Every quarter, I like to check in on my 2012 goals to see what I’ve accomplished and what I need to focus on in the next 3 months.  I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since we moved to Charleston and it’s crazy how much has happened since then.  I never would’ve imagined the direction my business has taken and I couldn’t be more optimistic for what the future holds for me down here.  I’ve grown by leaps and bounds in the past 6 months and I can’t wait to see where I am at the end of 2012.

So here is a recap of what has happened since my last check in back in April:

Goal #1: Actively seek opportunities to submit my work for publication, either online or in print.  Since April, I have submitted some of my pet photography work to The Daily Dog Tag, Pretty Fluffy, Dog Milk and Hair of the Dog – some wonderful dog-centric blogs that you should DEFINITELY check out!  Some of these wonderful blogs have even agreed to feature my work!  Hair of the Dog featured my session with Chelsey, Jackson + Tiny in April and The Daily Dog Tag featured some images of Little Black in June.  I was also included on a list of 30 Inspiring Pet Photographers, which was published by The Pet Anthology in April and I was lucky enough to photograph the cover story for the June/July issue of Lowcountry Dog Magazine too!  I’m making a huge effort to get my work out there and noticed.  I’m finally at a place where I am proud to submit my work and it feels amazing.

Goal #2: Blog at least 4 days a week.  Some weeks are harder than others, but I have posted at least 4 times a week consistently during the past 3 months.  One of the best things I’ve done this quarter was to create a blog content calendar and it has really helped to keep myself organized with what blog posts I’m scheduling and when they are published.

Goal #3: Blog at least one personal post each week.  This has been an epic fail.  I know it’s something I have to get over, but I feel like no one really cares about the banality of my boring life.  Yet I know I need to connect with potential clients in a more personal way.  Once my wedding photography business is up and running, my goal will be to blog every day and start incorporating more “non-photography” content.  I promise.

Goal #4: Reach 800 Facebook fans.  I just reached a huge milestone of 650 Facebook fans and with any luck, I’ll be able to attract 150 more by the end of the year.  I’m still pretty bewildered that I have 650+ Facebook fans.  That’s insane!

Goal #5: Continue to work with local shelters + rescues in Charleston.  Since the beginning of April, I’ve spent nearly every weekend second shooting weddings with other photographers here in Charleston.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to volunteer at CAS recently but I should have a lot more time to get back to volunteering once wedding season dies down.

Goal #6: Buy a macro lens.  I finally did it!  I went ahead and bought the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lens in early June!  I love this lens because it allows me to capture beautiful ring shots and amazing pet details.  I can’t wait to use it more often in my future sessions.

Goal #7: Consistently second shoot weddings in Charleston in 2012.  I was lucky enough to second shoot weddings just about every weekend during the past 3 months with some amazing wedding photographers here in Charleston.  I feel like I learned something new every single time and I know I have grown as a photographer because of these experiences.  Most importantly, it has really given me the confidence to go ahead with my own wedding photography business.

Goal #8: Have my pet photography work published in print.  I was thrilled when Leah, the editor of Lowcountry Dog Magazine, contacted me to shoot the cover story for the June/July issue.  I had the opportunity to work with 4 amazing dogs and their families and I couldn’t be more proud of the way it all turned out.  Please check out the digital edition here!  I hope to have the opportunity to contribute to this amazing local magazine again in the future.

Goal #9: Create a productive and soothing home office area.  I am currently in the process of turning our tiny guest bedroom into my office.  The corner of my living room just isn’t cutting it.  I desperately need a place of my own, so I can better separate my personal life from my photography business.  I am really looking forward to organizing everything and feeling like a legitimate business owner!

Goal #10: Learn how to use on and off-camera flash.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with some wedding photographers who utilize different off-camera flash set ups and it has been great to pick their brain about why they have chosen that specific set up.  While I still haven’t decided on what setup I will use once I get my wedding photography business going, it has been really great to hear different opinions and see them in action.  As far as on-camera flash goes, I feel relatively confident in my understanding of it.  I bought the Speedlites 101 with Mark Wallace workshop from creativeLIVE in May and I’m slowly working my way though the videos to gain a deeper understanding of it.  With each wedding I shoot, I feel more and more comfortable though.  I still use all natural light with pets.

