As we near the end of another year freezing the frame of time, the journey of my photography business has unfolded with lessons I never thought possible. Amongst the ever-evolving landscape of visual arts, creative tech and all things business, for me 2023 was a canvas painted with experiences that not only refined my craft but also taught me some big life lessons.

Here’s what I’ve learnt about myself, my business and the future of me and photography.

1. Adaptability is Key:

The dynamic nature of photography, coupled with fast changing market trends, underscored the importance I had placed on adaptability. Embracing new technologies, experimenting with diverse styles, and staying attuned to the pulse of the industry became essential in navigating the ongoing shifting terrain.

I soon realised that saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came my way, was in fact key if I wanted to diversify my skill set and become the photographer I’ve always wanted to be with an ability to ‘shoot’ in any given environment.

2. Building Relationships Trumps Transactions:

Beyond the realm of contracts and invoices, the true essence of a successful photography business lies in building genuine connections. Treating clients as collaborators rather than mere transactions fosters long-lasting relationships, opening doors to repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals - by far the best marketing tool money can't buy.

My goal is not only to make more memories for clients that stand the test of time, but to provide an experience that warms the heart and boosts self confidence both independently as an individual and as a family unit. If I can achieve that, I know my growth as a photographer will be limitless.

3. Mastering the Art of Patience:

Boy, oh boy, I found being patient was by far the hardest thing to navigate along this creative journey, and I still haven't mastered it yet, that's for sure. In a world where instant gratification often takes center stage, the art of patience emerged as my most fundamental life lesson.

From waiting for the perfect natural light and developing a client base to understanding that great things take time became a mantra for both my artistic and personal growth this year. It also would have been handy to know that most photographers have a ‘busy’ and ‘slow’ season… winter my friends, was slower than anticipated, but I survived and I'll be ready for it next year.

4. Diversify Your Portfolio, Diversify Your Skills:

Just as a diverse portfolio enhances creative expression, diversifying one's skill set ensures a more resilient business model. Learning new photography techniques, exploring different genres, and even delving into complementary skills have broadened the scope of my service offerings.

I’ve challenged myself by trialing more artificial light options and shooting in actual studio environments, pushing me way out of my comfort zone being known as a ‘natural light photographer’ with minimal tools on hand. Which brings me to my next point…

5. Continuous Learning is a Non-Negotiable:

The world of photography is in an ongoing state of evolution. Committing to continuous learning through workshops, online courses, and staying abreast of industry trends has proved to be a non-negotiable aspect of staying relevant and more importantly inspired.

My 2024 photography wish list seems to be growing by the minute. I’ll definitely be investing in some more equipment which will make me even more versatile, with more to offer my incredible clients.

6. Quality Over Quantity:

In a world inundated with visual content, the emphasis on quality over quantity became a guiding principle. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of constant output, focusing on delivering exceptional galleries to my clients not only elevated my brand but also fostered a sense of professional satisfaction and reward.

7. Embrace Failure as a Stepping Stone:

Not every shot is a masterpiece, and not every business decision yields the expected results. Embracing failure as a stepping stone toward improvement shifted my perspective, turning setbacks into opportunities for growth and resilience.

I used to be scared of failure and in ways I still am, but I’d rather fail trying than be stuck in a life that doesn’t feed my soul or serve any real purpose.

What we ‘do’ isn’t always about the dollar figures at the end of the financial year or how many ‘followers’ we have, in fact my socials aren’t even a success metric for me anymore, not now that I’ve shifted my mindset. What I do makes people smile, and if all I do in this lifetime is make people happy and feel good about themselves, then that’s more than enough for me and is definitely what I want to be remembered for.

8. Mindful Time Management:

It seems nearly everything takes much longer than I ever anticipated it would take… and trust me, I’m probably one of the most organised people you’ll ever meet, my time management skills are top notch.

Balancing the demands of photography sessions, editing, business and life admin necessitated a mindful approach to time management.

Prioritising tasks, setting realistic deadlines, and understanding the ebb and flow of the creative process has certainly helped me maintain a sense of equilibrium.

As my final frames of 2023 are captured and stored in the album of memories, the combination of business, life and photography has not only produced stunning visuals for my clients but has also sculpted a more resilient, adaptable, and mindful woman in me. It's been a long year of self discovery, testing my boundaries, creating new ones and not falling back on old habits but i'm grateful for the experiences and am looking forward to what the future holds.