2014 was a year that I will always remember. There were so many firsts, a ton of amazing moments, endless new friends, countless milestones and too many wonderful clients to count. This post is a little late in the game compared to some others, but I’m okay with that!! It’s been a super hectic few weeks, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to put this post together as well as I wanted to unless I waited until I had enough time. Instead of doing a post consisting of all of my favorite images from the last year…I wanted to do a post about my favorite MOMENTS. I wanted to blog about all of the amazing friends I’ve made, the information I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve had and even the mistakes that have made me grow!
This year, as a student and business owner, I was able to put a large amount of my profits back into my education and equipment as a photographer. Instead of saving up like some might have…I attended almost a dozen workshops and conferences with leaders in the industry, and I invested in all of the equipment that I needed. It was a HUGE blessing in my business that I was able to do this, as I know so many are not in the position to put 100% of their profit back into their work. But, it is part of what made this year so abundant in blessings. The information that I learned + the relationships that I built simply from attending these workshops and events are priceless. This year was also that year that I graduated high school, and the year that I decided to put my college education on the back-burner while I passionately pursued my dreams. While these decisions are far different from those that many people may have chosen for themselves…they were the BEST decisions for me, and I am so happy with each and every one of them.
So, this post is very dear to my heart. I am going to go month-by-month and break down some of my favorite moments of 2014, wishing that this post could be so much longer!! There are so many things that I have not included simply for the sake of length…but the ones that I have included are things that I will NEVER forget!!
This month was a big one for me, as I was starting my first full year as a REAL business owner!! AHH! I was going into the year full of dreams that I could have never imagined coming a reality…but I have checked so many of them off the list. Some of the big moments in January included shooting my very first engagement session in the snow (it’s so crazy to look back and see how far my work has come in just a year) and finding out that I would be attending my very first workshop!! WOO!
This was the month that I attended the Katelyn James Workshop!!! This workshop seriously changed my entire life and business. Katelyn is such an amazing women and business owner, and she inspired + encouraged me to do so many things that I wouldn’t have been able to do without her. The wedding styled shoot that we did was the first bride and groom that I EVER shot (even if it was staged!!) and it is still one of my favorites in my whole portfolio!
This month was such a big one, too, because I hosted my very first workshop of my own! I have always had a heart for teaching, and I knew from the very beginning of my business that it was something I wanted to incorporate. So, I hosted a small workshop for other students + teenagers who wanted to learn how to use their cameras in manual. It wasn’t anything crazy, and I didn’t the entire thing myself, but it was so much FUN and it made me fall in love with teaching.
This month is always the beginning of a crazy spring season…and April 2014 was when I had the chance to second-shoot my very first WEDDING! I was SO ridiculously excited about the opportunity that Ashley of Faith Photography gave me…she took a leap of faith with me when I had NO experience with weddings at all. It was one of the most exciting things I ever had the opportunity to shoot, and this was when I realized that I wanted to shoot weddings on my own.
This month was a HUGE one for me…I went through an entire rebrand with Sitehouse Designs and I was published in print for the very first time!! WOOOHOOOOO! My rebrand was something that I had been dreaming up since the very start of my business…and getting published was a dream that I never thought would come true so soon!! I was published in Modern Teen Style magazine and my rebrand was launched by the end of this month! OH, and my senior prom! 🙂
While this month wasn’t as huge for my business…it was life changing for me on a personal level. This was the month that I graduated from high school, and the same month that I committed to a college and then decided that it wasn’t in God’s plan for me to attended a 4-year university. I had fully committed to Radford University, had attending orientation and registered for all of my classes. Then, one day, I woke up and realized “hey…I don’t want to leave my business behind and live 250 miles away from home”. Then, I told my friends and family I wasn’t ready to leave, and I was amazed by the support system that I had. This decision was seriously one that defined my business and who I am today. If I had left HTP behind and gone away to a school that I wasn’t in love with…I would be so miserable. So, this month was a huge turning point for me. I also turned 18 years old, and had a fabulous trip to New York City with my very best friend!
This month I had the privilege of attending the Jasmine Star Workshop in DC and hosting my second photography basics workshop here in Fredericksburg! Meeting Jasmine was such a huge moment for me, as she is a HUGE inspiration to the entire photography community! And, hosting my second photography workshop for students just made me fall more in love with teaching and mentoring others. This was also the month that I decided to start offering mentoring sessions and I really began having a heart for teaching and helping new photographers.
This month was the one-year celebration of my business, and some of my close friends + family hosted me a surprise party at Castiglias!! It was the sweetest evening, and I am so thankful for an amazing group of people who support me + celebrate with me. I love them all so much!
After I made the decision to do community college and focus on my business at home…I made the decision that I needed an office space to work from so that I wasn’t stuck working in bed. Well, God had a much bigger plan that that, and I ended up signing the lease for an office + STUDIO space! September was such an amazing month, because it was a month full of planning, decorating, dreaming and DOING. This was a HUGE dream of mine, something that I NEVER could have imagined coming true…and it happened right before my eyes! In September, I announced + opened the HTP Senior Styling Studio and I love it more and more every day. I also had the honor of attending the Abby Grace Photography “A Practical Wedding Workshop” and learned so many amazing things to help me in my upcoming wedding photography season!
This month was full of LOTS of seniors! Fall is ALWAYS a super busy month for shooting, and I shot almost 30 senior sessions this month!! WOW! It was SO much fun, but so much craziness at all once! It was also the month that I chose my senior spokesmodels + spent the day delivering them gifts + surprises, as well as the month that I got baptized with my best friend of 6 years. So, overall, a pretty wonderful 31 days.
This month consisted of more shooting + more learning! I attended the Bayside Workshop, and absolutely loved learning from Natalie Franke + Krista Jones! I continued shooting more and more senior sessions, and I also had my first shoot in the studio!! AHH! I am still in love with ever image from that shoot!
Well, last month was just as amazing as the rest. I had much more time off to spend with family and friends, and I was also able to attend the Outer Banks Winter Workshop with Amanda Hedgepeth! Not only is she an amazing teacher + mentor, but she has become a close friend and I love her so much for it. I also shot TWO surprise proposals in TWO days, and had a Christmas to remember with my family that I love SO much. It was also the month that our house was broken into…but it brought our family so much closer and showed me how to find blessings in chaos. I am going into 2015 with a full heart and a whole new set of dreams.