Goal #11: Network with local pet friendly businesses in Charleston.  I have contacted several different pet friendly businesses here in Charleston and, every week, I try to get out and make contact with a new one.  The Wag Factory continues to be a wonderful partnership for me + my business and I recently spoke with a local veterinary office about doing a custom canvas display for their lobby.  There are so many awesome pet friendly businesses around here and, for the most part, they have been extremely supportive and willing to work with me.  I hope to have some really cool projects underway with some of them by the end of the year, so stay tuned!

Goal #12: Take at least one photography class at Charleston Center for Photography.  I haven’t had the chance to do this yet, but hope to attend a wedding photography workshop this fall.  Maybe.

Goal #13: Save money to attend a professional convention.  I am attending WPPI U in Atlanta at the end of July and with that I will get a free ticket to WPPI 2013 – the grand daddy of photography conferences in Las Vegas next March.  It is still a main priority of mine to attend WPPI next year and hopefully I will have enough money saved to do it.  I’ve always wanted to go to Vegas and this is the perfect excuse!

Goal #14: Attend at least one photography workshop in 2012.  As I mentioned above, I bought another creativeLIVE online workshop this quarter – Speedlites 101 with Mark Wallace.  I’m still working my way through the 3-day workshop, but so far it has been really informative and helpful in getting me to understand my flash system.  I also watched the live Canon 5D Mark III – DSLR Fast Start workshop on creativeLIVE and will be attending WPPI U in Atlanta at the end of July.  My education is extremely important to me because it really is the key to growing as a photographer + business owner.

Goal #15: Consistently look for new and exciting products to offer my clients.  In anticipation of my wedding photography business, I went ahead and ordered my KISS album sample this quarter.  I am in LOVE with this product, which I will also offer to my pet photography clients.  It is a beautiful custom-designed leather album that will surely become a family heirloom.  I also started offering metallic prints recently and love the modern look it gives to a print.

Goal #16: Continually look for ways to improve my workflow.  Since upgrading to Lightroom 4, I have been trying to find my ‘secret recipe’ with the new system.  I will be working on developing presets in this new program that will help me edit faster.  I’ve also invested in a new online proofing system that will streamline my gallery + print sales for my wedding photography business.  Now that I’ll have two photography businesses to run, an efficient workflow will be even more important to me as I also work a full-time job!

Goal #17: Book at least 12 private client sessions for 2012.  Things started to really pick up around mid to late May and I think I am on track to achieve this goal.  I have either already shot or received retainers for 6 private client sessions this year including my first engagement session (which I shot in late May) and my first solo wedding (which will take place in early November).  I have several pending inquiries as well.  Once my wedding branding is complete, I feel like I’ll be able to market effectively and hopefully book some more sessions for later this year.

Goal #18: Rewrite website and blog content in 2012 to better align with my brand.  I’ve written brand new content for my wedding photography website and blog already.  I’m working on updating my pet photography website during the last part of 2012, as I discover my niche here in Charleston.

Goal #19: Reach out to photographers in Charleston.  I keep trying to make connections with photographers I admire in the area and attend industry events as my schedule allows.  Most photographers have been responsive + open to meeting with me.  Some have completely ignored my emails but that’s okay.  You can’t win them all, right?

Goal #20: Experiment with film photography.  I bought a Holga film camera a while back but ended up returning it because I knew I didn’t have the money or time to start getting into film photography quite yet.  It’s definitely a goal though, so maybe later this year or early next?

So there you have it.  A complete recap of every goal and where I am with them.  We’ll see what the next 3 months hold for me + my businesses.  It’s so fun to look back and see how far you’ve come, so I’m glad I’ve kept up with there quarterly recaps.  Thanks for joining me on this journey and for all of your support along the way.  I am deeply appreciative of every fan who comments, leaves Facebook love, and cheers me on.  It honestly keeps me going.  Thank you!