding photographers!

 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Kimberly Haydn - This is SUCH an amazing idea! It’s great that you want to encourage other photographers. I will be bookmarking your site for some of my clients that are hoping to break into wedding photography!

  • Kaylina - LOVE THIS! Such a great idea – I wish this was around for me when I was starting! Downloaded the e-book and can’t wait to see what’s in store for TSSS!

  • Molly Bonds - Love this! We actually did a mentor program with another local photographer and we found it to be a huge help. Anything that we were lacking was supported and we gained a wonderful community of support in the process.

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One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that we can’t do everything ourselves. And that running your own business can be lonely. I’m not a great networker and the idea of going to networking events makes me come up with a million other things that can be done instead. What I’ve also found though is that having a community of like-minded people is refreshing, can offer new perspectives that I hadn’t considered, and it just more fun. I’m part of so many photography groups on Facebook – both local and national – but the ones I appreciate the most are the ones that are active and welcoming. Educational and social. Ones that offer dynamic benefits for being involved.

One of the groups I really like is Shoot and Share – Northern Virginia. We have a pretty active online group, but our monthly meetings were on hiatus for most of last year. Which is a shame because they were awesome! But the good news is that we’re ready to restart it all! My friend, Sarah Beth, and I are co-leaders of the group now and we’ll be brainstorming a bunch of new ideas for what we’ll be doing throughout this year.

But we also want to hear from our members! So to kick off 2016 we’ll be having a more social meeting for all of us to reconnect and welcome in anyone new. We’ll also be talking about what our monthly meeting themes should be. If you’re a local Northern Virginia photographer, we’d love to have you join us!

You can find out group and details about the upcoming meeting here on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/shootandsharenorthernva/

If you’re already part of the group, make sure you mark your calendars to join us! We can’t wait to see everyone again!

 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Most people wouldn’t think of January as a good time for engagement photos, but really it can be great. There’s usually not as many people in all the popular locations, the sun still shines, and you can be lucky to get semi-warm days! Or at least days that are tolerable when you get all bundled up in your new riding boots and blanket scarves, right? If you pick locations like Old Town Alexandria, you can take advantage of the charming brick buildings, the waterfront, and other areas that don’t just depend on having trees in bloom to make them pretty or interesting.

So that’s exactly where I met up with Lauren and Thad this weekend! We hit up just about all those locations and didn’t have any other photographers to work around (which can be a real problem in spring and fall)! Although the day was generally cloudy, the sun tried to peek through a few times and was definitely a warm enough day that our fingers didn’t freeze and Lauren and Thad never looked like they were cold in their photos. I’ll take that as a win for sure!!

I had so much fun getting to know them more and chatting about their wedding! It’s coming up later this summer and they are so on point with their planning. It sounds like it’s going to be a super fun and relaxed down-home type of celebration and I can’t wait to see them again then. In the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite from their winter engagement pictures in Old Town Alexandria!

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

Winter Engagement Photos in Old Town Alexandria VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Edwina - Oooh! I just love this Alexandria engagement session! The reds with the brick and pops of green?? Love it!

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had fantastic holidays with your families filled with rest, lots of cookies, and zero guilt for all the indulgences! Just based on the social media posts from my friends there were more than a few babies and engagements, so I’m excited for all those who are starting new chapters in their lives with the new year!

I may have enjoyed the holidays to unwind, but my first week of January is starting off strong here! Yesterday I drove down to Richmond with my friend, Marirosa, to celebrate at the Creative at Heart birthday bash. I’ve never been to their conference, but a few friends speak at it and I hear such good things from those who go. I’ve been on the fence about going myself, so the party yesterday was a good introduction to it all. I might have to find a way to get involved in the Annapolis event later this spring.

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Later this week I’ll be joining my photography and industry friends again at the Event, put on by Justin and Mary! It’s going to be a LONG day filled with some amazing speakers, and I can’t wait to hopefully learn some new things to kick start 2016. Plus I’ve been working on a secret project recently (I know vague, but more on that soon!), and I want to show Mary what’s been in the works since I talked with her about it a few weeks ago. There will be a number of people at the Event who I want to meet there to introduce them to the idea too in hopes of some future collaborations.

Lastly I’ll finish out the week with an eagerly anticipated mentoring session with Katelyn James. Yep, all for the secret project. It is going to be the scariest thing I’ve done with my business and so I really want to be sure I’m doing things right. The fear of stepping out like I plan to do is paralyzing sometimes, so I’m trying to be as prepared and educated as possible and get all points of view as I gear up for my launch!

So, no rest for me now that it’s January! I’m ready to go!!
 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

One year ago today, they said their vows and joined in marriage at their wedding at Carmello’s in Manassas, VA!
Happy first anniversary, Normi and Randy!

A Carmello's Wedding in Manassas VA First Anniversary | Kelly Ewell Photography

 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.