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Self-reflection is a funny thing. Something that is meant to create a positive awareness in people can also be the culprit of some pretty scary inner-dialogue. But hell, why even put it under one umbrella? I think at any given time self-reflection can be scary, humbling, helpful, assertive, motivating and reassuring all at once.

I think part of running your own business requires a bit of self-reflection daily — am I being a responsible, reliable, and trusting business owner? am I performing my best at all times? am I staying true to my core values? am I finding the work-life balance that I need without letting anyone suffer because of it? However, self-reflection as an artist is even more important  — and it’s also where the scary stuff comes in. In hopes of not sounding “woe is me”, it’s one of the things I’ve struggled with the most this year. It was an amazing year filled with so many lovely clients, but I feel like I’ve been spinning around in an anti-gravity chamber not really knowing which way is up….or if there even IS an up. Not that I’m thinking of deviating from photography by any means, but rather defining WHO I am as an artist…. And this goes far beyond what my style is, but rather what do I evoke out of people when they see my images? how do I become a better storyteller? am I putting the talents I’ve been given to use, and fully? do I create impactful, meaningful images? will my clients look at these in 40 years and remember how they FELT? how can I be more objective with my own work? does anyone even care? am I overthinking this again? <— this was a typical Tuesday night after slipping into bed. So yea…this seemingly constructive exercise all of the sudden becomes super overwhelming (you can thank my anxiety-prone brain for that one) and it’s where a lot of my sleepless nights have come from.

Either way, one of my goals for next year is to take a much, much active role in defining this “who”. Why am I drawn to certain styles, aesthetics, etc.? Why do I choose the frames that I do, what makes them work, what doesn’t? Could I have shot this differently to make it even more impactful? I want to push past creating a sustainable business and begin to define what I do and why I do it. Maybe it sounds like added pressure or too analytical, but it’s also the result of wanting to do better, be better, and create better work for those who choose to hire me. I see these things as goals, not pressures.

So, that’s where this little exercise came in. A few weeks ago I blindly asked on Facebook for people to give me words (anything — nouns, adjectives, verbs) and I would pick a few at random and do my best to cater this “Best of 2016” blog post around those words. Holy hell was this hard….so hard, but so good for me. I knew it would be since it was so open-ended, but if anything, it gave me a REAL solid look into the narrative behind my images. This is exactly what I wanted…a little push out of the ‘ol comfort zone.

I learned a few things doing this. I learned pretty quickly that some of the combinations may seem disconnected for “outsiders” (i.e. backstories were crucial when you’re separating a single image from it’s set) but I decided to not care about that. I also decided not to care if some of these were super literal (maybe even silly)….I just tried to instinctively put images and words together — no second guessing them.  I also decided the word didnt need to necessarily describe the content — but the feeling, maybe a camera technique, or even how I felt shooting it. Lastly, there were some images I felt could fall into a few different categories, but again, went with instinctual choices over making this post mind-blowinging amazing. Overall, this was a really interesting and fun challenge for me. Also, as much as I would have loved to do all 72 words, this post would have been ginormous, so I threw them into a randomizer app and out popped these. Thanks to those of you who contributed and I hope you guys enjoy it.

2016 curated by a bunch of random words:

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SPARK

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  • Lidia Flanigan - These are incredible, Carina!! Thank you for sharing so beautifully!ReplyCancel

  • Juliette Laura - WOW! I rarely click the link when someone I follow on insta shares a post, but I thought this one sounded so cool, and I am SO in love with it. So much beauty. You are endlessly talented! Love!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea Dier - This is an amazing way to recap the year. And the fact you had images for all of them shows your talent and your ability to capture anything and everything. Absolutely love this!ReplyCancel

  • Claudia B - I loved this. What a great way to do a recap! Happy 2017 Carina!ReplyCancel

  • Brianne - LOVE this little round up, lady! Such perfection on so many topics. And love seeing my good friends Nikki and Henry up there ;) Cheers to 2017!ReplyCancel

  • Sonya - You’re one amazing photographer, Carina!ReplyCancel

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A sunny Friday evening spent with great company in one of the most gorgeous spots — Camano Island. Catching that last light, enjoying some wine, beach strolls with your person…no better way to kick off a weekend. Zoe & Cory: thanks for inviting me up to your happy place. View full post »

  • Lauren Apel - OMG DEAD. these are beautiful, Carina. that opening image is just dripping in golds and silvers.ReplyCancel

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What a weekend. Back in May I was invited to come join Nevin & Serina and their closest family and friends in Palm Springs for an epic wedding weekend. It would be 3 days, combining both Hindu & Christian traditions, a Sangeet night, a full wedding day, and multiple other festivities to keep their guests entertained. How could I pass that up? I’ve also gotten to know Nevin quite well over the last few years as both he and my good friend Lizzy are the masterminds behind the infamous Blueprint Registry, so being able to shoot for people I know personally was a treat.

I knew I could expect a both a well-executed (Nevin is the king of organization), no detail left unturned (hello multiple outfit changes), but also a not too fussy (she wanted simplicity in the world of traditional Indian wedding ensembles) & laid-back (they threw in some really awesome moments – like a totally choreographed upbeat Indian dance as their first dance) wedding weekend with these two. And it did not disappoint. One of my all-time favorite moments of the entire weekend was watching the two of help one another get dressed the morning of the wedding. I rarely see brides & grooms get to spend the ENTIRE day together, and I love that these two opted for that. This weekend also marked shooting my first Hindu ceremony — it was both spiritual and fun, dotted with tradition and family-centered rituals. Laughter, tears, the whole gamut. I loved every second of it.

Congrats to Nevin & Serina and thank you Brides.com to featuring this wedding today! View full post »

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Things are running a mile a minute over here at Carina Skrobecki headquarters (i.e. my 10’x10′ room that has a giant black office chair that I’m currently glued to editing my eyeballs out). Figured it’s been a little quiet over here wedding-wise, so I’d give you a quick run down of what it looks like in this neck of the woods for the past few months….you know to keep you peeps coming back to this blog.

Here’s to endless coffee, late nights, and a very, very eventful August to come (both in business & personal — can’t wait!) View full post »

  • Sonya Richards - Amazing work – so beautiful Carina!ReplyCancel

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Music.

I’d like to think I’m somewhat of a “musical person” but the truth is, I don’t have vast collections of vinyls, I’m never really on on the hunt for the newest song, unheard band, underground shows, etc. I didn’t grow up listening to my parents favorite music as they usually just listened to the radio…..I guess you could say I like a little of everything. Blues, pop, country, rock, hip hop, r&b, jazz, classical, indie, you name it, there’s likely a song in that genre I like.

However, I’m finding more and more that I’m really inspired by the music I hear — to the point where it’s birthing shoot ideas. This shoot in particular was brought to life after I had heard a song that was upbeat, had some spanish flair, a little street, bright, edgy, and oh-so catchy. That meant shooting in bright sun, maybe an old caddy (ummm yea, that was PURE luck a nice gentlemen ulled up in one right where we were shooting and let us use it!), higher f-stops, floral suits, an empty swimming pool. I threw a moodboard together and a few months later out popped this shoot. I wanted it to be a modern take on old town Havana, a little street-style vibe, and just something fun.

Also, huge thank you to this gem of a human — Gene — and my trusty editorial stylist Andrea Alder. Couldn’t have pulled it off without your brilliant minds. Here’s to having a little fun behind the lens. View full post »