My 2018 was about blindly going after new experiences and learning as I went. I had my first engagement session in March, my first newborn and portrait shoots this summer, and I even did a wedding in October! Yeah, I can't believe it either. I'm so thankful for all these new experiences, on top of starting a new full time job and moving away from home. Here's a reflection on my year, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed reminiscing.
Back in January, I invested in building a website for myself. There wasn’t much on there but a gallery of recent photos from my adventures. In March, I prepared for and attended my first craft fair - and didn’t even make enough money back to cover what it cost for my table. Every month after that, I tried to do at least one craft fair and slowly started building up inventory, learning from mistakes and bettering my display and my products at each one. But the material things and logistics aren’t what I see when I look back on this year in exploring this little photography business both in photo sessions and craft fairs - it’s the people I’ve met along the way.
At my first fair in March, I had a man come up to me and start to search through my lighthouse photos to pass the time waiting for his wife. When he came across my photo of Nauset Light, he told me he was once stationed there in the Coast Guard and told me about the type of work he did there. Creating an experience for others through my own is an awesome feeling of connectedness that I can’t even begin to describe.
In April, I participated in a fair in Maine and my wildlife photos were a huge hit! This November, I was a vendor at the same fair again and had my first instance of someone recognizing me and my work, and they told me that they had my little duck photo hanging in their house! Having a repeat customer was an awesome feeling.
Ironically, a fair I participated in May was insanely successful even through a date change and in the torrential downpours that ensued over the weekend. My favorite memory from the weekend is a husband running back to my booth for the fastest transaction I’ve ever done on a framed snowy owl photo for a last minute Mother’s Day gift with hopes that his wife wouldn’t see him buy it. I think we crushed it, and I hope she loved it!
In July I participated in a fair in Ipswich where an Instagram friend became a real friend (hi Jackie)! And she even brought me an iced coffee! I love how many people I have met through that little photo sharing app and how sweet everyone is.
It’s no secret that my pig photo is not only my best selling photo, but it’s the type of photo that starts a conversation and grabs everyone’s attention. It’s hard not to crack a smile while looking at that happy, dirty pig! In North Andover this fall, I met a young boy who was absolutely committed to buying my canvas of the pig. When his mom came up to pay for it, she told me he had to have it because he always says he’s never going to get married. Instead, he’s going to get a pig for a pet - haha! I don’t know why I was skeptical of creating a full size canvas of the pig, I knew it was going to end up in a loving home!
At one of my last fairs of the year, the booth next to me was empty for quite a while, even after the fair had started. Turns out the artist was not just running late, she was having a bad day. She has multiple sclerosis, and her legs were acting up. When she showed up, we got to talking about her art, my photography and really just spent the rest of the fair chatting about our lives and businesses. She was in the hospital and rehab learning how to walk again, and to pass the time she began to paint. Not only is she an amazing artist, but she is an incredibly kind soul. Once I packed up my stuff to go to home, I went over to say how nice it was to meet her and talk with her, and she said that talking to me made her entire day. That has really stuck with me since that day, and I just can’t believe that a simple conversation could turn someone’s day around. That interaction has changed my perspective completely.
One of the most special fairs I participated in this year was at my aunt's own weaving cottage! She has supported me indefinitely this entire year and has pushed me out of my comfort zone - I couldn't have asked for a better fair to end my year on. This also gave me insight into the hard work it actually takes to make a craft fair work, and she absolutely made it run seamlessly!
Lastly, there's the people who have cheered me on this whole year. My mom would come sit with me for hours in the hot sun or the freezing rain to help in any way she could. My dad did a lot of behind the scenes work, loading up the car, providing his truck, the tent and my super awesome display screens. Jarrod never said "no" to me, and always encouraged me to go for it - and he's a kick ass second shooter. My closest friends have been the best cheerleaders to keep me motivated.
At the end of the day, I’ll always think of what I could’ve done better, how I could’ve marketed myself more, what photo opportunities I may have missed out on - all of it. And that is absolutely something I will focus on in the year to come, but looking back now, I’m not focusing on those little things or numbers in a spreadsheet. I’ll always put my experiences and impact on people’s lives first, even if it begins with a simple photo.
Here’s to a new year of experiences, thank you for following along and supporting me to the fullest!