A reflection – My first year as a full-time wedding photographer

I led a life of constant travel:  flying to client sites on Monday AM and living out of hotels every week until Thursday PM when I would fly home and attempt to recover my social life.  I didn’t spend much time with my family, friends, Jason or Sledder.  Today, one year ago, was my last day in management consulting.  I walked out of the office in BackBay, badge-less, and  I started a new life, a life that allows me flexibility, the power to dictate my own schedule, and the choice of jeans or yoga pants.  I am so overwhelmingly thankful for how fruitful this year has been.  My first year as a full-time wedding photographer was more successful that I could have ever imagined.   My solo operation has grown into a team of four and a super awesome intern (Hi Amber!).  I wrote a few letters to myself earlier in the year, telling my future self about how scared sh’tless I was to have quit a very comfortable career in search for a more fulfilling path.  “My future self will thank me for the decisions I’m making now”, I told myself.  (Yes, I’ve embraced the insanity and the talking-to-self thing). The two biggest surprises since this whole wedding photography business inception: 1.  The sheer amount of utilization from Bentley and Deloitte:  I won’t lie – I busted out my OneNote scribbles from GB201 to relearn how to construct income statements, both actuals and pro forma.  Then I quickly realized that if I did my bookkeeping myself, that I’d probably make an error and go to jail.  Delegate and outsource – check.    I took an incredible Negotiations class with Professor Byrnes, my favorite undergrad class, and a few pretty spiffy marketing classes that focused on client retention and CRM systems.  Deloitte provided an exponential learning curve in team and client relationship building, deck presentation (which now shows its face in my Album Design Guide) and excel models.  Who knew that profitability required so much thinking?  It’s funny how everything ties together. 2.  How powerful of an impact photography can make:  I’ve always been decent at anticipating cause-and-effect scenarios.  What I did not predict was having to stock up on tissues in my living room.  I can’t tell you how overwhelming it feels to have  bride come into my home, flip through her album, cry, and tell me how much my photography has touched her.  I’m not that mushy of a person, but when people near me are emotional, I start crying as well.  (Don’t judge!)  đź™‚  It’s pretty amazing – My photographs have meaning, and while I knew I would be preserving memories, I’m not sure I ever realized it would be to this extent.

  • “You were the last person to take her picture and it will forever remind me of how happy she was.”
  • “These four suffered through the Depression together.  This is the first time in 30 years they’ve seen each other, and will also probably be the last.”
  • “I am now sitting at my desk with mascara running down my face and a small mountain of tissues covering my keyboard.”
  • “Because of you, I get to see how my happy my dad looked when he was dancing with me.”

To everyone, thank you for making my year so amazing.  I’m truly honored to have photographed so many wonderful individuals and their families.  Thank you to those who mentored and supported me, especially those who warned me that this lifestyle would be challenging.  đź™‚ To those who thought I “wasted my education”, your critiques fueled me and kept me humble.  To my dog, thanks for being there for when I needed a hug, especially during quiet days at home.

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