Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been off the radar for several months. Although 2018 had many business highs with amazing clients, travels and milestones, it also was one of the worst years. I’ve thought long and hard if I should tell my story of 2018… and after being asked to speak at a women’s small business conference and all the overwhelming support of the attendees, I had my answer. While I’m a better speaker then I am a writer (so don’t be checking for all my typo’s) I’m going to give it a go. I also couldn’t have done this without the support of my husband who deserves so much more then what 2018 gave him.
As many of you know my husband is a k9 police officer. Through the years he has been in many dangerous situations which has always been stressful on our family. In late September my husband was involved in a shooting where he had to shoot and kill a man. This man was a drug dealer who while grabbing his gun tried to run over Arthur and his partner with his truck. He also had his girlfriend in the car along with serval different drugs. Unfortunately this has not been Arthurs first shooting or time his life has been in danger. Being a cop for 15 years he has had his life in danger serval times and seen his fair share of tragedies. This shooting was pretty hard on Arthur and our family in ways we just weren’t ready for. After a “hit” was put out on us, as well as several news broadcasts I really didn’t think things could get much worse but 2018 still had more presents to give us.
A few weeks before Christmas we added another member to the family, my 6 year old extremely sweet and kind nephew came to live with us. While we loved that we got to take him in, with all the changes going on the stress had really started to get to me. A few days before Christmas my legs and face swelled up to the point I was unrecognizable. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with lupus which caused the swelling as well as giving me pneumonia. I spent Christmas Eve and several days hospital.
Through all of this I’ve been trying to do my best to not just keep my family afloat but my business as well. I’ll be the first to admit I have not been running my business to the standards I’m used to, nor have I felt like myself for a while. I’ve fell behind on editing, I’ve delayed responding to emails, & not made my clients and friends a priority like I usually have. For this I want to apologize. I hope all my clients & friends know that if I’ve made a mistake I go out of my way to right my wrong. This year was not one of my proudest, but after speaking at “Girl Boss” event I got to tell a large group of amazing small business owners my story and received so much support it gave me the strength to take something positive away from last year. What I told all of those lovely ladies is that to have your own business you must have GRIT! Grit is defined as having- courage, courageousness, bravery, backbone, spirit, strength of character, strength of will, steel, nerve, toughness, hardiness, resolve, & determination. But more importantly owning your own business is like running a marathon. You need to be in it for the long haul and not a sprint. So while 2018 might go down as a water break in my marathon, I’m in it for the long haul! I’m giving 2019 to God and placing faith that this year is going to bring amazing and beautiful things that will make me a better person, photographer and mother.
I feel blessed to have such amazing clients and can’t wait to turn 2019 into a great year. With that I’m so excited to start my Grit with Brit Page! Every year I throw a Grit with Brit workshop and now it’s all year long! If you want to join or learn more about Grit with Brit you can visit @gritwithbrit on Facebook.
Jenna & Ken
Venues- @davenporthotelcollection @Chateauriver
Hair and Makeup- @StudioCapelli
Miesha & Eddie
These high school sweet hearts finally tied the knot in a stunning, details galore, downtown Seattle wedding at Melrose Market. Miesha & Eddie had a beautiful wedding full of thoughtful surprises from custom cuff links with Eddie’s late fathers writing, choreographed dances, even a characteristics!!!! So happy to be apart of this beautiful couples stunning wedding day.
Wedding planner - @AlexisMallos
Hair & Makeup- @Seattlebridehair
Invitations and Papergoods- @minted
Wedding Dress- @willowbywatters
Cater - @tuxedos&weddingshoes
Wedding Rings- @Greenlakejewelry
Grooms Tux- @menswearhouse
Showit Stylized shoot with Christianne Taylor & Josh Newton
It’s hard to explain the impact that Showit had on me. For those of you who don’t know Showit is a Photographer conference in Arizona that really changed and revived me in a time that I needed it more then ever. These past few months have been more then incredibly hard for our family. My husband who is a Police officer was involved in another shooting (which was his second in one year) I can’t describe the toll that takes not only on him but our family. Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get more difficult it seemed like Jesus put a little more on our plate, and then a little more, and then a little more - insert eye roll LOL. Going to Showit really reminded me that while I really love getting to be a photographer it’s so much more then that!! It really needs to be about making a difference! For everyone thats going to be different but for me that is going to translate into putting more time and effort into mentoring and teaching others how to start their own business.
