After a busy month of nonstop travel in July, I was looking forward to enjoying several weeks home in Seattle for the month of August. I had found out in late July of my grandmother’s passing and had plans to spend the last week of August in Hawaii for her memorial service. But other than that, I was so wearied from July that I truly wanted to settle at home for a while before taking off again. Little did I know that those 3 weeks were going to be jam packed with work, and that my trip back home would take more of an emotional toll than expected.
Here are the stats for the month.
Photo Shoot Rejections
Hours worked for the month
*38.44 more than July
Photo shoots completed
*6 more than July
*1.6 more than July
What Went Well
While conducting a photo shoot in Las Vegas in July, I got a phone call from a restaurant needing food photos and headshots for a soon-to-be open restaurant. After several noisy conversations when I’m sure too much slot machine music was blasting in the background, I secured the photo job, and spent several days in August photo shooting the menu of a new restaurant. This experience was unlike any other photo shoot I’ve done. Since the interior of the restaurant was under heavy construction, we had to make do with shooting in a commercial industrial kitchen. The results ended up being quite fun and the photos beautiful. I hope to share the photos soon when the restaurant opens next month.
Another huge photo surprise for August was the last minute opportunity that came my way to photograph Taylor Swift during her Seattle performance. It was an incredible evening that proved Taylor Swift is among the best entertainers today, and my job in particular allowed me backstage access as well as photographing more than the standard first two songs. But the funniest part by far was that this offer to shoot came just hours after I had been initially rejected to shoot by the publicist! Music photography in particular is always a gamble in terms of which artists will allow you to photograph them (hence the “6 photo shoot rejections” stat above), but the opportunity to photograph Taylor Swift was a very pleasant surprise.
Gained New Web Design Clients
My small business website design business continues to grow at a pretty steady pace, thanks largely to referrals and in-person meetings. Two of my current clients I met at networking meetings; the other two were from personal recommendations from friends. However, as I was reminded recently, there’s still a huge opportunity to boost my web design portfolio’s SEO so I get more leads through Google searches. Vamping up my web design portfolio’s SEO will be one of my priorities going forward.
Got to Spend Time with My Family
The first part of August ended up being so busy that I was feeling quite settled back into my old routine when suddenly it was time to break it up again. I spent the last week of August in Hawaii with my family to celebrate my grandmother’s life. It felt really good to see members of my family and my past, many of whom I hadn’t seen for years. And most importantly, it was very good to spend more time with my parents and growing nephew.
What Could Be Improved
I have way more to learn about design
Right now, I know quite a bit about web design, or at least enough to have paying clients hire me to create websites for them. While August was a month of gaining new clients, I’ve had to adjust to working with other web designers. The exposure to other professional workflows has been incredibly eye-opening, and it makes me realize that there’s still quite a bit to learn. At the moment, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by it all, but I remind myself that I once felt this way about photography. I thought I’d never be able to wrap my head around it, and now professional photo shoots are way more relaxing than studying and applying design principles. Just keep swimming…
There’s never enough time
My recent trip to Hawaii was the first in a while that weren’t rooted in either pure vacation or work. This trip was about family, and I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it and even longed for part of it to come back. The older I get, the things seem to happen to put life into perspective. Members of my childhood have started passing away, and these losses of life make you start to treasure the memories you have and the people that still remain in your life.
Spending relaxing time at home made me appreciate the place I grew up in, remembering why the downstairs sofa was always my favorite place to curl up in. My mom’s delicious, always plentiful home cooking; my dad’s slightly erratic yet slick and thrilling driving style. All of these things really did make me feel at home again, and grateful for the opportunity to spend time getting to know my parents as a twenty-something adult.
Another absolute joy of going home is seeing my nephew grow. In just five month’s time, my nephew went from pure babble to saying words and short sentences. He’s incredibly friendly, openly considering any stranger he meets his “friend,” lights up with a bright smile when he’s truly excited, and can name every single member in our family by pointing them out in a photo (including referring to himself as “Xylen Patt”). His rapid development in such a short period of time is a stark reminder of how fast things can truly progress.
My younger brother and nephew.
It’s hard to believe September is nearly half over already. These first 12 days of the month have been packed with photo shoots and web design consultations with clients, and tomorrow, a new journey begins. Martin and I will be traveling to his hometown in Bulgaria. It’ll be entering my 25th country, but Bulgaria is largely a mystery to me. I don’t know what to expect at all, but I am very excited.