Top 5 Favorite Travel Destinations

Looking for your next getaway? Try one of these!

1. Capri, Italy

One of my very favorite places in the world. It’s a tiny lush little island in the middle of Tyrrhenian Sea where the sun shines brighter and the water is bluer. Some of the most famous Italians have houses on this island, such as Giorgio Armani. It’s known for its crisp limoncello and Caesar’s private swimming hole called the Blue Grotto. This magical little island is a quick trip from Naples, Amalfi Coast, or Sorrento by boat. Always by boat.

When I studied abroad in Orvieto, Italy, we took a trip down to Sorrento for the weekend. Five of my girlfriends and I all went in search of the Blue Grotto’s. Well….that was my goal but they went along for the ride. We stayed in a beautiful old olive grove overlooking the sea and mountains. It was truly breathtaking and only for 12 Euro a night! Sorrento reminds me of a hip fun Italian beach town with fields and fields of lemon. This is the birth place of limoncello, or so I was told. Wherever we went, it was with limoncello!! Before dinner, after dinner, with your gelato. It was magical. I convinced the girls to take a boat tour to the Island of Capri. It was there my soul came alive. I felt my heart in the sea.

We took a 6 hour boat tour starting from Sorrento that took us over to Capri for the day. They dropped us off to go explore for hours and swim. We ate and drank our way through the cozy tight streets of the island. It reminded me of Greece. We found a beach down by the harbor and swam in the sea till it was time to get back on the boat. They took us around to all the grotto’s (three or four to be exact) but I was in pursuit of one. The Blue Grotto was apparently Caesar’s private swimming hole. And I believed it. You must get off your boat, get onto another tiny boat, go pay more money to these men who are just waiting in boats to go in. There were only two of us plus the Italian swift boat steerer. We went through a tiny little hole the size of a boat. You MUST remember to duck or you will hit your head on the rocks above.

It’s there once you enter into the Grotto that the world transforms in front of your eyes. Due to the type of sand that is inside this Grotto the whole room lit up blue in a way I’ve never seen in my life and won’t ever see again. The guy asked me if I wanted to jump in so I threw my camera to my friend Erin and I dove in. I swam deep down opening my eyes to see fish swimming and felt a connection to the mermaid life my ancestors were apart of. I came up for a breath of air and heard all these Italian men sining love songs around this Grotto as they rowed the boats in a circle. If I could have lived there, I would have. Right in the middle of the Blue Grotto.

And that is why the Capri is my number destination to go to. You will not have the same experiences as me but yours will be better because it will be your own.

2. Krabi, Thailand

In the Southern part of the Thailand you will find Islands and beaches all dedicated to beauty. It will blow your mind and it will be worth it. My friend and I stayed in a town called Krabi at a beautiful little bungalow near the beach. This resort only cost us $15 a night!! Everything in Thailand is cheap compared to Western countries. So your money goes far. I highly suggest going to Railay beach!! It is here, we decided to take a full day to climb and go hiking. The beaches are all connected by tiny little sandy trails through cut outs of trees hanging out with large rock formations to the sides. Keep your eyes out for monkeys!

You can jump from island to island by boat. It is hard to see all of them unless you have lots of time. I suggest taking an all day little island boat tour. They picked us up right at our resort and took us all over the water to these really cool islands. We snorkeled a lot and cliff jumped at others. We ended the night on Railey Beach to watch the sunset and eat dinner they provided for us. Also not to mention on the way back, we stopped in the middle of the water where it was pitch black to see Bioluminscence plankton. It was insane. I highly suggest taking a trip to Thailand in general but you can see by the photos this island was insanely beautiful! And very restful.

3. Tulum, Mexico

Nestled off the coast of Gulf of Mexico, you will find this boho sandy street town with a paradise of beaches. You can walk up and down the street popping into cute shops and very expensive clothing stores! You can eat at some of the most amazing restaurants in Mexico and get away from the “fake Mexico” all the resorts show. This place is tropical, artistic, and peaceful. The people there live slower. They talk slower. They aren’t in a rush. Everyone rides bikes through town as dream catchers are swaying in the wind. I cannot say enough good things about Tulum.

It’s from here you can go off to explore Centos and the ruins of Mexico. The best way to do this is by taxi. Make sure you have enough pesos! We stayed at the cutest little bungalow nestled in the middle of palm trees. We walked or rode bikes everywhere for days. Life is slower in Mexico, so expect to enjoy yourself and not rush to get to the next thing. You will sweat A LOT. It’s hot and humid! Go to the ocean, get your butt in the water and enjoy the crystal blue clear waters of Tulum. You won’t regret it.

4. Paris, France

This town, as many of you know, is full of art, culture, and food. It holds a sweet place in my heart for some unknown reason! Probably due to the romanticism and beauty every turn you take. Or due to the amazing pastries and art. I cannot rave enough about Paris. With it’s lush green trees ( in the summer of course), to it’s art museums decked with the best pieces for thousands of years, to the tiny little streets to get lost in, Paris is one of my favorites.

You can take trains into smaller villages for the day or go to Palace of Versailles to enamor the luxurious life of old. I would highly suggest just getting lost in the city. Me and a friend traveled there in the winter after shooting a wedding in London. It was cold but we explored the whole town by foot freezing and teeth chattering. We didn’t care because the beauty of the Eiffel Tower at night drew us into awe. Take a little picnic to the park and just enjoy the surroundings of France. Slow down. And soak.

