I had a completely different plan for what to chat about this week… However when I started this blog I promised to sprinkle a bit of personal in with the business. Give our clients and followers a peak into our real life and feelings. Now, I am aware that even though this may be my personal thoughts it will have a touch of business but I think it’s only fitting as our business is completely and undeniably my true passion. It’s hard to separate the two for me! 

As I type this, it’s February, we are a little over a month into slow season and have a good bit of checks off the “slow season check list” we are always working however, this slower season in the beginning of the year gives us a time to catch up on the back end, tie up loose ends from the previous year and more importantly gives us time to slow down and reflect. I always take this time to go over the numbers and jot down lists of things that worked, things that didn’t, and things we want to improve on or implement in the year to come. This year however, I find my yearly refection continuously circling back to so much more than the numbers. To a year of big changes and HUGE success, both personal and business related. 2023 is most certainly the year that changed it all! And I want to explain a bit of why, and how much it really means to us, and me (Danielle) especially.

2023 will undoubtedly go in the book as a year we will always remember. So much happened from start to finish that I could never include it all here without turning this into a full fledge chapter book. In business and personal life we had so many blessings come our way and our hearts are so full! We grew our business by a whopping 68% this year which is so huge I can't even linger there without the happy tears beginning to swell AND... I said this would be personal... so to quickly share a few highlights from our year as a family, we traveled to Puerto Rico. Carter attended his favorite goal keeper camp, taking home the award for goalkeeper of the week. We watched Dillon win his first ever mountain bike series taking home the gold over all! We ventured to new places as we watched him race. I ran my first mud run with some of the most amazing ladies! We got a new pup, Remi (which I was able to be home with as she transitioned into our home. We seen Dillon's team (Green bay packers) play in Pittsburgh. We went to Hershey park. We were featured on the cover of the magazine we photograph for. And we successfully got multiple family photos taken which has been a goal of mine for years now! (I know I know, we are surprisingly horrible at this!) All that being said I will move on to the biggest blessing and change of all. I mentioned in our “2023 Recap” blog that in August we decided it was time for me to step away from my Job and take the leap as a full time business owner, for me to realize my dream of being a full time Photographer. I mentioned this briefly in a small paragraph included in the blog and do not feel like it carried the weight of what this truly means to me, to us, to our family! 

The other day I got asked the question, “well, how does it feel” it surprisingly took me a minute to try and gather my thoughts. It seems lately I get this question a lot and every single time I think… wow I should have a quick answer for this, Awesome? Amazing? All the things, but each time it’s so much more, it’s so much harder to explain than in just a word or two. That is a question that I may never even have enough words to describe in one blog post. A question that with an answer here you may never grasp my level of gratitude unless possibly you were sitting in front of me seeing the happy tears swell up in my eyes as I type this or any time I try to answer that seemingly small question when asked. The pure joy and emotion I feel every single time I answer that question is something I’m not sure I know how to describe. A feeling I'm not sure I will ever shake.

When I started this business I had no idea where it would go. I only knew the feeling that god weighed so heavy on my heart, the feeling that I needed and was called to do something more. Something that would fill my cup, that it was possible to love my job, it was possible to create a career I was passionate about. It was possible to share my passions with the world in a meaningful way. When Dillon joined me in this journey I full hearted believe he had no idea either, he wanted to support me in this and walk beside me as we “made extra income” He had his doubts and so did I, but we pushed full force ahead. I knew that we had the ability to make this business a full time gig however never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to be at just a little over the 3 year mark. This has been a dream we have prayed over and worked so very hard to achieve and find it totally surreal it’s our life now! 

As a mom, the perk of owning my own business was always that I could eventually make my own schedule. I could (if I worked hard enough) be the intentional present mother I have always inspired to be. This year, taking the leap and going full time, gave me the biggest blessing I could have ever asked for. This Fall, in a season where we were so unbelievably busy I was able to be present at more games in one season than I think I have attended in all of Carter's soccer journey. I got to watch every second of how he are, improved and excelled in his position this year. A season that he really formed into a confident, skilled and dependable keeper. I took on the role of team manager. A seemingly small role that blessed me more than I could have imagined, a role that showed me the dream of being that mom I mentioned above was finally coming true. I was confident taking on this role knowing I was able to attend meetings, plan banquets, bring snacks, answer phone calls, send emails and take the time to answer any questions from the team parents because I had the ability to make my own schedule. I was able to show up for my son in a way I only ever dreamt possible. This is what being a “full time” photographer truly means to me. After 13 years of motherhood I was finally able to achieve the version of mom I have prayed so hard to be since the day I became one. 

Being full time an growing so quickly certainly brought it’s challenges and lessons, especially during tax season but these are all things that come with the job, the job of being the photographer, the creative, the editor, the marketing manager, the accountant, the content creator, the mom, the women of the house, and the glue to it all. The job that has so many hats of which I wear so proudly as I learn and grow in each of these roles. Hats that give me joy each and every single day I get to wake up and "clock in" to living my dreams!

To our clients: if you follow along here you know I say it a ton, and will never stop. Thank you so very much for being the best part of our business and trusting us with capturing your memories time and time again. It is because of you that I get the write this very heartfelt post and because of you that I get the chance to make so many of our dreams a reality! We will forever ever be grateful for you all and probably never get over the joy it brings knowing that you love and support us! We can never express our gratitude enough and thank god every single day for each and every one of you for being a part of our journey!