• Abigail Saalfrank

2018: A Year In Review

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

2018 is basically over and I honestly can not believe it.

2018 has been one of the most challenging and craziest years of my life. I photographed 19 weddings, and 90 other sessions that included families, couples, babies, dogs, and everything in between. I managed to do over 100 sessions while managing the other crazies in my life that include coaching cheerleading, subbing every once and awhile and joining a non-profit as a speaker. Between all of that I managed to spend a good majority of my summer working from the lake, booked my literal dream wedding, and started preparing for my first destination wedding next year! I also spent a ton of time staring at my laptop, moving out of my childhood home, helping two of my good friends plan their upcoming weddings, and spent so many hours pouring as much into furthering my photography education as I could. I also managed to graduate college this spring in the middle of it all. But it has all been worth it and I would not change a single thing. I seriously love my insanely crazy life, it's nothing less then exactly what I would want it to be. To celebrate this year, just like last year I am going to be taking down the whole year into 26 key highlights with the ABC's. I will be sharing both business and personal high lights, because you guys always seem to love when I share about my personal life. So here we go!!

A: All New- This year was filled with a ton of new things, some that were quite scary and some that were just freaking fantastic. This year I graduated, meaning Im no longer a college student, so I definitely spent a good part of 2018 trying to convince myself why you can't go to college forever even if you love it. We moved to a new house, which you read about above. I got a brand new office space, and all new furniture for my new room, basically taking me from college student to super cool adult with my fabulous velvet bed. I was offered a new job coaching cheerleading at the school I completed my student teaching at, which I immediately accepted and totally adore every minute of. I found a million new restaurants, hello Salsa Grill, and tried a million other new things I could talk about but aren't super significant.

B: Busy- This year was absolutely nuts. Truly. I spent January through April in student teaching, and spent a good majority of it sick because kids love to share their illnesses. We moved in May which felt like it took place until June because I was so slow with finding just the right place to put everything, plus my bed that I ordered in February didn't end up coming until July, so my room was far from complete for forever. I spent a good majority of July at our lake, falling into the insane busyness of fall, and that went right into winter. I also started coaching in May so I spent 3-5 days a week with my girls. So during the crazy of my life, I did over 100 shoots, 19 of those were weddings. So this year was a little bit crazy to say the least. But I am so thankful for the busyness my business brings to my life. C: Cheerleading- This year I took the position of Head Coach at the high school I completed my student teaching about. I joked about wanting to coach at a game, because I always thought it would be fun, and then in May they were offering me the head coaching position. Crazy right? 22 year old me running a cheerleading program. It was definitely overwhelming at first, and let me tell you I LEARNED SO MUCH. Next year will be handled totally different, and things will run way differently but as I was told your first year of coaching is always one where you just learn a lot, then you come back next year swinging. I have 26 girls and 1 guy, who I absolutely adore and love spending all my time with. Seriously we are cheering 3-4 basketball games a week, I spend a lot of time with these kids. But they have taught me so much more then I think I could ever teach them and I have made some serious bonds. These girls, and one guy, have let me into their lives and seriously we just spent a lot of time celebrating because I love watching them totally kick butt. I could not imagine a better group to have started off my coaching career with, and will cry when it all comes to an end. D: Destination Wedding/Dream Wedding- This year I booked my first destination wedding and my dream wedding in Charlevoix, Michigan! It is at a venue that I actually grew up seeing with my grandfather and have dreamed of shooting a wedding there since I started my business. It also happens to be the wedding of one of the sweetest couples ever, who I absolutely adore so I am freaking excited, and counting down the days! E: Expansion- I mean this year was absolutely incredible because the business grew nearly 2x. That is right. This year I literally doubled my business from last year. So much work goes into my business and it is my baby, so I could not be any more proud of the growth it experienced this year. I can not wait to see what 2019 brings for my business and seeing all the changes I made come into play.

