At this time last year, we had no idea what 2018 had in store for us. We had vague ideas of possibilities, but New Year’s Day threw us for a loop and the first quarter of the year was absolutely nuts. Our capacities were stretched in ways we never would’ve imagined and my photography business was a routine that I really appreciated in the midst of the potential unknowns. This business has allowed me to invest in my retirement, our children’s college education, their Christian preschool education, and purchase airfare to see family. While at times, it seemed that I was spending time away from my family in order to save up to see my family, this business helped us squeak by on a tight budget to help me stay in the field of education with a long-standing hope that I’d be in a certified teaching position someday.

That hope has now been realized and I am so thankful for how my clients have supported me, been my cheerleaders and referred business to me to keep me going. They’ve been such an encouragement through challenging seasons and been so understanding when I’ve needed to take a step back for various reasons (maternity leave, this year’s teaching position being full time, to name a few). Our family would not be where we are today without you!!

As I look ahead to 2019 and all its possibilities, this past school year semester has shown me that the boundaries I’m placing on my business are the right course for our family. I dearly love my clients-turned-friends and friends-who-are-clients, so in order to best serve them and meet the needs of our family, I’m going to maintain the boundaries of shooting during the summer months and ease up during the school year. Next fall’s teaching position hasn’t been nailed down yet, but as that becomes more clear to us, I’ll know more if I can take on a limited number of sessions in the fall season.

Phew! All that being said, here’s a look back at 2018 behind the scenes!!!

The year started with a senior winter session on her farm with her horses and a few indoor sessions in our new home in March. This particular January morning with Katie’s horses required multiple layers in sub-zero temps, but Katie took them off for photos to show the outfit she wanted. We so appreciated her dad’s help with the horses so she could ride bareback! Dads are the best and made so many of my sessions this year happen! The next photo below is another Katie friend of mine and her sweet daughter turning one-Lorelei. Gotta love outtakes at baby sessions!

After taking an online course from the amazing Katelyn James on lighting, location and layout, I felt poised and ready to take on an otherwise gloomy April wedding for Jen & Jacob. With the help of my wonderful assistant, Sarah, a reflector and a beautiful bride & groom, we delivered photos that I was super proud of and didn’t at all reveal the cloudy/rainy day that it was!

A friend recommended this new spot for her summer session and I used it multiple times for other seniors and families-it worked out beautifully Leah, Thanks!!! Also, a game we can play as we look through these Behind the Scenes: how many times can you find my wind-up froggie bath toy in kids’ hands? I use it to get their attention to look at the camera, but many times, it ends up in their hands to keep them smiling!

We also used familiar places in new ways and again, Dads ruled the day to entertain and uplift spirits during the shoot, while the Moms prepped and wrangled logistics beforehand. :)

I also love how parents’ arms made quite a show during sessions this past summer. Whether it was to prop up a 6 month old and spot her or to offer a treat in between takes, or threaten a tickle to garner a smile, arms got a bunch of photos all their own! (PS Find the froggie?)

For Allie and her horse, Shady, hair-ography made an appearance and Shady made it a close competition for who is more difficult to wrangle: toddlers or a horse? lol :) Allie was a great sport throughout it all and she definitely earned a full spot on this Behind the Scenes post:

And anytime that a family of 16 arrives to their session ready to go and EARLY(!) they deserve a full spot on this post as well: (PS Can you spot the Arm of Comfort? See? Arms really made sessions happen this season!)

And, again, Moms for the win! Jenna’s mom snapped a shot of me climbed up on her car to get an elevated angle of Jenna in a gorgeous sunflower field. This was a new spot for me and we maximized our time there until the sun went down. And Ricci, Nick’s mom, was so helpful with a reflector as the sun went down on his session too. :) I’ve always had the tradition of the senior having a photo with the parent who attends their session with them…Nick’s session made me want to instate the tradition that I get a photo with the senior too!

I had to include this one because of Ella’s face! It’s such a great shot of her personality as she differentiates herself from her three older brothers. And, we were about 75% of the way done with their session at this point. . . oh, sweet, sweet children! :) Kelsey also caught a sweet moment of me with her two oldest—I have photographed her babies since they were in utero and to hold their hands while we’re walking during our session was such a special moment for me. Knowing that I’m their Family Photographer and that I’ve photographed their family from the beginning…..what a blessing!! The Hol’s session below those photos was done in freezing temps and their girls were such troopers. We wrapped their session in all of 15 minutes in the midst of breezy, chilly conditions. Way to go families!!

Lastly, some Behind the Scenes from the last wedding of the season: Christen & Chase’s day was probably the most beautiful day of October and I love helping a bride get ready for her day so much that Sarah, my trusty assistant, had to remind me to get out of the shot so I could take the shots! ;)

What a year 2018 has been! Every month, every session, every client and friend that made this season possible: THANK YOU! Thank you for being so understanding with the schedule and boundaries I needed to place in my life for my sanity and family. Thank you for your flexibility, compassion and camaraderie to make this year happen. You truly are the best a woman could ask for and you make me look forward to 2019 with such optimism and excitement for what our summer season has in store!

Now taking bookings for 2019 (that means YOU, Class of 2020!!!),

Happiest of New Years!!