This portrait and wedding season has been both incredible and exhausting. I know that come October I'm going to be slammed as it's always when families want portraits and when weddings dates are in demand. My business is seasonal to a degree. I carefully plan out the month, schedule sessions while trying to balance my girls' activities and having somewhat of a life. 4 weddings, 28 sessions and 50,000 images captured. I survived. Barely. I've always done this on my own. Everything. Consultations, shooting, editing, sales, bookkeeping, etc. It's become too much. Which really, is a great thing! My business is doing better than it ever has. I invested a lot in my education this year and I believe it has really shown in my work. But, it has left me with more work than ever before. Good problem to have. But I cannot continue at this pace. I have to have balance. I have to take the next step. Expand. Hire help. It's scary. To trust someone else to do something the way you would. I'm not a control freak by a long shot but when it comes to your name and reputation you want it done right. Right? So here I am, taking a leap. It's the only way to grow. I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store.
I hit a milestone this year. I photographed my 100th wedding. It came on my last one of the year and it was perfect. The bride, Taylor, I've known since she was 7 years old. In my senior year of high school I worked at a preschool. In the afternoon, Taylor and her mom would come in to pick up her younger sister, Katelyn from my classroom. I've known the family ever since. Fast forward. When I was 20 I volunteered to coach basketball at the same program that I grew up playing in. Basketball was my life from middle through high school and to coach had always been something I wanted to do. Taylor was put on my team. It was pretty cool to see her all grown up. I went on to photograph her senior portraits and then when I saw she had gotten engaged I crossed my fingers she would ask me to photograph her wedding. Well, here we are. My 100th was just that much sweeter with this girl. We celebrated with a little champagne. She and her entire family were so good to me. Her wedding will be featured soon!
I am so grateful to every single person who has been there for me over the last several years. From clients, to my family and especially my girls. I do this for them. To show them that if they work hard, they can have their dreams too. I love my job. Some days I get burnt out and it becomes a 'job' but for the most part it's rewarding and truly makes me happy. I get to be a part of the best days of peoples lives, see their families grow and give them priceless memories. Sometimes its hard. Last week I was called early one morning to come to the hospital. I was asked to photograph a baby girl and her family. She was stillborn in the middle of the night. I immediately agreed. I didn't know them. I didn't know their story. All I knew was they had a few hours with her before she would be taken and they wanted to remember her. As the morning went on and it came closer to time to go, I became nervous. My stomach was in knots. I felt sick. What would I say? I've had 2 early miscarriages and while I was devastated at the time, I could not relate to what this mother and father were going through. I didn't know what it was like to deliver a baby and know that I wouldn't be taking her home. I walked in, and was greeted by the father who thanked me for coming. I spoke with him for a moment about what they wanted. I photographed their sweet baby. Her features. Her nose, lips, feet, and little fingers. I photographed her mother holding her, tightly in her arms as she sang to her. I watched their tears flow as I fought to hold back my own. I finished and offered them both my sympathies and the mom hugged me and she didn't let go. I got out to my car and lost it. How did I just get through that? I sat for a minute and let it all sink in. I let myself feel it. I went on to the gym to clear my head and went about my day. But I kept thinking about them and how life can change so quickly. I've had other things in my life teach me that lesson and I think its why I tend to live in the moment, say what I'm thinking or feeling and love hard. Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone. I received a letter this week from that mother, thanking me again for what I did for them and told me that I would never know how priceless those photos were to her. While I don't feel as though I did much at all, to her and her husband I gave them everything. I am both humbled and honored and incredibly grateful for my gift that I am able to do things like this for people like that.