one year old {happy birthday to me!}

It's true... time flies when you're having fun. I can't believe that November marks the one-year birthday of the Suitcase Studio. Happy birthday to my dream-coming-true; my work-in-progress; my happiness.  It's been an interesting ride so far, but I'm loving the journey all the way. Just over a year ago, I turned 30 years old. And so, like many others at this stage in life... I started to think. A lot. About where I was supposed to go from here. And then, while pondering all the deep questions like "who am I" and "what do I want to do with my life," I had one of those "a-HA" moments. Seriously. Lightbulb over the head time.

I have ALWAYS been a photographer at heart, and have ALWAYS had a camera in my hand. It makes me happy. And so it made sense to let my mind wander over the possibility of becoming a professional photographer. I was bursting with excitement.  I asked my husband his opinion, and he was JUST as excited as I was. It was a perfect fit for me. It just made sense. And it just felt RIGHT.

So I jumped right in. After hours and hours (and HOURS) of research, I was ready to begin. One good thing about my varied work experience is that I have picked up a LOT of skills along the way. From networking to accounting to marketing to the legalities, I felt like I had a good handle on things. And what I didn't know... I could learn. I am a student of life, and feel like there is always room to learn just a bit more. So, I took a breath and went with it...

Armed with a new camera (Canon EOS 50D), I got right to work. My friends were great sports, letting me use them for my first few projects. I built my website, got my business cards, and started to spread the word. And then I held my breath.  And it happened... first one client, then another, and another. Friends of friends spread the word, and Facebook was an amazing tool. I even posted on Craigslist once or twice.

And along the way, I fell in love with it ALL. I loved meeting new people and connecting with them, I loved the magic that we made, and I loved the process of editing the photos to make something even more spectacular appear. I felt at peace. I felt like I was where I belonged.

I feel like I have really grown this year, both as a person and a photographer. I have explored different aspects and styles, and feel like I've finally come into my own. Who knew? I didn't even realize I HAD a style of my own till someone pointed it out to me. It was a strange feeling to step back and realize that I was no longer caught in the trap of trying to emulate others... that I actually had a style all my own.

So, THANK YOU to all of you who played a part in helping me to discover this. Thank you to all of you who helped to shape this first year and make my dream a reality. I honestly get choked up with emotion, thinking of how many different people have played a part in this. You all believed in me and my work, and took a chance on this newbie to capture the moments for you to remember always. Thank you for your faith in me.

From shooting friends to shooting weddings, this has been an absolutely amazing year. So here is a quick look back at some of the highlights:

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This past year has been an incredible journey. And I can't wait to see what's in store for me next!