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!
Although Hunter and I aren’t great at this, there have been many sweet, sweet moments this year when we’ve been able to slow down, step away from our work lives, put down our cameras and our inboxes, and spend quality time with each other, or with family. Earlier this year we wrote a message to other photographers and self-employed professionals, reminding them (and ourselves) that constant, 24/7 hustle was not a long-term recipe for business growth, but for burn-out.
After shooting nine weddings and a dozen portrait sessions in less than two months, our Fall season left us feeling a bit drained. Add in Hunter’s impromptu trip to Mexico with our mentor photographer, Eric Kelley, and we were ready to drop by mid-November. That’s why we’re trying to take this Thanksgiving holiday seriously, not working AT ALL (except to post this blog that we wrote earlier this week) Wednesday through Saturday, and just enjoy some restful time with family. That way, when we pick up our cameras again on Sunday for what is turning out to be a December full of engagement sessions and even a Christmas wedding, we’re our best selves for our couples! Speaking of our couples…
It may sound cliché, but getting to know so many couples during the season of engagement is one of the greatest joys of our job. When our couples are sitting across the table (or video chat) from us and sharing their love story, we see no shortage of twinkles in their eyes. And then we get to spend a quiet afternoon or evening with them helping them express their love through their engagement session. Then, of course, we get to spend the happiest day of their lives with them!
For some couples, it even goes beyond that. This year we’ve had the pleasure of getting dinner or sharing a drink with some of our couples after their engagement session (I guess we just couldn’t get enough of each other, even after a 90+ minute session)! But for all of our couples, we get to step into a joyful season of their lives, amplify the joy, then send them off on the adventure of marriage, together, and hopefully stronger for having met us.
Okay, we’re sorta-kinda cheating since we’re reusing this from last year’s Thanksgiving Thankful Blog, but we don’t care because our Community Group through our church here in C’ville, Portico Church, has meant so much to us this past year. We’ve had a year of celebrating several home purchases, three engagements, four marriages, and two new baby girls. We’ve welcomed new members, and said difficult goodbyes as others left Charlottesville. We’ve also talked about hard things, and helped each other through challenging times.
Not only have the members of our Community Group been huge supporters and advocates of our business (and we even got to shoot Julia and Aaron’s wedding, who were in our CG before moving to Minneapolis), but they’ve been good friends. We’ve eaten countless dinners with the group, carved pumpkins together (shout-out to Hunter’s ridiculous pumpkin — “It’s minimalist.” he swore), taken a weekend retreat together to goal-set and dream of the future, and gotten to know each other’s lives, relationships and faith. This Jesus-centered community is by far the most important part of our life together in Charlottesville, and we couldn’t be more thankful for them and our greater Portico community.
Thanks for reading and once again, Happy Thanksgiving!
Sarah + Hunter
Check out what we were thankful for this time last year, here!