Personal

filed in

2021 Year End Reflection

photographer smiling and saying thank you

A Big HUGE Thank you

Every year, I write a blog post with all of my best of the best photos for three categories: 1) Engagements, 2) Weddings, & 3) Portraits. In that post, I describe my favorite moments related to each type of session that happened throughout the year. I still want and plan to do that, but for now, I just really wanted to reflect on this year and say a big ole thank you to all of my clients, my team, my clients’ friends and family, and others who have supported my little business.

Part I: To My Clients

To each and every one of my clients from this year…THAAAAANK YOU!!!!! Thank you for your support, but it goes so much further than that. Thank you for valuing me as a photographer. Thank you for valuing my work. Thank you for knowing and investing in the importance of documenting the moments in your life. Thank you for showing up on time. Thank you for being so cute and ready to go as soon as I pull my camera out. Thank you for trusting me. If you follow me, you likely follow other photographers and have inevitably heard them talk about how wonderful their clients are. But you guys truly are the best in so many ways. This has been the busiest year of my career. Not only that, but I was pregnant for majority of it and dealt with a TON of sickness in the last few months of the year. As much as I tried, I wasn’t always able to meet the deadline of image delivery, and you guys showed me so much grace and patience. You totally didn’t have to be so kind about it, but you were. I can’t tell you how much that means. So many of you have also gotten Evelyn baby gifts, which is far beyond what you would ever need to do, and we are so appreciative. They have been so stinking cute.

My prayer for 2021 was balance. Not just work/life balance either. Balance of how much reinvestment I make into my business, the different types of sessions I take on in addition to my weddings, how many weekends I have off, and how much time I donate. Reflecting back on the year, knowing it was my busiest year of all, I am pretty proud of the way I stuck to my guns and truly did some balancing acts. The only way this could happen though was with my team, which leads me into Part II.

Part II: To My Team

To my number one lady, Beth. Who will read this before anyone on the internet even gets a chance because she proofreads and preps every blog post before publishing it to go live, T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U. When I decided to start outsourcing some of my work, I began praying about who that person would be. I have slight control issues and want to do everything myself so I knew it would have to be someone I could truly trust. Someone I could let take the lead on things and provide some unbiased feedback about my services and processes. Someone that also saw the value in photography and how much it means to me. Someone who would be loyal and trustworthy and honest. Someone who also loves the Lord and is okay with loving on my clients just like I would. You are a true gem, my friend. I am so honored to have you as part of my team. I hope you always feel valued and cherished because you so so so so are. Your friendship means the world to me, and I’m ultra thankful we go beyond a working friendship. Amanda May Photos would absolutely not be what it is today without you. You are such a blessing, my friend, and truly an answered prayer.

To Emmalee, who has stepped up in so many ways this year. Emmalee started as an intern. She simply emailed me asking if I would ever consider hiring an intern for a semester. I told her yes, and the rest is history. During her internship, Emmalee blew me away with her work ethic. Her attention to detail is incredible, and I could tell she was really eager to learn the business and not just intern to check a box to graduate. She is organized and mature and always takes constructive criticism exceptionally well. At the end of her internship, I asked her to come back on as a part-time employee. She started helping me cull every single wedding, build first drafts of wedding albums, babysit my kids, and assist on wedding days when my pregnant belly got too big for me to bend over all day long and carry heavy things all over a giant property. This summer, she is going to nanny for me as well since Evelyn won’t be old enough to go to a childcare program. She is truly a jack of all trades and always so willing to help. I didn’t even know I was looking for an Emmalee when we crossed paths, but now, I don’t quite know what I would do without her. Thank you, Emmalee, for everything you do.

To my editors, Traci, Miranda, and Kayla. You ladies are lifesavers. Honestly. Especially on weekends where I have more than one wedding, I could not make it through the year without you. The amount of stress you take off my plate is monumental. Because you guys are on my team, I’m able to really focus on tasks in the business that only I can do. Instead of spending 75% of my week editing, you take a big chunk of that off my plate, and I’m able to invest that time back into AMP, spend time with my family, or take some personal time to do something for me. The quantity of weddings this year was so insanely high compared to years past that without you, I’m confident I would still be editing weddings from August. Your dedication and loyalty are so greatly appreciated, and I couldn’t thank you enough for all you do.

