2015 Review: Less is More

posted on: February 1, 2016

Even though I had quite a few professional and personal accomplishments this year, for me it felt more like a year characterized by being present for distant family during loss and love.  Many of the  moments that mattered this year will only live in my memory and my heart rather than in a camera.  Continuing to choose self-employment each year has so often been influenced by the ability to be present for family when it matters.  This year I was able to honor that commitment by spending 60 days with out-of-state family members- which is probably more time than we spent together living in the same state.

(all photos are phone snaps from my instagram feed)
Every minute is a gift.

Professionally, I fully embraced my niche focus of architecture & interiors in New York almost to the exclusion of all other work and finally created a portfolio to represent this.  My workload gradually shifted from hundreds of small fast jobs to dozens of large projects that required multiple days of coordination, shooting, and post-production.  I'm grateful that many of the clients I started working with last year hired me for additional projects this year and referred several new clients as well.  Returning and referred clients mean so much to me because it confirms that I'm meeting and exceeding image expectations, providing service that earns continued trust, but even more than that- getting a chance to grow with clients while supporting them in their professional journeys.

My clients work on some amazing homes!!! A quick phone grab of a beautiful deck build by @houseplayrenovations - check out their profile on Houzz for many of their fabulous renovations.    #anneruthmannphotography #onthejob #nj #newjersey #architecture #r

Since the world of architecture & interior photography encompasses several different types of projects, I decided to get a little more specific in my number breakdown this year so that I could more closely measure the changes in types of projects from year to year:

Photography Stats:
88 Residential Rental Properties Photographed
9 Commercial Architecture Properties Photographed
9 Residential Interior Design Properties Photographed
5 Creative Business Consulting Clients
5 Photo Licensing Only Clients (83 images)
4 Residential Renovation Properties Photographed
4 Residential Real Estate Properties Photographed
3 Portraits Photographed
2 Commercial Real Estate Properties Photographed
2 Historic Properties Photographed
2 Commercial Editorial Assignments Photographed
1 Shark Tank Photographed

Shark Tank Selfie  #onthejob #anneruthmannphotography #sharktank #selfie #nyc

Client Stats:
25 New Clients
9 Returning Clients

Professional Development Stats:
14 Networking Events Attended
6 Architecture & Design Talks/Events
1 Architecture Photography Workshop Attended

Professional Giving Stats:
48 Hours of Photography & Image Production Donated to Non-Profits (284 images)
11 Business Articles Contributed to PhotoLovecat (48 hrs)
1 Marketing Webinar Organized & Hosted (6 hrs)

Bonus Stats:
- Social Media Travel Sponsorship (#carsharenyc)*
(*I've often talked about how cool it would be if someone would just pay me to take instagram pics, and that's exactly what happened with this sponsorship!)
TEDx Talk

Emu Selfie Bomb!  This is why they suggest only keeping your window two inches open at the Promised Land Drive-Thru Zoo.  Hahaha!!! #emu #selfie #photobomb

A few years ago I started measuring how many days off I took advantage of during weeks when business was slow and how many vacations I took during the year as a way to help me measure success beyond the financial numbers alone.  The whole reason we strive for business goals is so that we can have the ability to enjoy more of the life stuff when we aren't working, right?  By measuring the life experiences that make me happy in between the work experiences, I've been able to track how both the personal and business sides of my life have impacted my overall happiness and ability to feel balanced and fulfilled from year to year.  If you're a freelancer or small business owner, I highly recommend keeping some personal stats along with the business stats in order to easily measure how your business is contributing to the rest of your life.  I keep track of mine simply by putting all of my appointments, dinners, production, vacation, etc. right into my calendar.  It's the easiest way to add it up at the end of the year.

Personal Stats:
- 93 Days of Vacation (60 days with out-of-town family)
- 23 New Cities Visited:
Arkansas- Eureka Springs, Marshall;
California- Thousand Oaks, Paso Robles, San Louis Obispo, Napa, Santa Barbara, PCH;
Missouri- Branson;
New Jersey- Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Sandy Hook, Vernon Twp;
New York- Ithaca, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, Montauk, West Hampton, Long Beach, Warwick, Amity, Poughkeepsie, Cold Spring, Ulster Park, Finger Lakes.
- 4 New Islands Visited: St. Thomas, St. John, St. Maarten, St. Barths
(2 return visits to Nassau, Bahamas)
- Started Singing with the Chameleonic Choir
- Completed Reiki 1 & 2 

After 10 years of searching, I'm so grateful to have found a choir that I love to sing with.  Chameleonic shares my love of supporting contemporary composers as well as learning and performing challenging music.  I'd love to share this newly commissioned work by Bill Heigen with you from a recording of our concert in December:

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