2015 The year in review | Raleigh Wedding Photographer

On the last day of 2015, I am taking a small liberty of blogging about myself and my company instead of my incredible clients. 2015 has been an absolutely incredible year for both my work and my business with so many incredible opportunities for both professional and personal growth. On top of my amazing wedding and commercial photography clients, my work has been seen across the world thru my articles in Resource Magazine, featured photos on Huffington Post and promoted by incredible companies such as Millers Lab, Fundy Software and Magmod. Before I get into specifics, I want to thank every one of my supporters and clients for believing in me, my talent and my business. You are truly the reason I do this and I could not imagine doing anything else with my life.

I wanted to highlight a few of my proudest moments of 2015:

I wrote an article on Resource magazine about the dangers of Wedding Sparklers or, more accurately, using the wrong sparklers at weddings. This article has received over 146,000 views to date and I was interviewed by PetaPixelBuzzfeed, Southern Bride & Groom as well as many others regarding the dangers. While I never wanted to be known as the “Sparkler guy”, this was (and still is) such an important topic that while the injury and recovery sucked, the ensuing conversation was the best possible outcome to prevent others from suffering similar injuries. You can continue to see my articles at Resource Magazine as I am now a staff writer for them after this article, literally, broke their web server when it launched.

In August of this year I was asked to speak at the Carolina Photo Expo held in Raleigh, NC by the PPNC. This was a huge honor as they sought me out and gave me complete control on my topic. For 2 hours I talked to over 100 people about outsourcing and how it not only saved my sanity but helped me become more profitable and run a better business. My incredible wedding album company, Azura Albums, drove up from Atlanta to not only exhibit at the trade show but support me as well. Thank you so much for your trust and support Lek & Shelley!

One of the changes I made this year was to find a single professional lab which could handle all of my photo print and canvas requirements while still giving me the flexibility to produce custom products. This is no easy feat as it’s asking for the speed and expertise of a large company, with personal treatment. After speaking with Millers lab at WPPI last year, I knew I had found the lab that could do both. I am happy to announce after getting to know the staff there, I have joined their speakers team which puts me in the company of some of the most talented photographers in the world.

In January of this year I got to hang out with the amazing team at Fundy Software in Portland, OR for a few days and not only got to know their staff but see the direction of the company (which has me VERY excited). I’ve been a fan of Fundy software for quite some time and used it for year but their latest Album Designer truly revolutionized the design process and allows me to focus on the layout and flow instead of technical details. Fundy has been a huge supporter of mine and blogged did both a Featured Photographer piece on me as well as publish a piece on how to grow your photography business and use my food photography in a video about using Fundy software.

In 2015 I also refined how I shoot with the use of a few different modifiers. Magmod is a ridiculously simple concept (that I joke with Spencer I’m mad for not thinking of it myself) that allows you to use speed light modifiers without all the crazy mounting techniques. It uses a simple “sock” that allows you to change out your modifiers in seconds. These modifiers are not only all vital to my work, they are designed for longevity using durable rubber instead of hard plastics which easily break in dynamic & harsh environments (like weddings). I’m such a huge fan of their modifiers that my work is featured as a Magmod Pro on their website.

One of my goals this year was to enter more photography competitions with my wedding work. Although I fell a bit short of my goal, I did manage to submit to a few and ended up winning a very prestigious wedding photography award from the Wedding Photographer Society. This is an international organization which holds a monthly contest which has submissions from some of the best photographers around the world. Winning this award was a huge honor as every winning image was absolutely superb! Thank you so much for running such a class organization!

And finally, we can get to some of my favorite images from the year!  As I said, I’ve had such an incredible year shooting so many different subjects that it’s hard to narrow it down into a “favorites” post, but I gave it my best effort.

I wish you all the very best of 2016 and I a looking forward to an absolutely incredible year!

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