Yes I know, everyone’s doing them - end of the year review posts. Well guess what? SO AM I! So keep reading, why don’tcha? I promise I’ll keep it short and sweet.
2015 was a big year for me, and I didn’t fully realize it until last week when I caught up with two of my friends from high school.
I’ve known Kelly and Alissa for about 10 years now, which makes me feel old; I was Kelly’s physics tutor in high school and practically her adopted brother I spent so much time with her family. I got to know Alissa because I dated her best friend for a year in high school. We never expected to be the group of people that kept in touch, and I find that hilarious. This group has always had a fun dynamic and it’s amazing that we can go months without seeing each other, but pick up like it was just yesterday.
While catching up over lunch before the new year, we started on the inevitable, “Have you heard about so-and-so and what they’re doing now?” Which turned into, “Holy crap, did you know that X is married and Y is already having a kid!?” Kelly and I are 25 and Alissa is 24, so we’re at that point where everyone is getting married / starting to have kids. We’re all sitting at this table thinking, “We are NOT ready for that.” As it happens though, Alissa’s older sister, Jen, IS ready and IS getting married and hired yours truly to shoot it. I’m ecstatic about the wedding, and Alissa brought up how her entire family is stoked that I’m shooting it, too. After hearing that, Kelly said something that made my heart grow to happy-Grinch proportions.
“Michael, your photography gets so much better every year. The stuff you’re doing now is awesome.” Alissa agreed emphatically.
Now, this compliment is a big deal because Kelly and I used each other to help grow our respective talents. Kelly is an actress out in LA and when we were in high school, we were shooting every few weeks so that I could work on my photography skills and Kelly could work on her modeling and get some free portfolio images. As a kicker, Alissa seemed to be at most of those shoots just hanging out, making us laugh, and occasionally providing some amazing food (she’s a culinary genius).
Where are we now? Alissa has worked for several top chefs in their restaurants; Kelly is starting to get work in a number of big films (my favorite being Zach’s girlfriend in the opening of Jurassic World), and I’m starting to do pretty well with my photography. It’s wonderful to know each of us is becoming successful with our passions and that we’re happy doing so.
And that’s the big realization I had of 2015 - I’m happy with my photography and where it’s going.
I’m starting to charge what I’m worth (the single most difficult thing for a working photographer to do) and even considering charging more, I’m enjoying the images I’m producing, and I’m starting to get referral clients and other random inquiries.
So what are my photography related goals for 2016?
Book 3 more weddings for 2016 - I’m currently at 7
Watch 4 tutorials or seminars on business growth and subscribe to 3 or 4 blogs about the same
Swap my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art for the new Canon 35mm f/1.4 II
Use gels on my flashes more often
Pay off an entire student loan sub-group with my earnings from photography
And while we’re at it, the non-photography related goals
Step 1 - Go to places that serve salads for lunch
Step 2 - Curse your insistent coworkers; find a place that has salads
Step 3 - Order the salad
Step 4 - ORDER THE DAMN SALAD
Step 5 - Eat the salad
Step 6 - Be Happy
Walk to work every possible day
Explore one new area of Atlanta every month
Vacation in Europe
Finish my super-secret photography product
Technically photography related, but I wanted two lists of 5 items
Yes, I’m slightly OCD
So let’s see what 2016 brings. I’m excited for tomorrow and the day after that and hope you are too!
Oh, and of course, Kelly and I did a quick photo session.