F: Friends- This year was the year that I shot 5 weddings of friends of mine, and let me tell you there is no bigger honor. I shot two weddings of people I went to high school with, one where I went to high school and college with the bride, the wedding of my childhood best friend, and a wedding with a groom I went to college with and a bride I went to high school with. I can not believe I had the privilege to capture their big days. Seriously though it was an emotional year because of this. I have cried way more at weddings this year then ever before. I will be continuing this as I shoot the wedding of one of my very best friends next fall. G: Graduation- I finally received my degree this year after four years of work! I even use it every once and awhile and substitute teach. I may not use my degree fully as I did not take a full time teaching job, but I am still stinking proud of that degree and so thankful I was able to achieve it. So thankful that this was the year that I graduated college! H: Help- This is a weird one but I have so many people who helped me out this year in my business! I am raving about my second shooter for S, so we will pass him for now. First being my other second shooters. Simon worked another job this summer and occasionally couldn't make a wedding, so I had several other second shooters in and out this year. I had the pleasure of shooting with my dad this year, the very man that is the reason I got into photography, literally. He has always pushed me in my business and promoted me to no end, so it was such a pleasure to bring him to a wedding to shoot with me! I also had the pleasure of one of my best friends, Taylor shooting with me as well! Next I have to thank my parents for their endless promotion of me and always sharing everything I do. They make my dream a reality by supporting me and always answering questions when I have them because like me they also own a business! I: IPFW- I managed to graduate this year so of course I had to give a little shout out to my college. I was also part of the last class to graduate from IPFW as it became PFW this fall, so I feel pretty cool to be an alumni of a school that totally doesn't exist anymore. lol.

J: Joy- For J I wanted to do joy again because I have truly experienced so much joy this year, and so much of it revolves around my job. I am so insanely thankful for my amazing clients who make my dream job a reality and allow me to have a job that I love. I am truly blessed to have a job that brings me so much joy. K: Keepsakes- This year I started offering Albums and I am soooooo glad I did. Having something my couples can hold on to and show their kids and their grandkids some day is the reason I did it. Plus I love love love love seeing my clients photos printed in the gorgeous albums I offer. L: Lessons- This year L is lessons again but for a different reason. I graduated in May with my teaching degree, and decided to get on a sub list for a few elementary schools near by. So basically I spent the first 16 weeks of the year making and teaching lessons, then shifted it into coaching by teaching them lots of lessons both cheer related and personal life lessons, and teaching lessons subbing. So this year L is all about those lessons I am over here teaching. M: Moving- This May we moved out of my childhood home, and on to our new big adventure, and by we I mean my family! Moving out of my childhood home was so bitter sweet, as I spent from 10-22 in that home. That home saw my first boyfriend, my first car, my first days as a business owner, and literally a million other firsts that would take way too long to lost. Moving was insane and by the end of the day everyone had shed some tears, mine was because I was so overwhelmed by the fact my new room was covered in boxes, and I had 0 idea where everything was going to go. But it all came together, after 3 months because my new bed was never coming, but well worth it. I have a dedicated office space, that literally is so dreamy to me, and a giant velvet bed. So moving was basically one of the best things that happened this year even though it totally overwhelmed me. I also decided I am never moving again so you will never have M be moving again. N: Nominated- This year I was nominated for Twenty on the Rise, and oh my goodness it was such an honor to be nominated! I did not win, but even to be considered was a total blessing. O: Office Space- This year we moved and I have a dedicated office space! WOO WOO! Seriously I bought the biggest cutest desk ever so I actually have space for myself and my bowl of snacks between my laptop, desktop, filer, and planner, and I put a bookshelf in the space too for that extra storage I was needing. Now I no longer have to get up and walk to another room to get something I need, it is all within 5 inches of me, and it is decorated perfectly. But I am bias. P: People- My little extravert self loves my job because I get to talk to soooo many people and about weddings which is kinda my jam. Seriously my brides always get so excited about their wedding and apologize for going on and I am like GIRL GIMME MORE. Literally I could talk about weddings all day, which is why my job rocks. I also get to meet so many amazing couples because of my jobs and hear so many amazing stories which I love!

