As the year comes to an end and the photo shoots start winding down, I’ve had some time to reflect on what an amazing year it has been. Here are my 12 best/worst moments of 2012 🙂

1. Happiest Moment:

Doubling the number of weddings I booked in 2012 for 2013, and I’m still going! This was a huge milestone and I’m SO excited to shoot every single one of these special days.

2.       Most Embarrassing Moment:

After shooting family formals for about 20 minutes at a Reception, I realized my fly was down – worst part is, my pants happened to have a side zipper, so my upper thigh/side butt was fully exposed. MORTIFIED.

3.       Hardest Moment:

Calling a potential bride that I absolutely fell in love with and telling her that her wedding date had been booked up by my best friend’s wedding (luckily we hadn’t signed a contract yet). The decision wasn’t hard to make at all, as I wouldn’t miss my best friend’s wedding for anything in the world. But telling this bride that I wouldn’t be able to shoot her wedding was a heart breaker. I felt like I was letting her down, and I think that’s one of the worst feelings in the world. Special shout-out to Zipporah K PhotographyBrittany Bekas Photography, and Robyn Photography for being so amazing and working with me to help find a solution for my bride.

4.       Proudest Moment:

Seeing my work published in print and online this year. I was blessed enough to have my work printed in both Inspire Smart Success and Facets Magazine. I’ve seen my event photos published in blogs/newspapers like the RedEye ChicagoDeadspinBizBash, and The Boozy Beggar. It was especially cool when a few of my friends were so surprised to see my name given photo credit in Deadspin that they thought it was Photoshopped.

5.       Biggest Learning Experience:

Second shooting for JordanQuinn Photography and Brittany Bekas Photography in September. September was one big learning experience for me. I purposely scheduled 4 different weddings where I shot along side some other pros in the industry. It was by far the most beneficial thing I’ve done for myself – getting to see how other wedding photographers do things, learning that it’s ok to have fun during the wedding, and just getting more experience really helped me grow as a photographer.

6.       Most Stressful Moment:

When I realized that one of my CF cards had an error halfway through an Engagement Reception, and I wasn’t able to retrieve half of the night’s photos. I definitely shed some tears after this mishap, but was lucky enough to have extremely understanding clients.

7.       Biggest “AHA” Moment:

When I realized I knew how to shoot in Manual Mode. Up until around May, I was shooting in Aperture Priority. Although I had been watching numerous creativeLIVE sessions on shooting in Manual Mode, and read all about it in online forums – I had never actually tried it. Until, one day – during an actual photo shoot (the M&M Stylized Shoot I did with the Photography Stylistas), I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I wanted my aperture wide open, but the shutter speed was too slow, was letting in too much light, and I couldn’t control it in AV mode. Without thinking twice, I switched it to Manual Mode, increased the shutter speed – and to my surprise – it worked! I literally couldn’t believe it. So much so that a few weeks later I had a family session and didn’t think I could shoot in Manual Mode with children – but again, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted in AV, switched back to Manual, and I haven’t gone back since.

8.       Most Influential Moment:

Going to Jasmine Star’s theFIX and hearing her talk about the importance of template emails and connecting with vendors. Both seem like such simple, common sense ideas, but hearing her talk about them pushed me to do it. Both helped me take gigantic steps towards building my business.

9.       Most Hectic Moment:

Probably the week I scheduled 7 shoots – on top of still working full-time 40 hours a week. I’m glad I made it through and I couldn’t be happier with the way the photos turned out, but I’ll probably try to stay away from doing this in the future. 7 shoots in less than a week may not sound like a lot, but it led to months of eating, breathing, and sleeping photography and nothing else.

10.    Most Frustrating Moment:

Being stuck in traffic on 290 at 10:30pm at night for 3-hours after a 10-hour wedding day – knowing I had to get up early for another wedding the following morning. Especially when I was looking forward to a quick 25 minute commute since I thought traffic wouldn’t be too bad because it was so late. Boy was I wrong.

11.    Most Inspiring Moment:

Connecting with other photographers at Jasmine Star’s theFIX, including becoming part of the Photography Stylistas group. The group of photographers that I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with have not only become insanely helpful in offering advice, but they’ve become a support system that I could have not have done without. Sharing all our stories, experiences, tips, and ideas have inspired me to keep pushing to improve my business and have most of all – let me know that I can do it.

12.    Life-Changing Moment:

When I decided I want to pursue photography full-time. When I started a few years ago – it was just a hobby. Now after months of filled with photo shoots and weddings, I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.