Okay so this post is two weeks late and I meant to post it on the 31st of December but after my last wedding of 2013 I just wanted a break from my computer so I left all the technology at home and spend a few days on a farm with my wife, daughter and close friends. I write a review post every year and if you haven’t already you should take a look at last year’s review. The last thing I wrote was:
“I can’t wait to write the same post at the end of 2013”
2012 was a very confronting year for me… I was put into a position where I had to change jobs, my daughter was only 3 weeks old and my wife wasn’t working and at the end of winter I made the tough decision to quit my job and instead of applying for another software job, my wife suggested I give my all to photography full-time, so I did.
A lot was riding on how 2013 turned out, so here we go…
Missing the 31st December deadline on this post turned out well because on the 1st day of the new year I received an interesting email… it was an email from myself. I know that sounds weird but on the 13th June 2012 I wrote myself an email using the site FutureMe.org. I got the idea from a book I was reading called “Quitter” but Jon Acuff. It’s all about how to make the transition from your current job to your dream job something I was really challenged with at the time. He suggests writing emails to yourself from time to time so you can get a snapshot of your mindset at a particular point in time and review it when you receive it in future. It’s a good way of seeing whether you’re moving forward with your goals as well as a type of humility check.
I distinctly remember writing to myself and the general contents of the email but I always thought I’d set the ‘send’ date as a year in advance so when June 2013 came and went I figured something must have been wrong with the FutureMe site and my email was never going to come so I just forgot about it.
Here’s a little snippet of me talking to myself:
“Dear Future Me,
You dream every day of some-day becoming a full-time photographer and the foundation is laid. You have about 6 booked for the next financial year. You wish that you could book 20+ so that you can go full-time. At this stage that doesn’t seem possible or at least a couple years away. What will you do for money in between? Can you still work with passion fulltime at a job you only like?
You look at the work of [inspirational photographers names removed] and your work doesn’t stand next to theirs. They manage to shoot 25 to 35 weddings a year and their work looks like it belongs on Style Me Pretty or wedding magazines… You tried submitting to polka dot bride once but it got knocked back. Try again.
Hui Xin is only three and a half weeks old and so so cute. She cries every now and then but she’s a wonderful baby. She looks with that frown and with lips making that ‘o’ shape. She doesn’t even know she has hands yet and throws up after most feeds. Haha she poos and pees all over the place but you love her more and more each day. Your wife is lovely. She is beautiful in every way and has told you that no matter what you pursue she will still love and support you. If you failed miserably at your photography dream… well don’t worry… the things I’ve just described are enough. God has given you everything you need to be successful in life. You have your salvation… which takes care of your eternity, you have a solid foundation of a loving and supportive wife and you have a ‘WHY’ to continue on… something you never had before and that is Hui Xin. They’re the people that matter most, they’re the people that you need to care about and not the opinions of others.
If you succeeded at your dream and you’re a full-time photographer, stay humble. You didn’t get there on your own steam and God had to lay the foundation down for your success. Don’t cheat the system, be honest, pay your taxes, give your tithes to God. Your customers are your most valuable asset and you’ve always been surprised at how photographers can treat their customers like commodities and be rude or ignore them. NEVER EVER EVER ignore your customers and remember how you treat them now. You’re excited every time they write to you and every query that comes in in precious. You personally write to every person and show them that their interest in you is VALUABLE! Stay hungry, stay humble and never forget where you started from.
I hope there is wisdom in this email… and that it reminds you of humbler beginnings and that you already have enough to be satisfied.
All the best…
Jason from June 2012.”
After reading that email it really makes reviewing the year easier because I can count so many blessings and my goals were far exceeded. For instance, in 2013 my work was featured on Style me Pretty, Polka Dot Bride, White Magazine’s blog, ELLE Magazine (Taiwan) and Burnetts Boards in the US. I managed to exhibit at my first bridal fair and I shot more weddings than I thought I could possibly book. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to shoot 8 weddings… that means 8 couples were willing to trust me with one of the biggest days in their lives and in 2013 that number grew to 31 couples.
2014 looks to be even bigger so although words aren’t enough to express my gratitude, THANK YOU so much to my couples and all the friends I’ve made in the wedding industry along the way.
I won’t let you down.
Below are some of my favourite images from the year so enjoy!
My final note goes to the person who means the most to me in the world…
<this is going to be soppy but it has to be said>
My wife Chen Shi.
You are not only a beautiful woman but a beautiful soul. You gave up the comforts of your home to marry and live with me far away from your family. You then gave me your unconditional support to pursue this dream and gave up many of life’s pleasures to tough it out over the last 18 months, loving, caring and feeding the three of us. Not many would be willing to do that but you did. You’re my world and happiness.
Love your Husband.