Last week was a whirlwind of editing my two Christmas weddings, but I’m excited to finally get a chance to sit down and recap on the last year of my little business. What a great year it was 🙂 I get a little emotional writing these kinds of posts (so bear with me), because most days I really can’t believe this is my job and this is the kind of work that I get to do. I really feel that the job of a photographer goes outside of us as people…it’s bigger than us, and the slices of life that we forever freeze in time with our cameras are truly monumental parts of peoples’ lives. When our skin is wrinkly and our hair is gray, images are reminders of people, places, and years bygone, they are proof that love existed, they are feelings and moments that you can relive again and again long after our once vivid memories have slowly washed away. They become something so valuable the longer time goes on, these little pieces of us that are passed on time and time again after we are gone. Being able to be a part of so many wonderful couples lives, to basically be an extended member of their family for a day…it’s awesome. It’s a huge responsibility and a true privilege. I really love this work 🙂
In 2013 I crossed paths with so many new wonderful faces, and plenty of special familiar faces, too. I made new vendor friends, new photographer friends, new friends in my clients, met lots of sweet four-legged friends, and did a lot of traveling. I put over 28,000 work miles on my car. So a huge shout out to my ole SUV who has carted me all over the daggone east coast since 2007 haha! She’s a special vehicle and has been such a big part of my business! I shot 4 weddings in Georgia, 9 weddings in Maryland (but made 12 trips total), 1 in New Jersey, and 6 in South Carolina. I attended Making Things Happen in North Carolina…and it changed me so much. I strengthened friendships (both personal and professional), got pretty far out of my comfort zone probably a dozen times (and it always paid off), quit the Facebook news feed almost a year ago (one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!), cleaned house on the social media information I allow into my head (yay!), got in front of the camera of one my favorite photographers and now friends, and crossed some really great goals off my list. I shot a handful of rolls of film, and loved every single frame. I photographed 35 dogs in less than 6 hours and helped raise over $500 for the pets of the Aiken County animal shelter…annnnnd I felt it in my back until the chiropractor fixed me haha ouch. I second shot a lot this year, too, and am endlessly grateful to Paige Winn for being such a great friend, inspiration, mentor, and allowing me to share in so many of her client’s beautiful weddings (and crash at her house, and also oogle over her dogs and kid haha). And I defined my version of success and read some really powerful books.
In 2013 I also learned so much about why I do what I do and the purpose and mission of my business. I still struggle with it, but I’m becoming more confident in being different than the masses and listening to my gut rather than doing this, that, or the other because someone else is or because it works so well for X, Y, or Z. Because of all that I learned, I knew it was time to make some big changes in my “internet home” so I made the somewhat scary financial commitment to give my blog a face lift and convert it into my one central internet home for my business. I’m so excited to be working with Renee again starting this week and I look forward to collaborating with her to really mature and elevate my web presence so that it now matches the heart of my business and the style I’ve come to develop with my photographs.
2013 was such a wonderful year and such a year of growth, and I get so excited at the end of each year…about having the time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work, to plan for the next year, and to craft a new set of goals. 2014 will be more about fine tuning and consistency rather than trying to continue to grow. I’ll always be growing as a photographer, business owner, and person, but I’m not looking for actual growth in numbers. As always, it’s quality over quantity for me. I’m really happy with where I’m at and just want to keep doing what I love and making people happy through the images I create and the emotions and moments that I freeze. I could never do this alone, though, so thank you to everyone who has ever assisted me on a wedding day, believed in me, cheered me on, supported me, encouraged me, shared or featured my work, or given me a pat on the back. A special thank you, of course, to my husband for never telling me to “get a real job” back when he probably wondered if I could really make a career out of this (haha), and for always listening to me whenever I need a ear. He never fails to tell me how proud of me he is or to recognize how hard I work. Thank you to my mom for giving me the means to make this business happen in the first place and for passing on her love of photos to me. And a huge thank you to her (and my brother a time or two) for picking me up and taking me to the airport countless times this year, and for always giving me a place to stay and a car to drive when I’m back home for work. And most of all a huge thank you to everyone who trusted me this year…to everyone who got in front of my camera, hired me to photograph their wedding, or allowed me into their life for even just an hour or two hours so that I could create something beautiful out of their love or connection. I know this sounds like an Academy Award thank you speech or something…but I just honestly feel so humbled and grateful to get to connect with so many incredible people through this job. I love being a part of such raw and emotional times in peoples lives, and to create something tangible out of something you usually just feel. It’s amazing and I’m a pretty lucky person 🙂 Happy 2014!