Hi friends! As we head into the new year, I’ve been thinking a lot about 2016 – what an incredible year it was, the many things I learned from it, and the changes I want to make in 2017.
First, I have to say that 2016 was truly an amazing year for my business! I photographed more weddings in a year than ever before, and on weekends when I wasn’t booked, I photographed weddings as a second-shooter with photographer friends.
In addition to weddings, I photographed family sessions, newborn sessions, bar and bat mitzvahs, maternity sessions, and a whole bunch of engagement sessions! It was a busy, busy year, and I was shooting nearly every single weekend. Whew!
In 2016, I took many online courses that were game changers. One thing I LOVE is to constantly learn more about photography and business. There is always something more to learn, and I am kind of a workshop junkie.
While editing photos, I am usually listening to online courses or business books on my headphones. I would be a professional workshop attendee if I could! 🙂
“You’ll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.” – Julia Child
In 2016, I spent hours each week learning from amazing photographers such as Katelyn James, Justin & Mary Marantz, Amy & Jordan, Susan Stripling, Scott Robert Lim, Lindsay Adler, Sue Bryce, Jasmine Star, and many others others through online workshops that have made major changes in my work and in my life in general.
I also saved up and invested in an in-person mentoring day in September with the amazing photographer Julie Paisley (who lives in Nashville but travels worldwide).
Along with another photographer, I spent an inspiring day with Julie filled with advice, learning, personal mentoring, and shooting!
In a big development, I’m excited to say I’ll be working in 2017 as an associate photographer for Julie Paisley through her new associate photographer program!
Business and Branding
This was the year that I started implementing more systems in my business, including ShootFlow management software, Photo Mechanic for importing, Align Album Design to streamline my album design process, Pixieset for seamlessly delivering client galleries, and many other changes to help run my business more efficiently.
I hired a wonderful branding specialist to help me determine a new logo, packaging, and overall look that better represents my work and who I am as a business person and artist. I’m still implementing these changes, and my NEW website is in the works!! Unveiling my new site is something I’m really looking forward to in 2017!!
2016 was the year I decided that all of my collections will include a second photographer, an engagement session, and professional prints. Having tangible prints is something so important, and I think many couples don’t realize how much joy it will bring them to have the actual prints and not just digital files.
I want to make sure those prints are done professionally and look their best, so I decided to include prints, and all of my couples receive them. I also put a new emphasis on heirloom albums, which I think are the very best way to preserve and showcase wedding photographs – and to pass them down from one generation to the next. This is family history.
The very best thing this year, though, was my clients. Every single one of them was wonderful, and I was just so happy and honored to be trusted with their wedding day memories. I became attached to them as friends as we went through the wedding journey, and it’s almost sad for me to not be in steady contact with them anymore as they move off into their lives! It sounds crazy, but it’s true! 🙂
With all the wonderful parts of 2016, I also have realized that I need more balance in 2017. I have two precious little boys, and they are growing quickly.
My wonderful husband held down the fort when I was away, but I missed them so much as I worked to juggle business tasks. During the week, I spent way too much time sitting in front of a computer editing, and my health suffered, I lost touch with friends, and I didn’t have time for some business essentials such as networking and marketing – not to mention things like sleeping and eating healthfully.
I absolutely love what I do, but I have learned that I need more balance between work and home, more focus and clarity, and it’s up to me to make it happen. So I have laid out some goals for myself in 2017 so I can be the best photographer I can be while still living a life that I love, grounded in family and friendships. Here are some of them, in no particular order!:
- Simplify. I’ll be shooting a limited number of weddings, which will allow me to deliver photos more quickly and also give the best, most personal care to my clients. It will also allow me to exercise, spend some weekend time with my family, and have plenty of energy to give my very best of myself to my clients.
- Exercise. I’ll be exercising (walking or running) every day, but also doing classes at Bar Method Nashville or the YMCA three days a week. Wedding photography is a physical job, and this will only help me be better at my job and just healthier overall for every part of my life.
- Blog. I’ll be blogging at least three times a week, including some personal posts, informational posts, and photos from weddings and other shoots. Consistency is essential, and schedules are actually freeing.
- Try Something New. I want to start shooting elegant, classy boudoir sessions! This is something I have been thinking about for awhile now, and I want to make it happen this year. 🙂
- Be More Open. I want to be more open and personal on my blog and on my Instagram feed. For some reason, this is hard for me! While I love interacting with my clients, I’m actually a quiet, behind-the-camera kind of person, and I’m shy about the spotlight. But connection is good and necessary, and connection is not really possible without vulnerability. I’m ready to dive in, despite being unsure of the outcome. That is part of Brene Brown’s definition of whole-hearted living, after all, and I’m ready to live whole-heartedly. (If you don’t know about researcher and storyteller Brene Brown, check her out HERE.) 🙂
- Organize and De-clutter. This month, in January, I actually have time to do this, and I’ve designated days to clear out the garage and attic, and to clear out and organize my computer files. I spent a crazy amount of time in 2016 just looking for things, and being more organized is going to help so much. Going into 2017 with a clean slate is going to be liberating!
- Make New Friends. I want to get to know more photographers as friends and colleagues, and I would love to collaborate with and get to know more of the talented, dedicated vendors who bring weddings to life.
- Be Me. I want to focus on being the very best me that I can be, and not trying to compare myself, my work, or my progress to others. Comparison really is the thief of joy, and I want to be a joy-giver. Giving joy is the best part of this job!
Well, there you have it – some of my thoughts on 2016 and some of my goals for 2017. I am thrilled with the wonderful clients who have already booked me for their weddings in the new year, and I’m excited to see what this next year holds!
Thanks for taking time to read this far. 🙂 Here’s wishing you a happy year full of family, friendship, and simple pleasures…
Happy New Year!