2017 has been one of most humbling journeys so far! The Lord blessed us in ways we couldn't imagine. We set out with large goals, chased them with everything we had, & in the moments that we felt like we couldn't breathe (believe us, there were quite a few) we leaned into the Lord's grace. This year we learned A TON, but here are the 3 big BIG takeaways from our 2017:
In January, we had lots of time on our hands. Well, at least it felt like it! January is the season for us that is usually the slowest & so we asked ourselves - "What do we really need to practice?" Over & over again, we felt like we were put into tricky light situations on wedding days. While we were happy with our overall product, we knew we could do better. Enter in our lighting course with Justin & Mary.
This course is not for the fainthearted. For both on & off camera flash, we spent our evening hours practicing & learning from our mistakes. It was just in time too! Our first wedding of 2017 landed us in a tricky lighting situation with our bride & groom; but WALLAH! We whipped out our off camera flash (OCF) system & took one of our favorite photos of the whole year!
If you are a photographer & want to learn more about OCF & lighting in general, we highly suggest Justin & Mary's course. You can find all of their information here!
2. Growing a Team:
In March, we wrote about balancing marriage & business. In that post we mentioned that one of the greatest ways we have been able to make our business work while being married is by "Outsourcing". Enter in our 2nd greatest lesson of 2017. Not only did outsourcing save us & keep us sane, it was the beginning of our amazing team & our company has flourished!
This team - oh friends - keeps us human by doing amazing work behind the scenes. Seriously! Suddenly, we had somewhat normal office hours (still working on that part!) & could spend our off days with our community & going on hikes. It's easy to think that you should do it all when you own your business. But the truth is, you can't! It's simply impossible to do everything & do it well.
We had two major hires this year. Our first was our financial adviser, Alex! He is our eyes when we can't see straight. He has given us not only valuable information for our company but he has stopped us when we were about to make stupid & rash decisions. WHEW! Not an easy job. Alex has served us faithfully for a whole year & we are SO pumped about him continuing with us in 2018!
Our second hire is our photo editor, Rachael. Oh friends! She is the one who not only saves us, but gives us BACK time to spend with clients, write blogs, or do all the personal things for our company that take so much TIME! She is extremely talented & has helped us in our busiest seasons make deadlines & even get projects out the door ahead of schedule. Over & over again, we have said at the dinner table, "We would be eating dinner in our office right now if Rachael hadn't stepped on our team!" Rachael has been with us for almost a year & again, she has served us so faithfully! She will also continue on with us in 2018. *Jazz hands!*
Soon & very soon... We are adding on another team member in January - our intern Melissa. She is already a lifesaver & came with us to our last 2017 wedding in December. She was "JP's legs" & allowed for us to have a normal photography day without feeling too stretched. After all, JP was 36 weeks pregnant & needed all the help she could get! ;) Melissa saw gaps, took initiative, & was an overall beautiful addition to our team. We are so excited to have her with us in 2018 so we can grow our business & our family at the same time!
Our word for 2017. And, goodness, we didn't take it lightly. This word kept coming to us a year ago as we planned 2017 and so we wrote down our thoughts on it early on. Surrender hasn't been easy or perfect, but in all honesty, it has been the BEST journey to take together as a family & business. Not only did the Lord bless us as we surrendered, but we finally felt the weight be lifted to do all & be all.
First, trying to control everything is not a healthy way to live & second, it's not how the Lord wants us to live. Once we surrendered, we asked the Lord to stand in the gap for us. Then we could be free to live how He has asked us to - with hands open & walking by faith! Surrendering & giving up our white knuckled grasp on our business & family is truly the greatest & lesson He gave us this year.
Now we find ourselves at the end of 2017, humbly asking the Lord to once again bless our business & family in 2018. We couldn't be more thankful for our friends & family who have cheered & supported us this year & all the years previous. We sure do love you & can't wait to serve you all even more in 2018!
Love, The Rainsfords