2023 Word of the Year: Rebirth
January is always a great time to set goals. Not only is it the beginning of a new year, but it’s also the month that Amanda Wose Photography celebrates its business anniversary, making it the perfect moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and dreams for the future. This January marks six years in business! With that in mind, I’m sharing some of my biggest professional and personal goals as a means of accountability and to look back on next January.
I’m a huge believer in the power of manifestation and putting what you want out into the world, in addition to doing the actual work of course. After all, you never know who might be paying attention and can help you reach your goals! I still remember back in 2017 when I boldly posted on social media that I was ready to book my first wedding. Hours later, I had a message in my inbox from the sister of an old friend who’d seen my post. The friend had vouched for me, and just like that, her sister became my very first wedding client!
It’s incredible to see how far this business has come in six years, and I know that speaking these goals out into the open will absolutely help them come to fruition.
I chose rebirth as my word of the year for 2023 because it so perfectly encapsulates the phase of life we’re in right now. Having literally just given birth a few months ago and undergoing some scary medical issues in 2022, all while juggling a busy client workload and household was no small feat. While 2022 was a year of treading water and simply making it through, in 2023 it’s time to flourish! I’m so excited to reimagine every area of our lives and business as we adjust to life as a family of five.
One of my largest goals for this year is to shift more focus to my portrait work and serve those clients better than ever before. The biggest way I’m doing this is by becoming a full service portrait studio! As of a few weeks ago, I am no longer simply throwing my clients a link to a digital gallery and leaving them to do the hard work of printing their photographs.
Candidly, this business model worked well for years because my time was spread so thin, but now that I’m full time and my health issues are behind me, it’s time to give my clients the experience they deserve. A gallery of files almost always ends up forgotten on a hard drive, and these images need to be up on your walls where you and your family can enjoy them daily. We have used a full service photography studio (hello, Costola Photography is incredible) for our own family portraits for years, and the experience is phenomenal. Our girls love the tangible heirlooms we receive from her such as albums and framed artwork, and I want my clients to have that experience too!
I also want to do more destination portrait work and lean into a personal, editorial approach. I have a portrait session in Las Vegas this spring, and I’d love to work in NYC, Charleston, Aspen, and many other locations. I want to work more in my clients homes, on their boats, at their college alma maters, and come along to their favorite vacation destinations. Let’s create portraits that are totally unique to you!
As for the editorial goal, to me this means focusing more intently on details and connection between family members. Every portrait location, motivation, wardrobe piece, etc. should be carefully planned with intention to reflect the personalities and style of my clients. Less showing up to a random park and smiling at a camera, more imagery that captures your true selves.
I’ve got big plans for my wedding clients, too! In the spirit of becoming a full service studio, all wedding clients will also receive a tangible album as a final deliverable within their collection. In order for these images to truly preserve our legacy, it’s crucial that we get them off of our computers and into albums and frames.
We’re also going to become much more intentional with our wedding clients, collaborating with them and their creative team long before the wedding day to ensure a stress-free, cohesive event. I accepted 19 weddings in 2022 and while it was manageable, I’m going to be more selective and intentional about my bookings moving forward. I am limiting my calendar to a max of 15 total weddings in 2023, and no more than 3 per month so that I always have a weekend off. Our family is growing and so much life happens on the weekends, and I don’t want to miss entire seasons with them like I have in the past. With that in mind, I can accept just three more weddings for 2023 so I highly recommend reaching out soon if you’re hoping to work together this year.
Limiting the quantity of weddings I accept will allow me to produce an even higher quality product for my clients and their creative teams. I’m going to intentionally cultivate my relationships with like-minded vendors in the DMV area, the ones who are ready to go above and beyond for our couples and offer an unparalleled client experience. I’ve got my sights on booking a wedding at Pippin Hill, and I’ve already booked a wedding at one of my other bucket list venues, the Hay-Adams in DC, this fall.
Speaking of intention, I want to reimagine my approach to photographing wedding details – particularly flat lays. My couples are choosing to work with some incredibly talented stationers, putting careful thought and detail into their paper suites, and they deserve so much more time and attention than I can often give them on a typical wedding day. I’d love for more of my couples to begin mailing me copies of their paper suites in advance, allowing me to create mockup layouts before the wedding day and make even better use of our time.
Much like my portrait goals, I want to elevate the engagement experience for my couples, too. I want to see more of my couples booking destination engagement sessions, taking some time together to escape the stress of wedding planning and creating gorgeous portraits in their favorite vacation locales. If we’re staying in the local area, there are still ways to personalize the experience here as well. I’m dying to photograph an engagement session on a sailboat in Annapolis, or in an iconic location like the Peabody Library in Baltimore for the couple that loves to read.
I’ve also got some goals that aren’t directly related to my clients, but rather represent long term and personal growth projects I want to pursue. In the business, I’d love to finally achieve a feature in a major publication this year. Weddings that I’ve shot for other photographers have been published in Martha Stewart, Style Me Pretty, and other national publications, and I want to be able to claim those accolades for myself, too! In the past I haven’t put much effort into the publication process, but I want to dive into that this year. Additionally, I’m dreaming of a gear upgrade in 2023 for the first time in years. I’m not planning to start shooting film again, but I am going to purchase the GFX and Contax 80mm, a medium format digital camera that most closely emulates the aesthetic without the hassle of actual film.
Since I’ve got a baby at home I’m not planning any international trips for 2023, but I am ready to lay the groundwork for a European excursion in 2024. I’d love to book a destination wedding in Lake Como or Positano for 2024, or at least plan to attend a retreat in that region. I was fortunate to visit Paris and the UK last summer, and I can’t wait to travel back to Europe again soon!
Scaling back my client work should give me more time to pursue other ventures, notably, mentoring up and coming photographers. I have so much knowledge to share, especially for fellow photographers that are juggling growing a business with growing a family. I want to do more mentoring and perhaps even create a course that helps other photographers reach their goals, too.
Adam and I have been thinking more about the future lately. Not just making 1-year, 3-year, or 5-year plans, but dreaming up what our lives will look like 20 years from now. I’m not ready to announce our long term plans just yet, but let’s just say we don’t plan to leave the wedding industry anytime soon! We’re starting a long term investment account to begin laying the groundwork for future opportunities, and I can’t wait to see those savings pay off.
On a personal note, I’m looking forward to getting back into the gym again and resuming my previous workout routines. I used to lift twice a week with my trainer, Rachel, and walked at least 10,000 steps a day. I’m just now cleared to begin working out again and hope to be back to my previous PRs (175lb squat, 200lb deadlift, 100lb bench) or even exceed them by the end of 2023.