New Year’s Eve Post : Reflecting on 2014

What an amazing year it has been thanks to all of my supporters, encouragers, friends and clients who gave me a chance!

This year of 2014 came in with a bang in so many ways for Shelby Leigh Photography! I started out with high hopes and goals set to make my first official year of business a great one! Here are some goals that now have a little check by them! I have heard that the really organized make checklists, so this is me, checking and organizing!

– Obtain business license (which, turned into licenses – who knew I’d be getting them for city, state, and county?!)    – CHECK! (note to self. time to renew!)

-Create a website. (so I cheated and my amazing web designer friend Amy Palmer made it this awesome, but I have one!)  – CHECK!

-Start blogging. Okay, so this took nearly 9 months to accomplish, but I did it before 2015!  – CHECK (note to self. need to do more consistently!)

-Create business cards. They are awesome!! is a fantastic card company. Love them!  – CHECK!!!

-Prop building!! YES! I am narrowing in on a focus and hope to obtain this type of clientele (newborn) and I have started studio work! (CHECK!) (note to self. organize studio!)

-Work a variety of sessions. Retirement ceremony. CHECK. Promotion ceremony. CHECK. Families. CHECK. Couples. CHECK! Children. CHECK. Surprise Engagement. CHECK! Styled. CHECK! Maternity. CHECK. Newborn – CHECK!!!! Love newborn!

-European sessions including my best friend and the Eiffel Tower. CHECK!!!! AMAZING!

-Be more comfortable posting images of just me. CHECK. (less enthusiasm on this one since it’s still out of  my comfort zone, but I did it!)

-Find a photographer/friend/mentor to “talk shop” with. CHECK!!!

-Attend a workshop/retreat. Check out my post for Life in Loud  (LIFE IN LOUD)! CHECK!!!

-Sign up for photography class/es. CHECK!

Now, why did I do the last three? Simple. I consider myself a “work in progress” photographer. I think it’ll be quite some time before I jump into using “I’m a professional photographer.” Why? Do you have any idea how much there is to know about photography?!!! I know so much more than I did two years ago, and I dare say I know quite a bit more than many who claim their “professional” status. What makes a professional? That full discussion (set of discussions) will be saved for another day, but know that there is so much more to look for in a photographer than a fancy website and/or Facebook page with a few hundred/thousand “likes.” Photography to many seems simple enough: get a “nice, fancy” camera, and start charging. (I’ve seen this in practice, and cringe) It is so much more than that, and after being in the “behind the scenes of photography” area for a couple years now, I’ve learned so much about this craft, art, talent, developed-talent that I hope to share with you in the coming year/s. But know this – finding an artist/photographer who continues to learn and educate and invest in themselves is a key in the quality of photographer you will find. And, I will continue to grow and learn for years to come.

Improvements I can make: Shelby Leigh Photography didn’t go *quite* as well as I had hoped in the business/marketing/financial aspect. I had a few health issues that took me away from the marketing and mini sessions that I had hoped to do. I invested quite a bit into my equipment, studio and prop building without having the opportunity to use my investments. Having a TFCC tear (which is actually a hole that’s irreparable) in my right wrist did not help matters any and took me out of photography for a few months between the pain, the surgery, and then the therapy. But during this time, I was able to learn, create, and take time to plan out the future of Shelby Leigh Photography somewhat. I also think 2014 was a learning year in the “business” aspects otherwise too. Taxes. Learned quite a bit about that (for example, just because you’re doing taxes in one state/county/city does NOT mean all of them require the same filing times for each. Again, who knew?!). But I’m on a roll now, and know what I’m doing!

So. In saying goodbye to 2014, I reflect with pride in myself and my accomplishments. I look forward to goal setting in 2015 and pray that this is still the direction God is leading me in, despite health concerns.

Thank you ALL so much for having faith in me and my vision to capture memories!! Leaving you with a headshot of me (compliments of my awesome assistant/husband)…see, getting comfortable with these shots is important so that you as my clients will be comfortable doing the same! Hard to not practice what I preach! Thanks for a great year!