I can't believe that this year is almost at it's end. For me, this has been a year of incredible growth and opportunity, as well as a year of change. And as I look toward the coming year, I can see that it is only going to get better. It was just over a year ago that I finally made the leap into the world of photography as a business. With my other jobs (yes, plural) and commitments as a wife and mother, I wasn't sure how I would manage to balance my hectic life if I added yet another "job" to the equation. But photography is not a job, it is a passion. And while it may have just as many hours of paper work, as much time away from my family and as many stressful moments as any other job, I love it more every time I pick up my camera. It is a lot of hard work, more than I even anticipated, but well worth it for the joy it brings to my heart.
I was sort of forced into getting a website and blog up-and-running, after finding out that a Google search for "Mandy Blake Photography" turned up a LOT of links to images of a plus-size porn star by the same name. I'll wait while you Google it. Go ahead. See? So obviously I had to work quickly to separate my name and my work from any association with the other Mandy Blake!
As I created this composite of all the children I have photographed this year, I was astounded to find that I had had the chance to work with over 40 families this year! Holy cow! I am so grateful to all of you - my clients, my friends, my family, my colleagues, my cheerleaders - for helping to make this year a succesful one. I am truly honored that you were willing to help me in this journey. Here are each of the beautiful faces I photographed this year (I hope I didn't miss anyone!) :
And can I just say, as I was going through the files from early in the year, I was shocked to see just how BAD my processing used to be! I was mortified by some of the crap I had produced. But then my husband, in his infinite wisdom said to me, "At least you don't suck anymore. You must be learning, right?". And that is one of the reasons I love him so much. Every step is one you need to make to stay on the right path.
I feel blessed and enornously relieved to have made it this far, but I know I have more growing, learning and exploring to do each and every day to make my photography better and stronger.
I can't wait to see what the new year will bring....2012, get ready, 'cause here I come!