We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
This time of year can be busy with planning and forecasting for what is to come. It’s the time we dream big dreams, set big goals, and put in place the plans with which we hope to achieve them. We have big, BIG dreams and goals for 2020 and we can’t wait to get started! But this weekend, in the middle of the dreaming and goal-setting, we were forced to take a healthy pause as we were reminded by one of the pastors at our church of the power of looking back. It couldn’t have been more timely for us because, let’s be honest, dreaming big dreams and setting big goals can be exciting, but it can also be incredibly intimidating. Some of our dreams we would blush to speak out loud beyond the walls of our home. But as we were reminded this weekend, one of the greatest motivators we can have is looking back and seeing how far we’ve come over the last year and leet that encourage us into the next.
When we took the time to stop and think back to the very beginning of 2019, it almost took us by surprise. How quickly we forgot that the start of 2019 had us putting the finishing touches on our completely new brand and website and rounding out what turned out to be completely transformational business coaching. Both of those were scary investments for us, but as we entered 2019 we knew it was what we had to do to propel our business to the next level. The investment paid itself off within 2 months, and we’ve ridden the results all the way through the year marking a record year for our business!
Although we’re photographers, we are really people people. We love the clients and brands we work with and most clients become friends throughout the process. We’ve been blessed to have relationships with some incredible people that continued and grew deeper through the year. We were able to work with the Chicago White Sox for the third time and continued in our close partnership with Chris + Heidi Powell, even traveling with them to Park City, Utah for TRANSFORM’s EPIC Weekend!
We made plenty of new friends this year as well while working on bigger and further-reaching projects! Our new clients at Qontevo brought us not only a highly creative and challenging project but also a relationship with their highly motivated and talented owner, Sarah.
One project in particular that stretched and grew us was one of our first with an agency. We shot for two days back-to-back for a local health insurance company in one of our first true ‘commercial’ photoshoots. Through the process, we learned how to work well with an agency and full creative team. It was nice and refreshing to take a step back from the creative process and focus on shooting and directing well during the shoot!
We continued achieving our goals this year by adding more household names to our portfolio! We had the honor and privilege of working with local brands like Shasta Pools as well as national brands such as Renuzit, Snuggle, and Soft Scrub!
The biggest and most intimidating decision we made in 2019 was saying NO to everything else and only saying YES to brand photography clients. When we made that decision, we had 0 brand projects on the books, but we knew it was the direction we needed to lean into. We had experience working with brands throughout 2018 and we knew it would be the differentiator for us. Saying goodbye to weddings, couples, and families was no easy decision, but when we look back at the brands we were able to work with and the new opportunities that decision brought us, we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Speaking of new opportunities…we had new speaking opportunities this year as well! Showit’s United Conference was life-changing for us in 2018 and we were honored to speak about our passion for brand photography at the conference! We not only loved contributing to the community we have so much appreciation for but also making new friendships and seeing ‘lightbulb’ moments for those who attended our breakout session. Hearing from them afterward about how the information we shared opened their eyes to new opportunities was the most rewarding thing we could have asked for!
It was so rewarding to continue accomplishing our mission of positively impacting everyone we work with through education that we also launched mentoring opportunities in 2019! Through virtual 1:1 coaching sessions and half and full-day workshops, we were able to guide 14 photographers through their brand photography journeys! The best part? There’s even more of that to come in 2020, including resources that will allow us to scale our impact far beyond that!
Looking back at 2019, it’s been a huge year for our business! It empowers us to see how much we’ve grown over the year and excites us as we make big plans for 2020! Thank you for your love and support – it’s what drives us to love more, serve better, and reach higher in the New Year!