As crazy as 2022 was, it was also one of the most stable years I’ve ever had. No major challenges, no crazy events, just smoothly chugging along and doing my thing. Holy crap, was it refreshing!
A Creative Portrait Shoot Each Month
This will be a mainstay so long as I can help it. Each month I give myself a new concept, prompt, or challenge to try and capture. It’s how I push myself to be a better photographer; honestly, it’s the work that routinely lands new clients! Additionally, several of these images were published in a few photography magazines, which was incredible!
Interviewed by The Portrait System Podcast
One of the coolest wins I had this year was being interviewed by Nikki Closser from the Portrait System Podcast. The topic: How the hell did I manage to be a full-time engineer and a professional photographer simultaneously. The answer is A LOT of automation and good systems. Honestly, it’s not my best interview, and I feel like I rambled WAY too much about a lead-tracking tool I created, but there are still some good nuggets in there if you have a spare hour to listen. You can also read about the interview with a recap by Range Finder Magazine!
My Photography Business Grew & Shrunk
I made it a big goal to increase my averages with my portrait and headshot sessions. I’m ecstatic to say I did just that! My yearly recap post from 2021 had a lot of my numbers, and I improved on many of them. I’m excited that I was able to provide more value to my clients this year, and they seemed to agree! This change did mean increasing some of my rates, which was terrifying. It meant I heard A LOT more “No” and photographed fewer total sessions than last year.
In retrospect, that’s amazing. I shot less and did more business, which meant I had more time to spend with friends and family while keeping my overall photographer income the same. That’s a major win. I’m still not where I want to be, but I think that’s more a reflection of my work or the experience I’m providing. Both are big goals to work on this coming year.
Random Life Stuff
In the personal world, things were pretty steady though exciting. The project management day job continues to be fun if challenging. I’m unofficially the medical device guru at the office because of my experience in that world, and I’m loving it. My favorite part of the job is that it’s 90% remote, so I can work from anywhere. I’ve set up my office in Baltimore, Asheville, Nashville, and Savannah at various times this year and plan to do more of it in 2023!
I’m particularly ecstatic about my new roommate. My girlfriend moved in on Labor Day weekend, and I’m over the moon. We have yet to fight (mind-blowing), she’s nerdy, sporty, goofy, and loves theater like me, and we have a “twin list” of over 50 items that leaves people speechless. She also got me into lacrosse (her passion). We’re officially season ticket holders for the Georgia Swarm (men’s professional box lacrosse team), and I attended the women’s world cup. She’s stuck with me.
As big of a football junkie as I am, I had never attended a professional game. Blame my girlfriend for that finally ending when we went to the coldest Tennessee Titans game on record with a 20°F kickoff. It was wonderful, and I’ll go again, cold or not.
One habit that I’m proud of is my exercise streak. As of January 1, 2023, I have exercised for at least 30 minutes for 732 days straight. I rotate between 3 mile walks, strength training, and yoga, and my body hates me some days as a result. The most challenging part is realizing that gaining weight, as a result, is okay because muscle weighs more than fat. That’s a lie; cardio and core work is the most challenging part. I hate both with a fiery passion and need to do more. Again, a 2023 goal.
Goals for 2023
Speaking of goals for 2023, I have a weird trend. I’m WAY better at completing photography goals than personal ones. We’ll see if that changes this year, but I’m not holding my breath (I know myself too well). That doesn’t mean I won’t try, but I won’t feel super guilty if I don’t hit them all.
- Teach a flash course
- Decrease the number of shoots but keep my overall margin
- Hire a Virtual Assistant
- Hire a social media person
- Do three podcast interviews
- Add a core or cardio exercise 3 times a week
- Enjoy a monthly game night with friends and family
- Go on an international trip
- Put $(non-public knowledge amount) into my savings/retirement accounts
- Read two books a month
- Connect with a friend once a week
- Hire a monthly house cleaner
I’m grateful for 2022. The world may have been crazy, but mine was lovely. I’m hoping this year has more of the same, or at least challenges that I can handle without too much consternation. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to more growth, time with friends and family, some great glasses of wine, a better Georgia Tech football season, and a couple more relaxing vacations.