I can’t even begin to describe how quickly this year has flown by.  Going into business last year was a whirlwind experience in and of itself and that trend continued for the next 365 days.

Three years ago I put together a business plan and after hours and hours of work promptly filed it away as a ‘maybe, one day, someday’ aspiration.  With a Masters degree in counselling I felt it was the best decision for my career and my family that I continue with my work in community mental health.  Because of course everyone has a dream job or career but how many people actually go ahead and pursue what they really want to?  As someone who is risk-averse by nature, entrepreneurship didn’t seem like a path I was likely to take.

Last November I found myself unexpectedly resigning from my job.  A perfect storm of circumstances left me handing in my notice and planning to spend the next several months focusing on my family and deciding what to pursue next.  Working in community mental health allowed me to balance at-home parenthood with a career and I wanted to find another job that would allow me to do both.

Somehow only two weeks after I resigned I found myself with a logo, a website, and my very own photography business.  The business plan was frantically dusted off and with the support of my wonderful family and friends Sara McConnell Photography was born.

A year later I find myself with a fresh new look and ready to start my second year of business

And so from the very bottom of my somewhat tired and “did this really all happen?!?” heart I have to say thank you to everyone who has supported my business during it’s first year.

There are so many things I enjoy about my work; combining my interest in running my own business with an artistic endeavour is a great way to both challenge and express myself.  I have loved getting to know the individuals and families that I have photographed and can’t wait to see many of them again in 2012.  I also greatly appreciate the fact that I am still at home with my children, although I admit my plans for 15 hour work weeks very quickly doubled to nearly full-time hours!

I have had so many amazing opportunities this year to partner with local businesses and have greatly appreciated the support I’ve received from other entrepreneurs.  One of my first business relationships was with Rachel at Blooming Bundles and I hope to work with her again in the New Year.  I’m blessed to have a very good friend who is also a talented social media consultant; thanks to Lara Wellman I’ve been able to connect with f Ottawa families and businesses through Facebook and Twitter and I’m eternally grateful for all her creative ideas.

I’m thankful to Milkface Nursingwear for displaying my breastfeeding photographs, especially the large collection at their Bank Street location.  The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe also put up a collection of breastfeeding photos this spring, which was a wonderful opportunity for my business when it was still relatively unknown.  I’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know Anna Belanger of Anna Belanger and Associates where a collection of my maternity photographs is on display.  I’m hoping to do a lot more with Anna in 2012 so stay tuned!

I have known Tanya from Gymboree Play and Music for four years now so it’s been really nice to collaborate with her over the course of the last year.  I am so grateful that she has the photos I’ve taken of the adorable kids at Gymboree on display and has so kindly offered her space to Brigitte, of Spoiled Sugar, and I for several events.  We still can’t remember who put us in touch with each other but I’m thankful I’ve gotten to know Brigitte this year. It’s just too bad we have more ideas than time because we’ve done a lot of fun promotions together this year!  I’ve also been very lucky to have the support of another mom-run business, Little Lotus Yoga, and it’s owner Amanda DeGrace.  Despite the fact that I technically work alone I feel like there is always someone I can turn to if I have a question or an idea for something fun to do!

My husband has turned into a ‘props sourcer extraordinaire’ (you can thank him for my collection of antiques and other knick knacks) and my five year old has become remarkably good at getting the attention of babies and kids when I need the distraction of someone over my shoulder.  Not surprisingly the antics of my very busy three year old have given me a lot of fun and creative ideas for sessions with young kids!  I’m especially grateful for their support because the nature of my work means I’m often away from my family at least one day on the weekend.  We’ve figured out other ways to balance our time as a family and I can’t complain because I get to spend that time with other wonderful families and the days fly by.

I have a wonderful caregiver Liz who comes to our home twice a week so that I can edit and schedule sessions; knowing my kids are in capable and loving hands while I work means the world to me.  On the occasions (and they have happened) where I’ve goofed on my childcare/work schedule my dad and stepmom have been my saviours stepping in to do school runs or lunch time while I finish a session.  I’ve also got a few great friends who have lent a hand when I’ve found myself especially busy with work, especially this holiday season.  Apparently it takes a village to raise a child and support a small business 😉

To all my friends and family and clients who have shared my name with their friends and family and clients, thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough.  During my first year of business I had a total of 199 sessions, which far exceeded any of my expectations.  I have so many ideas and plans for 2012 that I can’t wait to share!!

First Anniversary Contest

As a special thank you to the clients who had sessions with me during my first year I’m giving away a free session for 2012: the session of your choice that includes ALL the edited/retouched high resolution digital files.  It’s a value over $500.  If you had a session with me between December 1st, 2010 and November 30, 2011, check out the details of the contest here!

2012 Events

Interested in Valentine’s Day, Family Day or Easter photos?  Sign-up to my newsletter where I’ll post the dates and session information first.

What I’m Working On

Interested to see my latest projects?  Visit and ‘like’ the Sara McConnell Photography Facebook page where I post sneak peeks from sessions and blog posts links

I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for Sara McConnell Photography.  Thank you again for all your support!