Looking ahead at 2019!

Hi all!

I know I’ve been pretty quiet for the last few months, but I wanted to share a little recap of 2018 and add a little more color into how I’ve gotten here.

As an individual, I’m the hardest on myself. I forget to celebrate my accomplishments and how far I’ve come as a person. I almost feel guilty for celebrating it. As a naturally self-critical individual, I sometimes imagine criticism that isn’t even there. Through this introspection, I’ve learned that I’m my biggest blocker. This is how it usually goes for me: I set goals, but I scare myself with how big they are so I readjust them to a more comfortable size that I think I can manage. I’ve done it with my tech career, personal life, and especially with photography. Photography was always a passion of mine. I remember very distinctly wanting to go to college for photography when I was a young teenager. I had been using an old SLR for years, and I just *knew* this was my dream career. Instead, I went into the business world. Photography was still a dream but not one I thought I’d make a reality. I didn’t even realize I’d be able to combine my love for camping and the outdoors with photography. I’m a vanlifer at heart, but as an adult in my early 30’s, I figured I needed to stick with tech as it’s more “stable.”

Now that you have that background, let me get back to the goal thing. You know how I said would not set high enough goals out of fear? Well, in 2018 I did what I always do. I initially set my goal to shoot four weddings in 2018 so that I could “ease” into this wedding world. I didn’t think I’d be where I am now back in January, even though Hipcamp featured me as one of their favorite adventure wedding photographers. I’m still shocked about that one. I mean, that’s EXACTLY my dream job, and my name was among my legitimate idols like Benj Haisch and Maddie Mae. How?! Somehow I forgot about this article until I searched for something unrelated in a destination wedding photographer group I’m in … and then, there it was, a reminder that I am doing this and others recognized it before I allowed myself to believe it was genuinely possible.

Oh, yeah, so that goal I set of four weddings? Well, in 2018 I had the opportunity to photograph over 15 weddings/elopements (all while working FT), and I’ve also started booking for 2019! The only downside of my chaotic year is that I haven’t updated my site, haven’t shared much of my work, and I (kind of) sucked at life in many ways. I promise I’ll be better. In 2018 I photographed weddings near Mendocino (coastal Northern California elopement anyone?), Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento area, Big Sur, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, near Yosemite, and all over Napa Valley. Next year I’ll be shooting my first out of state (near Denver, Colorado) and I hope to add more in places I’ve already been (Iceland, Maui, Ireland) and maybe some places I haven’t (Scotland, Spain, Morocco?). Why not? I love that I get to do this and I LOVE that my dream of becoming a destination elopement and wedding photographer is within reach. I have some big goals that I’m not going to alter this time.

All of this leads me to my next chapter; the chapter where I get to go after this and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In early 2019, I’ll be relaunching my brand as an adventure elopement photographer who also dabbles in intimate weddings. I’ll be sharing a new site, some of my best work, and a new vision. If you’re reading this, I want to thank you for supporting me. I wouldn’t have stuck this out through the stress of early 2018 without your encouragement.

I do this because I love this. I love adventure, travel, new friends, and building relationships. I’d love to have the opportunity to photograph your elopement, wedding, engagement, proposal, or couples session! Reach out to me and let’s plan an adventure! If you are reading this before 2019, I’m running a special to get a few more sessions on the books. Any 2019 wedding or elopement booked by December 15th will receive a $300 discount or $200 discount if booked by December 31st. I’m still working at my (awesome) job in SF, so dates are somewhat limited. Know someone who recently got engaged? Booked referrals receive a $50 discount on a couples session and a bonus print credit.

Thank you again for your friendship, love, and support when I doubted myself. 2018 has been wildly amazing and has given me more than I thought possible in so many areas of my life.

With love,

Melissa Joy