I typically post lots of photos in a blog post and just a tiny bit of wording but be prepared for this post because it will be just wording. Ready?
First and foremost, I want to say thank you! Thank you to anyone who follows me on social media, anyone who inquires, sends emails, just says hi, anyone who books sessions with me, and of course those that recommend me. I would not be able to do what I love without all of your support. I am blessed beyond words to be able to wake up every morning genuinely loving what I do for a living.
2013 was an incredible year for me for many reasons. A lot of you may not know but 2012 was a little rough for me towards the end especially. It was amazing of course because my little girl was born and brought so much happiness to our family, but because of the nature of my business, since I was physically not able to work because of her birth and the unexpected eye surgery I had to undergo, I couldn’t really make a living for a few months that year. The thought of returning to the ::gulp:: “corporate world” entered my mind and I was not happy about it one bit.
I will never forget one night laying in bed with my husband. I was the one that had made the decision to search for work, he wasn’t pushing me to do it, but suddenly I told him, “No! I changed my mind, I will not be looking for work. There is NO OTHER OPTION. This is it. This is my calling, my life and passion. It has come with sacrifice and I will NOT give up on it so easily because it is worth it and I love it.” Of course I was still planning on doing it part-time but I felt like if I spread myself too thin between doing shoots, working full time again and being a mommy, I’d lose the passion to learn more and be a better photographer.
Here’s the amazing part. The moment I said, “There is no other option” was the day it all shifted. 2013 became spectacular. I dived full force into bettering myself, my skills, my business, the customer experience and all things CDP. I marketed myself, branded myself, changed my logo and website, attended a workshop, purchased new programs to help with my workflow, purchased new equipment and really threw myself into my business. As I approach my very last shoot for 2013 today, I reflect on all that I accomplished this year and I am proud with tears of happiness with how incredible YOU all have made my year. It wasn’t easy! There were plenty of late nights, parties missed, family moments missed and achy feet, but it was so worth it!
In 2013, I completed the following sessions/events/weddings/minis etc…
- 7 Weddings
- 15 Events (Quinces, Showers, Parties, etc.)
- 35 Newborns
- 174 Mini Sessions (V-day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Summer, Disney, Halloween and Christmas)
- 182 Sessions (Quinces, 1st Birthday, Family, Children, Engagement, etc.)
I also set goals for myself each year, both business and personal. My big business goals for this year were to get published/featured, develop an easier work flow, and shoot completely manual.
I learned of this company called Two Bright Lights in the beginning of the year and it made my first goal soooooo easy! My goal was really to get featured once but I exceeded my expectations. I was published/featured 11 times online, with 16 more featured coming your way in the next year. Yay!!! Next year, my goal is to be published in print <3
As far as workflow, I think ShootQ and PhotoMechanic are worth every penny. ShootQ makes my workflow, to-do lists, contracts, calendar, reminders and payment collection so easy and so professional looking. No more paper contracts! Photomechanic lets me cull my images so quickly and easily so that I can just drag and drop those that are ready to be editing into Lightroom. Seriously, these two programs saved me countless hours throughout the year.
Lastly, I finally learned to shoot manual. Completely manual! What the heck does this mean, Cary? It means, I knew how to shoot manual but for the most part, I’d shoot in the aperture priority mode and choose a setting for white balance. Not now. For every single shot, I manipulate the white balance in kelvin temperature, adjust the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. It’s so amazing! I try to get as much “right” in camera so that I don’t have to spend hours in post production.
Some of my personal goals were to develop a decent savings account and pay off some of our debt and I was able to accomplish both this year. It took lots of sacrifice but I’m hoping to continue to pay it all down in 2014.
I know 2014 will be an incredible year as well. Some of my goals are getting published in print (as I mentioned above), pay off most of our debt, purchase a few more equipment items, attend one or more national photography conferences, join WPPI, and who knows how many more things for the year as it evolves.
I hope each and every one of you has an amazing New Year’s Eve and a spectacular 2014 with happiness, prosperity but most importantly health and love. Happy New Year, dolls and once again thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!