2018, A Reflection + 2019, A New Year

Headshot by Nicole Harnois Photography

Headshot by Nicole Harnois Photography

IN 2018..
Word of the Year: Growth


2018 was my first full year of taking my photography business full time and actually taking it seriously. When I say seriously I mean diving into what it means to be legit and realize I’m an actual photographer that works hard, educates myself and runs a business that makes money and isn’t a side hobby. When people would ask me what I do, I’d say “Oh I stay home with my girls… I also take pictures sometimes..” and brush it off and change the subject because I felt like a Faux-tographer or that person that everyone knows that takes photos but does it as a side hustle. I didn’t want to just have a side hustle. I didn’t go to school for this, I haven’t been doing it my whole life, and it’s hard to for others to take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously.
I started 2018 with 0 bookings and ended with 4 senior sessions, 2 births, 1 maternity, 12 fall family sessions, 5 couples and 2 weddings.


I learned couples and weddings are my JAM. I freaking love hanging out with couples, getting to know them and being incredibly honored at each and every one that chooses to have me be a part of their wedding day. It’s easy to think that after you’ve been to wedding after wedding that each wedding is well, just another day to shoot but I’ve come to realize that each wedding I go to never gets less exciting and I love them more and more every time. When I get home from a wedding or engagement shoot I always tell Daniel, “That was the best one yet. These pictures are my new faves! I’m so excited!” Every. Time. Go ahead, you can ask him.

One of my favorite couples photos from 2018.

One of my favorite couples photos from 2018.

I learned that education and community are one of the most important things, probably second to my clients and making sure they are given the best care I can give them. If I don’t invest in myself and value my own work, how in the heck can I expect anyone else to? In July I took The Storytelling Workshop by Nicole Harnois and Abbi Cooley and it changed me and my business! I owe these ladies everything for helping me get to where I am and teaching me how to own it. I met some amazing ladies through the workshop and have met other great ones through Instagram and Social Media. We refer people to each other, help each other out and it’s so amazing to have a sense of community over competition. I love being happy for other businesses and photographers and watching them kill it because, guys, there are more than enough client’s to go around and we all offer our own unique experience and it’s so much better to have other girls cheering you on than trying to do it alone.

gwen hip dysplasia pavlic harness

On a more personal note, 2018 was the year our family grew by one more beautiful daughter, Gwendolyn Goldie. She was born on March 3, 2018, which makes her 10 months old already..
Even before Gwennie was born we had our share of scares. From low amniotic fluid when I was pregnant and feeling constantly sick and awful from low iron (which also made me crave chalk, like CRAZY.. weird, right?!), to velamentous cord insertion of the placenta (which essentially means instead of the three main cords that run from placenta to baby they were split, which means they were very vulnerable to rupture during pregnancy and labor, PTL we did not know about this until after Gwen was born or I would’ve been a huge mess), a lower back dimple she had to have an ultrasound on for spina bifida, and lastly a hip click our doctor found when doing her exam in the hospital.
After all of those scares, which ended up being completely okay (Yay!) we were sent to Iowa City to check out her hip click. We found out Gwen had hip dysplasia which led her to be in a harness for just over 6 weeks. After the 6 weeks it had healed completely. We go back to Iowa City every so often to have X-rays to make sure her hip is growing as it should!


Now this isn’t to say this process wasn’t hard. I was a wreck. I felt jipped of the bonding experience with my little. Her harness didn’t allow her normal baths, cuddle sessions, easy travel, or even all the cute little outfits I had ready to go for her. It was hard and hard not to think there was something I could have done differently while I was pregnant to change the outcome.
After all of that our little Gwen and Norah bug are completely healthy and happier than ever! We couldn’t be more blessed.

by Claire Mayo Photography

by Claire Mayo Photography




IN 2019
Word of the Year: Intentional

This year is going to be my best yet. I started out this year with a new camera, lens (that I’ve been low-high key drooling over for a year now) and an iMac I couldn’t be more excited! This is such a blessing and is going to help me with all the amazing couples 2019 brings!

I’m starting this year with ELEVEN weddings (with 3 consults this week alone and some more in the booking process). That’s 11x more than I started out with last year!

Kayla and John Engagement Cedar Falls Iowa (264 of 517).jpg

One thing I never considered myself to have is wanderlust. You know, the fancy word for the desire to travel. I’ve always been content where I am. Until the past few months when I kept stumbling across gorgeous photos from photographers I admire in these BOMB locations. I’m talking desserts in Arizona, Mountains in California and beaches in Hawaii. I couldn’t stop looking at them.. so of course I got bit with the wanderlust bug. I’m so excited to be able to share that this year I’ll be traveling to northern California with Daniel to shoot a wedding. This means lakes, mountains and trees, lots of them. It’s my goal now to shoot one destination wedding (out of the state of Iowa) per year! In 2019 I can mark California off the list! I’d say that’s a pretty freaking awesome first destination wedding.

Numbers. We all get sucked into them with social media. How many followers do you have? How many likes? Comments? I used to get myself into trouble with these. If I had just X more followers, or X more likes, then I’ll have “made it”. This is such a lie. This is where intentional comes into play. Whether you have 15 followers, 1,500 followers or 150K followers, you still have people to show up for. Followers do not equal success. For me, happy clients + couples = success and in 2019 I strive to be more intentional with what I share, client experience and content I bring to the table.

And last but not least personally for 2019, me.
In the last year my body went through growing a babe, labor, post partum and then, I kicked butt. I lost 20 pounds, exercised almost daily and ate crazy healthy (and yes you best believe most my meals consisted of avocado). Then… I fell off the wagon. I got busy. Life happened and I gained back more than half of what I lost. YUP.
This year I’m going to make time for myself, exercising and healthy eating. It’s easy to push aside what you need when you have littles to chase, a business to run and a home to clean but this year I’m making sure to give myself grace and get back to butt kicking.

If you’re still with me, I am so grateful for your support this past year and now in 2019. YOU are helping support my dream! Thank you so much to all of those who have given me words of encouragement, helped watch my kids when I go off to sessions or consults, and most of all my clients who have trusted me enough to let me in on some of the biggest moments of their lives. For that, I’m forever grateful and I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.
Make 2019 YOUR YEAR!

2019 GOALS:
+ BOOK ONE DESTINATION WEDDING (ALREADY DONE)
+ BOOK 15 WEDDINGS (I’m at 11)
+ QUALITY OVER QUANTITY CONTENT
+ blog more sessions
+ enter more images to blogs and features
+ Save up enough to attend lindsey roman + evie rupp’s, the heart workshop in 2020.
+ take our girls on a trip (even if it’s just for a weekend getaway)
+ get back to a healthier me

by Claire Mayo Photography

by Claire Mayo Photography

Warmly,
Alex.