To the associate and second photographers from this year. I had several associate photographers help me this year and lots and lots of second shooters. Two of the girls who helped associate shoot for me the most were Leah Nicole and Alaina René. Both of these ladies came in clutch last minute several times. In my whole career, 11 wedding seasons, I’ve never had a sickness so bad that I wasn’t able to go shoot. This year, however, our whole family got a stomach bug from hell and could barely walk around our house without having to make a pitstop at the toilet. We threw up so much that our bodies were weak and fragile and moving at all felt like we had just run a marathon. I had a bridal session in that time period that Alaina shot for me last minute because I physically just couldn’t do it. Ironically, the bride’s name was Alana, and she was so understanding and gracious and absolutely loved her bridal portraist. Fast forward to an associate wedding in October that I had decided to shoot myself. As the day approached, I started running a really high fever with terrible chills. I had a cough and lots and lots of congestion. I could hardly get the fever to break, and it would come back before it was time to take another dose of medicine. I got tested for COVID and the flu, which were both negative, and my OB said they thought I was doing too much and to take a rest. I called Alaina again who so graciously photographed that wedding for me last minute, and she did a wonderful job! Other associate photographers that helped me this year were Alyssa Rachelle Photography, Brittany Sidwell Photography, Winx Photo, Miranda Lawson Photography, and Erin Fox Photo. Some other second shooters that helped me were Alyssa Rachelle Photography, Morgan Hayley Photo, AC Goodman Photo, Brittany Miller Photography, Jamie Pratt Photography, Brianna Houchens, Alaina René Photography, and Leah Nicole Photo. Without these ladies, my couples would not get the full capacity of their day captured. They wouldn’t get as many candids or both of their faces when they see each other for the first time. There would be nothing captured of cocktail hour and way fewer detail photos of the ceremony and reception. The groom would not have getting ready photos and reactions at the reception would be way less plentiful. These ladies make it possible to truly get every facet of the day, and I am forever grateful for their skill, talent, and service.

Part III: My Client’s Friends and Family

So many times I will photograph a bride and months or even years later, will photograph a friend of hers. At the friend’s wedding, I will most definitely see my couple again, and often times, I’ll also see her parents or other friends. My couple and I will have a reunion, but it’s not uncommon for me to get a hug and chat from the bride’s mom and dad. I’ll see siblings of my couples out and about and will chat with them, too. The point of this is my clients and I always have a great relationship, but it extends further than that. So often their parents and their siblings and their friends are also AMP supporters. Whether that’s by talking about me or by engaging on social media or coming back to buy prints, albums, wall decor, or gift cards from me. No matter what category of support you fall under, I’m grateful for it. Any or all of those actions are supporting my dream, my passion, my calling, and my family. You are helping me to be a better wife, better parent, and better friend because I am getting to do what I love every single day instead of being miserable at a job I hate and makes me bitter. I cannot tell you thank you enough. I know you don’t have to do any of it. You don’t have to care since I didn’t serve you directly, but you do. The generosity from you is overflowing through Amanda May Photos, and I hope you know your support extends further than just me and my family. It overflows into Hope Resource Center, 127 Worldwide, an orphan in Africa, and our local church, Shoreline. You are participating in something so much bigger than photography when you support Amanda May Photos, and I want you to be proud of that! So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Part IV: To All the Others

To everyone else that pours into Amanda May Photos. My extended family that likes and comments on every Instagram post, the photography community that is so supportive and encouraging, the future brides that are following me waiting for their turn to get the question popped, vendors I’ve worked with in the past, church friends that have started following along my journey, and everyone else I may have never met but enjoy photography and supporting local businesses…THANK YOU. Thank you for making this year possible through your dedication, love, and support. 2021 was so much fun. Exhausting, busy, and a little crazy, but so much fun. There were moments of desperation where I was overwhelmed mentally with the length of my to do list and the amount of time in the week to get it all done, but there you were. Right there commenting on posts, leaving your sweet words to pick me back up, reminding me why I do this, and helping me get to the other side. When you leave a comment, I doubt you are thinking it would be so impactful, but it is. Every single teensy weensy ouce of support matters. When you share a post, when you like a post, when you save a post, when you comment on a post, when you DM about a post. Those things all matter. They matter to Instagram, they matter to others that come across that post, and they really matter to me. It takes SO much work to keep up a social media feed. Mentally and physically. Even outsourcing as much of it as I can, it’s still so time consuming. So, when you show any kind of engagement on there, it’s like a reward for all the time I’ve put into it. You guys are so amazing, and I hope you know how grateful I am for you and the time you put into supporting my little business!

Conclusion

In conclusion, I just had a baby and have all the mushy gushy hormones totally out of balance in my body so I got a little weepy writing this. You guys, I adore you. Each and every one of you. Even if we haven’t ever met before. I love you to pieces, and your support means the absolute world to me. So, one last thank you before I leave this novel to be published for you to read.

thank you.

you’re amazing.

MORE ABOUT AMANDA MAY PHOTOS:

I’m a Knoxville Wedding Photographer that loves to travel…I shoot anywhere! Click here to contact me with any questions you have about pricing or booking! If you liked what you saw above, go ahead and follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my daily updates of the latest sessions!

SEE MORE FROM AMANDA MAY PHOTOS:

Castleton Farms Wedding

Downtown Knoxville Senior Session

Wedding at The Trillium Venue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Guide

A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline and we know it's easy to feel like a hot mess! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day.