January 02, 2010
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it’s hard to believe that it’s already 2010 – it seems like only yesterday I was gearing up for 2009 wedding shows. but here we are again… as I sit in my office, surrounded by brochures to staple, promo cards to organize and new albums to unwrap for display – I am reflective of where I and my business were last year and where we are now. I’ve got the billie holiday playing and I thought I’d take a moment and share with you the wonderful things that happened last year and what we hope to accomplish in the new year

2009

finally got the storefront studio of gillette portrait arts opened – while I don’t do much studio shooting, I’ve been longing for a place where I can display my work, meet with clients and have a place outside of my home to focus on my business. our location allows for this and much more and I love it!

senior portraits: this is a market that I haven’t really gotten involved with before. To be honest, I didn’t think my style of shooting would translate well with that age group – but how wrong I was!!! my senior shoots were some of my favorite of the year – I worked with such great students who trusted me as I trudged with them out into cornfields, into the ocean and onto train cars – just to name a few locations. I was so excited that they shared my vision for portraits that reflected them instead of using the same old location for each person. these sessions pushed me creatively and I can’t wait to work with the class of 2011!

love affair workshop: this is a workshop that I have wanted to attend for several years, but either haven’t had the time or the funds to make it happen. this year I knew that my sanity and the future of my business demanded that I go, so off I went to atlanta. I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, uninspired and kind of just stuck. the thing about love affair is that it wasn’t a photography workshop – it was more of a life in photography workshop. by that I mean that while we did have sessions on photoshop, lighting & the technical aspects of photography, what attracted me was that there were also sessions on marketing, publishing, studio organization, and just being a woman in this business and finding the balance that enables us to have a life outside of our business. I met amazing women who shared the passion for photography that I have and love what they do as much as I do. I left inspired, refreshed, crazy creative, overflowing with new ideas for my business and with a bunch of new friends.

being published: soon after I returned from atlanta, we found out that not only was one of our weddings was being published in what’s up weddings magazine - but that we also got the cover from a different wedding! a cover!! I was so excited and immediately posted in on facebook where we got lots of love from my love affair girls and our amazing clients

the knot: about 2 months ago we found out that we were chosen as one of the top wedding photographers in maryland for 2010 by the knot. the incredibly cool thing about this honor is that it was voted on by our brides.

my clients: speaking of our brides… this year has blessed us with the best clients EVER!! we have been amazed by your trust, your faith in us and we are beyond grateful that you have chosen me and kristie to document monumental moments in your life. from our couples, to families, to seniors and pet owners – you have inspired some of the best photography of our careers and become friends that we cherish. without you, there is no gillette portrait arts and we are forever thankful and blessed to have you!

2010

now comes the hard part…. setting goals. I have always been a “live in the moment” kind of girl, which is great in certain aspects of my life. but I know that when it comes to my business, goals are incredibly important – especially this year when we intend to take gillette portrait arts to the next level. I want to continue the momentum of 2009 and to do that, we must lay down the foundation, follow through and learn what we’re doing right and what isn’t working along the way.

blogging: since this blog has been up and running – we have just been blogging about our weddings and sessions. our intent from the outset was to blog about us in addition to our photography and in that we have fallen short. my life heavily influences my work but to be honest, I have thought that it may be a complete yawnfest to readers looking specifically for imagery. but when I read other blogs where people share something as simple as hanging out at the beach with their dogs, I feel like I know a little bit about that person. I feel like I want to grab my dogs and go hang out with that person. and in something as personal as hiring a photographer, I think it’s important for people to get to know us outside of images. so even if it bores people to tears, I am going to commit to blogging at least every other day – whether I’m shooting for clients or not, even if an obnoxious amount of images of my dogs get posted, even if I post recipes I’m trying out, even if  share my obsession with america’s next top model… I will blog - and hopefully you will read :)

weddings: we have MANY new plans for our 2010 weddings (of which we’ve already booked 20 – yippee!) some involve surprises for our couples, some are as simple as new lenses and equipment, some are aestetic with new album and product options, some are personal goals including booking a destination wedding. but ALL are exciting and designed specifically to provide our clients with an amazing experience to complement their wedding day photography.

seniors: we want to recruit senior portrait representatives from every local high school. last year we had  5 which was great for our first year and we already have 2 for the class of 2011. so if you know of a student who may be interested, have them shoot me an email or give me a call for details. the reps get 50% off their entire package, free rep cards and up to $150  in free products!

workshops: we plan to both attend a workshop – preferably somewhere cool where we’ve never been, held by photography/studio owners whose careers we’ve been following AND hold a workshop of our own. I shot my first professional job 20 years ago, and while I don’t think that I’m the bees knees – I do think that I have a lot to share with others when it comes to doing what you’re passionate about for a living and have a blast doing it.

life outside of my business: is there such a thing???? some days both I and my husband doubt it! I must tell you I have been blessed with the most patient man – ever!  many is the night where he and our dogs go off to bed, while I’m in my office till all hours of the night and early morning editing, blogging and answering emails. and while I can’t guarantee that this will never happen in 2010, I do know that it will happen a lot less. I am setting office hours like any normal person – delegating certain times for client meetings, others for computer work, paper work, etc. why work this hard if you aren’t sharing it with the people you love? I’m tired of the words “some day” – my husband and I have yet to take a proper honeymoon and we’ve been married 4 1/2 years. I haven’t been back to colorado to see my friends in 8 years – my main new year resolution last year was to go to colorado – do you think I did it? no. some day is today, or at the very least tomorrow. at least once I week I plan to spend real time with someone I love – not through facebook, not through texting – but over coffee, or during a walk on the beach. I’ve been blessed with so many amazing people and a wonderful husband in my life – it’s time to start spending time with them. as far as the lifestyle/health issues that you’re kind of forced to face at the beginning of each year this I know- I need to quit smoking, I need to exercise more, I need to spend more time outside, I need to drink less coffee and drink more water, I need to eat more fruits and vegetables, I need to do more yoga to help my scoliosis – I know all this and I know it every year and I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m at a place in my life that I will accomplish some of it, if not all. but unlike years past I didn’t wake up on january first and try to do it all at once, only to fall on my face a week later. smoking is number one and I’ve set my quit date for a week from monday and hopefully after that, all will fall into place.

so there is it… my first official blogpost of the new year. I am looking so forward to this year – I love the clean slate feeling that turning the calendar brings and am anticipating great things along the way! ohhhh – another goal – post more personal images… so I will leave you with this photo I took of an assateague pony as I was leaving an engagement shoot – here’s to a amazing 2010 and to quote my friend davina “to a big, beautiful life without fear!”

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  • Blog it up, Raye! I want to see pictures of your dogs…and new recipies! Whatever you got woman! PS – Killer picture of the pony!

  • Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!