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Three Years.

Photo cred goes to the amazing Janelle Carmela Photography

Welp, it’s the morning of my business’s third birthday, and I’m sitting on a hotel balcony in White House, Jamaica getting ready to photograph Andrew and Desirée’s destination wedding. While I had the best of intentions to write this blog post before today (really, I had intended on outsourcing this to my wonderful ghostwriter, Britt), I didn’t get around to it. Because I didn’t have time. And I’m honestly grateful for that. These last few months have been busy. Crazy busy. If you told me back on November 3, 2016 that I would no longer be teaching and would be photographing a wedding outside of the U.S. on the anniversary of the start of my business, I probably would have said you were crazy. Not because I didn’t believe I could do it. Because I thought it would take more than three years to get to this point.

It may seem silly, but I remember that Thursday night in 2016 quite vividly. I wasn’t pumped about the current state of my life. I was living in a pre-school (yep…I lived in my school’s penthouse apartment…err studio apartment above the English department…). I knew I didn’t want to put roots down in Greenwich, but I wasn’t quite sure where my life was heading. Thanks to the persistent encouragement from a few close friends who saw how happy being behind the lens made me, I published a website, bought some business cards, and announced to my small Instagram world that I was officially open for business. Talk about feeling legit, right? 

While I would like to simply say, “the rest was history”, that wasn’t the case. This has felt more or less like a whirlwind. It’s been challenging, demanding, time-consuming, but oh-so rewarding. Despite spending countless hours in my car and behind my computer these past few months, it honestly has yet to feel like work. It’s what I want to do. It’s what I look forward to doing. And it’s what I’m so grateful I get to do as a profession. 

When people ask me how it’s going, my usual response is, “I’m just trying to figure it all out.” I will likely feel this way for years and years to come because, let’s be real, no one has it all figured out. I’m slowly figuring out how to establish boundaries, how to give myself some time off, how to manage my work schedule, and how to say “no” when the job just doesn’t feel quite right for the direction of my business. I’m a work in progress, to say the least!

As I look ahead to this next year, I’m constantly dreaming of what could be. 

  • I’m so looking forward to using the slower winter months to create resources for my clients that help educate and inform them on how they can get the most out of their photo sessions. Think: “What Not to Wear”, “Why Light Matters”, “Things you can do for kickass wedding photos”. Stay tuned. 
  • I hope to adjust people’s approach to family photography. Yes, this was a goal last year that I haven’t quite achieved yet. Rather than staged portraits, let’s get together in your home or one of your favorite places and capture your family’s authentic moments and interactions. I want to document memories being made rather than just pretty smiles. The raw, real, messy parts of life are what I care about most. Let’s document your family decorating the Christmas tree. Let’s carve pumpkins together. Let’s make pancakes on a Saturday morning.
  • I hope to get more albums in my clients’ hands. Most of you know that I’m a huge proponent for getting photos off of our screens and into our homes. I have an addiction to printing photos (at some point I’ll share the massive 2’ by 4’ photo of a cow that I now have hanging over my couch). I hope to show others how great it is to have your photos hanging out on a coffee table or bookshelf. Talk about sparking joy, Marie Kondo. 

Thank you to those of you who have been following along since Thursday, November 3, 2016. Thank you to those who have  started following along today. And, thank you to those who have joined this wild ride sometime in the last three years. I never take your support for granted.

Cheers (with a maple latte of course) to three years of Ellen Sargent Photography!

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