In the following weeks hear I’ll be sharing more of our families story and how we are climbing out of this crummy valley, and really trying to make lemonade out of lemons.
Thank you to all the amazing vendors and instructors. Really was such a fun shoot!!
Custom Stationary: @FoilandInk
Table wear: @TheConfettiStudio
It started out as an adventure Jessica Hunter wanted to shoot at, now it’s become a yearly visit to the Stunning Lake Diablo. It truly is one of the most breathtaking views in Washington.
A huge thanks to al our amazing wonderful vendors!!!
Paper- @letteringbygrg @firstname.lastname@example.org Cake- @eatmorecakebycandice Hair and makeup - @pacific_brides And then let's not forget the amazing photographer @sarahharrisphoto@emmaleephotography & jamie!!
Thanks to our beautiful models Maquel and Austin for coming a long for the ride
Rachel and Garett
Gown | @meamariebridal
Bridal Styling | @chelles_bridal_blog
Floral | @diamondevents_floral
Styling & Coordination | @elegantaffairswa
Calligraphy | @sablewoodpaperco
Photography | @soliedesigns@adriencraven @sarahharrisphoto
Rentals | @vintageambiance@americanpartyplace
Cake | @simplysweetcc
Hair + Makeup | @two_ks_beauty
Bride + Groom | @oilsandollie + @garrettwaltz
There is nothing like traveling with one of your best friends and doing what you love. Sarah & I got to travel to Washington DC for a stylized shoot with an adorable real couple.
Hair & Make up- http://www.modernbridalstudio.com
Invitations & Paper-goods- https://bespokestrokes.com
Photography- http://www.solie-designs.com & https://www.sarahharrisphoto.com
Cordy and Gavin
This year was a year of my friends getting married! Cordy is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Cordy has always been the life of the party, someone who always could make you laugh and make your troubles melt away. So to be apart of her wedding made me feel like I finally could return the favor of a girl who has been there for me, more times then i could count. I'm so glad Cordy and Gavin finally tied the knot!
Mary & Dan
When I found out my best friend from Elementary school was getting married I was so excited! I started thinking back the amazing memories I'd had with Mary. She was my first friend, from pretending to be mermaids in her pool, to making houses for bug out on the play ground. All my happiest memories in elementary school involved Mary. So when I when I got to meet the man who locked down my friends hart I could not think of a more perfect fit for her. Dan is such a gentleman and you could tell how much fun they have together. They are the sweetest couple and so perfectly matched. It was truly such a special day for me to see my old friend get her happily ever after. I'm so glad I got to be apart of their special day!
There is a very famous photographer who once said "being comfortable in photography can be the kiss of death". That once you are comfortable you quit pushing yourself to learn, be different, & dream. When I heard her say that I thought for sure that couldn't be true. When I first started Solie Designs I longed for the day to feel "comfortable" When I could feel like I had it all in the bag, knew what I was doing & essentially didn't have to work as hard. Cause when I first started out I spent all hours on youtube watching online tutorials on how do better my business, different editing techniques, the best way to use my camera. My life revolved around on how to launch my business and it seemed like an impossible dream to be where I am today.
Needless to say this year last year I finally felt comfortable. I had a steady flow of clients coming in, a good website, & I was respected by other photographers and business owners. With that comfort I didn't need to be aiming for the stars anymore, learning new ways of the business, or dreaming for something more. Not to mention I had been struggling between my business and family life. Everyday I felt like I was just trying to keep my head above water, between getting my work done and trying to be a good mother. I was starting to feel like I was failing at everything. So to feel comfortable in my photography abilities didn't feel like a bad thing at the time. Not to mention I finally decided to go through with getting a hysterectomy because of my long struggle with endometriosis and I felt like it was constantly effecting me and was becoming debilitating. Life seemed like a whirl wind & the only ray of hope I was grasping on to was that I was "good photographer". Until that was all put into questions too.
As a photographer one of the first things you need to do is figure out what kind of style you are going to be, whats your brand. I had always leaned towards the light and airy, film like look. I felt it was a timeless look that will never go out of style. Although I've always been great at editing photo's, I really can edit a photo anyway I want. But as a photographer you need to be consistent, so future clients know what to expect. I chose the light and airy style mostly because I would want that in a wedding photographer. So to receive emails from two of my brides who were friends, saying they decided they were going to switch photographers because they decided they wanted a different editing style "the dark and moody" made me questions everything. In my mind I thought "If no one wants the way I edit what the hell am I doing?! I might as well quit and not have to deal with the rejection". Not to mention the photographer who had reached out to my brides that they switch to, was someone I knew and worked with. So on top of it I felt stabbed in the back. I started to question everything, and then I realized I had lost the one thing that was comforting me... Photography. I really don't remember the last time I had felt so useless and worthless.
