Happy 2017. A new year. A fresh start. A year of change (we all hope so anyway). For me, for Cindy White Photography, big changes are in store. Many of you close to me know I've been talking about these changes for quite some time. Some afraid of what I might do. Some excited to share the journey. The time is here for my big announcement. First I'd like to share a little of the back story with you. (Sorry this post might be a little long but I want everyone to understand where I'm coming from.)
My photography journey started in February of 2007 with the birth of my first son Drew. When Drew was born I took pictures of EVERYTHING. I made little scrapbook pages (I believe it was called Scrapbook Factory), videos, etc. He was my everything and I didn't want to miss a thing. When my 2nd son was born in 2010, newborn photography was becoming "a thing" and I wanted to get professional photos of him. I was in sticker shock (no lie). I thought "well I can do this....I'll just buy one of those fancy cameras!" I did just that and well....his newborn photos are not the greatest and ended quickly with him peeing in his face. Sorry Shawn! With that camera I taught myself everything I could about photography. I taught myself how to shoot my camera correctly with a Mountain Dew can on my dining room table. I couldn't make this up. I began taking photos for more people, the word spread, etc.
Then in November of 2011 my daughter, Elyse, was born. She was my last baby. I never again would have a newborn. I loved photographing her especially knowing how to use this fancy camera I had. I wanted to do more, photograph more, make this photography hobby the "real deal." In January of 2012 I started Cindy White Photography here in my tiny town of Culpeper. I have tried my hand at just about all types of photography over the past 5 years. Newborns, babies, families, children, maternity, weddings, engagement, etc. I've invested time....oh the time, tears, stress, sleepless nights, so many laughs, smiles and met amazing friends.
Today on the first day of 2017, looking back at the 106 sessions I did in 2016, I've decided its time for me to make some changes to my business. I am a mom, a wife, I work full time as a marketing professional, and a photographer. I have a very full plate. Over the last couple of years, many have asked me when I was going to quit my job and go with photography full time? The answer has always been "I really don't have plans to." Photography was never meant to be a full time career for me. I love my job, and I love my photography.
2016 was INSANE. I did more sessions last year then I've ever done. I can count on my hands how many days off I had. You know what that means? It means I was tired....very very tired. My family missed their mom/wife. I could never say "No." I became the woman who "just got it done." I realized my children have NEVER been on a vacation! I realized I only photographed my own kids one time! I realized I was missing so much and I wasn't doing my best at anything. I was just making everything happen in whatever way I could. I almost threw in the photography towel. I was burnt out and the market was so over saturated with photographers in this tiny town. I didn't want to compete in the space. My love for photography was becoming a job which is the one thing I never wanted to happen.
I took a step back and looked at my work. What brought be back to my "happy place?" What about photography brought me so much joy? Why did I start this journey in the first place? I realized that I started this to make others happy. To allow parents to look back, years to come, and remember their children as they were. The way they laughed, the silly faces they made, those tiny baby feet. I also realized too often I hear that people never printed their pictures. They had great intentions on making an album, ordering that wall gallery, but never did or didn't know how. I realized that when I did receive a canvas or album from my session it made me so happy. So much more so than seeing the images on a screen. It was something I felt was missing from my sessions. A disservice I was providing my clients.
Today I realized that my business needed to change. I was not giving my clients the experience they needed as a professional photographer. Not only that, I was burning myself out in the process. It was time for Cindy White Photography to give a full boutique experience. I would spend more time, help my clients, provide them with beautiful heirloom products for their home. This was the change I needed. What I also discovered is that it is what people want from their photo session (even if they don't realize it right away). This will allow me to focus on my family and provide my customers with a much better experience overall. I might even consider mentoring!
Thanks for sticking with me through this novel. For those that have been with me from the beginning....THANK YOU! I hope everyone has a peaceful and happy 2017. I will leave you with one of the only picture I took of my children in 2016. Cheers to an amazing 2017!