I have sat down a few times over the past 6 months with the intention of sharing a few more personal aspects of my life. It always overwhelms me. I work myself up to start and then never follow through. I read a recent post by a well known, talented photographer that I follow on social media and it really spoke to me and my goals of sharing more of ME. She said, basically, in a world where we live to share our best work, our highlight reel, we also need to remember to share the hard parts. It’s so true. In a world where the glamorous filter of social media lets you pick and choose what you share, it’s so easy to paint a picture of perfection. And all it does is feed that ugly monster, Comparison, that plagues the photography (and certainly many other creative communities) industry. In my very humble opinion, while we may all strive to create and share all of the pretty, perfect things, it is the ugly, hard, seemingly impossible parts that get us there.
I will never forget 2018. It will always be a year of some of my very best and very worst days. The Best Day Ever, aka my Wedding Day, happened in 2018 and it was 100% my favorite single day to date. But 2018 also brought along some low days. Physically and mentally painful days and a whole lot of tears through some big challenges. Five days after my 30th birthday (another big milestone that 2018 brought) I woke up in the worst physical pain I’ve ever felt. After almost 2 weeks, we were told I had a severely herniated disc and needed immediate surgery to prevent the loss of anymore feeling in my right foot. Whew. Those were two very long weeks and one terrifying conversation with my doctor. The next day, I went in for “minor” outpatient back surgery to repair damage that I can only really contribute to years of not taking good enough care of my back and constantly trying to do more than I should. I was scared. I was 8 weeks out from my fall wedding season which was something I had worked so incredibly hard to build up to and make happen. I couldn’t bare the thought of potentially throwing away everything I had worked for and I was a mess. I was assured that this procedure was minimally invasive but the words “minor” and “back surgery” didn’t leave me feeling very reassured. Thankfully with a lot of prayers, tears and a very capable surgical team, things immediately began improving. And although I struggled behind my smile and crazy wedding day energy, I made it through my very first wedding of Fall, and the remainder of my 2018 season. And man was it amazing!!
But y’all, let’s talk about 2018 on the photography side of things. I wasn’t the only one who got a new name in 2018, so did my photography business. In late February, roughly 45 days before I said “I do”, my humble little business stepped out from Heart of a Lens Photography and became one of the things I’m probably most proud of, Andrea Kelley Photography. That was an exciting day and if you are newer to my journey, you can read all about that transition HERE. The opportunities that have presented themselves and the clients I have been blessed enough to serve in the past year are truly what made 2018 the BEST yet for me! The fact that I get to be present on one of the biggest days of my clients’s lives and give them the most precious thing they will walk away from that day with (besides their new spouse) will never stop amazing me. Giving families their first professional photos in years because they haven’t stopped to make time, warms my heart. I know those will be treasured for a lifetime. And stopping time for a high school senior in one of the most bittersweet, exciting times in their life… it’s a privilege that I will never take for granted. If 2018 taught me one thing, it’s to be patient and grateful for exactly where I am in the journey. Building this business has been so many things. It’s been thrilling, exciting, terrifying, humbling and challenging all at the same time. 2018 was my biggest year of growth yet and 2019 is already looking amazing! I am so incredibly thankful for each of my clients in the following images, they are the reason I do what I do!
So, 2018, thank you. Thank you for making me the wife of the man I couldn’t imagine doing any of this without. Thank you for bringing amazing things to my growing business, sending me precious clients and even for the hard parts. Without those hard parts, I wouldn’t be looking back at the past year with the amount of determination, the grateful heart or the goals that I have for 2019. Let’s do this!
Keep scrolling to enjoy some of the best of 2018 from Andrea Kelley Photography! And thanks for reading my reflection of a year in the life. Much Love, Friends!
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