Today is December 31, 2018. Another year has come and gone, and I feel the need to try to make some sense of where I am today, how I got here, and where am I headed. Isn't that what welcoming a new year is about? It forces us to reflect. Like many, I get busy with my day-to-day activities and don't take the time to step back and look at the big picture. So, I am doing that today.
As I was preparing my images for today's blog, I took a very meaningful walk down memory lane. The overwhelming sensation that filled my heart and mind was one of gratitude. As a solopreneur, it is easy to feel that constant apprehension about each decision that is made. Have I allocated my budget correctly? Are my marketing efforts going to reap any rewards? Have I priced my services at a level that will even pay the bills? Which educational opportunities will yield the most growth? How can I better serve my clients so that they will love their experience? What else can I be doing to improve my SEO? Is there a valuable networking opportunity that I'm missing? The list of concerns goes on and on.
From Quote Master: venspired.com Let me get back to that theme of gratitude. True to form, I tend to loose myself in the anxiety of an unpredictable business. So many times, I would feel that cloud of doubt hovering over me as I would fear that the next month would not generate enough portrait sessions to remain sustainable. Every single time I became overwhelmed, I did what got me through so many situations in the past. I would pray. I would place my concerns in God's capable hands, and every single time, I would be rewarded with a phone call, email, or text that held a precious inquiry about using my services. And, every single time, I would look up and say, "I know that was you, God! Thank you for rewarding my faith."
But, my gratitude runs much deeper than the relief of being able to pay the bills. The deepest source of that gratitude is for the many opportunities to meet and work with the most amazing people. Listening to the news can be incredibly depressing, as it seems that there is no goodness left in the world. Somehow, all goodness seems to come my way in the form of beautiful hearts and brilliant minds that appreciate what I can help them to achieve in the form of pictures. In order to truly meet their needs, it is necessary to find my way into their visions and purpose and to learn about their values. This is where the true beauty lies. Yes, I make every effort to work effectively with lighting and angles and composition and everything else that makes for a fabulous portrait; but, the real essence of the final product is in the emotions generated by the image. When the portrait speaks to the heart as well as the eyes, I have done my job.
Class of 2018
The existence of Laura Esposito Photography came about through Senior Portrait Photography, and that first love has never faded. My love of High School Senior Photography has been covered in previous blog posts, and the intensity of that dedication grows every year. The images you see above are Seniors from the Class of 2018 who chose to have their portrait sessions in the spring. As you can see, spring pictures are a great option. Portrait sessions in April and May are timely for graduation. Just look at those beautiful smiles. I feel very confident that they are doing quite well this year.
Class of 2019
The Class of 2019 is certainly an impressive group! The amazing young people you see above and below represent the current senior class, and I am hoping to see many more in the spring. I just love the variety as each Senior is so unique. There is even much variety within each gallery. That is one of my goals for each portrait session, and I have seen growth over the past year. Gratitude fills my heart that I have been able to get to know each of these amazing young people. I feel very confident in our future with these brilliant minds and kind hearts leading the way.
Class of 2019
I'm not sure about you, but I just can't look at the portraits below without smiling. The innocence, honesty, and zest for life that is found in the eyes of a child makes capturing portraits of emotion inevitable. It is almost as if you know the personality of each little person as my style is one that encourages genuine expressions. I am so grateful for every parent who chose to trust me with capturing this cherished time with their most precious gifts.
As much as I love capturing portraits of children, there is something even more special about including the entire family. It is so sad that many of us adults allow our insecurities to prevent us from being included in portraits. When we do make a rare appearance, we focus on our flaws and lose sight of the beauty that is so special to those who love us. That understanding defines my approach to family portraiture.
When I look at these portraits above and below, I see the beauty that exists in family relationships. The caring and devotion that can only be found within the family unit is truly a thing of beauty, and if that can become the focus of the portrait, then everyone in the portrait looks fabulous. Seeing with the heart renders a much more accurate view than the eyes can allow. I am incredibly grateful that these families embraced my approach and came away with these memories to cherish.
My journey through 2018 included some honest self-assessment, and I knew that I needed some professional development for posing couples. This led to an extensive class in posing for weddings, and the results below speak for themselves. These two beautiful couples placed their trust in me and I am so grateful. If these engagement sessions are any indication, I feel certain that their wedding portraits will be amazing. Again, I just marvel at the fact that I get to work with the absolute nicest couples. You can just tell by the way they look at each other and respect each other that they really are "meant to be." Spending time with each of them left me with such excitement for the happiness that I see in their futures. I will have wedding portraits to share in my blog for 2019!
Corporate headshots are a less glamorous service that I offer. Many have a need for a professional headshot for a website, business card, or Linkedin profile and consider it to be a necessary evil. I like to replace the evil with fun and truly tailor that headshot to match the personality of the professional and the application of the headshot. "One size fits all" certainly does not apply to a headshot. These incredibly talented professionals that you see below have different approaches to their headshots that fit their marketable skillsets. I am humbled to have captured their greatness!
Corporate promotional images are so much fun for me as they push my creativity in a new direction. In today's electronic age, having an internet presence is vital. Whether you are building your website or social media pages, images sell; furthermore, impactful images sell more and are remembered. That is where I can help you. The collection below includes some gorgeous shots that were used quite effectively for advertising, fund raising, magazine features, newsletters, banners, promotional mailings, wall murals, and social media blasts. I just love conversations that start with, "Here is what I am hoping to do..." Then, I can take it from there! This approach has allowed me to work with some of the most deserving of causes. As always, good causes are led by even greater people. Do you see how my job can never become boring? The possibilities are endless!
The meaningful parts of our lives are often marked by events that beg to be documented. Hence my catch phrase, "You make the memories; I will help you cherish them." I am grateful to be top-of-mind for so many when there is a meaningful event to be captured. I must express enormous gratitude to Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union #94. They have used my services on numerous occasions to document some wonderful events that are both community-minded and fellowship-building.
So, what can I say? This collection of portraits is proof that 2018 was a great year for Laura Esposito Photography. I can look at the numbers and charts created by my Dubsado CRM software to see that I am actually doing this whole "running a business thing" --- EEEK! But, I prefer to look at the faces in these portraits to see the relationships that have led me to this place. I prefer to remember that it was prayer and faith that got me through the scary times. I prefer to remember how grateful I am that this is my life.
Hence, my vision for 2019 is quite fabulous! With greater confidence, I move forward with an eagerness to see what I can do. My attendance at PPA's Imaging USA in January in Atlanta will be a springboard to learning and growth. I am thrilled to have joined the Northeast Ohio Chapter of PPA where I can learn from some of the truly great artists in our area. I will not lose sight of the wonderful connections that have elevated my professionalism in the past and intend to encourage growth in my high-functioning networking groups such as Networking Today International and my Green Networking Group. I will modify the marketing efforts that were less effective, and build on the ones that worked. And, I will continue to push myself for continuous improvement in both quality and client experience.
But, do you know what really gets my stomach aflutter for 2019? I am most excited about the relationships that I will build and how I can help my clients fall in love with the portrait process.
Thank you to all who made my 2018 so remarkable. May 2019 bring even more reasons to be grateful.
You make the memories; I will help you cherish them.
Love and Smiles,