A Year in Review: 2013 at Ashlee Culverhouse Photo

When I look back on what 2013 meant for my business and me, it’s a blur. I began the year very slowly, and I questioned my decision to be a (newly) full-time photographer more times than I care to admit. I’ll never forget that shameful feeling as I walked into the bank that day and dipped into my savings account to make my house payment the first month of being full-time. The anxieties and doubts would creep in each morning around 5:00 a.m. and wouldn’t subside until I finally decided to drag myself out of bed and begin the day. It was bittersweet; I had more time to devote to what I lived for and loved, but I also had more time to question whether or not I was going to be able to pull it off successfully.

If only I knew then what this year would hold. This past year took my business and expanded it much farther than I had hoped or anticipated. As I looked through a year’s worth of photos last night, I realized it wasn’tme that pulled it off. It was the countless people who trusted me enough to allow me to capture the most important parts of their lives. You shared with me your engagements, the birth of your children, your wedding day, your graduations, your grand-openings, the first year of your baby’s life, your husbands coming home from a war zone. You introduced me to your children and let me love on them. We fed chickens and rabbits together, we made silly animals noises together, we danced together, we laughed together. Whether we spent an hour together or an entire day, know that you had an impact on me and I’ll always appreciate you sharing your life with me. So many times I lose sight of the fact that it’s an honor to be a photographer.

When I photograph children, the first thing I do when I meet them is try to love them like a parent would. I look for those subtle freckles scattered across their cheeks and nose. The dimples that appear when they laugh, the curl of their hair, the lines that appear around their eyes, the space in their teeth, the chubbiness of their cheeks, the curve of their eyelashes. Then I try to capture those things. I love posed family shots, of course, but it’s the moments that happen in between those that really matter most to me.

These are just a few of my favorite moments from 2013:

I don’t have any resolutions this year other than to continue to strive to be a better photographer with every shoot and to continue to take pictures that matter. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me in.

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P.S. Although she’s behind the scenes, my business would have crashed and burned without the help of my mom. Since October, she’s been my disk-burner, errand-runner, supply-retriever, house-cleaner, laundry-doer, animal-wrangler, photo-mailer, personal banker, and therapist so I can focus on taking pictures and editing. She selflessly devoted any free time she had to making up for what I lacked.