2011 | A Year in Review

2011 was truly an amazing year. It was full of challenges, but also a very rewarding. Laura Ivanova Photography grew as Whitney moved into the role of an associate photographer, booking her own weddings as a lead photographer. I am so proud of Whitney and the amazing work she has done. We’ve worked with some pretty awesome clients, and even though we’re both busy shooting weddings, we also managed to shoot several weddings together in 2011 and had tons of adventures along the way. Whitney and I met over a random email and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have her in my life! :) In addition to Whitney, my studio manager from 2010, Jill, began assisting at weddings and second shooting. Jill is a natural talent and her work and creativity continually astound me. We also had Mandi join us this year, shooting with Whitney at her weddings, and even a few with me! Mandi has a unique vision and her work is such a great addition to Whitney’s. I love what they capture as a team. I am so thankful for these girls and I seriously couldn’t do it without them.

Personally, I spent the first half of the year in New York City. At times it was hard to be away from the people (especially my hubby) and the familiarity of the city I grew up in, but I made a mindful decision to take some time off professionally during the slower winter season and reenergize with personal projects in NYC. I’m working on a book that I realized would take longer than a winter to complete. I did a lot of networking in New York and even managed to book 6 weddings in the area for 2011, which is a good start, as I slowly transition my business to being “bi-coastal.” (Still haven’t figured out a term for one coast/midwest!) Eventually, I’d love to be living the majority of the year in NY, but I’m trusting the universe with it’s timing, as many elements need to come together to make this dream a reality! :) Six months in NYC also made me realize that as much as I love the city, Minneapolis is also pretty awesome and I can’t imagine not having a life here as well!

In February I left the city for a week to visit Las Vegas and attend WPPI, the biggest wedding and portrait photography convention of the year! Vegas was a good time as per usual and I had an opportunity to help organize and style an amazing shoot with the Scheme Events team in Vegas, which was later published on my absolute favorite wedding inspiration blog, Style Me Pretty.

Not only were we published in Style Me Pretty, but we also had some beautiful real weddings featured in four gorgeous magazines, including a 4 page spread in Town & Country Weddings! Being published in a national magazine was 5 year goal I set a couple years ago, so I was thrilled to accomplish this one a bit early! :)

By May, wedding season was going to be swinging into full gear and I headed back to Minneapolis spend the majority of my time there. Summer was busy, in a good way, and in July, my husband and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to Africa and going on not one, but three safaris!! It was an incredible experience. As fun as the safaris were, the highlight of the trip was definitely seeing our Bulgarian family and my sister-in-law’s wedding in Arusha, Tanzania. I also had the honor of photographing the wedding! After we returned from Africa, the rest of July was a blur of airports, weddings and adventure! Whitney came with and we shot weddings in Milwaukee, Saint Louis and Minneapolis. I felt like I was living at the airport that month!

August was back in Minneapolis, and September brought me back to NYC for a month where I shot weddings in Brooklyn, Long Island, and Rhode Island, again with Miss Whitney.

October was a month of gorgeous Wisconsin farm weddings and lots of fun mini-road trips with Whitney. November actually turned out to be my busiest month of the year (usually it’s October) with 4 weddings in 3 weekends and finishing up the season with a Manhattan/Brooklyn wedding. In November, we also began doing a little revamping around here, and will be launching a brand new website and slightly updated look in Febrary 2012! So excited about the new changes and I’ve been challenging myself to go back to my old web design/graphic design days and build my own website! :)

In December, I ended up shooting a last minute wedding in Chicago with my friends Yazy & John and it was such a fun close to the 2011 season!! I originally met Yazy in Italy at a Jose Villa Workshop and I love any opportunity I get to meet up with any one or all of the group we’ve lovingly dubbed as The Italy Girls! I also worked on vamping up my boudoir business in December. I acquired a gorgeous new shooting space in NE Minneapolis that is absolutely perfect for boudoir sessions. I am so excited to now offer this to my clients and the sessions I’ve already done in this space have been stunning. In fact, there will be some new posts coming soon showing off my brave clients who have graciously agreed to be featured on the blog! :) Oh yeah, and I turned 30 this month. I feel so young, it’s difficult to comprehend that three decades of my life have passed! I didn’t have any moments of panic (ok, I’m lying, I had one) and this milestone felt good as I’m thankful and pleased with where I’m at and the people I’m surrounded by.

Overall, this has been a year of great refinement. As my business turns 5, momentum begins to slow and I’m really fine-tuning how I want things to be. It’s not only about my business, but also how I’d like to live my life. I feel like things are moving in a really good direction and I’m figuring out what works for me. When you own your own business, it’s really easy to be completely consumed by it, but as much as I value all of this and am thankful that I get to do something I truly and love for a living, I’m also concerned with living my ideal life on many different levels and having time to devote to the people I love. As I look back at 2011, I am most proud of the fact that I’m finally beginning to find balance in my life. I purposely cut back on the number of weddings, sessions, and obligations so I could better devote myself to fewer clients and myself. I made time for things I love besides photography, like working out, living a healthy lifestyle, cooking, reading, and relaxing with friends and family.

Can I just say one more time, I am so, so proud of Whitney, Jill and Mandi (and myself!!) and so happy with this year. When I look back, it’s kind of a blur, but in a good way!  Of course, I have to give my biggest, deepest, most heartfelt thank you to our clients for their trust and support. Really, truly. Thank you!! 2011 was the best year yet and 2012 is sure to be incredible too.  We are so excited for the adventures to come.

If you made it through that novel of a blogpost, now please enjoy a novel of images from 2011. THANK YOU, to these beautiful, giving, kind clients who let us into their lives to document their love!