I love the beginning of a new year. I'm not much of a "new year = new beginnings" kind of chick, but I do love thinking back about what happened the last year: celebrating the good things, taking note of the bad things to learn from/avoid in the future, remembering all of the amazing places I went, and (especially) feeling utter elation at reaching milestones. For example:
In 2013, I had weddings and travel adventures in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Vegas, Zion National Park, New Hampshire, Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, Banff, Calgary, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Casper, Coeur d'Alene, Olympic National Park, and some really pretty places all over Oregon. Many of those places are featured in my 2014 calendar. I am still going through photos from all the trips. Wow.
Nathan and I bought a house! I love our house. It's beautiful, full of light, full of room, big enough to host lovely parties we've already started having, happy and warm. I love being there. I love working there. I love everything we're doing to it: paint, new faucets, a completely remodeled living room, a new ceiling fan, new light fixtures, a "woodsy" bathroom, new furniture that Nathan is building by hand. I can't wait until I can invite my clients there.
We had a fantastic year of weddings. I was thrilled with all of them. The locations were all beautiful and meaningful. I have really focused on working with people I feel a great match with (personality and style), and it has paid off. I adore my clients.
I'm so proud of my team. I've seen so much growth since we started together. I'm super-proud of Michael, who is photographing weddings as the lead now--so fantastic to see after the incredible amount of hard work he's put into being a rockstar photographer. I met him when I photographed his mother's wedding years back, and I can't say enough about who he's become as he graduates from the University of Oregon this year.
I learned a lot through the photography and business workshops I went to this year, along with the time I spent with my mentors. Part of being an artist and business owner is ever-constant, never-stopping, all-consuming growth. If I'm not pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, making myself learn things I may not be excited about (can we talk about accounting?), and trying new things regardless of the outcome, I'm not doing myself or my clients any favors. All industries change, but photography is crazier than some. The constant balance between maintaining timeless artistic standards while using new technology and having your own vision is tough. But so, so worth it.
So here we go, 2014. Let's do this!