A Very Open & Honest Look At Me
Where I'm at today and why
As I already mentioned in my blog post here, it's been a year for me personally and professionally. My last reference to Stutz on Netflix (seriously, if you haven't watched it yet you should) is to The Snapshot aka the Realm of Illusion, which seems fitting as a photographer. The Snapshot is this perfect scenario you want, but isn't attainable or at least not as perfect as you'd hope. It's a vision of what you want that's manufactured by Part X and your own self doubt.
I felt like I had one of the best years ever last year and was heading into another solid string of prospects this year. I had increased my client base, grew into some new areas and created some new partnerships as well. I was keeping up regularly with my blog and social media posts to share recent work and had a solid plan for heading into 2022. I started off 2023 continuing the same trend, and then just sort of fell off. It started as "well it's just one week, no biggie" and rapidly turned into "I haven't posted in months, oops" real quick. It seemed like one thing after another kept happening, life with two kids became more busy than I thought it would and a plethora of other issues.
Early on in the year as I was finishing up spring sessions and about to start lacrosse season, I noticed my laptop was starting to run a little slow and causing editing to take longer and longer. My wife and I made the decision to invest in a new MacBook Pro to cut down on editing time and, by extension, create more family time and time for just us when the kids are in bed. On top of that, my wife surprised me with a brand new R6 out of nowhere which has been nothing short of game changing for me and my work. Things were starting to look up, but I had a bigger issue looming just below the surface.
Right around the same time as spring work was sort of coming to a close, which is typically a slower time of year for me, I was also facing a pretty large battle with imposter syndrome and a lot of anxiety about just not being good enough. I felt like I wasn't getting the amount of work I should be, I wasn't happy with the work I was putting out and all in all I just felt like nothing I did was as good as it could be. Luckily for me I have one of the most supportive people to ever come into my life in my wife to help me work through it, which isn't easy given I've never been one to receive praise or compliments very well. Slowly but surely the work started to pick up again and I had a few sessions come through that reinvigorated me and made me love what I did again. My wife made a joke, albeit a good point, that the honeymoon phase was over for my photo business and that the shiny and new exciting part was fading and the real work was setting in to keep it going.
Heading into fall I had a solid plan in place for my special I wanted to run and and had a good amount of families booked for full sessions as well. On top of that I was a featured photographer for one of the companies I contract with which lead to a decent uptick in bookings through them as well. I also had a new relationship form with a local high school to cover some of their fall athletics which turned into their football team requesting coverage from varsity down to the youth level. With all these things going on I went from what was going to be a decent fall season into a full blown busy season with less down days than working days. Obviously this is a good problem to have for any photographer, but I was far from prepared for the onslaught of work and being gone that much.
I closed out the fall season with some great sports experiences, some incredible senior sessions and finding a handful of great new locations to work with. I also made the jump and committed to growing my sports work by investing in a 400mm lens for larger field sports. This was obviously a considerable investment and took some thought on whether or not I wanted to do it, but between wanting to grow my brand and an incredibly supportive wife, we decided it was the right move. I also took a very honest and hard look at where my business is at and how it's performed this past year, despite the lower than ideal level of effort I put into growing it. I also made myself a brand new list of things I wanted to accomplish and started with a fresh new whiteboard of goals and benchmarks to achieve to put myself on the right path. While there is a good amount of work ahead of me to make these things happen, I feel more motivated and invigorated to make them happen not only for myself but also for my family.
Currently Listening To: I'm Sorry by Joyner Lucas