Business / Wrapping up 2017

I cannot believe there are only 4 more days in this year. I CANNOT believe I only have 4 more days in my 30's (holy *beeeeep*). Yep. I'll be 40 on Monday. But that's an entirely different blog post. Two years ago, as I was turning 38 I set some serious goals for myself and my business. I'll be honest, I didn't meet them all but I definitely am eons ahead of where I was at that point. 

One day, as I was driving to a senior photo session, just around the time I turned 38, I was overwhelmed with a sense of dread. And I realized it was stupid to keep doing things I didn't want to do. Seniors are hard. I don't like posing people. It's just not my style. I like to photograph interaction between people, love.. laughter... emotion. Those are the things I love. The things weddings are full of. And I LOVED shooting weddings more than anything, despite the pressure. So I screamed (literally) into the universe, "I WANT TO BE A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!!!!" And I decided to make it happen. I agreed to carry out the seniors that I had promised for 2016 and 2017 and do no more than those, and only take on a few family sessions and that I would work to change my website, my Facebook and my Instagram pages to only reflect what I wanted to be shooting. 

And I focused on learning everything I could about shooting weddings. I learned about using flashes and natural light and started renting these AMAZING lenses from this amazing place in Columbus, Midwest Photo, and I became this sponge, soaking up every ounce of education and information I could get my hands on. And I honed my skills, and continue to learn and grow and practice. I love learning. And I never want to stop learning. 

Then I set a goal for myself. I wanted to shoot 20 weddings in 2017. I didn't hit that goal, but I'm going to allow myself a little bit of grace. Amy and I did shoot 14 weddings this year and I'm so incredibly grateful for every one of them. I learned something at each one of them and the best part is that I have met some of the most lovely people who have ever come into my life. The new friends I have made through this "job" are priceless. I spend hours with these people. After I shoot engagement photos, a boudoir session and then spend 6-8 hours with these couples on their wedding day, they make an impression on me. They trust me and I will never take that for granted. Ever. I'm so incredibly grateful for those random texts I get from my brides that just say "I miss you." <3  And, just so you know where I am right now, I carried that goal of 20 weddings over to 2018 and I already have 11 weddings on my book!!! I'm more than halfway to my goal already!! 

Now, let's talk about my personal life. It is hectic and crazy. If you don't know, we have 4 kids, ages 4, 6, 8 and 13. They are active and energetic. Between the 4 of them we have baseball, football, flag football, basketball, gymnastics classes, gymnastics team and, of course, school and homework and doctors appointments and band concerts and elementary programs, preschool programs... not to mention just getting everyone everywhere. I feel like I live in my car. And to be slightly transparent, it LOOKS like (and smells like *gag*) I live in my car. I mean, I found a baggie of what smelled to be fermented berries in a booster seat cup holder the other day. Who knew you could make wine in your car.. !?!?!  ... wait, if it was fermented, would that be considered open container? HA!!! ....  anyway, I wouldn't trade these times for anything in the world. I know I'm going to blink and they're going to be grown and have families of their own. There's going to be a time there aren't going to be toys stuffed under the couch. There won't be a sink full of cups, because if you have kids, you know they have to get a clean one every time they need a drink. There won't be a sky-high pile of laundry. And that makes me sad. And next year, they will all be in school, which will give me lots of extra time to actually clean house and not feel like someone is following me, tearing out what I just cleaned up, and I will have time to work during the day so I can spend evening hours with them without being distracted and worrying about what I have to get done. I'm actually looking forward to that!

I feel like 2017 has been pretty successful and I'm looking forward to 2018. I have a wonderful support system and amazing friends and family and I have this crazy dream of being an amazing, sought-after wedding photographer who gets to travel and take my family on vacations and help support all my kids' habits... aaaaaaaand my own. Coffee. Dang it, I just can't help it. I have 4 kids! Something has to keep me going!!!

So let's talk goals. This year my goals are:

Photography: Shoot 20 weddings

Business: Start holding regular classes/workshops to help others learn photography 

Personal: Get back on the health and fitness wagon (someone drive by and pick me up!! lol)

Financially: Run my business like a business and save some money for my family

Happy New Year everyone!! I hope your 2017 was happy and prosperous and 2018 is even better!!!!  What are YOUR goals and hopes and dreams for the coming year? 

Santa Family Photo Stephanie West Photography