As we close out 2023, it’s the perfect time to review the year!
One of my favorite ways to end the year in gratitude is to revisit all the sessions I’ve had the honor of documenting throughout the year, picking a favorite from each. Favorites change throughout the year, but in this exercise of revisiting images, I am almost always drawn to joy, love, connection, and sometimes the memory of what happened in the moments surrounding that image.
This is also the time of year I set or adjust my annual goals for business and personal growth, always with the desire for balance to ensure I can be fully present in both. My word of intention for 2024 is Present.
I believe it’s essential to evaluate each year as far as what has worked, areas I feel worked for my clients and schedule, and ways to improve and grow (because I believe we never stop growing!)
2023 was a big year for me, business-wise as well as personally. After coming out of a creative rut that lasted two years, I finally felt my creativity re-ignited. I believe it was more burnout than a creative rut, but either way, I felt somewhat zapped and often struggled to pick up my camera. In this reset, I found that when I make time for myself and feed my soul spiritually and creatively as well as my body physically, I come to you, my clients, refreshed and much more creative and passionate, hopefully providing you the best experience I can. I’ve built solo vacation times for myself for the last two years, and it has been an incredible way to reset. I will continue this into 2024 and am still working on how this year will look.
I’ll address things I will keep the same for 2024 and changes I will make in each of the services I provide in the appropriate sections below.
In 2023, I documented 13 births, each unique and special. Six of those births were repeat clients. This year, I documented two families that have now trusted me with three of their birth stories! What an honor!
This is my second year creating a compilation of the beauty of birth. Here is 2023:
6 home births, 5 hospital births, and 2 birth center births. Two were transferred to the hospital from home and birth center, and one was delivered via cesarean.
Achievements in birth for 2023 included being published in NAPCP‘s Inspired Magazine, being awarded first place in the birth category of Shoot and Share, and multiple placements in the birth category.
I also had a new website revamp, and I couldn’t be happier! Louise with The Autumn Rabbit has done it again (this is the second website she’s built for me). I wanted to emphasize my focus on birth photography and videography, as these are my specialties.
My 2024 goal is to continue to grow creatively and in filmmaking, focusing on continuing to develop my storytelling skills, applying to at least two competitions, and expanding mentoring other photographers in this incredible genre. I plan on adding at least five more birth clients in 2024.
If you plan to welcome a baby in 2024, please reach out! I tend to book out quickly and have openings in February, May, and August.
I documented 12 maternity sessions.
Maternity sessions are tied with family sessions as my next favorite after births. It is a unique period filled with anticipation and the beauty of waiting to meet your new baby. Watching mothers open up and shine in front of the camera is the best.
In 2023, I added a few more beautiful dresses and gowns for client use.
In 2024, I will keep the number of maternity sessions pretty equal to this year; it was my happy place and ensured I had space on the calendar for birth clients. This year’s changes will be that my birth clients will get first dibs on maternity, fresh, and newborn spots on the calendar.
Fresh and Newborn
I photographed 5 Fresh sessions and 13 Newborn sessions.
I’ve transitioned into calling these sessions ‘Fresh’ sessions versus ‘Fresh 48’ because, as life goes, it isn’t always possible to get those Fresh sessions in those first couple of days whether it is a NICU transfer or families just needed an extra day or two to settle in. The purpose and goal of Fresh sessions is to capture all those sweet little newborn details and precious first days of getting to know each other. These days pass quickly, and those little details change so fast! They are more lifestyle in nature with minimal posing.
For 2024, planning to focus on birth clients while managing the schedule well, I will keep the same number of fresh and newborn sessions, with birth clients having first choice on availability.
I’ve added a studio option for newborn clients utilizing a shared studio space. This is great for families who don’t want to worry about their home’s appearance or the prep for an in-home session. Although it may seem like more work to have them in your home, these sessions are a great reminder of how this period of your life felt. Your home is where your memories will be made, and there is something so unique in that.
I have had a dream and goal to teach and mentor, and in 2023, I finally saw that long-time goal come to fruition! I had the privilege of teaching my first course, Family Filmmaking, at Click Photo School. Their community was the first I found in my drive to become a better photographer and storyteller and where I have grown the most. Teaching a course in this beautiful community 13 years later has been the best!
In 2023, I documented 18 families, twice the number in 2022.
I loved that I could accommodate more families this year by spacing them out throughout the year. This year was definitely my favorite family season! I had so many returning clients and families who wanted to capture connections and personalities over posed images, and that right there is my language! My goal is always to remind you how this season of your life felt, and the best way to do that is to encourage connections and joy during sessions. Thank you to all the families who trusted me in these moments and with your precious families.
For 2024, I will take on fewer family clients to allow space on the calendar for increase in birth clients. I wish I could do it all, but with the weeks of ‘on-call’ time for clients and the unpredictable nature of birth, it just isn’t feasible.
Previous clients will have the first choice of available family session spots, and rather than having you choose months so far in advance, I will open the family calendar quarterly, with an email going out to regular clients first. Hopefully, this will help take the pressure off of you as well!
Thank you all for trusting me again and again with your most precious moments and most precious people! I am continually in awe that this is what I get to do. Here’s to an amazing year ahead!