Best of 2016: A Journey

What a crazy year 2016 was. It seems as though everyone had some struggles, and everyone had some pretty great highs as well. My lows were low and my highs were pretty high the past year. I'm not afraid to admit that I, like a lot of people, get caught up in the daily stresses of life and days tend to go by (cue Keith Urban) without much thought. But as the year drew to a close and I was photographing my last wedding of the year, I seriously took time to reflect and think about just how good 2016 was to my business. I grew. In fact I grew by 240%. I met amazing couples and had the honor of photographing the most important day of their lives. As vital as my career is to my clients happiness on this day, it's important for me to not get caught up in the daily grind of my career and realize just how truly lucky I am to be in the position I am.

It will be 3 years in April that I decided to dive into the deep end of my business. I had been photographing and slowly building my business on the side since 2010. When I graduated college in 2012, I jumped straight into the Advertising world per my degree. I got my own place, bought a dog, a new car and boom; adulting at its finest. Life was good but deep down I knew I wasn't doing what I truly loved; I was just being safe. By the end of 2013, I felt as though my business was growing at a pace that I could possibly make it something on its own: without another job as my main income. So in January of 2014 (exactly 3 years ago) I called up my parents and asked them to meet me out to dinner. I was scared, nervous, excited and super anxious. I told my parents that I was quitting my salary job with full benefits and moving back home.Ballsy? Yes. But if you know me, you know that's within my character! I was going to run my photography business full time and give myself one full year to "make it." Now, I realize that most businesses don't just "make it" after only a year of going full force. But I was determined to give it my all and spend all of time working on it. 

What I didn't realize when I made this step was just how difficult it is to truly start a business. Sure I had been photographing on the side for almost 4 years, but taking the step to becoming a legal business was a pretty dark cloud hanging over me. Running a photography business is more than just being able to take nice pictures and put them up on a gallery.  In the beginning it was very overwhelming because you quickly learn that not only are you a photographer, but you also need to know finances, marketing, customer service and order processing. I did all of my research, spoke to other business owners, networked and made allies along the way. I'm not egotistical at all, but damnit I'm really proud of myself. 

I busted my butt to get where I am today. To see that 240% growth rate from 2015 to 2016 is like seeing an Oscar to me. And let me tell you; I'm not stopping now. I have so many people tell me how awesome it is that I'm making money doing my passion. Not very many people get to do that in life. I wanted it and I did it, but I'm STILL doing it. Being a small business owner is all about the journey. Sure we want that nice paycheck at the end of all of our hard work, but I'm here to tell you I don't photograph weddings for the paycheck. I photograph weddings because I love the connection in every sense of the word. The connection I get to make with my clients turned friends, the connection I get to make with other business owners and being apart of the wedding community, the connection I get to make in my art between a brand new husband and wife. I do this for the warm and fuzzies not the gold and silver. 

It's important to me that my clients (past, present and future) know my journey and why I'm spending my days doing this. For those who have had a consult with me, you may remember my take-away message that I leave with each of you. Pick a wedding photographer that you just click with. Your wedding day is not you and your partner; it's you, your partner and your photographer. I strive for my clients to feel as comfortable with me as they would one of their bridesmaids or groomsmen. The connection is why I do this thing and I'd like to think that is visible in my work. 

That being said, I wanted to share with everyone my favorite images captured in 2016. Photography by Lauryn had such a phenomenal year and while I'm sad to move on from the sets of couples I've met, I'm so looking forward to meeting new future Mr. and Mrs. in 2017. Cheers!  


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