This has been a good year. A really good year. A year filled with successes and failures. A year filled with mistakes, changes and A LOT of learning. It has gone by so fast and yet on the other hand, I feel like I’ve come so far since this time last year. As I browsed through my photos from Jan 2010 til now, I was amazed at how much I have changed and grown as an artist. I definitely had some “what was I THINKING?” moments but I was also comforted in seeing how much my skills have improved. One of my fave photogs, Jasmine Star said that she’s failed A LOT more than she’s ever succeeded and that the more times you fail, the more times you will succeed. The first time I heard that, I cried tears of joy. Literally. It was such a comfort to know that this UNBELIEVABLY successful photographer wasn’t always that way. She too had her moments of weakness, her moments of “what was I THINKING?” and yet she used those moments to learn & grow. So as I reflect back on this year, I can be nothing but thankful for ALL of the moments God has given me, both good and “bad”. I’m learning to celebrate the small stuff and embrace all of who I am as an artist: all of it. After all, God put me here in THIS industry at THIS point in time and He has a purpose behind that. It’s my job to use the gifts He’s given me and do something great with them. Because I think it’s important to “celebrate the small stuff”, I thought I would share my top 10 best business moments from 2010. Enjoy!
1. Bringing Joe on as my second shooter
This was one of my most terrifying decisions, not gonna lie! The “idea” of a husband and wife team is great BUT I wasn’t sure that it would be great for us. WOW was I surprised! Having Joe shooting with me felt so right right from the get-go. It’s been such a blessing to have my best friend and partner in life now be my partner in business as well. He has been such an asset to the business and it’s been wonderful for our marriage as well. Yay!!
2. Designing my first styled shoot
This was one of my FAVE projects of the year. It was a chance for me to let my creativity run wild and bring my vision to life. And I had the chance to work with some fabulous vendors such as Sugar Magnolia, Classic Cakes & Confections, and Jolie Luna. It was a lot of planning, shopping and designing but I was really happy with how everything turned out. Can’t wait to do another one! You can check out the full post here.
3. Building and designing my office/consultation room
Before I had my office, I worked at the kitchen table staring at a wall. Not the most inspiring spot to work! The front room of our house wasn’t serving much of a purpose at the time SO I started dreaming of what I could do with it. When my AMAZING parents came out to “visit” for 4 weeks, we all got to work and transformed a pretty boring room into something I’m really proud of. Now I have a gorgeous room to do all of my editing and bring clients by for consultations. DEFINITELY one of my favorite things of 2010!
4. Shooting the “Stars & Stripes Classic” featuring Sarah Palin
This event was SO different than what Joe & I usually do. We were out of our comfort zone, which is something that many of us don’t do often enough. Let’s be honest, it’s not everyday that we get to hang with political figures and “important” people. We’re just our lame, boring selves LOL. It was fun to be able to to take a look into the typical political event and were able to learn a lot from it. AND Joe got to get a picture with Sarah Palin. Bonus!
5. Shooting our first “destination” wedding
I’ve done plenty of weddings in Wisconsin and Arizona BUT one of my future goals is to travel more for weddings. In September, Joe & I did our first “destination” wedding together in Santa Fe, NM. I know, it’s not THAT far from Arizona but I’m celebrating the small stuff, remember?! This was one of my favorite memories from the year for sure. Not only did we ADORE the couple, but we had a blast together as well. It was just nice to get away, stay in a hotel for a couple nights and explore the town a bit…TOGETHER! The radio in our rental car didn’t work and we had to drive from Santa Fe to Glorieta and wanted to get pumped up with some tunes. So we took my ipod and each put one headphone in our ears and sang at the top of our lungs. Priceless! AND there was a Whole Foods right by our hotel which was ultra-fab :). Hoping to book some more destination weddings in 2011!
Check out Joe being a goof the morning of the wedding. Gotta power up with some cereal…heck yes!
6. Meeting new photog friends
When I first started my business, I was afraid to reach out to other people in the industry. Partly because I was afraid that they wouldn’t like my work AND partly because I was afraid that they wouldn’t want to help me. Boy was I wrong! I have NEVER been part of such a giving, sharing industry in my whole life. Every photographer I have met has been SO willing to share ideas as well as embrace mine. This has been life-changing for my business. It makes things SO much more fun and makes the tough stuff less tough. Lots of love to all my photog friends out there!
7. Buying my 5d Markii
Ummm I’m not sure if I have words to express for how much I LOVE my mark ii. Joe always jokes that I may leave him for “mark” one day! Silly boy :). I’ve only had it for about 4 months but we’ve quickly become best friends!
8. Building client relationships that last beyond the photo shoot
I have built some amazing friendships with my clients. I know some people say that you need to draw a line between business and personal, BUT that line doesn’t really exist in my world. Maybe that’s not the best “business” move but I don’t really care lol. I have loved seeing how God has used our client relationships to build lasting friendships and I plan to continue with that mindset.
9. Spending 5 successful weeks in Wisconsin
I have the pleasure of spending the AZ slow season in my home state of Wisconsin. It’s a great balance of work time and family time AND a break from 115 degrees. While it was hard to be away from Joe for that long, we realize that it was worth it. I ADORE my Wisconsin clients and am grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be busy year-round.
10. Exceeding my financial goal
It’s not all about the money BUT I’m not going to complain about exceeding my goals in this area ;). I am a planner, dreamer and goal-setter all the way! At the beginning of the year, I reflect on what I’ve done and set realistic goals for the following year. Since this was my first full year in business, I wanted to set a goal that would be challenging yet doable. When I exceeded my goal by more than 50% I was FLOORED! After the initial excitement died down, I realized that I need to start thinking about setting goals for next year. Obviously I had set the bar too low so next year I have to set a more challenging goal. Something I really have to WORK for. I love goals :)
Thanks for reading about some of my successes of 2010. I encourage you to “celebrate the small stuff” from your year as well. I promise you’ll feel great after you do! You’ll look back and think “wow, I really did some great things this year” even if they’re small. I’d love to hear yours either in the comment box below or with a link to your blog. Can’t wait to read them!
Lots of love- Stacy xoxo