I feel like 2018 was my second year running this photography passion of mine as a business. I started building this back in 2016, but didn’t feel as if I truly launched the business until last fall. When I sit down to reflect on what this past year has brought, I am grateful. But I honestly wasn’t sure I felt that way until very recently. I was feeling nervous about the volume of work I was doing, and I found I was asking myself, Is this a business or a hobby?
My primary job title is Mom.
I frequently have to remind myself that my main job title, at this time in my life, is Mom. I left my government job to stay home with my babies. I want to be there for them, to witness this fleeting time in their lives, because, as any parent knows, the days are long but the years are short.
I started my photography business to do something creative, something that satisfies me, and as a way to hopefully contribute to and connect with the world outside of my household. And whether I give something back to a select few families or a hundred, by doing this, I am making a difference in someone’s life. I know this to be true because of the feedback I’ve received from several families this year. My clients have said things to me that bring me to tears when they are telling me what their photos mean to them.
This year started slowly. And self doubt tells a lot of lies.
But, to some extent, the year starting slowly is the nature of family photography (fall is the busy season). I had a handful of milestone sessions, cake smashes, maternity and events in the spring, but I was feeling nervous that I didn’t have “enough” business. I had a few family sessions toward the end of summer and I anxiously awaited the fall to see what that would hold for me. I’m happy to report that the majority of my 2017 families returned for 2018 sessions. At one point, my calendar was slammed.
But once again the doubt crept in and I worried that I hadn’t picked up enough new clients. I kept falling into the comparison trap, seeing other photographers doing a high volume of work, particularly mini sessions, on social media. I went back and forth between feeling good about the work I had done and telling myself that if I could just gain two more clients before the year wrapped up, I’d feel successful.
Ask and you shall receive.
Someone posted in a Facebook group that I am in, looking for a photographer to take photos of her brother’s proposal, and a good friend of mine very kindly threw my name into the comments. This kind of session was completely unique compared to any work I’d done before, but I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled when I was chosen to be a part of it, and it was more incredible than I even imagined. To get a glimpse of that session and see what a proposal is like at the National Aquarium, be sure to check out the sneak peek blog post for that one.
And then I picked up one more family session in December, an in home session (my favorite). It was an early morning session, in my neighborhood, with beautiful light and lots of love. An amazing way to wrap up my 2018.
It’s about being intentional with my choices, not about balance.
I often have to decide if I’m going to take an hour to work on editing a session and/or marketing my business or spend that hour with my family being present. And I know that’s a choice that many of us make daily whether we work inside the home or out of it. I wrapped up 2018 working on finishing my last session, and trying to write this wrap up blog post and reflect on my successes and failures and goals for 2019, draft emails to the past year’s clients . . .
But I frequently had to tell myself to set the work aside, and dive into wrapping my children’s Christmas presents, document them making cookies with their Daddy, or sit down and watch a Christmas movie with them, and try hard during those times to not have my mind on the other work I needed to do. I know myself, and I knew it would get done.
And I know that these moments with my boys are fleeting, that there will never again be another Christmas when they are 2 and 3 years old and exactly how they are at this moment in time. And when I look back and reflect on this last year in business, my business has grown exponentially and I plan to continue to grow it at a pace that I am comfortable with, a pace that allows me to continue to be present in all aspects of my life, a pace that is sustainable. I am beyond excited for what’s to come, not just in 2019, but throughout this entire journey.
I’m adding some of my favorite moments with my clients, and some of my favorites with my boys below. Check out the rest of the years blog posts to see more of my 2018 sessions. Looking forward to a fantastic 2019.