I have written this post in my head over and over again. I'm one of those compulsive "planners" who lies in bed at night, brainstorming ideas and lists. I have notepad upon notepad full of lists of things to do, to buy, to write, to photograph. But, in the end, I've thrown all of my brainstorming for this blog post out and I'm sitting down this morning and just writing it. Right now.
I finished up editing my last session in Clarksville and uploading my final galleries yesterday. As I walked out of the office last night, it felt strange to think that during these next couple of months, I won't pull another late-nighter or a super early morning editing through the images of Clarksville clients. As sappy and cliché as it sounds, as I slipped my client file into its respective desk drawer last night, I couldn't help but become a little emotional. The names and info of the people who fill those binders are so significant to everything Erin Kent Photography is today. Closing that drawer was like closing one chapter of my life and opening another. The new chapter, in a "new" home, with a baby and uprooting a business to start over again. It's terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. So, so bittersweet.
When we first moved to Clarksville, I was scared. I mean, really scared. It was my first time moving from home, my first time living in another state with my husband, my first time learning to do things on my own. I couldn't call mom or dad or sister or best friends and have them come to my rescue. I knew no one and nothing about this town and I was terrified.
Erin Kent Photography saved me. Not in the creative outlet way. I mean, it's always been that for me but it became something so much bigger. Yes, this "job" is an additional form of income for my husband and I. But, somehow, over the course of a couple of years, it became the connection I needed to transform Clarksville from a Recruiting Duty station twelve hours from everything I was accustomed to, into my temporary home; our temporary home.
I have formed connections with people who have since become lifelong friends and I have learned so much about who I am and the direction that I want to take my business in from you all. I have been treated so well by my clients here that it's hard to imagine finding anything close to that when I start the business back up after my baby break. I know North Carolina will be good to me but I have to be honest when I say that the love I've received in the Clarksville/Fort Campbell areas has spoiled me rotten. You all have been my feet and mouths. If it weren't for you, no one would know my name around here. I am still taken aback when someone asks me what I "do" and when I reply that I'm a self-taught photographer and owner of Erin Kent Photography, there are some who have already heard of me. It will never be something that I'm used to.
I've gained a "style" while being here in Clarksville. I've learned the mood that I want within my images. I've honed my "genre" and I've slowly started making the changes to exclusively become a couple's photographer. Two years ago, I would never have been brave enough to do that. I needed to photograph anything and everything for fear of never having business and I've come to realize that I'm appreciated when I do what I love and I focus on those things that inspire me.
My hard drive is filled with images of you! You've expanded my portfolio and you've given me a leg to stand on. There have been times when I've become discouraged. Running your own business can be tiring and many people don't realize the hours of work that go into creating timeless images. It's wearing and, if I'm completely honest, there have been times when I've simply wanted to quit. This year was probably the roughest point, thus far, within my business. While so many incredible things have happened for EKP and within mine and my husband's personal life, I also had to make tough decisions regarding my business that I feared would jeopardize the relationships that I made here.
Early on in the year, when my husband and I lost our first child, you all were understanding. When I had to cancel sessions because I didn't want to get out of bed, you all uplifted me and let me know that you understood. Besides family, my booked clients were the only ones who knew what we were going through.
When we received the magnificent news that, amidst heartache, the Good Lord had seen fit to bless us with another baby; you all rejoiced with me! And, when I was put on bed rest and light duty and, again, had to reschedule/refund sessions, you all understood. I'm telling you. That type of appreciation and love from folks who don't know you personally is incomparable. It's astounding and so, so, very humbling.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, "Thank you." Thank you for being so good to me, Clarksville. Thank you for telling your friends and family about me, for re-booking me time and time again and for being so uplifting and encouraging when I needed it most.
This certainly isn't good-bye. It's "see you soon." I'll be back to visit and, when I do, you can bet your socks that I'll open up some session availability! :) You all are too special not to.
I'll be checking in regularly so you don't forget about little old me. Of course, I'll have to bombard you with baby pictures and updates and moving news and... well, you get it. You can't completely get rid of me!
If you're needing referrals for amazing photographers in the area, please do not hesitate to contact me. I have a few that I would highly recommend, who I know will treat you amazingly and who will give you quality images that you will absolutely treasure for years and years to come! I'm always just an e-mail or message away!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, again. I love each and every one of you! <3
See you soon!