Lessons Learned in 2017

2017 was a year of growth for Photographing the Moments!  I started off the year with two in-home newborn sessions.  Little did I know that these sessions would change the direction of my business.  One was a pretty typical portrait newborn session.  I felt uncomfortable directing the family and did not enjoy editing the images.  The second session was almost completely documentary in nature.  I provided very little posing guidance.  The family just did their thing – adored their baby, played together, changed diapers, started dinner, relaxed on the couch – and I took pictures.  It was a blast for me and I loved the images!  Lesson learned:  I’m not a portrait photographer.  I’m a documentary and lifestyle photographer.  I like taking unposed pictures of families doing their thing, whatever their thing might be, whatever is important to them.  I love the images from this type of photography.  I love the stories and emotions and real memories.

But how do you take good in-home pictures for families?  How do you capture them doing their thing without disrupting them?  How do you manage your gear so that you’re ready for whatever light you get?  This past year I spent many hours researching and learning.  I took an awesome CreativeLive class (Family Photography: Creating a Successful Business) by Kirsten Lewis, the creator of “Day in the Life” documentary family sessions.  I took notes, tried things out, and continued to learn.  The lesson here?  There’s always more to learn and try!

2017 had one more surprise in store for me.  During the fall I was contacted about a part-time Speech-Language Pathology job.  At the same time I was finishing my 30 hours of SLP Continuing Ed, taking on two new projects at my kids’ school, editing three sessions, and trying to get ready for Christmas.  I went beyond my limit during the fall.  I had no free time.  Editing turned into a chore, taking new pictures turned sour.  Lesson learned:  Keep things balanced.  I do photography because I love it, because I want to be good at it, because I like learning.  If life gets out of balance, photography is no longer fun.  So as we start 2018 I’m working to put my life back in balance.

Now for my 2018 goal:  I need to find ways for people to enjoy their images more.  I tried using PixieSet to share the images this past year and didn’t get positive feedback, so I need to research other online gallery options.  I love sharing the image files and I hate selling products, but I have a feeling that the images are not getting used as much as I would like.  I’m playing around with slideshows, photo books, and other photography products.  My hope is that all my sessions will include the digital files AND another way to enjoy the images, like a slideshow and/or a photo product.  We shall see what I come up with!