There will be a thousand posts and messages, cards and in-person exclamations this week proclaiming thanks to our loved ones and yes, even our clients.
I'm keeping mine simple and joining the ranks, but I hope my message does not get lost. I hope you hear it loud and clear.
You see, I'm grateful for you.
The Client -- "you" that trusted me with your memories.
You took someone still green and learning and trusted her. You trusted her with your once-in-a-lifetime day. Because we hit it off in a conversation in a cafe or because you somehow knew that I was taking this opportunity, and your story, so seriously.
Maybe you knew that I would spend late-nights on webinar replays and long days driving to trainings and mentorings several states away. You knew that I spent so much of my income this year putting it back into equipment that made me succeed even more. You knew that I would practice over and over and over again -- on friends and on my own sometimes unwilling children. Sometimes on inanimate objects and sometimes on strangers who just happened to walk by me on a main street in some beautiful downtown.
You don't know what your patience meant to me. The times I learned through trial-and-error and was so disappointed that I might have let you down -- when the album company didn't knock it out of the park or shipping was longer than I expected or I couldn't help very much with that gallery technology issue. (But the nice thing is I've learned from all of it!)
You knew I wasn't trying to make a huge sale off of you -- that I took your day seriously. That I wanted to get to know both of you -- and yes, even your friends and family and pets -- the way I get to know a new friend. You knew I wouldn't rip you off or take advantage of you. That you were giving me an opportunity to follow a late-in-life dream and passion.
I thank you for letting me become a part of your lives, if even just for one day. A day that I waved goodbye to my supportive family, pulled out of a driveway with a car packed to the top with fruit snacks and lenses. And for those 12 or 14 hours, you were my priority. My focus. I considered your day as if I were the bride. I thought of all the details you must have considered along the way; all the little touches you wanted to remember.
I thank you. For your kind reviews and sweet thank-you cards afterwards, too. And for keeping in touch long after the honeymoon.
And my vendor and creative friends -- thank you.
The planners and fellow photographers, the small shops and the educators. You inspired me a thousand times. You encouraged me, sometimes in a Facebook post and sometimes with your real, honest words. You taught me marvelous things that made me better and stronger.
Hope Taylor taught me not to give up and some social media secrets that saved my business during a move.
And Kat shared tips for being "On the Road to Full Time."
I'm grateful for places like The Rising Tide Society and the true followers of Community over Competition. And I'm so lucky to have met people like Erin with Sixth Bloom -- who let me spill my words and thoughts and images across her photography blog several times this year.
And to my now dear friend Alyssa, of Alyssa Joy Photography & Design, who took my love of hydrangeas and ring shots and created my logo and then sent me into a beautiful world of purple and honesty and simplicity with this beautiful website - hooray! I can't wait for more projects with you!
I'm slowly learning that wedding planners need to be my best friends in this business. Luckily for me, Candice of Patchwork Planning really is one! I recently met with Pauleen of Pauleen Anne Design in Rochester and I'm really looking forward to some great collaborations.
My second-shooter experiences (as both lead and assistant) with Susan and Stacey and most recently Sara helped me grow so much this year. I loved the laughter and lessons, ideas and eye-opening moments I shared with you. How incredible that we could stand side-by-side on a long, busy day, capturing a love story in such different and beautiful ways. I'm really sorry you saw my dance moves.
And my family and friends, ohhhhh so much gratitude.
My hubby allowed me to take my hobby to the next level. He took care of kids for one or two or three days by himself after working 50-hour work weeks just so I could photograph a wedding. And he listened to stories about editing styles and Instagram hashtags and even supported the equipment upgrade.
And the sweetest kiddos in the world began to learn what Momma does when she goes "to work" and recently began asking to see "the pretty princesses" in my pictures. Addie plays with a toy camera all the time and I'm so excited for her to be my second shooter in 12 years.
And my family and friends not only tolerated the transition from all personal posts to more photography-related ones, supported me, encouraged me and loved me.
I'm so, so lucky.