Photo by Olivia Bane Photography
Wow. This is about to be a long post, so settle in, grab a snack, and get ready. If you don’t want to read about my life for the past year as a photographer, I will not be offended! Just skim past my babbling and look at some of my favorite images from the last year. While I am 100% aware that my future self might be the only one to read this, I am fully prepared to create a post that I hope summarizes our year at Elizabeth Alice Photography and my personal year as a teacher/photographer. I ALWAYS go back and read these, so hopefully this post will say something to me next December and I will be able to remember these awesome times and lessons I learned in 2017. Oh, and ignore my grammatical errors….I am no writer. I just have a lot of thoughts on the year, and I want to write them down. 🙂
This year has been the BEST year so far for my little photography business, and I want to start this post by saying that I am so THANKFUL and humbled that all of you would choose me to document these precious moments in your lives. Recently, a friend gave me such a heart warming compliment, and I want to share what she said. I don’t want to share this compliment to brag about my photography, but it truly touched my heart because she said exactly what I try to do in my photos. She said, “Wow, your ability to capture people’s true selves is amazing.” A simple compliment that 1,000% made my day and made me realize that this year I have achieved my main goal….to capture actual moments and true personalities in my photos. I have LOVED being a part of all of your lives this year through photography. I adore seeing all of the Elizabeth Alice Photography families grow. I get so excited for my Elizabeth Alice Photography seniors, and love hearing their plans for the future! I cannot even handle the love for the precious Elizabeth Alice Photography newborns that I get to photograph. And I am over the moon excited for all of my Elizabeth Alice Photography couples who book me for engagement photos or just to capture their love on film! At the beginning of this year I thought, “I should just choose one avenue to specialize in this year. Families, Senior, Couples, Newborns, Lifestyle, Portraits, Head Shots…I can’t do all of these?! Let me choose one.” Then, the year happened, and I realized that I don’t want to choose just ONE avenue of photography to specialize in….I want to capture all of these special moments for my clients! 🙂 This year was busy, but rewarding. So, thank you to everyone who helped Elizabeth Alice Photography grow in 2017!
In 2017, I had 103 photo sessions (WOW!), established Elizabeth Alice Photography as an LLC, learned to shoot film, edited for countless hours, met over 20 new families, photographed 2 proposals (omg so fun and sneaky!), photographed 7 newborns (I hope this number keeps growing because this is my favorite type of session!), and even got to shoot a styled brunch that might be featured in a Southern Living Cookbook (yayy….stay posted!). A special shout out this year to my little beast of a coffee pot, Spotify Discover Weekly, Netlifx for getting me through HOURS of editing, and our fireplace for warming up my toes after all of those freezing mornings. Also, to Bruegger’s and Chipotle for fueling my fall hustle. 😉
My sweet and amazing husband became such a pivotal part of my business this year. He is the most selfless and giving person, and is ALWAYS so supportive of me. He always loves me, always makes me laugh, and calms me down when I get too overwhelmed (more on this later). This guy even came to my mini-session day when it was 27 degrees and I had a 25 minute break. He brought me soup and sat in the car with me during my break so I could eat the soup and have a little break. Dan has made me countless lunches or Brueggers runs for after my long morning of photos. He will play whatever show I want while I am editing photos and always asks me what I need. Without him, I would be so lost in the world of business’y things…he basically runs my business on the back end. Not to mention he created a sheet to help me very easily run a calc to figure out my quarterly sales tax. All I know is I must have done something very right in life to deserve such a wonderful man as a husband and best friend. He has met many of you on location for our sessions, especially if you had a newborn this year! A HUGE part of our success this year was due to the support of the one and only Dan Lipetzky.
Photo by Jennifer Lagrange Photography
A few things I learned in 2017…
- It is ok to grow slow. I spend so much time wishing for the next step in most aspects of my life. This year taught me to SLOW DOWN. Ialways say that I wish I could know what my future self will wish I knew (that is confusing, I know), but then I spend so much time wishing away my present life. Each day comes with a new lesson, a new obstacle, a new victory. As a photographer, you can literally see your work grow if you look at it in order. I can even see my photography getting better from January to December of this year! Slow down and breathe. It is ok, you are doing great.
- Remember to be grateful. So many small things happen in our everyday lives that we take for granted. This year I learned to focus on the positive things in my life (big and small) because sometimes I can get wrapped up in the chaos of my every day hustle and forget that I have A LOT to be thankful for.
