The first few months of 2015 have flown by and I’m already well into the hustle and bustle of wedding season. I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and evaluate the progress I’ve made so far this year on my goals for 2015:
1. Travel more. I spent a week in Las Vegas in February/March attending WPPI. My friend + fellow wedding photographer Brea and I carved out a few days in the trip to just enjoy Vegas and it was so much fun! The best part of our trip was definitely the ATV tour we took in the desert. I was just in awe of the landscape and it really reaffirmed my decision to travel more this year. I’m already planning some weekend trips with Brian and we’re booking a week in Disney World this fall!
2. Find my “sweet spot” when it comes to the amount of weddings I shoot each year. As 2015 continues, I have a feeling that I will gain a lot of insight into my limitations in terms of bookings. No doubt, I have a full plate for 2015 – but I’m excited to tackle this year and give my clients 110% of myself every single day. My end goal is to survive physically/mentally/creatively, continue to produce fabulous work for my clients, and really figure out what works for me. I LOVE being busy, but I know that there must be a limit to the amount of weddings I can take on during any given year. I haven’t quite figured out what my limit is yet, but I am confident that I will be able to do so by the end of the year.
3. Book a Wish List wedding (or two). Nope – not yet. It’s almost time to start pushing for those New England + Cape Cod weddings for next August, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that something pans out!
4. Book some Cape Cod + New England weddings for 2016. I will be actively networking with New England planners in the next few months, to start spreading the word and hopefully booking at least one wedding for next August.
5. Shoot a proposal. Nope, not yet.
6. Work on styling effectively during the wedding day and taking extra time to pay attention to the smallest of details. I’m really proud of the way I’ve structured my business + the way I construct a timeline for my clients’ wedding day. It has allowed me to have ample time (for the most part) to take my time, be creative, and really hone my skills as a stylist. This is becoming more natural with every wedding I shoot and I constantly find myself scanning the scene + environment for distractions and ways to make my images just a little bit better. Practice makes perfect, but I’m really happy with my progress so far!
7. Begin mentoring. I’ve really enjoyed mentoring Emily, my fabulous second shooter, as well as meeting with local photographers to discuss business. I absolutely love sharing my knowledge with others in an effort to strengthen our industry as a whole. It seems a bit daunting to take on formal mentoring – I still feel like I’m learning every day. However, I know that I have a really strong business background and that is an area where a lot of photographers struggle. I’d love to figure out a way to help other photographers in the industry with their business – to really understand how to gain efficiency in their systems + workflows, how to market themselves, how to conquer their fears, and think like an entrepreneur. Not sure if this will be something I can tackle this year, but it’s definitely in the back of my mind for the future.
8. Make more time for friends + strengthen my friendships with quality time together. YES!!! I have been making this a priority, even when things are busy. Taking a break and getting out of the office – even for just an hour walk around the park or to meet up for margaritas at Taco Boy – is crucial to my sanity. I love my dogs, but they aren’t the most social office mates and it’s nice to have HUMAN interaction a few times a week!
9. Learn how to tie a bowtie. Unfortunately, I haven’t done this yet… and I really need to!
10. Pay it forward. I’ve been really lucky this past year and I’ve been able to help Emily grow as a wedding photographer (I think… I hope!!) by taking her under my wing. I am also working with another local photographer who I hope to bring on as a consistent second shooter for me down the road and it’s really exciting to be able to give new photographers a shot. I remember when I first moved to Charleston and started reaching out to established wedding photographers, hoping for a chance. I was extremely lucky and I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without those chances that were given to me. I do not take that for granted and I’m so thrilled to be able to do the same for other photographers in this community today! I truly believe that by investing in others, you are only helping the industry as a who;e and I really want to be able to give back to this industry that I love so much!
11. Book a wedding at Pippin Hill. Nope… not yet. This is a lofty goal, considering I don’t live in Charlottesville, VA – but a girl can dream, right?!
12. Have a wedding featured by Martha Stewart Weddings. Nope. Not yet! Again, a lofty goal but I figured why not.
13. Reach out to a photographer I admire and offer to assist/second shoot for free! I reached out, which was a huge leap of faith, and surprisingly I actually got an invitation to come along as a third shooter for the day!! Unfortunately, it was on a date that I was already booked with my own wedding, so it won’t work out. Womp womp. Fingers crossed that I get the opportunity to work with another photography idol of mine somewhere down the line. Hey, at least I tried!!
14. Consciously unplug more often. I have been somewhat successful here. I definitely put my phone away during time with friends + family and have been much more relaxed about returning client emails + inquiries. I’ve also done a lot in terms of automating + prescheduling all of my social media updates, so that has really helped to keep me from being tethered to my phone all day. It’s baby steps, but hey – you gotta start somewhere.
15. Lose 15 more lbs and continue to focus on my health + fitness. I’ve been pretty diligent about making exercise part of my daily routine this year. I’ve been walking a lot more, spending time outdoors during warm weather, and hitting the gym a few times a week. I also joined Weight Watchers and have been incorporating more healthy food choices in my diet. So far, I’ve lost about 10 lbs since the beginning of the year and I hope to lose another 10 lbs. by the end of summer to surpass my original goal of 15 lbs!
16. Approach each wedding/session with fresh eyes. I’ve been really focusing on this – being aware of my surroundings and trying to view things through a different set of eyes. Yeah, I still default to what works in a lot of instances – but I’m making an effort to try new things in addition to the safe shots + locations.
So there you have it – a recap of my 2015 goals and where I stand now that the year is a little more than 25% over. Yikes! Guess I still have some things to work on, but all in all, I’m really pleased with my progress. Be sure to check back in a few months to see if I’ve been able to check anything else off of my list between now + then!