Where do I even begin? I have grown tremendously this year, both personally and professionally. In terms of photography, this has been my best year yet. Of course, I really only have the previous year and half to compare it to, but I am so beyond grateful. I have invested in my education. I have learned to feel more confident with my lighting skills. I have made some truly wonderful connections with my clients and other wedding professionals. I have become more open to possibilities. This year has been a whirlwind, but I honestly would not have had it any other way. It's funny how challenges can teach you such a vast amount of information about yourself. I would truly not be where I am today in my business if it weren't for the challenges of 2020.
10 Things I Learned in 2020:
1. Lighting, lighting, lighting! Thanks to the Shooting & Editing course by Amy & Jordan Demos, I am beyond confident in my ability to choose good lighting situations. It's harder than it looks. But, I can say with confidence that I am comfortable in a variety of unusual lighting circumstances and that is a huge win for me and my biggest insecurity at the beginning of 2020.
2. Editing! I have honed in on my editing style and feel comfortable making adjustments in Lightroom that maintain my style. I am such a sucker for light and airy! My style finally fits within my love for bright, light and airy photographs.
3. Organization is everything! I FINALLY invested in a booking system (despite my stingy desire to do it on my own). It has literally changed my business. I feel so much more organized and professional. And, I'm spending far less time sending and receiving, emails and messages, and that makes for a far more seamless experience for my clients.
4. Professional friendships! I have sought out as many opportunities as possible to learn from other wedding industry professionals. I am beyond grateful for the new business relationships I've gained this year.
5. You can never know enough! I have thrown myself into mentoring opportunities and as much continuing education as possible.
6. I learned to stop comparing myself. Well, it's an ongoing battle to be perfectly honest, but I am continuing to work on this skill (which isn't always easy). But honestly, it doesn't make sense to compare my year two to someone else's year ten. It's not fair to myself and I am continuing to learn to be happy where I am and with the tremendous personal and business growth I've accumulated this year.
7. Progress is better than perfect! I have really spent time focusing on progressing in my business and skills rather than focusing on perfection. For my perfectionists out there, don't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good! This is such a consistent issue for me, my picture might even be next to the word perfectionist in the dictionary. It is an ongoing uphill battle, but I have really worked hard this year to be okay with good, not necessarily perfect.
8. Kindness is everything! 2020 has truly solidified this concept for me. I have learned and continue to learn that kindness is the beginning of all good things. You never regret being kind to someone; even if that someone is not kind to you. When you work with a variety of personalities and opinions, you don't always mesh well with everyone. BUT, you can always show kindness. This concept has also led me to new clients and incredible relationships with people in my industry.
9. Blogging is hard! Holy moly can blogging be tough. It is time consuming and requires a tremendous amount of planning. I am slowly learning how to create a schedule for myself and be consistent. For a long time, I assumed no one even read my blog, so I didn't think it was a huge deal if I missed a post. WRONG! Regardless of whether my blog is getting lots of readership and/or comments, it is out in the universe. It is an opportunity to share both personal and professional challenges and victories. It is a place for me to love on my clients and give them their time in the spotlight. It is an opportunity to grow my google rating. Thanks to Katelyn James Photography, I am continuing to learn how to use my blog as an advantage in my business.
10. Always, always, always focus on the positive! I should've maybe even placed this top on the list. If there is anything I can take away from this crazy year, it is that positivity will get you much further than negativity. Positivity feeds positivity! If that means faking it until it's real, so be it! If all I did was think negative thoughts, I wouldn't get very far in life. Now, don't get me wrong, I have negative thoughts. But, this year has taught me to be more mindful of those thoughts and try to turn them into something positive. It's not always easy finding the silver lining in a time when you feel the world is falling apart. It's not easy, but it is completely necessary.
2020 has not been perfect by any means. It has been really wild! Not everything has been positive, and there are certainly things I wish I had done differently. BUT, it has taught me a ton! It has taught me to be resilient; to be patient; to look forward to good things; to lean on the truly amazing people in my life. It has taught me that hard work always pays off, even if it isn't in the timeframe I am hoping for. This year has been absolutely nuts, but I am so grateful for its life lessons. So, this post serves as a huge thank you to the year 2020 for giving me opportunities to be a better version of myself.