The dust has been kicked up into a frenzied swirl as 2021 exits in a bit over 28 hours from now.
It's always a good thing to sit back and look over the year. I do it in photos, going back through my archives and each month of the year past, reviewing client work and our lives in general. Photos are definitely a great way to spark the memories back into full flame.
This year was so much better than 2020. A number of business changes and milestones hit the boards in 2021. Here's a quick review of some of the highlights.
1) New Products
I have added a few new photography products to my current list of items available. By far the most popular new addition this year is the Folio Box, holding selected quantities of 5x7 matted prints. With the choice of varying styles, colors, personalization, and depending on your package, USB inclusion, the Folio Box is a lovely way to display and protect your memories. Each box comes with a bamboo or acrylic easel for display purposes.
I also added the Bamboo Mini block to my holiday products this year. They make great gifts and are wonderful to perch on an office desk!
The year 2021 was kind to me, as I entered and exhibited in various professional print competitions. Competition is a way of providing checks on creativity, skill levels, technical abilities, and knowledge. It has pushed me to increase all four of these elements, which are then passed on down to my clients at a higher level.
I received a number of competition awards entering the Northeastern Pennsylvania Professional Photographers Association (a Professional Photographers of America affiliate) print competitions, including:
March 2021 Photographer of the Year Award for 2020
March 2021 Court of Honor - 4 Blue Ribbon Prints
May 2021 Court of Honor - 4 Blue Ribbon Prints
May 2021 Director's Award - Highest Scoring Print
Sept 2021 Court of Honor - 4 Blue Ribbon Prints
Sept 2021 Director's Award - Highest Scoring Print
At the State level, through Professional Photographers Association of Pennsylvania, I received the award for "Top Animal Image" during the Fall 2021 Capture Print Competition. This was especially exciting, as an affiliate Animal Image Makers (AIM) trophy was awarded. It now stands proudly in my studio.
In May of 2021, during a Visual Voices Virtual Print Competition held by Northeast Photography, my image received Best of Show.
Finally, I am proud to say that I entered the 130th Annual International Print Competition, where over 5,000 images are put through a vigorous judging process, and 3 of my images merited, with 2 of the 3 moving up into the Image Excellence Awards category. Both images are below. They will be exhibited at the upcoming Imaging USA Professional Photographic Conference in National Harbor, Maryland in January of 2022.
3) Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone
Despite the fact that my business model sees me specializing in pet photography 85% of the time, and I have studied extensively in this area, 15% sees me doing portrait photography work for families, children, high school seniors, and engagements.
While studying the nuances of pet photography, I have taken classes in other genres as well, attending various professional development conferencing on a regular basis. Often those who present at these events are leaders in the industry.
This past year, a family portrait client asked me to be their wedding photographer. I have acted as a second shooter for a primary wedding photographer, but never tested the waters as the main photographer. Attention to detail is key, not only in taking the photos at the event, but in the preparation leading to the event. I had to relearn an entirely new work flow to keep everyone on track.
Challenges, and stepping outside our comfort zones, really do help us to grow, and the day flew by, with me enjoying the experience immensely!
In 2022, beginning in April, I will be adding a few structured and exclusive themed pet sessions to the yearly calendar, involving holidays. Be sure to watch my website for more information.
I am moving my viewing galleries to a new format and housing them with a new vendor. This will allow more ease of ordering, and tie in video development opportunities.
Presently, I have two additional photographic products ordered for evaluation as possible additions to the product mix in 2022.
As time permits, I will continue to compete in photographic print competitions, and step out of my comfort zone to challenge my skills.
To all of my clients in 2021...THANK YOU!! Thank you for your trust, your smiles, your congeniality, and for allowing me to capture your joy! I loved meeting every one of you and your furry, fluffy, friendly pets! Happy New Year!
Click Into the Circle
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic "Year in Review", start the blog circle with Jessica Wasik of Bark & Gold Photography, sharing part two of her 2021 Pittsburgh dog photography superlatives. Then find the link at the end of each blog to click to the next photographer. There are 16 in the circle today, so happy reading!