A love letter from your favorite Chicago wedding photographer. I cannot believe we are already into week two of 2023! 2022 was a year of growth, changes, new beginnings, and bittersweet endings. I went into the year as a full-time photographer with a decision to make: was I going to stay in the Indianapolis market or was it time for a change? Ultimately, I decided on the change. I made the leap to move myself and my business to Chicago and now I started the year 2023 living in a little one-bedroom in the great Windy City. Surreal? Absolutely.
For the last couple of years, I’ve gone in with a word of the year. A central theme that would encompass what I wished to accomplish that year, or how I wanted to approach the different challenges and changes dealt to me. 2022 my word was fearless. Now, heading into 2023, I’m a full-time Chicago wedding photographer, with a little apartment in my dream city.
Fitting, being a Taylor swift fan, and choosing fearless. But fearless is so much more than a TSwift era. Fearless to me isn’t about not being scared. It’s not about meeting challenges with a puffed-up chest or with the confidence of knowing what’s going to happen next. To me, it meant meeting those challenges and being scared. Feeling confused, maybe a little lost, and doing it anyways. I moved to Chicago solely on the confidence I placed in myself and now I’m doing the damn thing. I’ve grown in so many ways this year. My work is something I’m so freaking proud of, I’m working with amazing and incredible humans, and I’m so proud of all of my accomplishments this year. Here are some of my favorite things about my life looking back on 2022.
The one thing that cannot be quantified is how many times I said to myself “holy SHIT I am so freaking lucky” because I said it SO. MANY. TIMES. I am so freaking thankful every single day that this is my job. Throughout 2022 I photographed THIRTY-FOUR weddings on my own. Yes, you read that right, THIRTY-FOUR WEDDINGS! This does not include the many sessions and engagement sessions, weddings I second shot, and other life events I’ve been able to document for my amazing couples. For the most part, my weddings were in the Chicagoland area along with Indianapolis, but as a destination wedding photographer, I was also able to travel to so many amazing places.
Along with documenting so many amazing stories in my two home states, I also traveled to Seattle WA, NYC, and San Francisco CA for so many amazing engagement sessions along with a phenomenal styled shoot in Idaho.
Knowing that I did want to pick up and move my business to a completely different state, I knew my business was going to go through a period of growth that I had never experienced before. I walked through this year with SO many different feelings flowing through me. Moments of happiness, confusion, and sometimes loneliness, it was both kind of miserable and magical all at the same time.
Throughout this growth period, I was able to grow and connect with so many other amazing business owners and make some amazing connections in the Chicago wedding vendor community. They welcomed me with open arms and I will forever be thankful for the friendships I’ve made so far in this season of life. Between vendor friends, features on Chicago wedding blogs, and a LOT of back-end work on my business, I am so happy I was able to successfully make the move to the windy city.
Knowing that I would be breaking into the Chicago wedding market which is completely different from the weddings in Indiana, I wanted to find a mentor to guide me through creating a business that would reach and connect with Chicago couples. In my research for finding a mentor, I came across Chicago wedding photographer Marissa Kelly. I especially want to thank Marissa, she took me in as a mentee and our mentorship session literally has changed the business game for me in every single way.
Last but not least I have to thank my incredibly supportive parents and family for supporting me during this year of massive growth in my business and helping me through lots of growing pains. It was a big change moving from Indy to Chicago and I had a lot of long nights and missed hangouts because of sessions, weddings, back-end work on my business and much more. Despite all of the hours missed throughout this year, their support never wavered.
I’ve learned and refined so many technical skills with my camera. My photography skills have helped me to both streamlined my editing and business process along with helping me to better align with the clients of my dreams! I’ve worked on different skills such as composition, and lighting, and learning more about Lightroom so I can edit out distractions and things of that nature.
I have also grown in knowing who I serve best and who I work with the easiest. That has allowed my client experience to feel so much more valuable to those who book, and made for the best wedding days filled with so much celebrating and so much love.
First I want to start by saying THANK YOU! Thank you for allowing me the space to create, capture, laugh with you, cry with you, hold your hand to your first look, make sure your dress looks perfectly fluffed, hold your bouquet, fix your boutonnière, take a shot with me (Kati + Sam, I’m talking to you HAHA), and being your cheerleader. I am forever rooting for all of you.
To the couples who pulled me onto the dance floor when Shake it Off or really any Taylor Swift song started playing on the dance floor, and all of the hugs and happy dances that happened throughout the wedding day just brought me so much joy throughout. Please know that it’s these moments that are getting me beyond excited for my 2023 season as a Chicago wedding photographer.
Though there are SO many amazing moments that fill 2022, one of my favorite memories has to be from Jess + Jonathans’ day. Leading up to their wedding, the weather all week looked like a possibility for evening rain, and we rolled with it. I kept an eye on the radar all day, and we managed to get through every major portion of the day up through the reception without the weather disrupting! During dinner, however, the clouds started to turn from a gray overcast to a dark storm cloud. I kept an eye on the radar and saw a pretty major but brief storm headed our way. The timing couldn’t have been worse… we needed to head out for sunset! Jess + Johnathan wanted sunset portraits more than anything, and I wasn’t about to let anything, not even a storm, change that.
I made an executive decision to wait for a little bit and see the storm through because I had a good feeling about the break in clouds I could see on the horizon. Jess + Johnathan agreed so we waited it out. And thank GOD we did… the rain turned into a super light drizzle and we hopped on the golf cart with our umbrellas and headed out to the edge of the venue property and there it was… the most BEAUTIFUL sunset I have seen. It was deep gold, peach, and so warm.
We knocked out 10 minutes of portraits and they are not only some of my favorite images from the year but theirs too. It was a reminder to me that no matter what comes our way, no matter what storms or trials are put in our way, there is always a golden sunset waiting for us if we persevere through it.
The move has been slow and steady. I have slowly been working on my little one bedroom apartment to make it feel more like home and it’s getting there! Living in Chicago so far has been dreamy. I truly have been loving the adjustment to city life. Walking to the grocery store, exploring new session locations, this new way of living has been treating me so well. Living in Chicago as a Chicago wedding photographer has been a complete game-changer. The weather has been cold but, but growing up in the midwest, it hasn’t been too bad. I’m excited to start building my life hear and creating a space and a community that I can thrive in both in business and personally heading into 2023.
Heading into 2023, I am looking forward to continuing to grow my business and building more relationships with my Chicago clients + vendor pals. This city is filled with so many amazing people and experiences, I feel as if I am just getting started! If you’re planning your 2023 or 2024 wedding, my calendar is getting close to being booked full for the year! Head to my contact page to check out the inquiry process and get your date in my books!
As for now, here are a few more of my favorite moments in 2022.