Circa early 2000’s, I remember sitting in a college course discussing the sociology of everyone’s favorite topic- themselves and self reflection. In 2005 when I graduated, social media was just starting to gain popularity (OMG I feel old typing that) and picking the right song to play on my MySpace page was a really big deal. People started hopping on social media like it was free coffee day at Starbucks, creating even more of a release on personal information sharing… which over the years I started to shy away from to a greater extent. I never really liked talking about myself- opting more for getting to know others instead. We’re talking to the extent that Jason and I often say “Really? We’re not that interesting?” in light of certain social circumstances.
This past year, I fully admit on clamming up a bit more, especially after the spring when we learned about the very untimely and unexpected loss of a favorite client we’ve had over the years. Her news was highly publicized, with lots of speculation and hurtful comments around her disappearance. We had reporters contacting us for wedding and session photos which became locked down and hidden. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and heartache within her family but it took me back a little from getting more personal as we had in years past, keeping our circle tightly wound and offline. Seeing how people speculate on very little information that someone might share, or blow out of proportion, was disheartening.
Late spring we had another surprise, a planned one, but never the less a very happy moment in learning we were expecting our second (and final) kiddo in February 2017. Although sharing the news would have been spectacular, we kept things under wraps as a personal choice. The only snafu is our network of friends and family is so spread out that sharing our moments online is almost easier.
Have we had experiences in our life that we’d rather not share- of course! Everyone does- but my main goal this year is to step a little outside of my sharing comfort zone. I’m hoping to keep both friends and our client family more in the loop of our day to day that makes us who we are (without being this guy), which I guess makes us somewhat interesting?
I’m all about change. I like change- it brings a fresh new perspective, no matter how scary the forethought might be. Every year, it seems we’re embracing some sort of new change. Last year it was a new office location which is amazing and we LOVE being able to service our business and boudoir clients in a gorgeous new space. This year.. hell, let’s add a new member to the family:)
In about 20 days we’re expecting the arrival of our second kiddo, completing our own little McClain clan family of four. I say kiddo as we have no idea the gender of the babe but did make a friendly bet between the two of us. A damn fine bottle of scotch if it’s the girl Jason thinks it is and a Spa day for Mel if it’s a boy. This pregnancy thankfully has been a bit easier than our first and we’re remaining hopeful the delivery process will be completely different given it’s scheduled. We are counting our blessings though that kiddo’s due date is between events and thankfully won’t affect any wedding clients:)
For the next 20 days I’m staying crazy busy (and REALLY missing my workout time) catching up on our website and social media, plus we’re hitting up one more bridal show this weekend before the delivery. Feel free to creep our Instagram pages for baby updates and a peek in our day to day lives outside of the business (Melissa/ Jason).
About 20 Weeks ❤
Photo Cred: Cyndi Klose of Klose Photography
Last year while still working the day job, I remember calling Jason to sweet talk a mini-trip to St Louis for a free educational seminar hosted by popular photographer Sal Cincotta. I played the wife card and mentioned the words free, vacation, and um.. well free! My methods of wife persuasion were won and we were two of the lucky 500 attendees to the event which sold out within 3 hours of registration being open and the hotel completely booked within 5 hours of the block being available! Bring on April, now full time in the business and halfway through our pregnancy, we were still excited for the event, however the 13 hour car ride to St Louis was starting to become less and less desirable by the time we were halfway through Ohio. The one plus of driving sunup to sundown is seeing a gorgeous Midwestern sunset…and arriving at the hotel for some much needed sleep!
During the conference we took various classes, technical shooting and lighting techniques for Jason which of course he fell in love with the $2000 lighting rigs, and business and marketing classes for myself. The best thing about the conference was learning from so many national pro photographers and business folks, making the choice of what to adapt and further along our business extremely easy and motivational. Outside of the conference, we had some amazing real deep dish style pizza for the first time, walked the barren streets of St Louis (serious Walking Dead flashbacks when Rick first rode his horse into Atlanta pre-zombie attack), walked down to the arch for some fun tourist watching opportunities, and found the coolest collaboration boutique of creative professional wares. Although the time zone change made our 13 hour drive feel like a 15 hour drive on the way home, we were happily greeted by Kooper and Rhiley, our lovable pups that we missed dearly… although the extra bed space for a few nights was nice:)
2014! Six years ago, Jason and I started our small business venture with big dreams and goals, each year chipping away at yet another milestone for ourselves and MMP. I still find it humbling to look back from where we started to where we are now and those continued big dreams and goals we continue to strive for. This past year was filled with such amazing clients that shared in moments of laughter and warmed our hearts with each event. With each of our clients over the years being unique, I still find it a blessing to remember each event (and the couples names which shocks people at bridal shows when we talk about images) and be able to share details with new couples joining the MMP client family.
Also for 2013 we took a leap of faith in a few forms… one being an actual living, breathing office space to make our own and meet with clients rather than trying to fit three sample albums and a laptop on one of those tiny coffee shop tables.. sorry 2009-12.. you know what we’re talking about here:) We’re blessed to have such amazing vendor relationships and friends to help support our business and aspirations!
The other major “breathe-into-a-paper-bag” moment was saying sayonara to my full time day job and working in the business full time. Working for yourself is a dream so many have and also one of my greatest challenges to turn off during a typical work day. In two job territory times I would work the full time job then come home and edit all night or head straight to back to back client meetings or to a photo session then pretty much right to bed around midnight. Its hard to say okay.. 5pm.. quitting time when you’re self employed but I’m learning.. until an email comes in and I’m all over it at 9pm at night:)
For 2014 we’re striving to continue to provide top notch service to our client family, continue to grow and evolve our styles, and develop educational practices for not only our immediate team but for other photographers. We’re hoping to showcase and network with other amazing local wedding vendors to expand our knowledge to assist our clients in booking the absolute best vendor for their needs. Lastly, we’re expanding our own personal education by continuing course work from top national photographers and attending specialized seminars.
In closing, we’re eternally grateful for our clients, vendor friends, and supporters. Without you guys, we wouldn’t be where we are today and where we’re hoping to be tomorrow!