Recap of 2021...
I rang in the New Year with my now-boyfriend, Ryan, on our 4th date at Poogan's Porch in Downtown Charleston. We were both so nervous after our NYE dinner that we opted to go home, alone and I was asleep by 11:15pm... I never even watched the ball drop! (If you know me, this is HUGE! NYE has always been a favorite of mine!) I should have known then that 2021 and turning 30 would be an interesting year!
We ended January by ringing in my 30th birthday at Hotel Bennett and R. Kitchen with my roommate, her now-fiancé, our friend and her now-fiancé. (If you haven't been to R.Kitchen: RUN, do not walk!) Ryan and I were *officially* a couple, and *FINALLY* got our first photos together. (See Below.)
A few weeks later, we celebrated his birthday in Greenville, SC. I planned a surprise weekend away for the two of us, and had planned several surprises along the way, including Top Golf! (My first time at Top Golf, and we both agreed that I wasn't too bad.) And then celebrated Valentine's Day at church and dinner at Delaney Oyster House, back in Charleston.
We finished the month at our first photoshoot together with Annie Lara Photography! (Talk about a trooper!) Ryan and I had only known each other for 2.5 months at this point, and he agreed to do the session with me. Our photos were beautiful and so innocent.
After A LOT of going back and forth, I decided to re-launch my Jennifer Mary Photography. I recreated my logo, wiped the images from my old Facebook business page, and started applying for my South Carolina and Charleston business licenses. I started by reaching out to friends about free sessions to create a small and updated portfolio. Long story short, I started this business while working full time as a Marketing Coordinator.
In April and May, I continued to take on free sessions, and started to take on some paid clients, including my first Mother's Day Mini Sessions. I only sold 3 Sessions, and was really upset about it. I knew I needed to figure out how to market myself better and needed to some guidance on how to target my clients. I also second shot TWO weddings!
On May 27, I was laid-off from my full time Marketing position, and was told that it "was due to restructuring". I was devastated! I had put so much of myself and so many extra hours into this role in the last 7.5 months, and this was my second lay-off in 8 months. I really didn't know what to do. I began to apply for new jobs, but also found myself throwing myself deeper into my photography business.
I put my faith into God, and attended my first church leaders' retreat. (A retreat I thought I wouldn't be able to attend, due to work! Funny how things work out!) This was incredibly eye opening for me. I spent the day with incredible women from Seacoast Church at The Retreat on Church Creek. These women prayed over me and prayed for guidance... There were *a lot* of tears that day. I also took time for myself to journal in the gazebo, at the end of a dock and listening to the rain. In the first time in a week, I had felt true bliss and peace.
I spent the next several weeks applying for new marketing positions, while taking on more and more lifestyle clients. For a split second, I even began to explore Real Estate Photography through a third-party company. However, I decided working for myself was working for me. I was taking on so many different clients and learning more about myself and my style. I began to invest in my education and business a little more.
For Father's Day weekend, Ryan and I took a trip to visit my parents in Maryland. This was the first time that my dad, brother, and best friend would meet Ryan, and I would show him around my favorite places in Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. Something inside of me was awakened and I felt more driven to pursue my Photography business!
On July 10, I took (what felt like) the biggest leap and attended my first market as a vendor at the Penn State Mini Arts Fest. I was so nervous! I printed off and matted all the landscape images I could find on my hard drive; borrowed a tent and table; and went on a shopping spree at HomeGoods for my table setup. My good friends (and clients), Chris and Rachel, were my first market customers! (Thanks for loving and supporting me!)
At the end of July, I flew back to Maryland to take 2 client sessions for college friends! I was honored to work with my college roommate and her husband, for her maternity session. The second session was a Mommy and Me session with a college friend and her daughter! My heart was so full!
5 Sessions and 3 Markets.
August was spent mostly reassessing what was working, what wasn't, and what needed to change moving forward. I applied for the Charleston City Market, and was approved! This was HUGE, and I was the first photographer to be accepted in 10 years!
3 Markets and 5 Sessions!
This past Fall feels like a complete blur! I kicked off Markets in FULL force, and continued to take on more clients. I flew back to Maryland for 3 sessions, and to see my family.
September: 6 Sessions, 8 Markets, and 2 Weddings.
October: 10 Sessions, 10 Markets, and 1 Wedding.
My biggest accomplishment was SELLING OUT of Holiday Mini Sessions! I had 8 Mini Sessions and two 45-Minute Full Holiday Sessions! I could not have been more excited about this! My clients were amazing and so sweet. I also shot 3 corporate sessions, and shot my first solo event, Lowcountry Veteran's Home Gala!
Plus, Ryan and I visited his family in Huntsville and spent Thanksgiving together!
12 Sessions, 12 Markets, AND 1 Gala!
I still can't believe we're here! This month has blown by so quickly! I was so busy and overwhelmed all month; and somehow managed to take an entire week off for Christmas with Ryan. We spent time with my family and my best friend, and celebrated one year together!
I don't know where the time has gone, but I'm so excited to be closing out the year and cannot wait to see what 2022 brings!
This Month: 19 Markets and 3 Sessions!
This Year: 49 Sessions, 55 Markets, 1 Gala AND 6 Weddings!!