fiddle leaf photography
Dec 16, 2016
The truth is that I’ve started this post about 25 times over the past few days. I’ve stared at the blinking curser wondering where the heck to start. I know how annoying yearly recaps can become – how wonderful things were for so-and-so, and how thankful they are, and how they are living their dream. And don’t get me wrong, good news and success is wonderful, but I also know how hard it can be to read it sometimes when you’re in the trenches. But, I also can’t let 2016 come to a close without reflecting a bit.
So, I’m just going to start.
I really dislike that word, and would instead just prefer to say friend. This past year has taught me that if I open up, the people in front of my lens will open up too. I’ve stopped forcing and started relaxing, and it has resulted in sessions that are truly fun and yet continually challenge me. I come home from every single session and gush to my husband about how the best part of my ‘job’ is getting to know new people. After sitting at a desk for years and years in the corporate world and talking to the same 5 people in the surrounding cubicles, being able to meet new people (often at huge moments in their lives) is something that I will never grow tired of. I really am so honoured that an incredible number of families this year invited me into their home and opened up their hearts and lives to me. Big hugs to those of you who raised your hand and said yes to me this past year. To those considering sending that first email to me – don’t wait. I always show up with coffee and lots of fun parenthood stories.
Or lack of balance is more like it. This year has taught me that work/life balance is a bunch of made up lingo that is totally unattainable. It’s WAY too much pressure and has made me feel guilty on too many occasions. There is no balance. Each day is different and some days family wins, while other days work wins. 2016 did make it abundantly clear that I need an office with doors – in an attempt to not be all things to all people at once (and some beautiful doors are already on order!).
I knew 2016 was the year to challenge myself creatively. I wanted to push out of my comfort zone and try things I was scared to do. Enter, the Becoming project. If you haven’t heard of it, you can read about it here. My partner on the project, Athena Raypold (a client, turned true friend – see how that works???), forced me to make some bold moves and once I got over the initial shock, I haven’t looked back. Women have poured their hearts out to us in an effort to cast light towards some of the darker shadows of motherhood. They have trusted me with their vulnerability and have allowed me to experiment, stretch, and find a new voice that I didn’t know needed to come out. That voice will continue to grow in 2017 as part of Becoming and within Fiddle Leaf Photography and it has me very excited about what’s to come.
Trust Your Gut
This was the year I really said to heck with what I ‘should’ do in business (in life, that’s still a work in progress for me!). I’m tired of ‘should’. I’ve started listening to my gut and running my business the way that feels right to me, and I’m convinced that has been one of the major reasons Fiddle Leaf has grown this year. There have been wrong turns and things that I have tried and won’t try again, but I am a huge believer that failure is always a learning experience. Trusting my gut means taking breaks from social media (I’m 2 weeks in and LOVING it), pricing the way I want to price, offering only the products I feel truly passionate about and sourcing from Canadian companies whenever possible.
Community Over Competition
One of the boldest moves I made last year was to start the Edmonton chapter of the Rising Tide Society Tuesdays Together. The Rising Tide society is built on a foundation of community over competition and is all about helping creative entrepreneurs and small business work together instead of against each other. I’d pulled up the leadership application on my desktop week after week and then closed it. This was WAY out of my comfort zone. Finally I got over myself and just filled in the blanks and hit enter before I could turn back. A few weeks later I was officially the leader of this brand new group – and then I had a small freak out (ok, it wasn’t so small) and wondered what the heck I’d done. But, after a lot of encouragement from my husband, I reached out to pretty much every creative person I knew in the city and asked if they’d like to join the group. Almost everyone said yes – much to my amazement! We had our first meeting in February and over 20 people showed up (and I just about fainted into my latte). Since then, our Tuesdays Together group has continued to grow and we’ve formed a tight knit community that comes together to support each other. We talk business and life and we raise each other up instead of tearing each other apart. It fills my bucket and makes me happy, and I’m incredibly excited about what sort of waves our group is going to make in 2017. (Do you live in Edmonton and want to join us? Request to join here.)
So, what’s to come in 2017?
You guys! I have so many plans that I can’t wait to get rolling. You may remember that earlier this year I asked you to participate in a survey, where I asked what was important to you. I read each and every one and there were some general themes that I’m working towards implementing in 2017.
Childhood mini sessions are coming in the spring (hint: a kitchen favourite of mine is the centrepiece), along with boudoir sessions (boudoir done differently…less made up, more you…empowering…stiletto free….in your home…with music on and wine flowing).
I’m in the midst of ordering some new product samples that I’m really excited about and are going to be a new luxury option for albums. I’ll also be releasing a new family plan that will allow past clients to have multiple mini sessions throughout the year.
I’m also committing to a personal 365 project (one picture a day, every day of the year), with the goal of documenting my girls each and every day, accompanied by words that I hope will tell the real story of our lives. The 3000+ edited images on my hard drive from this past year attest to my girls being documented, but I feel like the words and full story behind the images are missing, which will be rectified in 2017.
How about you? Anything else you’d like to see? Christmas minis? Travel sessions? More mentoring options? What did you learn this year? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email.
Phew! If you made it this far I owe you a coffee! Thanks so much for being here and coming along on this journey with me. I look forward to getting to know you better in 2017 and to continue to tell your heartfelt stories.
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Lifestyle family & newborn photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta
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