Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
Happy Turkey Day everyone! Like most of you, Sarah and I will soon be settling in for a nice long afternoon of quality time with family and lots of great food! But this morning, we wanted to take a moment to remember that Thanksgiving is about more than parade floats and stuffing and football. It’s also a great opportunity for us to reflect and look back on the year so far, and practice gratitude for all that God has given us.
And not only does the Bible tell us to give thanks in all circumstances, but studies have shown that gratefulness can improve everything from physical health and sleep quality to mental health resilience and self-esteem. So we try to practice thankfulness often, but today we get a chance to list just three things that we’re especially thankful for over the course of this last year!
Throughout the last year, our friends and family have been our greatest asset as I’ve transitioned into photography full-time. And throughout the year, we’ve found that our friends and family are our biggest advocates and supporters. Although it may seem a small thing to them, when we run into a college buddy or are chatting with someone at Church and they mention that they keep up with our blog or love the photos we put on social media, it means more to us than they can imagine.
Blogging two or three days a week is important, but can sometimes feel like a fruitless task – like we’re pouring out our thoughts and feelings to the empty internet and getting nothing but crickets in return. But when people we know from everyday life encourage us in our business, it gives us a little boost of joy to keep loving and serving our couples and our clients as well as we possibly can.
The people who have supported us the most throughout the last year has been our Community Group – our small group Bible Study through our church here in Charlottesville. These other 20- and 30-somethings have been our greatest support in 2018, and were an integral part of encouraging me to go full-time this Spring. Without their weekly encouragement to Sarah and I – both in our business and especially personally – we know that our 2018 wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it has been!
As a married couple with no kids, our home is our own personal sanctuary. We’ve affectionately named it Shell Cottage after our love for the ocean (and a reference to the sea-side shack in the 7th Harry Potter book), and it’s as homey as can be. The apartment is actually a retrofitted two-car garage, and comes in at a whopping 365 square feet. Although many of our friends and family call us crazy (and we think we might technically live in a tiny house), living in Shell Cottage has taught us a lot about simplicity and efficiency – only holding onto the things we really need, and not buying things we don’t. It’s also has been great for our marriage, as our only option is to spend time together when we’re home – something we still haven’t gotten tired of!
Another advantage of living at Shell cottage is that we pay less than half of what many of our friends pay in Charlottesville. At our current stage in life – no kids and a job that gets us out of the house every day – we don’t need anything more than the essentials. There’s even enough room for a desk that we run our business from! We’re following the Dave Ramsey principals and living well beneath our means so that we can aggressively pay off student debt, effectively save for the future of our family, and generously give to our church and to ministries and causes that have special places in our hearts (Read more about our personal finance story here)!
This Christmas Eve, Sarah and I will have been married for exactly a year-and-a-half. The time has absolutely flown by — yet at the same time it feels like we’ve been married for as long as I can remember. Marriage has had its difficult moments, but has largely been the greatest joy of my life thus far. Of course, there have been moments where we’ve struggled to balance the business we run together and the marriage that is before and beyond our business. But largely, running a business together has just been another adventure for us to embark on as we simultaneously adventure through everyday life together.
In fact, I’m especially thankful for those everyday moments. The last year has felt like a year of foundation-building, which has happened largely through the day-in and day-out decisions we make. There haven’t been any travels to tropical beaches or adventurous trips to Europe (but we did take one the following year – to Lake Como, Italy!). We haven’t purchased our first house or had our first baby. In fact, this year has been largely characterized by quality time at home, eating home-cooked meals together at our kitchen table, and dreaming of the future. We know that if we live humbly now as we establish the beginning of our business and our marriage and our family, we’re building a strong foundation for our future!
Thanks for reading and once again, Happy Thanksgiving!
Hunter + Sarah
Check out what we were thankful for in 2019, here!