When I look back on this year, I am honestly speechless at the opportunities I had to grow my business, and the wonderful clients I worked with. My first booking goal for 2018 was 5 weddings. I would have been totally happy booking 5 weddings! In the end, I shot 15 weddings in 2018. I learned so much, cried more than a dozen times at beautiful ceremonies, have formed friendships with other wedding vendors, and so much more.
In 2018, I pulled my first ever all-nighter for my business, as I built a new website and rebranded. Rebranding was one of the most difficult, time-consuming things I have ever done. It also taught me so much about myself, and reaffirmed my passion for wedding photography. I traveled countless miles between Kentucky and Virginia for engagement sessions, weddings, and consultations. The beauty in all of this, is that I grew from these experiences. In the midst of it, I was often too busy to reflect on my experiences and the progress I was making.
Which leads me to today’s blog post topic. If you know me, you know I will never pass up an opportunity for some good old-fashioned reflection. It’s the best way to learn from my experiences, and use that knowledge to meet new goals.
Today I am going to share some of the most valuable lessons I learned during 2018!
- Never stop learning. I have to say, one thing that draws me to photography so much is the fact that there is always something new to learn! In a way, it can feel overwhelming. But, at the same time, it always challenges me and makes the work I do that much more rewarding!Photo taken at the Audrey Rose Photo Workshop
- Keep your priorities straight. I do LOVE my clients, but family comes first. The desire to spend as much time with Ryan and Summer as possible is actually an advantage. It helps me make smarter business decisions, and be as efficient and productive as possible! I deliver all wedding galleries within 14 days of the wedding. It’s difficult to spend time with Ryan and Summer guilt-free if I know I’m not tackling important to-dos.
- No one else can be Katie Gallagher. All we hear about is the comparison game. Instagram makes it so easy. I found myself falling into that trap a few times this year. But, I have truly learned to value the experience I provide for my clients. No one else can do that just like me. No one else can be me. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. I value the unique life I have, and the unique journey I am on.
- Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today. In high school (and some in college), I was the worst procrastinator EVER. I put off assignments for as long as possible, somehow afraid of actually trying and failing. However, I have learned (over many years) that the guilt I feel for not staying on top of things, is worse than actually completing whatever tasks need to get done. I do my best to attack my list as fast as possible. It makes my clients happier, and it allows me to spend more time with my family.
- Free education and resources for wedding photographers are endless. This one speaks for itself, but it is SO TRUE! If you truly want to get better and better, you have to pour into yourself. This means education. There are endless FREE guides, blog posts, webinars, and even content-packed emails just waiting for you! There are no excuses.
- People have to see it to believe it. For some reason, I thought that the moment I announced I was doing wedding photography, that support and praise would just rain down from the sky. But, this is not the reality. You can’t blame people for rolling their eyes when they see “oh, another photographer” enter this saturated market. You have to work hard, produce results, show up all the time, and constantly improve for people to take your business seriously.
- Under promise and over deliver. I am still learning this lesson. I love my clients, friends, and family so much that I want to promise them the moon! But, I have learned to under promise, so that when you do what you planned on doing, people are amazed!
- It’s ok to walk away from a goal you once had in mind. Sometimes we set goals for ourselves over and over again only to never reach them. Maybe it’s because that’s something you don’t actually want to do, or the timing just really isn’t right. It’s ok to not meet every goal you had in mind.
- Never forget your “why”. When I have thousands of images to cull through and edit, or when my calendar is booked for two months straight, things can feel a little overwhelming. This year, I really reflected on why I do wedding photography, and tried to focus on this when it seemed like I would never get a break. I’m in the “hustle” stage of my business. But, when I think about my why, instead of being resentful, I feel grateful!
- Work smarter not harder. In the midst of all the education and the resources out there, I have learned a better way to conquer nearly every task in my business. Organization and systems are key to staying sane, and actually working less hours!
I could honestly go on and on with lessons that this year taught me. I love what I do, not because it’s easy, but because it’s incredibly rewarding.
Did you grow and learn in 2018? Are you thinking ahead to 2019? I am already brainstorming new goals for the new year! The new year is sure to bring even more change and challenge than the last! Let me know if you you’d like to see a blog post for those goals!
Read more related blog posts!
2018 GOALS & HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS
WHY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
MY EXPERIENCE AT THE J&M WORKSHOP