After all that what else to do but throw a pity party! I knew I needed to find a way to pull myself out of it. I'm not a quitter! If fact I'm not sure if I've really quit anything. So I tossed around idea's on how I was going to change things around before the new year. You know get my mojo back! I even though about changing my style to the "dark and moody" but I felt that would be a cop out. It was time to get over my pity party and stop consuming myself with something that was out of my control. Usually something like this wouldn't have effected me so much because I used to be pretty confident in my ability, but I realized it was because I had been coasting. I had gotten comfortable and with that had stoped growing, striving, and dreaming. Which in term meant I wasn't on top of my game. What that famous photographer said was right! I had gotten comfortable and had stopped growing, changing and dreaming! Whats the point of having a business if you don't have new goals to achieve, more excitement on the horizon... more hard work in the future. This whole ordeal had gotten me out of my comfort zone and made me re-evaluate my business and make some changes. I've signed up for a few courses, and we be revamping the website as well. But most of all I'll be focusing more on my business. I still have some things to figure out. Mainly how to juggle work and family. But as long as I stay uncomfortable and go back to the drive I had when I first started my business I think I have more amazing ventures in the horizon.
Now on to 2018!!! I've always talked about how amazing my clients are and 2017 was no exception. All my Brides and Grooms are so stunningly beautiful & kind hearted. One of the reasons I'm a photographer is so I can make make a bride and grooms wedding day stress free and fun! With that I've made several TRUE deep friendships with my brides! Not many photographers can say they go out to have sushi with one of their old brides just for fun, shot two of their best friends from elementary schools weddings, all while travel around the country in one year. I have to pinch myself all the time! 2018 looks like its going to be just as amazing! With so many stunning beautiful brides with extremely kind hearts, not to mention some of my best friends getting married too!!! It's going to be a great year and I can't wait for it to begin.
Lastly I want to thank my friends. I'm not sure how I would have gotten through this last year without you!
Cora & Chris
Jerrid & Samantha
Leah & Charlie
I was so over Joyed when Leah my best friend from Elementary school asked me to photograph her wedding. Leah has always been so creative and her wedding showcased everything that Leah is, Caring, Beautiful, creative and just Stunning! I'm so happy she found Charlie who is such a great guy and they are such a perfect couple! Congratulations guys!!!
Venue- Mighty Tieton
Dress- Laineemeg Bridal
Cater- Chronic Foods Trucks & Sammies Food Truck
Florist- My Garden Overfloweth
Rentals- Bear Events Rentals
Regan & Alex
Had so much fun with Alex and Regan shooting their engagement pictures at deception pass. We had dogs, beach, drinks and a stunning sunset. Who could ask for more?!
Heidi & Mike
Boats, beach, & sunset!!! Recipe for one awesome PNW engagement session! Heidi & Mike got to be one of the special few I bring to my family's beach house on mission beach, It's where I've grown up and by far my favorite place in the world! So we popped some bubbly, took a walk and a ride in the row boat. Perfect night, perfect sunset with the perfect couple.
Miesha & Eddie
Memorial day weekend I got to do something I've always dreamed of. I got to throw a Photography Workshop with one of my best friends Jessica Hunter & the talented Bixby and Pine girls. Those who know me, know I make it a goal to try to encourage, and inspire all photographers. I couldn't be happier with the group of photographers that came out for this dreamy shoot, & all the hard work everyone put into this amazing day! Check in later this week to see the rest of this stunning shoot.
Design and Styling // Bixby + Pine // @bixbyandpine
Florals // #BloomsByBP // #BloomsByBP
Ribbon/Runner/Napkins // Nettle Textiles // #NettleTextiles
Gowns // La Belle Salon // @labellesalonbridal
Invitation Suite (all velum suite--Kate and Montana) // Pink + Peach // @pinkbypeach
HMUA // Anne Timms // @mstimssmakeupartist
Jewelry // Kendra Scott // @kendrascott #ksbellevue
Ring Box // Mrs. Box // @the_mrs_box
Model // Robyn // @robynolson
Randi & Chase
Randi and Chase are just the cutest couple! I can't wait to meet their baby boy very soon!!!