2015: The Year in Review

Welp, somehow is it now 2016. Not quite sure how that happened, as I swear last week it was the early aughts. But here we are. And as we move forward it is always a good plan to pause a bit and look back- because if not you forget all the little accomplishments. They quickly move to the bottom as new things take over the to-do list and all your mental energy. I say 'you' but obviously, I mean ME (i'm just hoping I'm not all alone over here). So, yeah, here is recap of 2015.

Sham of the Perfect

First up is Sham of the Perfect. I can't believe this project is a year old! I had no idea that when I posted in the Visual Storytelling fb alumni group to see if anyone knew of a group blog to join that I would end up creating a whole new site/community! And of the 365 days that made up 2015 I would say a good 363 days were spent messaging Erika & Natasha (my partners in crime... well,  partners in admin. whatev.). I wanted to join a group to give me some direction and motivation to work on storytelling photography, but wound up with so much more! It's been a great year of growth and bonding though Sham of the Perfect. And we have more things planned to take it all further and further for 2016. Ooh, plus I got to hang out with Erika a few times in person in 2015! And we all get to hang out together in a little less than 6 months! (which is more exciting if you realize that Natasha is in Australia... but flying out here! yay!)

Completing a 52 week project

Because of Sham of the Perfect I just completed my first ever year long photo project. Wahooo! I never would have done it one my own, but having a group to keep me motivated and accountable to worked wonders and I am proud to say that I had an image every week. I'm definitely going to make a book of all my 2015 images... but first I  need to go back into my archives and retrieve the first half of the year's photos... I didn't have the proper systems in place and have now created a whole lot more work for myself (something at which I excel). It's going to be pretty sweet to have a book that shows our whole year. So far all the books we have are from family photo sessions we've had with other photographers (because even as a professional photographer who 1000000000% values a printed photo I am really quite shit at printing my own work. I know. I KNOW. I'm working on it.)

Redoing my website

Well, here you are! My new site! Yay! It took way longer than I thought it would and I am definitely not done, but it's here and I like it a lot better than my old site. For you nerds out there, I switched from a wordpress backed site with a photocrati template to squarespace and it is just So. Much. Better. 
Seriously. My old site I felt like everything I wanted to do I had to trick my website into doing through workarounds and widgets that maybe worked... or maybe made entire sections of my site glitchy. Now with squarespace I can get my site to do what I want with relative ease. With that being said, I am still new to squarespace and am not making the most of it. There is still tons to learn to  make my site all I want it to be and to understand what is what and why. But. Yeah. NEW SITE. high fives.

Finding my voice

One my goals for 2015 was to work on refining/finding my voice/vision/brand and while that is definitely a forever ongoing goal and process, I definitely think I came a long way in 2015. I was thinking about it the week (okay and by "thinking" I really mean I was messaging Natasha & Erika about it) but my photography biz trajectory went something like this:

2012/13: shoot ALL THE THINGS. Babies, families, couples, engagements, weddings, seniors, boudoir, models... gimme it all! Also, during this time we moved out of state (from Washington to Oregon) and then moved again within Oregon. And I got pregnant and had Shosh. So yeah. Crazy times.

2014: Families. That's what I like and that's what I want to shoot. In the fall of 2014 I took Visual Storytelling which helped push me towards what I was already feeling deep down, but wasn't confident about pursuing. That being a move to unposed storytelling images and away from lifestyle pretty pretty directed sessions.

2015: Storytelling Family Photography. I continued transitioning my work to become more and more storytelling to the point I'm at now of being pretty much entirely documentary in my family photography work. And digging it. I look forward to continuing to find and trust my voice in 2016 annnnnnd all the years here after.

Submitting and getting published

Another goal on my 2015 list was getting published (check out this handy dandy page to get the links to my work published on the interwebs). So I took that crucial step of, you know, ACTUALLY SUBMITTING work and low-and-behold I was published! And, let's be honest, those acceptance emails felt pretty damn good. I started the year off pretty strong with getting my work out there and submitting, but that didn't last long. At this point I can't even remember the last time I submitted anywhere. So, yeah, submitting and getting published is going right back on the goal list for 2016. 

Refining my kit

This is another nerd bit, but I am finally at a point where I am pretty damn happy with my kit. I have some lenses and gear that I still need to bring in to sell annnnnnd I have been thinking more and more how I want to give a 24mm a solid go (I want to get closer but also WIDER), but overall I'm pretty happy with my current set up.  Okay, and I definitely have a shelves full of various old film camera bodies and lenses, because you can never have too many of those to play around with! But my work kit is a canon 5dmiii, the canon 50mm L, and the sigma art 35mm. Oh, annnnnd a fujifilm x-series camera is also on my wish list. It would just be so nice to have a little compact fuji to bring EVERYWHERE and use for personal work. Camera gear, y'all. It's an addiction. BUT as I said, my work kit is pretty streamlined at this point and it really came from figuring out how I work best, instead of listening to all the many many many people out there proclaiming that you HAVE TO use such and such lens or you aren't a REAL photographer. Fuck that. Figure out your own shit. And buy used. And sell the gear you don't connect with. And start sentences with a conjunction and end them with a preposition. What of it?

Yan's workshop

I took it. Boom. It was on my workshop wish list for a while, but I just wasn't at a point where I could leave my very tiny childrens and travel to attend (nor could I, you know, afford to fly across the country, but whatevs). So I was super pumped when Yan announced her 2015 workshop schedule with a session in Portland. I jumped all over that shit. It was great. And I have a whole big old blog post I want to write about it, so I won't go into too much detail here. Suffice it to say, I wish I could have the workshop every week or so. That way I could hear Yan's encouragement and truth all the time. And it would be wonderful. 

Not being vanilla

Which is totally a Yan-ism (so it only makes sense that this one follow's the Yan post, right?). I've been really trying to be true to myself (which is soooo much harder than it sounds) and shoot the way I want to shoot and show the work that I want to show. And NOT shoot the way I think people want me to shoot or show the work that I think will get the most "likes". I know this sounds totally basic and easy, but it definitely something I have struggled with (and continue to do so). BUT I'm aware of it and I am consciously trying to be true to me being a strong flavor that you love or your hate- not a vanilla that is okay and you like, but is just another of the masses. 

Oh, did you think I accomplished ALL THE THINGS? HAHAHAHA. Sure. Right.

Let's keep things real here. I absolutely did not get to check off all of my goals for 2015. Blogging? HA. I definitely failed on that one. The last time I posted client work was in June. JUNE. And that wasn't even a full session- just a fucking sneak peek! Isn't it ironic (dontcha think)? That I was going on about how I'm more happy with my work and shooting what I love.... and that I never fucking get around to blogging it?? Awesome. I know. I have a looooong list posted next to my workspace of all the blog posts I need to prep. Blogging just always seems to get pushed to the bottom of my to-do list, which means it never get's done. Which I'm not okay with. And I need to work on. 

My office is also still a totally shit show. It's a mess. Papers are everywhere. Organization is completely non-existent. I've always been guilty of a messy desk, but when you are running a business you really need to get your systems in order so you don't kill your mental (and physical energy) on the dumb stuff (like trying to find a fucking paperclip).

Oh, and bookkeeping. FAIL. I told myself I was going to keep my books up to date weekly. Then when that didn't happen I amended to monthly. Then that didn't happen. And now I am looking up on spending too much time sitting at my computer to catch everything up. Blerg. Systems. I need them.

And with that, here's to 2016 and all it has to offer!