January 3, 2018

Reflections on 2017 and the New Year

FILED IN: Personal

Rebecca Denton PhotographyHi friends! As we head into the new year, I’ve been thinking a lot about 2017 – what a great year it was, the many things I learned from it, and the changes I want to make in 2018.

First, let me say that we started our year today with frozen pipes and no water in the house – ahhh! We’re just not used to below-zero temperatures in Nashville! Being in a house with kids and no running water will make you remember VERY quickly how to be grateful for the little things (that are actually big things). 🙂

Here’s a quick overview of some strides made in my business in 2017 – and ways I want to improve in the new year!:

1. I was excited to have my photographs of Asa and Roy Orbison Jr.’s intimate wedding at Johnny Cash’s cabin featured on People.com, Brides.com, and in MarthaStewartWeddings.com, among other international sites! While being published is not my main focus (serving my couples well is my ultimate goal!), it’s an honor to have my work showcased on such amazing websites.

2. I photographed more weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs in 2017, and on weekends when I wasn’t booked with a wedding or other session, I photographed weddings as a second-shooter or associate photographer for photographer friends. Each of my wedding couples was just a joy to work with (as they always are)!

 

Bride Bouquet and wedding dress

3. I joined a photography studio in Lenox Village called Click Studio with several other photographers! This now allows me to meet with my couples in a beautiful private space, and I also have a place for indoor photo sessions such as boudoir or bridal.

 4. I unveiled a new website, logo and branding, all designed by the amazing Rachael Earl.

5. In addition to weddings, I photographed an elegant boudoir session (one of my 2017 goals!), bridal sessions, family sessions, newborn sessions, maternity sessions, and a whole bunch of engagement sessions! It was a busy, busy year, and I was busy photographing until December, and then I was wrapping up all the editing. Whew!

 6. I invested in a medium-format Mamiya film camera – a dream of mine for basically ever. Film is so timeless, and I love its dreamy look. I took a film photography course online, and I’m shooting film again and will eventually start incorporating it into my sessions.
Mamiya 645 Film Camera
Film Tall Grass Golden Hour Mamiya 645

7. I booked my spot at the photography workshop Photo Native in Utah, and I’m excited to be going there later this month! I’m a little nervous, too, because I’m going all by myself, knowing no one at all. It’s going to be an amazing way to recharge, take stock, learn from the best and meet new people while having a little solo travel adventure. 🙂

Resolutions for the New Year

As I was reading through the personal goals I wrote out for last year, I realized with a sinking feeling that I didn’t quite reach many of them. For example, one big goal from 2017 was to declutter and to enter the new year without the heavy load of STUFF that wasn’t serving me or anyone else.  Well, it didn’t happen. 🙁 But I’m happy to say I’ve already taken steps to make sure it DOES happen in 2018.

Making Space For The New. By the end of this week, I’ll have the attic and garage – and my office, hallelujah – cleared out. (Goodwill, here I come!) One thing that has helped is I’m focusing on the OUTCOME instead of the goal. I absolutely want a house and office that are minimalistic and zen and organized and free from distracting clutter, so I’m making it a priority. By letting go of the old, dragging-down stuff, I’m making room for all the new (ideas, sense of freedom, calm) that’s waiting to come into our lives.

Putting Myself Out There. Another goal was to meet more people in my industry and create new friendships by just putting myself out there. While it happened some at the beginning of 2017, I soon became so busy that I didn’t make time to go to meet-ups and shoot-outs. So that is back on the list! This also goes for putting myself out there on social media and to make connections in that realm. It’s not really my natural comfort zone, but I’m learning to have fun with it. 🙂

Health is another huge one that I did not live up to in 2017. I’m the kind of person that thrives on physical movement – it keeps me motivated and reduces stress. When I’m not moving every day, I notice a big difference. But sometimes it’s just hard to make myself do all the things, even when I know it’s in my own best interest. So I’ve come up with a step-by-step schedule to keep me on track. My plan: I’m running three days a week on my own for at least 30 minutes, doing strength training 20 minutes two days a week through Daily Burn, and meeting up with my friend Stasia for SPRINT class at the YMCA one day a week (which doubles as social time).

Time for Family and Friends. I did a little better in 2017 at making time for family and friends, but there is so much room to improve. My strategy is to reserve my kids’  spring break and fall break time on my calendar for family vacations. Once I have that family time blocked out on my calendar, I’m free to book my weekend calendar with weddings and other sessions while knowing that I’m being mindful of family time (which is my rock) as well.

Focus. Block-scheduling is something I’m trying this year. That’s really just planning out my top three priorities for each day, estimating the time each task will take, and doing ONLY that task during that time. I get so distracted by emails, social media and texts that I end up being super busy but not always as productive as I need to be. It’s time to get that under control!

Meditation. This might seem very woo-woo to some people, but when every single book I’ve read lately mentions how vital this practice can be, I think it’s important to make it a daily practice this year and see how I like it. Amazing leaders such as Marie Forleo, Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Brene Brown, Nicole Kidman and Madonna, to name just a few, meditate to clear their mind, and I’ve started doing it myself and love it. I want to keep this up in 2018!

Learning, Learning, Learning. In 2017 I took many online courses from amazing photographers that really helped me find my focus and improve my craft. 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, Ted Talks or business books on my headphones. I have a blog post coming up with my Top 10 business book recommendations, and I’ll link to that here as soon as it’s posted! 🙂

Clean Eating. Eating more healthfully is another big goal, and I’ve decided to try out Instant Pot for this. Does anyone love their Instant Pot? Let me know if you have a favorite recipe I should try!

Virtual fist bump if you’re still reading this long post! Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support and for every positive thought, like, or comment you’ve sent my way. I truly appreciate every kind word and thought, and I wish you a new year filled with health, happiness, and time with your favorite people to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

If you have resolutions for the new year, or a special way you’ve found to stay motivated, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Happy New Year!

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  1. Stasia

    January 3rd, 2018 at 4:34 am

    I’m not sure how social we can be in SPRINT, but it will be lovely to see you and gulp for air between the intervals! I can’t wait to see you in 2018!

  2. Rebecca Denton Photography

    January 3rd, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    LOL, I guess that’s true!! We can have coffee or tea afterward, right? 🙂 I can’t wait to see you soon! You inspire me!

  3. Dieulita

    January 4th, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    You know I must say that 2017 was my most out of the box year yet. I had some amazing wedding clients and we have remained friends after the wedding. I was able to push myself enough to get out of my own way. This yet I definitely want to focus of my health and meditation too. All the beat for the new year

  4. Rebecca Denton Photography

    January 4th, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Congratulations on such a wonderful 2017!! When you remain friends with your couples after the wedding, you know you’ve found your ideal clients and are serving them well! 🙂 I’m right there with you on health and meditation – it’s so important to make it a priority so we can give others 100%! Best wishes to you on a 2018 that’s even better than last year!!

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