2016 was a great year, but also a really challenging one! We hit a lot of milestones this year...ones that have been on our New Year's resolution list for years...which felt amazing, and we have been working our butts off every step of the way. So here's a little look back at some 2016 highlights and the lessons we've learned along the way!
David and I have wanted a studio for years. It always felt like such a distant dream, and we were so hesitant because we knew it would add a whole slew of monthly expenses. I wasn't sure if we'd be able to make it work. We had a very clear vision for the type of space we wanted - open floor plan, hardwood floors, natural light, brick walls, cool location - and all of those came with a hefty price tag.
But last January, David came across the perfect space on Craig's List. It had everything we wanted in a studio space, the price was reasonable, and it was owned by the same rental company that we rented our apartment from. It seemed like fate.
We went to the open house, and there was already a line outside before the doors had even opened. When we finally got inside, we were in there for about 2 minutes before we'd made up our minds. We wanted it! As it turns out, so did everyone else! I get a little crazy when competition is involved. We called the leasing company and said we wanted it - they replied that whoever got their application in first and was approved would get it. We hopped in the car, raced home, and filled out the application in record time. A few ours later, we got a phone call saying the space was ours!
One of the biggest reasons we wanted a studio space was to start growing our business beyond just the two of us. Every year has been busier than the last with more weddings, shoots, and photos to edit. We realized that in order to keep up, we needed some help editing.
I have become a pretty big control freak. My photos are like my babies, and I was absolutely not ok sending them out for some stranger to edit. As it turns out, one of our videographers, Nick, was looking for a part time job. The timing could not have been more perfect.
We trained Nick how to edit a photo the way we do, and he learned how to replicate our style. Whenever he has a question or is unsure about something, one of us is always right there to give a second opinion. This year he edited just about all of our ceremony, reception, and getting ready photos. I am so proud of the talented photo editor he has become!
He also helps us get our studio into shape too! Not to mention he doubles as our videographer!
We added some interns to our team this summer as well! We used their skill sets to help us with blogging, social media, and day-to-day tasks. Learning how to manage multiple people was a completely new experience for us that definitely pushed us out of out comfort zone. I'm so glad we did though, because they kicked butt! One of our summer interns still works with us today!
This was a really big personal step for us. David and I have been dreaming of buying a house for years, but when you're young and both of you are self-employed it seriously seemed impossible. We spent last year getting all of our ducks in a row, and this summer we began looking at houses.
In all honesty, I found the process a little frustrating. Homes were selling so quickly (like within 24 hours!) so every time one that we remotely liked popped up, we had to drop everything we were doing and go see it. We were in the middle of our busiest wedding season to date and trying to juggle everything was SUPER overwhelming.
We found a home we loved and put an offer on it...then someone put in an all cash offer and we didn't get it. Then we found another home we loved and put an offer on it...then once again someone put in an all cash offer and we didn't get it. I was so frustrated!!!
It really was the universe trying to help us out though, because just when we were ready to give up and put buying a house on hold, the perfect house came on the market. It was exactly what we had been looking for, and way better than the other two homes. There was a little bit of a bidding war, but in the end we got the house.
Sometimes the universe knows what's best and you just have to open your eyes, trust it, and go along for the ride. I think that's probably the biggest thing I've learned this year.
We started offering videography a few years ago because so many of our photography clients kept asking us for it. Over the years we've worked really hard to put together packages that meet our client's needs and allow them to relive their wedding days in a fun and artistic way.
We have built it up slowly, and this year our videography team killed it. We did videography for more weddings than ever before, and over half of our 2017 weddings have us booked for both photography + videography.
This year our photos were featured in some incredible blogs and publications!! Southern Weddings, Southern Living, and Glamour & Grace just to name a few!
It's been an exciting and exhausting year, but I am so proud of everything we have accomplished. There's going to be some big things happening in 2017, so stay tuned! Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Eve!