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As the year is coming to an end and business is slowing down, I find myself reflecting on the past year just like every other human I guess. It has definitely been one for the books.
Prior to moving to Brooklyn, I had created this amazing life in Phoenix where I had a crew of friends close by, my family within 20 minutes, and summer didn’t kill too much. As a new family photographer I experienced how accepting and supportive the creative community can be, but it also felt suffocating and stifling at times. I was lucky enough to have some great clients that I had met through this community so business and life was fine, good even. But after going through a breakup the year before that I finally took a breath and looked at my life. I loved it, but there was something missing. That’s when the plan to move to New York hatched.
My sister moved to Brooklyn in 2014 and it was tearing me up not getting to be near my nephews as they grew up. Family is such a vital part of my life plus I think there was just something magical about the idea of “moving to New York” as cliché as it may sound. The plan to move to a new city, spend more time with my sister and her family, and try and pursue photography just seemed right. So I started planning and things worked out exactly as they were meant to. No, I didn’t move into a shoebox apartment in the village with an interesting roommate – I moved into the 3rd bedroom at my sister’s place. Talk about quality family time. It was beyond hard to say good bye to some of my best friends and a large portion of my family, but New York! It was scary as hell, but New York! I had no friends, but New York!
The other big part of my moving here, was moving my business. My business was just a baby when I decided to leave. Those typical stories of trying to make it in New York and having to leave because it didn’t work out were replaying over and over in my head. Don’t get me wrong, it’s about 10 times harder than it was in Arizona, but I have been incredibly blessed and lucky to have met and connected with the community I have here. A very large part of that was meeting and becoming friends with Hailey. We were just barely acquaintances when we both moved to Brooklyn at the beginning of the year. She an idea of starting a blog of sorts, so Household Mag. was created. It grew slowly at first, but then exploded to an amazing platform for me to showcase some fun projects with her, and for Hailey to share her lifestyle. We have lots of larger plans for the future, but you’ll just have to wait and see how they unfold. Through the existing projects with Household Mag., I began to take a more aggressive approach to social media, specifically through Instagram. It was after I got my first booking solely from someone searching #brooklynphotographer that I realized it was working. Now hold on, I am not some amazing instagrammer with a million followers, but I have been able to use my Instagram to share my photography which has become my main marketing tool.
But I’m getting side tracked, after I started working with Household Mag., I became familiarized with some of the Brooklyn community. As Summer drew to a close, I knew that there would be a surge of people wanting family photos in the Fall. In Arizona this was the biggest season for photographers, and I quickly found out the same applied to New York as well. After experiencing a not so nurturing creative atmosphere in Phoenix, I decided to take the initiative and make some friends in my field. The cool thing about being a photographer in New York, is that there is never a shortage of work. If anything there seems to be a shortage of photographers with my aesthetic, so I made friends with a few photographers who I had admired from afar. Yes, I have serious photo crushes on these people. Crazy talented folk. And before I knew it, they were sending me referrals. Not just one or two, but several, and they were coming my way weekly. Before I knew it I was being contacted by other photographers who had heard of me from their photographer friends. And then their referrals started pouring in. Just like that, I was booked up for the entire month of October and November taking only my birthday off for the most part. For those of you who need help with the math there, that’s a minimum of 2-3 shoots per weekend plus a few during the week. I haven’t done a final count, but the number of amazing families I have gotten to photograph thanks to a few generous and supportive photographers around me was staggering. Let’s just say after finishing my last shoot, I am ready for a month off. That’s not gonna happen, but a nice thought right?
I honestly was so amazed by the support I have received in New York. The willingness to share ideas, struggles, and triumphs has helped me keep sane. The main running through my mind now is how this probably would not have happened before. Prior to moving I hadn’t met too many people who were willing to open up to this extent. 2015 has not only been a huge change for me personally, but a career defining one as well. I feel more confident in my skills, in my capabilities, and my willingness to support and encourage others around me. This life is beyond what I could have imagined it would be for my first or even second year in New York, not to mention the first 6 months. So, I want to say thank you to all the wonderful people I have met – you have made this time in New York so freaking amazing. I cannot wait to dive into 2016! Happy Holidays everyone!