2017. Busy, adventurous, educational, humbling – just a few words that could describe an absolutely amazing year. 30 beautiful sessions featuring families, couples, and seniors across three different states, new gear, countless classes and hours studying for continual growth as an artist, networking with fellow talented artists all around the world, sessions that pushed me technically and creatively, and in the very last quarter of the year, a magazine feature (my first ever!). Blessed can’t even really begin to describe 2017.
And while all of that is something I’m incredibly proud of, nobody ever stops growing. So here we are – January 1, 2018. And it’s already looking pretty bright!
You might remember, last year I made a choice to nix resolutions and to instead choose a word that would represent my year. And for 2016, I wanted to be more present. Admittedly, until this morning I hadn’t felt convicted to choose any of the words that kept coming to mind for 2018. I had a pretty good list going – intentional, healthy, focus, abundant – and even decided to partake in a Facebook quiz about what my 2018 word would be. It was “simplify”, in case you were wondering. And following that result, I actually thought that might be a winner. It seemed to encompass so much of what I’d decided I wanted to do in the new year.
But then, after paying rent and checking the box on our morning routines, I sat down at my desk to start a new daily devotional book by Shauna Niequist – a book called Savor. On day one, she writes, “You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural.” Her words spoke right to me. We all have our own stories and yet, we’re all a part of one very big story. And that is what I want to remember in the new year. It’s what I want my clients to remember about their lives. The peaks and valleys are meant to be celebrated. The exciting and the mundane, the perfectly imperfect day-to-day life – all of it, meant to be celebrated.
And then this thought came to me.
Savor life intensely, savor the small moments, the big ones, and all the ones in between. Yesterday, as I was listening to our pastor talk about choosing a word for the new year, he said, “It’s not a rule to live by, but a lens to look through.” And so, in 2018, I choose to look through the lens of savor. Here’s to slowing down, savoring the moment, and finding beauty in the small things. It’s going to be a great year!
So what’s going on with NGP in the new year?
Social Media Fast
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fallen slave to social media. After all, it’s one of the main ways that I share my work with you. But friends, I’m just going to be honest, it can be so easy to get sucked in. It can be so easy to fall prey to needing to feel validated by the amount of likes, comments, and followers that you’ve gotten. And I think the first step of the new year needs to be savoring photography in my own way – getting back to my roots and shooting for myself. So starting on January 7th, I’ll be doing a 21 day social media fast. I know, the business-owner and control freak in me are cringing – let’s not even talk about what this will do to my reach and where that’ll put me in the ever-changing algorithm. In fact, here’s a little real talk for ya. This morning, I thought to myself, “Do I really want to do this? How will it affect my business? Will I be strong enough to actually make it through 21 days?” But ultimately, here’s my final thought: Does any of that really matter? Probably not. In 21 days, I’ll log back in – hopefully refreshed and ready to share more of my work with you – and build it back up to what it was. During this 21 day fast, you can find me by email, phone, newsletter, or right here, on the blog.
I feel slightly silly writing about this after I just said I was going on a social media fast – but that’s okay. When I return from my said fast, I’ll be stepping back from my main business page on Facebook and focusing on building a community in a Facebook group – The NGP Community. Here’s the reality of the Facebook algorithm, from what I’ve learned. All the stuff you see in your News Feed is determined by Facebook, based off of the posts you engage with, all while limiting the exposure of business pages, because well, people don’t like to be sold to. So what that means is that when I share my work, it really only reaches a few of you. What I’ve also learned is that Facebook Groups are given a bit more priority and have a better chance of ending up in your News Feed – and they’re community based. And that’s what I want in the coming year. More community with you, my tribe! Join me over in the Facebook group. My goal for this community is to make it a fun, educational environment, where we can share and be ourselves! Can’t wait to have you!
So what does all that mean for the newsletter? Well friends, if you’re a subscriber already, you are AWESOME! It also means that I’ll be sending more regular (read: once a month, for reals this time) newsletters as a way to share my blog posts, available session dates, etc. I hope that you’ll subscribe and stay in the know!
52 Week Project
I’m super excited to start this personal project this year! Most of you have probably heard of the 365 project, where you take a photo every day for a year. I was so inspired by many of my fellow photogs who completed their projects in the last couple of days. And while I would love to partake in a 365 project, the realist in me is speaking up a bit to say that it might be a good idea to start with baby steps. And so, I’ll be starting a personal 52 week project. I’m committing to at least one photo a week to document our life and I’ll be sharing it with you guys on social media (after my fast!). You should join me! I’d love to see your photos!
It’s been on my heart to gather a group of fellow photography enthusiasts and head out on a group shoot. We can all learn from each other, no matter your skill level or gear. I’ll plan that a little more in the coming months!
If you made it to the end of this blog post, thank you! Thanks for reading, for being awesome, and for being YOU! I can’t wait to get to know you this year! You can drop me a note to get in touch! If you’re looking for family photography in the Richmond area, I would be honored to document life with you!
Happy New Year, friend! I hope that this year is full of love, blessings, and so much adventure!