Photographer’s Year in Review

North Florida Photographer


Close up photo of senior girl with unique eyes. Shelly Williams Photography

I think it’s important for us to reflect on our year, what went well, what didn’t go well, and how to improve for next year. I’m slightly obsessed with growth. I love to achieve things, especially when people tell me I can’t. I love to learn, I’m a firm believer that complacency is the precedent to failure. I love seeing improvement, especially in my photos. This year a few things have contributed to my growth/success, so I’m going to share them with you here!

1. Attending a workshop and conference

Since this has been my first year full time, I really wanted to focus on growing myself and my business. I attended a conference in April called Shutterfest. I was amazed at the turn-out, as well as how much I learned from this single event. I went with another local photographer, Kristen White and not only did we learn a TON, but we also had the BEST time. I learned about everything from techniques while taking photos, marketing, business tactics, and was able to see a huge trade show in person to find exactly what products I wanted to offer my clients. After we left Shutterfest, Kristen and I immediately signed up for 2019 Shutterfest and we can’t wait! I was also so pumped to learn that I signed up for a workshop in August. In August I drove down to Fort Meyers and spend a (long) day at a workshop. We did classroom work, then participates in a few gorgeous styled sessions. For 2019, I hope to attend a longer workshop so I can gain even more from it.

Black and white dramatic bridal portrait in north florida. Shelly Williams Photography

2. Studied light

Before this year I didn’t have much time to invest into photography since I was also going to school. This year I really wanted to create my own style, but in order to do that I needed to know what kind of light made my style. This is an ongoing study, but with every session I’m learning a little more. I make it a point to really evaluate my location when taking photos. I need to know where the sun is, what the background looks like, the colors surrounding my model, and so much more if I want to create a portrait that represents my brand well. I want to create a brand that is so recognizable that you can easily say “Shelly took that photo” while scrolling through your feed.

Tallahassee professional photographer specializing in weddings and high school seniors. Shelly Williams Photography

3. Found my passion

This year was an important year for me, it was a test run. I needed to see what I liked, what I actually enjoyed doing, so that I could continue this career full-time without getting burnt out. I love my clients and I love photography, there’s something about it that just draws me in and makes me happy, I don’t want to lose that by doing something that I don’t enjoy. After every session (yes, every one) on the car ride home I think about the session in itself. Did I enjoy it, was it fun, did I get good photos? At the end of this year, my favorite thing to photograph by far is horse and riders, and high school seniors. Horse and riders make me feel at home. Horses fuel my passion, so it’s easy for me to photograph them. It doesn’t feel like work to me and they always say “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,”. Seniors are just fun, they’re always so different and they’re so full of life and energetic that it’s hard not to have a good time with them. I do enjoy engagements and weddings, but I have found that I do not like taking every Saturday of my year out for weddings. I don’t have a desire to be a full-time wedding photographer, so I’ve decided to limit my weddings for 2019.

Bride and groom photo by professional photographer in north florida. Shelly Williams Photography

4. Gave myself time off

I’m a work-a-holic and all of my friends and family will tell you that. I will work all day and all night, I enjoy it. I like feeling like I’m making progress, I have big dreams and I want to reach them… preferably sooner rather than later. However, I have found that I work too hard and my personal life takes a toll because of it. I worked away all of my college years, and the beginning of this year. Once I realized the toll it was taking, I decided to put an end to it and my personal and business life have prospered because of it. You don’t have to work 7 days a week to have a good business! I have made it a point to spend the evenings doing something other than work, whether that be drawing or reading a book, or just watching TV. I make it a point to ride my horse at minimum 3 days a week, preferably 4-5 days. My horse is in the best shape that she’s been in and we’ve improved more in the past 6 months than we did in the past 2 years. Finally, I’ve taken vacations. I love to travel and see new places, so I’ve made it a point to do so. I’ve gone on a couple vacations this year, even if it was just a weekend vacation. I’ve come back every time rejuvenated to jump back into work.

Florida equestrian portraits taken in the panhandle.

These are just a few things that I’ve done to try and make 2018 great. It’s been a good year, I’ve made a lot of improvements, but I’m convinced that 2019 will be even better. I hope to use the things listed here to continue to aid in my growth in 2019, and to also add new things to this list. Cheers to the New Year!



2018 in Retrospect