January is the calm after the storm in our world. Spring and summer are full of weddings, fall continues with more weddings, plus family sessions, and finally it all fades into a blur of Christmas season. After Christmas we are thankful to have a full week of relaxation and recuperation and I only work enough to answer a few emails and post a bit on Facebook.
But January is the time to catch our breaths, look back at the previous year, and plan for the new year, both personally and professionally.
Last year had some of the biggest highs and lows I’ve ever experienced. We moved from “family photographers who shoot some weddings” to “wedding photographer & cinematographer who also photograph families & shoot commercial films.” That is exactly what we set out to do, and it is a huge accomplishment! We doubled the number of weddings we did from 2013 and I was even asked to judge photos for a competition. We were published over 14 times, and we just found out that in 2014 we’ll be published internationally! We took our average delivery time for wedding photos from 6 weeks down to 6 days.
But then August came and our friend took his own life. I spent a week crying and in disbelief. Friends gathered but we didn’t have anything to say. It was the height of our wedding season (3 weddings in 9 days) and work was a nice relief from the sadness. I’m so thankful to have a job where I’m constantly reminded of the good and happy things in this world. It didn’t change the fact, though, that I had three weddings to deliver, and I was supposed to be on vacation the week after the funeral. I also got two calls from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep during this time. I photograph newborns who have passed away to give the family memories of them. I don’t think I even need to tell you the emotional toll that took on me during those two weeks. It’s totally a volunteer thing, so I can always decline… but it was something I could do to help someone who was suffering much more than I was… I had to help.
I’ve never been more thankful for our business plan as I was during the month after our friend’s death. Despite having a 6 day average turn-around for weddings, I still told my brides 6 weeks. Why? Because life happens. And in August, life happened.
And I did get everything done. Weddings were delivered within 2-3 weeks, still well within our time frame. We went from cloth diapers to disposables during this time, too, for our daughter. Life was just too ridiculous to keep everything going. We asked my sister to babysit and spent a day of our vacation at a coffee shop working on photos & videos to catch up.
Owning a business means lots of late nights, huge hurdles, and difficulty separating business from personal. But it’s what we’ve chosen, and we are so very thankful to our clients who make it all possible! We are excited for 2015 and all the awesome things that are to come!