I went into 2016 with high hopes and lots & lots of pretty weddings on my calendar, but 2016 also tested, pushed me & open my eyes to a few things that I don’t want to repeat in years to come including in 2017. I really try to be open about my business and it’s personal journey that I share through this blog…. when planning this blog post I really wanted to share the good and the bad from this past year something I don’t think many business owners would do on a public forum like this. But I want to because I am a human and I do make mistakes but I also plan to take those mistakes or lessons learned and know how to handle things better or not repeat them in the future. So I plan to talk about the GOOD, the BAD & the LESSONS so that I can first hold myself accountable on my goals I set and two know that to my clients that I pour my heart in soul into making Jenny Storment Photography the best I can make it be!
So let’s talk about the year in general first…. Every year I set goals for myself mainly a number of weddings I want to hit and once I get to that goal then I can relax and just enjoy the ride. In 2015 I did 20 weddings and the year before that I did 10. For 2016 being my second year being full-time and third wedding season I wanted to at least get to 20 weddings but if I could hit a goal of 25 then I would be happy. This year I had 27 couples hire me as their wedding photographer, I was 2nd photographer for 5 weddings & I worked with an associate company on 2 weddings. Which puts me at a grand total of 34 weddings! I think in 2017 I may hit my 100th wedding but we’ll see I will need to really look at my numbers before I make that announcement.
Stats of 2016:
# Photos taken: 40,000+ ( so I have a serious probably with over shooting which is a good and bad problem to have. The good is I have lots of options to choose from, the bad is I have to go through all those many photos… my max I shot at one of my weddings this year was over 5,000 photos!)
# Miles Traveled: 10,000 (I went to some pretty amazing places within Washington State this year including 2 elopements within Mount Rainier National Park.)
# of Blog Post: 47 ( I didn’t blog as much I did in 2015 but I did blog almost every wedding from this year, I still have a few weddings to blog from September & October but I am pretty proud of how I have stuck with blogging now going on 2 years.)
# of Weddings: 29 (This includes 2 weddings where I was lead photographer for an associate company.)
# of Engagement sessions: 16 (Most of these sessions were for my couples that got married in 2016 or are getting married in 2017. And I had a few for out of state couples who really wanted to do their engagement sessions here in Washington state but weren’t getting married here.)
# of Weddings I was the 2nd photographer: 5 (I kinda took a step back from 2nd shooting mainly because I was so busy myself with my clients, but the 5 I did get to be part of were pretty fun and amazing.)
# of Portrait sessions: 20 (This year I did a lot of anniversary sessions & family sessions for a lot of past clients!)
# of States traveled: 2 (I had no out of state weddings this year, which are hard to do but I did do a pretty amazing styled shoot in Oregon in July which was pretty epic!)
# of Stylized shoots: 2 (I also didn’t do that many styled shoots this year but the two I did were well worth it.)
# of Photography workshops: 0 (This year was focus on growth and taking what I learned from 2015 and pushing myself to grow with my style & work.)
THE GOOD: 2016 brought a lot of pretty weddings to my camera lens, I was so lucky to really have some amazing clients that wanted to have me photograph their special days! I was really so honored to be part of them and create those memories for them. I am proud of my body of work as a whole and I really feel I have found my look and my photography is finally looking how I always intended it to look.
2016 I got a new logo, branding and new website which I absolutely love! I have a problem where I am never really satisfied with my websites which is a good and bad problem to have. BUT I think I finally found a look for my website I can stand behind for more than 1 year!
2016 fostered some really great friendships with two local wedding photographers one I talk to almost every day and we are cheerleaders for each other & voice of reasons both of these friendships me the world to me and I can’t wait to see where our businesses go in the years to come.
This year 15 of my 27 weddings came from either web searches or social media or marketing materials which show that this website and all my work I have put into it really has helped grow my business. The rest were all referrals from other photographers, friends, family or past clients and to all of you Thank you so much, I truly appreciated you sending work my way!
I also got to do 16 engagement session for either my couples who got married in 2016 or in 2017 or to couples who wanted to get their engagement sessions done here but weren’t getting married here. 2016 also was full of 20 portrait sessions from families to seniors to pregnancy gender reveals to working with a non-profit giving photos to help promote their amazing cause. 2016 was full of some amazing moments and I am beyond excited to share a few highlights from my many amazing jobs I got to do.
This year was filled with some pretty amazing weddings, I seriously was excited for pretty much all of them! Here are the best in my opinion from 33 of the 34 I got to be part of in 2016:
THE BAD: So this subject as much as I hate to bring it up, I really truly feel it was a very important part of 2016 so I need to share this journey. Thankfully my family & friends are healthy and we only had one minor scare in 2016 but in the end, all were OK. In early May on their way to our house and bring Mia home, my in-laws were in a horrible car accident when their car was hit from behind by a high speeding car pushing them off the highway. Their car rolled down a hill flipping at least 3 or 4 times, Mia came out completely unharmed physically but had some emotional stuff to get through which thankfully towards the end of 2016 she seems to be better and acting like her normal self before the accident. My in-laws had minor injuries but were OK just beat up a little bit. Thankfully my in-laws had a Subaru and so do I, so Subaru has my business for life for saving my precious baby girl.
