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December 28, 2016


encinitas-5If you’ve been following up with me on Facebook. You know that I was working on my holiday newsletter all month long in hopes of actually sending it out before Christmas this year and YES, I actually did. BUT, I missed several of you because I ran out of stamps and I wasn’t about to wait in that 602873243 person line at the post office. SO, to save myself a trip, I decided to put out on the blog. Slightly embarrassing but true life Brett Denfeld 2016 thoughts for all of you… Here we go… I’ll tell you the pages as if you’re actually holding them in your hand…

Page 1

My dear friend – this is not the real letter. Drumroll (where’s the little drummer boy when I need him?)

This is the cover page.*


Brett… Why?

Becauseeee I’m a little nervous for you to see the length of this letter. I don’t think you are prepared quite yet to see it all and I wanted this page to be the warm up. For those of you who are new to the madness… this is not a drill.

Another year, another long newsletter. For those of you who have been with me since I started these in 2007, you know that each year the newsletters get long and longer. In 2007, the letters were one page and even included pictures. HA – child’s play.

After spilling out all of the memories in my head from 2016… I had FIVE pages of notes. 5. FUN FACT: Did you know 5 is my favorite number? So I did cut out a lot of stuff… but back to reality – as you can see… there are still lots of pages in your hand… For that, I’m sorry for the trees but not sorry because writing these letters is one of my favorite things. So with that said, I hope long letters never die because with a million bazillion katrillionzillion forms of social media out there you probably know exactly what I’ve been up to this year but I’m going to pretend that you got amnesia and don’t know anything about me and I’m going to tell you again… even if you have watched my snapchats, looked through my Instagram, stalked me on Facebook, or read every one of my blog posts… (I’m out of breath)

So if you’d like to go at it alone you can find me here:

FB: Brett Denfeld, IG: @bdphotos, or BLOG: (where you are right now)


You can keep reading the 2016 newsletter because you like my commentary and/or your phone is dead and you can’t stalk me on social media at the moment and now that you’ve picked up this letter… you’re just dyyyyying to know what happens at the end of scene 3. Much like my favorite show, Gilmore Girls, I present to you “Brett Denfeld (Photography): A Year in the Life.”

Cover page complete….

You may proceed.

*If you would like to unfriend me because you never want to get a holiday newsletter of this length ever again then… TOO BAD, you’re stuck with me… you can’t crush our friendship during the holiday season?!?!?! #totalscroogemove

** As always – there might be typos or things I didn’t catch… listen here, I did the best I could under pressure to complete this before actual Christmas. Mom, Dad, Grandma — I’m sorry. My only hope is that my grammar was on point.

Page 2


Let’s be real- Winter is spent Netflixing and that’s about it. I also LOVEDDDD that gigantic snow storm. I LOVE SNOW. I know half of you are hating me for saying that but it’s so magical! That epic snowstorm dumped some 40 inches of beautiful white goodness and had us trapped for days. BUT, on the bright side, we spent the whole time having quality neighbor time… with lots of wine. Hot tub hangouts and cozy PJs every single day. Great right?!


  1. I bought a car in April! I got a 2016 Rav4 – it’s silver… it doesn’t have a name… do people still do that? In college, everyone had a name for their car. But it does have a rear view camera and I don’t know how I lived without one before! 2. In May, I joined the wine club at Bluemont Vineyard. I love the wine, I love the views, and, of course, I visit more often since Morgan started working there as Director of Marketing in April! As if I needed an excuse to visit, drink wine, and look at marvelous views of Loudoun County. Wine day anyone? 3. May was also one of the busiest “shooting months” between senior portraits, engagement sessions, and weddings – I was shooting 3 or 4 times a week! 4. In June, I attended my 5 year college reunion. Filled with “remember whens” and reconnecting with friends who live all over the country and “new” old friends who I hadn’t really seen since graduation! 5. I made my attempt at online dating. My new friend Kir, (we met on Instagram – modern friendship – I tell ya.) helped me set up all the dating apps. It wasn’t exactly successful – I went on one date but he only spoke in one word sentences. Needless to say, we did not go on a second date. I’m looking to give it a whirl again now that I’m not shooting a wedding literally every weekend so… keep your fingers crossed. Erica and Morgan are convinced that I’ll meet Prince Charming when I’m shooting a wedding — but I am too focused and looking less than charming after a long day of shooting. (fly-aways-for-dayyyys)


  1. In July I started taking yoga anddddd I really love it. What I love about it is how personal it is. It’s not a competition – you really have to listen to what your own body is telling you. (I had to take a hiatus for about 2 months in the busy Fall season) But now I’m back at it again for the winter & working on pigeon and trying to nail half moon perfectly. 2. At the end of July, we had to put our family dog, Toby, to sleep. It was bittersweet. To put it honestly, it SUCKED but it was the best for him. He had hung on as long as he could with his liver disease and I felt better knowing he was running free somewhere else. Still miss his cute face every day. RIP Toby. 3. August was hot at home but PERFECT in CA! Morgan, Mom, Dad, and I went to the Brian Buffini Mastermind summit in San Diego. After the conference we stayed in a cute Airbnb in Encinitas, CA for a WEEK! It was SO relaxing! We hiked Torrey Pines once and went to the beach EVERY SINGLE DAY and it was TOTALLY AWESOME, DUDE. Shoutout to Fish 101 & Encinitas Fish Shop for providing us delicious fish tacos all week. #grilledfriedshrimptaco (inside joke – inquire within.) Can you believe I only took out my camera ONCE during the whole WEEK!

