Hello There, 2016!

Happy New Year!  Last night, Arturo and I rang in 2016 with family and friends.  Like many others, we've talked about what we want to accomplish in this new year, both together and individually.  We talked about our businesses, goals we're setting and our travel plans for the road trip we plan to take along the California coast in October to celebrate our second anniversary!  In 2016, I want to be sure to step out of my comfort zone, and do things I more than likely wouldn't have really thought to do a year ago in 2015.  Three of my biggest goals for this year focused around my business:  

I will get to know more people in the creative industry.  
I will continue to build up the wedding photography side of my business.  
I will submit my work for the first time into a photography contest.

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Wedding Photographer | Rising Tide Society | Community Over Competition

1. Meet and network with more of my fellow creatives.
I'm part of a nationwide (which has now grown into a worldwide) group of creatives called The Rising Tide Society.  It promotes the idea of community over competition among creatives of all types: photographers, calligraphers, graphic designers, branding specialists, painters, illustrators, potters, jewelry makers and more.  I've already made several beautiful and wonderful friends from this group.  I've worked with some, and enjoyed a trip to New York City with another!  I plan to work or collaborate with other creatives in my area, especially those in the wedding industry, weather it be florists, calligraphers, other photographers and maybe even some venues!  There are thousands of us in this society of creative business owners, so why not meet with more of them over a cup of coffee and chat about life as total boss ladies (or boss dudes!)?  As a creative professional (though what I'm about to say really applies to any industry that you're in), it's so wonderful and refreshing to be surrounded by like-minded people.  Think of it as being a cheer squad for each other; you're supported by others who share the same fears, joys, stresses and excitement that you do.  I can honestly say that up until I joined in on the fun and resources that The Rising Tide Society has to offer, I didn't have a true sense of success.  Now that I've found my "tribe", I feel as if I'm succeeding even more as a photographer and small business owner!  

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Wedding Photographer

2. Make wedding photography my only specialty (eventually). 
Currently, I label myself as a "wedding and lifestyle photographer".  The "lifestyle" part covers the wonderful families and children I photograph.  Though I love working with families and kids to capture those tiny little moments between a brother and sister, or a mother and her daughter, my heart is in the wedding photography side of my business.  This doesn't mean that I'll phase out my lifestyle sessions completely, it just means that I'll take on fewer of those sessions. There are so many places around the Fairfield County area, as well as much of Connecticut (and beyond!) that are incredibly romantic to photograph two people in love; one of my favorites, which you'll see from my Instagram feed (@shainaleephoto), is Waveny Park in New Canaan, CT.  I look forward to the day I photograph a wedding there at the Waveny House!  I'm a romantic nut, and love every aspect about a wedding day-- I even miss planning my own wedding sometimes!  Seeing all of the newly engaged couples over the holidays and New Year's Eve weddings brought me back to all of the love and excitement I shared with my husband during his flash mob proposal in Central Park and our wedding day.  I want to focus on photographing those same emotions and moments that any couple in love enjoys.  It's these things that makes me feel so lucky and fortunate to do what I do.  There are fewer things in life that two people will share that will be bigger and more impactful than a wedding day.  Capturing the love, joy and romance that a couple shares, whether it be during their engagement session, on their wedding day, or even afterward, that's what makes my heart sing!

3. Enter the 2016 Shoot & Share Photo Contest.
In the years that I've been a photographer, I've never submitted my work into a photography contest.  Each photograph in the Shoot & Share Photo Contest is judged on its own merit, because the photographer's name is never displayed.  Additionally, the contestants are the judges!  Each photo is given equal opportunity for votes.  I'm not particularly competitive, and I'm almost positive that is why I've never entered a contest.  But like I said, this year is going to be one of change for me both personally and professionally, and I couldn't be more excited to submit my photography later this month!

So now that I've really put my heart out on my blog for the first time ever for just anyone to read, come at me 2016!  I'm more than ready to take on the exciting challenges and future achievements ahead!  Happy New Year to all, with much love, laughter and happiness.