The next bad was cutting ties with another photography friend who I had become quite close within 2015, it’s always hard to lose a friend this way but in the end, sometimes business & friendship can’t work and it either needs to be one or the other, not both. I am very sad to lose this person in my life but in the end, I know it’s best for both of us to go our sperate ways. I only wish this person the best with their business and life.
And finally, the hardest bad thing was I got my first bad review for my company. This was truly a very hard thing to go through because I really felt I had delivered great photos. It’s never a good thing hearing someone doesn’t like their photos when you tried your very best for the situations you were put in. And to this day I stand by the final product I gave them but in the end, I understand why they felt they needed to give me a bad review. This situation was a very good learning experience and I have so much perspective now on how to handle things and not to be put in this situation again. Looking back now I know there are specific things I could have done things different both day of & afterward better but at the time I felt I was doing the best I could.
Highlights from my 2016 engagement session this year ranged from mountain tops to Seattle to right here in Tacoma! It was such a wonderful year for engagement sessions too!
From my 2 styled shoots I did this past year, one was at Windmill Garden’s in Sumner and the other was at Wahcletta Falls in Northern Oregon both were absolutely stunning and I hope to get back to Wahcletta Falls again for a real elopement or another shoot.
THE LESSONS: I definitely learned a lot in 2016 and how to handle one is that I can say NO even though it’s sometimes really hard to do. I learned that I know what kind of weddings I want to photograph and what kind of workflow I can handle. In 2016 I was so blessed to have so many amazing couples hire me to photograph their weddings but I also did something I never want to repeat. Between the end of July and the beginning of October, I work without a weekend off photographing 16 weddings in a row, 7 of those being in the month of August alone. That was too many weeks in a row without a break and it really kicked my butt for sure and I ended up being a little burned out which is NOT good. So I vowed to my husband and you all here that moving forward that I will make sure that I have at least ONE weekend off a month during the busy season because if not then the only one that suffers is my work and client experience. And if I don’t I will last very long in this industry if I repeat that much time working without a weekend off.
In 2016 I took my off camera lighting to whole new level and I pretty much am using it at almost every wedding. I am so excited to keep pushing myself lighting wise and continue to learn and take this part of my photography to a whole other level in 2017.
2016 also taught me what my ideal weddings are; I love doing backyard or funky venue wedding venues. I find I thrive in theses kind of settings having to think outside the box, making them turn out beautifully! 2016 also brought some hurt feelings & feeling let down with mixing friendship & business and how to successfully do it and how to not to make it work. I truly value those friendships now that worked and survived 2016. In the end, 2016 was my break-through year on my posing and editing and my work shows it. I got some of the most emotional & beautiful moments this year and 2017 is really going to be such a fun year taking what I learned in 2016!
Here are some of my portrait sessions I did this past year… I hope to do more in 2017!
In the end, I really do think 2016 was a pretty epic year with all the highs and lows with highs definitely outweighing the lows for sure. I have to admit it took me a lot longer to write this blog post than I had planned on but I am really glad I did finally finished because I was on the fence about opening up this much. 2017 is looking promising right now to date I have 5 confirmed weddings on my calendar which are all going to be amazing! I’m heading to some venues that are new to me like Edgewater House, Cedar Springs & Kiana Lodge all amazing venues here and all on my bucket list! And I’m heading back to The Lodge at Trinity Tree Farm which was a favorite one of mine last year! I hope to be booking a lot more weddings in the next couple months because I’m starting to get the itch for some pretty brides and fun & memorable moments to document!
2017 is also going to be a pretty amazing year personally, in March my husband and I are heading to Europe for the first time! It’s been 10 years since I did any traveling abroad and I am so excited we get to cross some amazing places off our bucket list! So watch out for that blog post I am going to be needing some advice & tips from all you seasoned travelers of Europe. I am also excited to announce that I am the new co-leader of Rising Tide Society Tacoma’s Tuesdays Together Group. I joined Rising Tide Society back in October of 2015 and I love this group and their core value of “Community Over Competition.” I hope to be a great co-leader & make our group even stronger than it was in 2016!
And finally a huge THANK YOU!!!! To all my clients, friends and family who supported me and passed on my name to help grow and make Jenny Storment Photography successful! I am truly grateful for everyone I get the pleasure of taking photos of and how I am so lucky that this is my job! And to Mia & Pat you are my whole world and I couldn’t have done the past year without you both so Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!