Melissa Tuck Photography had another wonderful year thanks to the best clients one could imagine! My camera had less clicks than ever before due to my pregnancy and maternity leave in the spring (but what I lacked professionally, I made up for personally). I only shot nine weddings (in comparison to 22 in 2013 and 28 in 2012), BUT I realized last year's weddings did put me at a certain milestone: I've now shot more than 100 weddings since starting my business in 2009! *Insert happy dance and proud face here.* Last year, I also shot three engagement sessions, one bridal session, 16 baby/family/maternity sessions and one baby shower. It is so incredible to me that within a year's time, I can be shooting a baby shower turned newborn session, a newborn session turned one-year-old session, a maternity session turned three-week-old session ... you get the picture. ; ) I'm so thankful that my clients (who are friends now, really) keep contacting me beyond their wedding day so that I can see their families grow! Even though the main reason for shooting less last year was my pregnancy and giving birth, I also intentionally booked less on average to better balance my work + life flow. I felt less stressed and it also enabled me to give more time + attention to every client I did serve. Since having Brooklyn and becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have had to learn how to work again in a completely different way. I've learned to prioritize my time better (hellooooo nap time!), work more efficiently, ask for help when I need it (my mother-in-law has been a lifesaver during busy editing season) and set strict office hours to spend time with my little family in the evenings. It hasn't been easy, but it's worked, and I'm happy and encouraged to move forward with my new set of skills juggling work and the babe. : )
In 2014, I was featured in several wedding blogs that I admire: Borrowed & Blue blog, Every Last Detail blog, Daily Dog Tag blog, Glamour & Grace blog, Heart Love Always blog & Charm City Wed blog. Thank you to all the editors for your willingness to share my work! I'm excited to submit my weddings and shoots from 2014 to more publications over the next several months!
Now, a note about reflection and goals. It's the beginning of a new year and the best time to think about what did and didn't work in the past and how I can improve moving ahead. I know a lot of other photographers blog in depth about their yearly (sometimes monthly) goals; I never have and maybe I'll start doing it if I need to hold myself more accountable. But for now, I'll just share a few important things on my mind for 2015:
1) I intend to focus more on family/baby/newborn/maternity sessions. As the seasons in my own life change, I've found that my professional interests have shifted. This DOESN'T mean that I won't be shooting weddings and that I don't enjoy them anymore. I still love documenting weddings, but I'll just be targeting a limited number of weddings and very few of them will be out of town. After having a baby and caring for her on a daily basis, it's just way too difficult to travel as much as I have in the past and I want to focus on more local weddings to the DC/Maryland/northern Virginia area. I've already hit more than half my goal for this year's weddings so please contact me soon if you're recently engaged and interested!
2) I want to give my presence on the web a little makeover and streamline my sites. I've seen a gradual shift to consolidate portfolio and blog sites to all one URL (for example, have www.melissatuckphoto.com & www.melissatuckblog.com linked together) and I like it. On top of that, I need to make my web presence strictly mobile-friendly (my Flash-based portfolio site - melissatuckphoto - is not viewable on phones or tablets), and I need to get on that seeing as how everyone is so mobile these days! I'm also going to switch my gallery/reprint site to a more photo-driven/friendly company that will offer immediate high-res downloads for clients. More to come on that later!
3) I want to photograph a live birth. If you know someone who may be willing local to me, please send them my way in the comments!
4) Do at least one session pro bono. I used to make this a priority and I fell slack last year. Back in 2011, I photographed babies in the NICU for families who weren't able to take home their babies right away and I may do it again. Any other great ideas? Leave a comment for me!
5) Because I moved from Georgia to the Maryland/DC/Virginia area last year, I'm looking to spread the word more locally about my business. To do so, I will be running a contest that offers a free session soon on the blog. Be on the lookout!
Lastly, I can't thank my hubby, family, friends, clients and MTP Insta and Facebook fans enough for all of your support and love. You continue to inspire me and my work. Please enjoy photo highlights (two from each shoot, in order!) from my year. Next week, I plan to blog about the personal side of 2014. Spoiler (or not-so-spoiler) -alert: It will surely be Brooklyn-centric. ; )