What a year 2016 has been! It has brought with it more change and growth than I ever thought possible, and I’m so humbled to look back on this year with you as it comes to a close.
Looking over my business this time last year, I was beyond discouraged. I’m embarrassed to say that I had no real understanding of how a photography business should be run. As a result, I had been working myself to death for years and my health, marriage, and family/friend relationships were suffering to say the least. I decided that some real changes needed to happen if I were to continue this line of work, and I spent all of last December and the first half of 2016 diving into learning everything I could about how to properly run this business. I had more hard moments of truth than I care to admit. I made a lot of changes. And it has been a HARD year full of stretching, growing, learning, and relearning along the way. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully “arrive” as far as running my own business is concerned; there’s always an infinite amount of room for improvement and learning, but I’m so glad that I’m much further along now than I was last year. I learned how to limit my client bookings a bit more (which totally goes against all normal standards of “jam packed schedule = business is good”), which has allowed me to care for myself and family better, to invest in even more education to grow as an artist, and has given me the ability to pour exceedingly more into every client that walks through my door.
I’m now able to provide levels of personalized service that most photographers don’t have the time in their schedules for. I’m able to witness my clients’ reactions when they see their session images for the first time: the laughs as we reminisce over the funny thing their child did that day, the tears of joy and realization that their babies are growing so fast, and the love. Oh, the love. Most importantly, I’m now able to provide beautifully customized products that I know not only represent my work well, but will stand the test of time. Knowing my clients are investing in a lasting photo legacy for their children and future generations creates such a level of fulfillment as an artist that I cannot describe. I mean, the thought that in 100 years my clients’ grandchildren and great grandchildren will be able to look back on their family history through my products is such an honor. Technology changes and corrupts, files are lost, and I know they won’t have access to files on a CD or thumb drive. But their family’s professional photographs will be around. That’s an investment that truly increases in value over time, and something I’m incredibly proud to be a part of.
So for those of you who have stuck with me through all the changes and trial and error of this past year, I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. In a world that wants to convince us that digital is the only way to go, your commitment to preserving your family’s photo history through real, tangible products is truly inspiring.
I’m so excited to see what 2017 will bring, and I can’t wait to work with you to begin or continue adding to your family’s beautiful photo legacy!