Happy New Year! | 2014 In Review

Happy New Year!!! I hope you all have a wonderful fresh start to 2015! So this blog is a little different. I want to start by thanking you all for the support throughout the last two year. I can’t believe it has been 2 years, and am so grateful for where I am. I’ve gotten to work with such amazing clients that words cannot really express the gratitude I feel. 

I’ve had the kindest, sweetest clients ever and I love you all so, so much. If something went wrong on my end, everyone was so, so understanding and patient with me, and I really can’t begin to explain how blessed I am by you all! But not only clients but followers, those who have taken the time to comment something sweet, those who simply “liked” my photog page, and the list goes on and on. My job is dependent on YOU, and without wonderful people like YOU, this wouldn’t be possible! 

 With a bit of a break from sessions, I wanted to post something personal. I got this idea from Abby Grace Photography to not only post goals for the new year, but a recap of things done well during the year, and also things that didn’t go well for 2014 (ugh). It may sound weird, but it ended up being extremely helpful for me to write these lists. I definitely hope I don’t sound arrogant by posting things done well… just wait until you see how short the “things done well” list is 😉 But I really think it’s important to consider what worked, and what didn’t. A new year is a fresh start, so here we go!

Let me get things done poorly out of the way 😉

  • Un-organization
    • Organization is key to well… a lot of things. It’s easy to get bogged down when there’s so much to do, and before I know it, I’m depositing checks over a week from the session, haven’t organized deposits, and it’s a complete mess I don’t want to even start to deal with. 
  • Scheduling
    • I just finished my second year. So every year is busier than the last. It’s hard to know how many sessions I can take on in a day or week, and I was still discovering how many I could take on in a short period. 
  • Balancing priorities
    • I am a full-time student. And I have obligations to clients. And I try to have some-what of a life outside of school and work. I’m finding more and more responsibilities and priorities the older I get, and it’s not easy. I found myself getting closer and closer to the dead-line dates, or up late to finish things that could have been done hours ago but weren’t because of un-important things. 
  • Giving credit 
    • Yes, I’m a pastor’s kid, but hang onto your seats here… I still struggle. It’s easy for me to think of this as MY business, and look at what I have done. But God is the entire reason I’m able to do what I’m doing, and has given me this talent for HIS glory, not for mine. It’s HIS business, and my entire life should be HIS. I’m just a steward.

 

Now for things that went well during 2014:

  • Savings system made
    • This has mad a HUGE difference. And honestly, one of my biggest regrets is that it didn’t happen a lot sooner. I had NO long-term savings plan, thus, very little money was saved (funny how that works…). I’m embarrassed saying this but I really don’t want others to make the same mistake. I didn’t keep track of every photography income/expense, and really, really regretted it. If you do, you can look back from day one and know exactly how much you’ve made, spent, and your gross profit for each month, and each year. You’ll thank me later!! 
  • Having second-shooters 
    • I’ve loved having more photos from second shooters, but what I’ve loved even MORE is having them there for support. Don’t worry I still love the second angle on photos! No, I don’t have one there at every wedding, but I could give a long list of things second-shooters help me with besides actually taking pictures that in the end caused client’s photos to be better and makes it worth paying someone to help.
  • The complete switch to online galleries 
    • If you’re a photographer looking for an online gallery sight, I highly recommend PASS!! I don’t do CD’s anymore because you can literally upload the gallery after exporting it, give the client the link and password, they can download all their photos at once, and send all their gallery to grandma, aunts, etc. in an instant. I was in Ohio last week, and was able to send out two galleries right to clients without touching a CD! I love it and so do clients!

Goals for 2015!! 

  • Organization
    • I love how Caroline Logan, a photographer in Lancaster, PA, put it when she said it’s worth spending money on a nice organization system that you’ll stick to and enjoy. I’m hoping to stay more organized with bookings, deposits, etc, but am considering an updated system. Right now it’s a divided-up notebook (I know, so old-school ;)). If you know of any software or anything that has helped you, I’d love to hear! 
    • I’m a very list oriented person. If it’s not written down, it will be forgotten or won’t happen. When I was thinking about this post I looked at my desk and saw 3 random lists on sticky notes. From my goals for the week to things to do on a Saturday, I need to make lists and stick to them. Thus, my Kate Spade sticky note set and numbered to-do pad is on its way in the mail (late Christmas gift to me;)). 
  • Payment system
    • I’m hoping to make deposits all viral from my website since a deposit is needed to reserve a date. That way, a date can be reserved in an instant instead of waiting for snail-mail.
  • Purchase a new camera
    • Doesn’t every photographer want to? But seriously, I have it all picked out, and that’s where a savings plan is great. I have a “photography equipment account” so I can know exactly when it’s ok financially to buy something new for my business. It’s great!
  • Update website
    • I’d recommend Squarespace to anyone and everyone making their own site. It’s super easy for people like me who don’t know a thing about designing their own site, but want to have the power to make changes to it whenever. I’m not talking about a full-blown brand-new site, I just need to sit myself down and update certain parts. 
  • Improve on and photograph more weddings
    • Again, doesn’t every photographer? But I want to actively pursue becoming better at wedding photography. Katelyn James started The Collection for photographers with guides and how-to’s on so many different things. I’ll hopefully be a more frequent customer there!
  • Blog regularly
    • Sorry for all the times I’ve blogged 3 times in 1 week, then nothing for a few weeks. Hopefully I’ll blog way more regularly in 2015!
  • Connect with other photographers
    • Photography is a competitive market, and Greenville, SC is no exception. But I believe it’s important to put aside the competition aspect and just connect as friends with the same passion where you can talk about photography among many other things. I’m hoping to connect with and friend more and more photographers this year! So if you’re a photographer in Greenville, or passing through Greenville, shoot me an email and let’s do coffee!!
  • Be more consistent
    • It’s great to look around at other photographer’s work for inspiration and ideas, but there comes a point when you have to make your work consistent with your own style. I hope you’ll see more consistent edits this year!

 

Thanks for sticking with me through it and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings, and am grateful to have wonderful people like you following along!! Happy New Year!! 

Also, my dad took these updated head shots this morning. Isn’t he getting good??

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