A look back at 2017

Januarys mean new beginnings. But it's also a great time to reflect on the past year and take note of all my accomplishments and failures. The year began with a bang when I took an extended trip to Florida. It was good for my soul (all that sun!) and my business as I was able to focus on tasks that needed to get done, but could never find the time. This included overhauling my website, getting back into blogging and shooting more that winter than ever before. 


My return to Happy Valley brought in more clients than in 2016. And stretching myself out of my comfort zone I shot studio portraits in my clients home. Something I had shied away from for so many reasons, but ended up being more doable than I ever imagined. 


I met and photographed several puppies (and had way too much fun!), consistently blogged twice a week and posted on social media on a regular basis, something that previously I had only done sporadically and with little intention behind what content I was sharing. 


I made decisions that in 2018 I hope will move me toward focusing even more on my photography. Letting go of some things took time (years actually), but I'm excited to make some changes in my life and get closer to making my dreams come true.


While I achieved many of my goals for 2017, I fell short on some of them too. I only published one newsletter edition all year, didn't book as many clients as I had set in my goals and completely failed at some marketing plans I had started to put together, but never acted on. Some goals I achieved, like entering Professional Photographer's of America (PPA) International Print Competition, attending a PPA Certified Professional Photographer class and expanding on my photoshop skills, which were not part of my plan when the year began. So I'm proud of myself of taking advantage of opportunities I hadn't expected. 


One thing is clear though, how much I've been enjoying my journey as a photographer. Reflecting on all of this has been part of the process as I work on setting goals for 2018. And let me tell you, I've got some pretty ambitious ones this year! It's always fun to look back and see how far I've come in just 12 months. And a great reminder that this journey isn't about getting there, where ever "there" is, but the experiences along the way. So whether something was an accomplishment or a failure, I'm grateful for all of it!


Now that the holidays are officially over, I'm ready to jump in and get 2018 started! 


Kita on the beach | Southwest FL pet photographer

I've been so busy networking I haven't had time to photograph since we arrived in Florida. But that changed last night. For months I've had this image in my mind that I wanted to create while I was here.  As always, making what you envision a reality isn't always as easy as you think. But this is pretty close. 


Yesterday I spent some time researching locations for photo shoots. I can't wait to go and explore with my camera and some dog models!

Have a great weekend!

Florida Recap - Week 1

It’s been a week since we arrived in Florida. And it’s gone by very quickly. In some ways I got more accomplished than I had expected, in other ways, I’ve hardly made a dent in my to do list.

After a day’s rest, I hit the ground running. I headed up to Venice for the Bark for Life event. I met a lot of great folks, several who were excited to hear I might be settling down in the area. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people told me they had hired a pet photographer. Some had a bad experience, others said their family had grown since their last session and it was time to think about having another one.

The next day I headed down to Naples for the Pets on Third event on Third Street South. It’s hard to say for sure, but I’m guessing about a hundred dogs or so attended. I saw dogs in strollers, dogs dressed up, dogs with dyed fur, big dogs, little dogs and a breeds I don’t usually see in Pennsylvania. There was a pet ambulance, a wolf sanctuary that brought a tiger, skunk and several snakes. The highlight of the day was the pet parade with the theme Pets at the Oscars. Dogs dressed up and many owners matched outfits as they walked down a red carpet. Prizes were awarded as judges judged attendees in several categories. I made a few connections with a few other artists including photographers. It’s always fun to meet others who share the same passion as me.

Monday night I attended a local PPA (Professional Photographers of America) meeting in Sarasota. I called the group a couple of days before the meeting to find out more information and was so glad I did. They had a great presentation and announced that a CPP (Certified Professional Photographers) prep class was being offered the following week. Declaring my candidacy for the CPP is on my list of things to do in 2017. It was too ironic that the photographer who wrote the study guide would be teaching it while I’d be in the area. I'm looking forward to his class.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I visited a couple of pet stores in the area and talked to the owners about my pet photography. They were excited to meet me and were more than happy to take my business cards to share with their clients.

All in all, it’s been a great seven days. I’ve gotten lots of encouragement and interest in my work. Folks have been very kind to us, sharing tips on where to live, shop and market my business. I must admit though, what I’ve enjoyed the most is the sunshine. There’s nothing good about a cold, bleak January day after day in Pennsylvania. Down here, I’ve been able to sit outdoors and watch the sunset every night. Whether it’s a spectacular one or not, there’s no doubt the sun makes me feel a little happier.