- Take time for yourself. This is a biggie. As a full time teacher and a pretty much full time photographer, it is so easy to leave my personal time out of my daily life. This fall, I had a pretty huge breakdown moment one day when I had a few months of full work weeks without a break + hours of photography before/after school + packed weekends. I was out with Dan on a full Sunday of photo shoots. I won a Contax rental for the weekend from Nancy Ray Photography, and I had photo shoots LINED UP to practice with this camera. I purposely booked the camera for that weekend because I knew I had so many shoots (just to put this in perspective, I had 10 shoots that weekend. 10. WHAT.) and I wanted to get as many beautiful images on this medium format film camera that I could. About halfway through Sunday, I realized that I had been shooting all of the shots with this camera incorrectly. I read one of the dials wrong. All of that time wasted….my precious time, this precious gift of a Contax 645 for the weekend- wasted. I ruined all of the photos (I thought.) I literally sat down in the grass by the bell tower with Dan and started crying. Then, I was having trouble catching my breath. He had to talk me down and explain to me that this was not a normal reaction to messing up a few photos (these photos were even extra on top of my client’s photo shoots, so it really was not that big of a deal.) He said, “You need to stop this. You are giving too much of your time to work and look at what it is doing to you. I know you are so passionate about starting your business, and that it is going to make you so happy when you reach all of your goals, but look at you. This is not happy. You are stressed and you need a break.” He was absolutely right. Who has a panic attack over something like that?! The stress I was feeling this fall with full time teaching + full time photography was too much. (Going back to #2)- I am grateful for this breakdown because it taught me to schedule in “me” time. I know that sounds so silly, and I actually hate when people say this or write this on social media as well…well, I hated it, until I realized that it is necessary. “How busy can you really be, photographer lady who is complaining about no me time on instagram? Just live your life. It isn’t that hard!”….but it is hard. It is hard when you have so many goals to accomplish, so much passion for all of your jobs, and not enough time during the day. I am grateful for that low moment of 2017 because it will NOT happen to me again in 2018. Prioritizing “me” time will be top of my list for New Years resolutions.
- Community Over Competition. This year, I had the privilege of doing a mentor session with my favorite photographer where he talked to me about starting my business and taught me how to shoot film. Ahhh…film. This is a beast that I have been intimidated by for a while now, and I finally was able to wrap my mind around shooting film when I did this mentor session with Graham Terhune. Not only did he mentor me on film, he is ALWAYS willing to help me with any question I have about photography. How awesome is that?! I met another great photographer that I really admire back in the spring to talk to her about how she stepped out and started her business. She met me without a blink of an eye, answered all of my questions, and always does when I send her a note…AMAZING! In the summer, I went to I met Olivia from Olivia Bane Photography this summer and we swapped head shots and talked all things photography. A few weeks ago, I met Jennifer Lagrange of Jennifer Lagrange photography and did some head shots for her while she took BEUATIFUL images of my sweet husband and I. I literally cried at these pictures, as I am not used to getting pictures taken of us. How sweet it was to have another photographer capture our love at this stage of life together. All of these things would never have been possibly without the photographer community that I have had the privilege of being a part of this year (and look forward to continuing in the next years!). I am super thankful for all of these amazing photographers and their influence on my life and business! I hope to be able to help other photographers like these wonderful photographers have helped me.
- Have a plan. In years past, I have kind of been a “fly by the seat of my pants” person when it came to my photography business. I just kind of went with it, barely documented anything, didn’t try to improve my craft, and just thought “It is what it is.” This year, I created a plan, and it has made this owning a business on the side thing a loooot easier. I have already started planning for 2018, and I cannot wait to see where this takes me!
So, in conclusion, this year has been a momentous year in Elizabeth Alice Photography. I have spent many hours getting teared up while editing the sweetest images (an let’s be real, while photographing them) of some of the most genuine people that I have ever met. I hope these photos do this year justice, and I hope you get a smile from seeing your photos featured in my little “Year in Review” blog post today. Happy New Year to everyone! I know 2018 will be our best year yet!
(This is my favorite picture of the year ^ because my sweet and perfect niece is such a big and beautiful smiley little toddler now! I can’t handle her perfect little ANGEL face in this picture! LOVE!)
(This photo is a close 2nd for my favorite from 2017! I actually loved this entire shoot, but this sweet girl and her contagious smile…plus that morning light on her hair?! ALSO- does this dress come in my size?)
(Also, this was a close 2nd for favorite photos! AND it was taken yesterday…my last photo shoot of 2017. It was 18 degrees. 18 DEGREES! But doesn’t their happiness just warm your soul?!)
A few behind the scenes and personal shots from the year!
Teaching Abby how to roll 120mm film! My future photographer buddy?! #dream
AND FINALLY, a few shots from our trips this year! We went to Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Boston and Vermont. A pretty solid year for travel as well. <3
Congratulations for making it through this beast of a blog post. I loved sharing it with you. Happy New Year, everyone!
Photo by Jennifer Lagrange Photography