I really cannot believe I'm sitting here writing this. That this year is almost over and 2017 is already starting to come through the door saying hello. And it's really hard for me to write about this year without turning it into a novel.
But in my truest and honest attempt, here I go.
2016 started out rough for me. With a toppling financial situation, losing insurance while 7 months pregnant, my husband switching jobs, me getting ready to take the leap into self-employment full time, hospital bills, taxes, and the whole mess adult life gives very welcoming had me so stressed I was actually starting to lose my hair (not exaggerating).
With Leo's complicated delivery (read that story here), my long winded recovery, and not being able to be in a position to take full maternity leave made my start into wedding season a bumpy one. But, I feel so incredibly grateful because I gave birth to an extremely HEALTHY baby boy and all of my clients welcomed me in with huge, open arms. They treated me more like friends and family than their paid vendor and it made me having to work just a bit easier.
As things started to level out, I found myself taking on every adventure I could. I spent time with people I hadn't seen in a very long time. Had a few nights out with my girlfriends. Tried lots of new food. Trained for a half marathon and ended up running a full marathon (ok.. walked half of it) and ran the Color Run as well. Took some time to actually read a little more and even draw. And learned how to find myself within motherhood and all it's bumpy paths. All during the busiest time my business has ever seen.
This year I photographed 14 weddings, 54 portrait sessions, tens of thousands of photographs, a little video work, and created a whole new workflow for my business. I invested into some new software, got a new camera, and a bunch of marketing and promotional work to take my business to the next level. So really, in a lot of ways, not only was this the biggest year of change for me personally, but it was also the biggest year of growth my photography business has ever seen. And honestly, I wish I could personally thank and write to every single person who has supported me, helped me, and encouraged me through it all. I wouldn't be able to live my dream without you people believing in me.
So as I put together my yearly collection of photographs, I put a lot of effort and time into thinking about what represented this year best. What photos haven't been published anywhere and which ones I'll look back on and instantly remember the year of 2016. And well, after a lot of scouring through the archives of my digital library (both taken by my phone and real cameras), I can say that this collection of photographs is the heart of my life this year. The moments that inspired me. Kept me going. Reminded me of what's important. And gave me something to look forward to. They are the beautiful people I got a chance to get to know. The clients turned friends. The sunsets and sunrises. The storm chasing. The love letters. Laughs. Cries. And the face of my baby and all motherhood is to me. It's the magical lighting that stopped me in my tracks. The family members captured in their last days. The wedding in the rain. And the traveling I was lucky enough to do with a 4 month old. It is my vision and how I will remember this year. All of its crazy amounts of change, growth, and hardship but also the great levels of love, gratitude, and hope I've been surviving off of. And also, be sure to press play for the perfect soundtrack for this year <3
To each and every one of you who have given me the chance to photograph you, thank you. To all of the friends and family who have listened to me and given me hugs when I needed them most, thank you. To my aunt who paid for Blue Apron to show up at my door for 3 weeks because I was unable to get to the grocery store with a newborn, thank you. To my best friends for letting me cry when I needed to and letting me give a space where you can do the same, thank you. To all the people who have helped me laugh and see the beauty within, thank you. And I hope to spend 2017 convincing all of you too how beautiful you truly are. And to life, yeah I'm staring at you, I'm going to say thank you for the trials because I know I'm close to being stronger than I ever was before. And without them, I couldn't be.
2017, I'm ready for you. I'm ready to have more adventures. More love. Less stress. More sleep. Less negativity. More creating. And all the fun this photography business has in store for me.