5. Singapore

A few years ago, I went to Singapore to photograph a wedding. Ever since I’m dying to go back. This city-state is a blend of cultures and food. Believe it or not it’s one of Asia’s top business meccas. Singapore has so much to explore in such a little island, which means you can do a lot in a short amount of time! We were able to explore with friends who were born and raised in Singapore. These are the locations they took us to that are a MUST:

  • Marina Bay Sands hotel
  • Sentosa (beach)
  • Gardens by the Bay
  • Hawka Centers to eat
  • Botanical Garden
  • ALL THE MALLS!! with Air Con!

We spent over a week in Singapore and I loved my time there because it was unlike anything I had ever been to. It was the cleanest city on earth and public transportation was impeccable! Everyone speaks English and a mix of Chinese. You will be amazed at Singapore and all that is has to offer.

Natalie + Alex // Boulder, CO

Chautauqua Park Evening Sunset

I’ve known this sweet couple for years! After shooting her sisters wedding, their family and anniversary photos, it was TIME for their wedding season!!! I love when my clients turn into the best of friends. Natalie and Alex are SO FRICKIN fun to be around. I love their energy and friendship together. They are constantly laughing and then I’m laughing cause they are!

They met years ago through friends in college. It was instant. They really are each others best friends. After moving from Phoenix to Denver this year, their relationship has really grown and flourished into a beautiful partnership. We explored Boulder for their engagement session. The creek was magical and Chautauqua Park was unbelievable. We danced and played in the tall grass running towards the setting sun.

We’re so excited for their wedding in FRANCE next year!!

Dresses: https://www.vicicollection.com/

Why I hired a Team

Brand Manager // Charlotte Ledvina & Editing Guru // Alli Sabrie Dozet

I LOVE working on a team. I knew this ever since elementary school when they would break us into little pods to do group projects. I THRIVED. I would help delegate and each one of us would work on our specific portion of the project (some worked more than others). We would come back together to finish it as a whole then present or turn it in. I LOVED it. I love working on a creative team so much so I hired TWO people to be on my team.

They are both super part time but we all have to start somewhere. I cannot run this business alone SANE…I honestly don’t know how other single entrepreneur businesses owners do it. For years, I was unhealthy saying yes to everything and everyone. I thought I could be super woman. Turns out I’m just Hannah trying to get a date on a Friday night and sleep in once a week. Hiring a team is not weakness – it’s powerful. Once you can identify your weakness that is where your business will grow. Once I learned how to automate emails, hire a CPA, and work on a creative team, I’m not kidding you, my life changed. I only have capacity to do so much a day and don’t want to give all my energy to tasks someone else (who really loves them) can do.

Hannah’s Tasks: I stick with the creative/connection side of the businesses which looks like:

  • Photographing (which is most of my job)
  • Culling sessions + weddings
  • Editing previews to send to clients + sending off my wedding so Alli can edit the rest!
  • Emailing ALL clients + interactions
  • Client gifts + cards
  • Timeline consultation for wedding days
  • Writing blogs
  • Writing all instagrams + photos

There are about 100000 more tasks to do a day when running a thriving photography business. So enter Charlotte + Alli.

Alli Sabrie Dozet: Editing Guru

As my business progressed, I needed help to turn around photos in a timely manner. I hired Alli over a year + a half ago. We were friends in the plains of the midwest where we both went to college. For years she edited other photographers weddings when I was clutching TIGHTLY to my weddings in fear she would not edit the way I wanted. Let’s all just call it what it was – control. Once I hired Alli to edit a few weddings for me my stress went down incredible amounts. There is something to be said about doing one thing REALLY well and hiring out the rest.

Now for all of my brides who think I edited your weddings… I did still. The process looks like me editing 30-60 images for preview photos for the clients but also so Alli can get a feel for my look and style for each wedding. I send off my Lightroom catalogue where she can open the whole wedding gallery on her computer and see all my edits. She goes in and makes sure each image matches my style from preview images. She is doing the tedious work of getting the right exposure, color balance, and retouching to ensure each image is up to my HRG standard. SHE is freaking amazing. And she LOVES her job. I couldn’t do it all with out her. By hiring Alli, she frees me up to photograph more and connect with all my clients on a personal level so you all get your galleries back with in 4-6 weeks. Lots of photographers don’t return their images for 3-6 months. And I believe in returning a wedding gallery quickly after your honeymoon.

Learn more about Alli on the team page- https://hannahrosegray.com/about/the-team/

Charolette Ledvina: Brand Manager

This last year I hired my past bride and friend, Charlotte, to take over all things business and marketing in HRG photo! She has helped to systematize, organize and structure each task in this business. She was much needed this last year when I felt like I was drowning. It took a long time to set up my plan but finally once I did – it’s SO WORTH IT. She picks up the slack where I was dropping it. She helps to keep the business going when I am off photographing weddings in Mexico or sessions on weekdays. This is a must for anyone who feels like they are drowning in business tasks but have a desire to grow. If I’ve learned anything from the greats – they say you must spend money to make money. Sure, it’s hard to hire someone and watch your money go to them – but once you see their value in your business it will be worth every penny.

Charlotte’s Task list:

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • SEO + Blog
  • Pinterest
  • Sending weddings to magazine + publications to be featured
  • Album Design process for wedding clients

Learn more about Charlotte on the team page- https://hannahrosegray.com/about/the-team/

You may not feel like you are ready to hire a team and that’s ok. YOU WILL KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME. I could not do it by myself. I had many resources of photography friends across the country who have structured their teams all differently from tasks, payments, to roles. But all have said that it was a must in order to grow their businesses. You can’t do it alone.