FALL (It’s the longest Chapter… SO MUCH HAPPENED THO)

Fall had me all over the place! Just between Sept to Nov I was gone (at one time or another) for a total of 28 days! 1. In Sept, I spent a weekend up in NYC with Erica & Thorne. We went to an event called Wine Riot where we got to sample wines from around the world. We spent that Sunday walking around Central Park where I learned (from Erica) that I needed to invest in some “Athleisure” clothes… I need to look like I’m going to work out but not actually going to. We also stopped inside one of those crazy Christmas stores and bought matching glittery avocado ornaments because… do we really need a reason?! 2. In Oct, I attended a wedding in Philly! We had delicious brunch at The Dutch, played endless hours of Bananagrams (look it up! You’re welcome), and quickly learned how narrow the roads are (I discovered my driver’s side mirror on the pavement without so much as an apology letter). Not cool Philly, not cool. What was cool was the amazing little cheese shop we found that gave endless free samples. YASSSS. 3. I attended a GORGEOUS wedding at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston at the end of Oct! Oh Charleston, what a dream! It was impossible to see it all in one weekend. I did a lot of walking but mostly a lot of eating (that’s the best part about traveling right?!). I had the most delicious shrimp & grits at Hominy Grill, incredible eggs benedict at 82 Queen, and pimento cheese & egg biscuit at Callie’s… (it really ends here but it picks up on page 3…)

Page 3

… Hot Little Biscuits. (Goodnesssss my mouth is watering) A trip back is a MUST because the pineapple fountain wasn’t even running and I need to take more pictures – duh, darling. 4. Nov was spent on the go. I attended a 3 day photo conference in Phoenix. I heard from some super talented photographers and met some really cool, REAL people. (Brett – are you trying to tell us that you normally have imaginary friends?) No… I mean real like – we totally vibed (do people still say vibed?) I had so much real talk with some real, cool people… This is getting outta control. Short & Sweet – I can’t wait to go back next year! It was also fun shooting in the desert! FUN FACT: A lady I used to work with flew all the way from FL just so I could shoot their elopement in AZ! WHAT?!?! Epicccc. 5. In Nov photographed and attended Andrew & Rainey’s wedding in The Woodlands, TX. Andrew is the son of my parents oldest friends! In fact Ron & Julie were the first people my parents told when they were pregnant with me. It was one of those “we are family” moments and it was so fun to be a part of.

2016 Randoms – These are little snippets that didn’t require a long paragraph but I felt were important to mention…

  1. I tried PIMENTO CHEESE for the first time this year. (#blessed). I know what you’re thinking — BRETT WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Guys, I literally don’t know.
  2. I started watching this show called Queen Sugar… weird name but great show and cinematography.
  3. Next time you’re in Richmond – stop for rooftop drinks at the Quirk Hotel.
  4. I saw a few concerts this year! Vance Joy (baeeee), Justin Bieber (I ain’t sorry), Keith Urban (heart eyes), Jon Pardi (twice!), Dierks Bentley (pit tickets – amazing!). Obvi, I like country.
  5. Mom and I helped Morgan and the Bluemont crew with red wine bottling in Sept! It was SUPER fun but also very fast paced!
  6. Shoutout to all my 2016 brides & grooms and clients! What a year!!! Feeling so lucky to keep doing this job that I’m obsessed with.


Aight, y’all. You’re at (near) the end. Hopefully you liked it and laughed a little bit and that’s what drove you to finish this baby.

I didn’t talk about business too much in this letter BUT I do want to say that 2017 is lookin’ good so far for Brett Denfeld Photography! A new look is coming to my website AND I can’t wait to work with 18 (and counting) incredible couples!

So before we end, let’s get all sentimental for a second. Because if anyone knows me at all, I’m full of emotions all the time… show me one of those soldiers welcome home videos and I’m in a puddle. K so, I’m sitting here writing this and realizing this letter is going to be sent all over the country and some places around the world- WOW! I’m so thankful for all of you. I’m also thankful for meeting new people through networking, workshops, mutual friends, weddings, Instagram, and even crazy places like the cheese table at a party. Real relationships are what make me happy! The more I travel the more excited I get about all the adventures, experiences, and people I will meet.
Always remember to give everyone a smile, cheer each other on, and continue to be YOU! Cheers to 2017 and all of the adventures to come! XO!


xoxo bd