Q: Quick- I know Q was quick last year, but seriously could 2018 have gone by any quicker? Feel like just yesterday I was booking 2018 weddings and now they are all over. R: Reading- If you know me personally you know I love reading, like totally love it. Total book worm, could spend all day in a big chair with a blanket and a pile of books, seriously this happens at least once a month. This year I read some amazing books, so I totally wanted to highlight that part of my year. My 2018 goal was to read 100 books, but after being insanely busy May-October I fell short. But I am going to try again next year. You literally have to read 2 books a week which can get a little hard during the busy season, but maybe I will just go nuts this winter and read a good chunk of that hundred then. S: Simon- While my clients only have one interaction with my second shooter, Simon, on their wedding day, he is such a key part of my business, which is why I am insanely thankful that I have been working with Simon for nearly every wedding for over a year now! Simon is literally the second half of the business when it comes to documenting wedding days. Simon makes my job easier, but also makes my clients so insanely happy as well. Not only do they get more images because I have an amazing second shooter, they also just all around love Simon, usually as much as I do! I am seriously so thankful for Simon, and can not wait for him to be a part of the 2019 wedding season! Don't know what I would do without him! T: Travel- Oh my goodness did I travel a ton this year! This year I had the pleasure of shooting all over the midwest and driving nearly 5,000 more miles for my business this year then last! But I have a feeling it will be even more next year as I am shooting my first destination wedding, with two more in the works. But I love my job even more when I get to travel so bring it on!

U: Unexpected- This year was a lot of unexpected events, but the biggest one was that my sister told me I was going to be an Aunt! Literally the best title I could be given! So if anyone needs me I will be counting down until July when I can snuggle that little bundle of happiness, and spoil them to no end. V: Velvet- A few of you know I have a very fuzzy golden retriever named Velvet who I adore, and this year she celebrated 7 years with us and her 7th birthday. Literally the worlds greatest dog, so obviously she was one of the highlights of my year, mainly because working from home means I get an endless amount of Velvet cuddles on the regular and spend most of my days with her sunshiney face. W: tWenty- Totally cheating with W and X and that is fine, but I wanted to do Twenty and Experts but already used the E and T. I shot 20 weddings this year, which means the year was absolutely nuts, especially with 2 double header weekends. Let me tell you double header weekends will kill you, but they were so worth it and so was the chaos from shooting twenty weddings! I was aiming for 15 this year, and totally blew it out of the water which was fine by me, and will continue next year as I already have 15 booked and planning on taking more. So bring it on. X: eXperts- This year I had the pleasure of learning from some amazing photographers, seriously the best of the best through one on one mentorships and online courses! Working one on one with Michelle Harris was definitely a highlight of my year because I adore that girl. Taking another course from Katelyn James was such a great investment for my business, and continuing to work through my International Academy of Wedding Photographers Program helped me continue to grow my business as I learned from some of the best photographers in the industry. Y: Yum- Once again Y this year is yum because I discovered so many new restaurants like Salsa Grill (if you live in Fort Wayne you probably understand my addiction), and a ton of cute little hidden gems that you can get the best food from that I refuse to share with the world because are those places really that great when everyone knows about them? Nope! Z: Zonked- I can not tell you how busy my year was, well I can, but I don't know if you would actually understand it fully because my busy could be different then yours. Either way I found myself totally exhausted a lot this year due to over scheduling and the fact that I took time off for moving and vacations, hence a lot of naps took place! But if you know me, you know I am the queen of naps so I am not complaining one bit!

A huge thank you to everyone who made this year possible. I will always thank my parents first and far most. They pushed me to take my business full time after I graduated and I am so thankful I did. Being full time has brought so much joy to me, and allowed me to spend so much quality time with my mom because I get to work from home and set my own schedule! They also spent a whole lot of time investing in me and helping me continue to grow my business through their ample referrals, literally my dad tells everyone about me, and their help with actually running a business ( I come from a family of business owners). I also want to thank my sister for being supportive always and referring everyone she can my direction. A huge thanks to my second shooter Simon for totally kicking ass this year, and for being such a huge part of my business. My back up second shooters who had to make a few appearances, but I am so grateful for each and every one of you being ready to go when needed.Last but not least my clients who literally make this dream a possibility and trust me to capture the biggest moments in their life. I literally love each and every one of you. You choosing me to capture your moments allows me to live my dream, and have one amazing life.


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