Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding & portrait photographer & educator serving Charlottesville VA & DC. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!
Manali Photography is a wedding & couples' photography business based out of Charlottesville, VA. When she's not making couples laugh or teaching other photographers how to save time in their biz, you can find her at a vineyard with wine & cheese in hand toasting with friends & family!
To celebrate my 24th birthday I figured I’d do something more personal and fun on the blog today! I’m not a huge birthday person and I actually was very meh about my birthday last year because I had some really big life goals that I was looking to hit in the upcoming year and that I felt I couldn’t really celebrate until I achieved those milestones! That probably sounds weird but I had an idea that this year was going to be one of the best ones yet and I’d say looking back, it definitely was!! With every year there’s always ups and downs but as I was going back through the last 12 months, I absolutely LOVE what most of life has looked like and wanted to share some of my favorite moments from this past year:
GOING FULL TIME WITH MY BUSINESS!!! I’m not going to lie, the months leading up to this were some of the toughest ever but I can safely say looking back that this decision was 100% the right one to make even when it scared me in the moment and I’m so glad that I did because I don’t think I’d be where I am today without taking the leap!
Visiting NYC, New Orleans, India & Dubai, Charleston, Winston-Salem again, Toronto and now NYC again! I absolutely love traveling and although I get to do a decent amount of it for weddings, I love traveling to new cities and places where I get to explore even more! I was so incredibly grateful to be able to take time off and spend it in India with my family because I know that those are rare and special memories that are going to mean a lot to me down the road
The flexibility of working from home as I want!
Seeing growth in the business recently and also thinking intentionally about what I want life to look like 5 to 10 years from now as well!
Getting back into Bhangra: dancing at a ton of gigs in the spring, competing with my alumni team, UVA di Shaan, at Championships of Bhangra and now getting back into the practice grind with DCBC!
Living at home was very different than what I expected, mostly in a good way!
This truly was the year of wineries with being able to visit all of the following ones and some, multiple times over! Stone Tower, Bull Run, District Winery, Morais Vineyards, Boxwood Winery, Blenheim, King Family, Keswick, Castle Hill Cider, Blue Valley, Veritas, Prince Michel’s at Carter’s Mountain Orchard
Getting to go to Creative at Heart Conference not once but twice in 1 year! I have always dreamed of going and it was fun making it a reality and seeing how much my business had changed from the first round to the second within just about 9 months 🙂
Getting published in Washingtonian is a pipe dream kinda goal come true!
Really defining a personal aesthetic and simplifying both my space and my wardrobe and keeping only things that have significance to me.
Traveling back to Charlottesville often and getting to experience more of it as a post grad! I absolutely fall back in love with it every time I go and there’s always something new to try out!
NYC birthday trip!! More to come on this later since it’s this upcoming weekend but I have a feeling this will be one to remember!
Tubing on the James River again, can we make this a yearly tradition?
And speaking of traditions, multiple Nandos trips with my family and my best friend
Getting onto the Bold Rock Instagram and loving both the Ginger Turmeric and Harvest Haze editions!
This was the year that I started to love cooking and really mastered the perfect taco recipe
Hosting my first photography business workshop! I can’t believe I was able to make this happen within the second year of my business but I’m really glad I did! Can’t wait for all the future ones and I can only hope they get even better and better!
Speaking of, one of my favorite parts of running the business is actually making real life friiendships with other photographers
Watching Sohum graduate from UVA was so much more emotional for me than my own graduation!! It finally hit me that it had been 2 years since graduating and that life is going by quickly!
This is probably weird for other people but being really intentional about making sure I drank enough water every day and seeing it really positively impact my every day!
Another goal for this year has been to get back into reading and so far I’ve been going almost completely steady on reading 2 books a month and I hope to continue the trend! The same actually goes for keeping a list of 10 things I’m grateful for and journaling every day
Cheering on the Hoos with my hoos! Watching UVA win the championship in JPJ is something that I’ll NEVER forget!! Oh and I managed to snag a picture with Cav Man which was pretty cool!!
Going through professional branding for photography and translating it into a new website that finally feels like it fits! Also I’m proud of figuring out how to balance business and life a little better than I have in the past!
Thank you Jontell for the headshot! That’s all for this year, we’ll have to see if I can bring it back next year and top the list! If you enjoyed this post, you should follow along on Instagram and check out these posts as well: