Karen Schanely Photography

2019 Highlights

Jan 10, 2020

This past year was definitely one to remember! Our family made some amazing memories together as the kids grew and changed before our eyes, and my business grew and pivoted in fun, different ways! Here’s a little recap of our 2019 adventures:

1. Click Away Conference in California

I started the year traveling all the way to Dana Point, California for the Click Away conference. It was so nice to escape the cold, snowy weather of Ohio and get into some Southern California sunshine. I loved connecting with some long-time photography friends, meeting new ones, and learning from seriously talented people, like Jasmine Star. One of my favorite sessions was a small group led by Sarah Wilkerson, the CEO of Click & Company, where we analyzed and critiqued each other’s work. In a digital age where we scroll so fast, it was so helpful to slow down and really dig deep into our photos and discuss what artistic elements worked well. I also couldn’t get enough of the beach – the water, the sound of the waves, and the surprise double rainbow our last morning!

2. Feature with Apple

One of the BIGGEST highlights of my year was definitely when Apple (yes, THE Apple company) featured one of my iPhone snowflake images. Their Instagram account has over 20 million followers, and it was an incredible honor to see one of my pictures on their feed.

3. Reset Conference in Kentucky

This was my fourth time attending the Reset Conference! Such a fun conference, and this time it was in Louisville Kentucky at the historic Seelbach Hotel, which was an inspiration to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I focused on business classes – like marketing and getting published, and had lots of fun after the session were over exploring Louisville, experiencing my first dueling piano bar, and sampling Southern chicken and waffles and Guy Fieri’s pulled pork.

4. Spring Break in North Carolina

Over Spring Break, we piled into the car and headed to the beach. Phil’s family lives in Charlotte, so his parents even joined us for a few days in Wilmington. Besides playing on the beach as much as possible, we had fun touring the Battleship North Carolina, walking through Airlie Gardens – such a beautiful place for a wedding, and letting the kids do a pillow fight at the rental house.

5. NEW Wedding Collections

In April, I was THRILLED to launch my new Wedding Collections! Over the past few years, I’ve had weddings in mind, but I wanted to wait until I knew I could successfully get through a wedding day and deliver professional photos. Wedding Photography involves almost every genre of photography – posed portraits, documentary shooting, natural light, flash, macro, and more – on one day where stress levels can be at a high. I’ve learned and grown a lot, and I absolutely loved being able to serve and photograph my first wedding couples this year!

6. SSAA Conference in Georgia

Because I was now shooting weddings, I spent a lot of time this year attending workshops that helped me learn, grow, and meet other wedding photographers and vendors. The SSAA conference in Georgia was absolutely incredible, and I loved getting to meet Julie Paisley, learn how to photograph wedding stationery, and shoot floral installations valued at $30,000!

7. Spring Cherry Blossoms

Spring is officially my favorite season. I can’t get enough of the pastel color palette and dreamy blossoms! So, when I found a Cincinnati park with dozens of cherry trees all in bloom, I was in heaven, and I loved getting to photograph my kids and several of my couples while the trees were in bloom! I’m counting down the days until the 2020 Cherry Blossoms!

8. Family Vacation in Florida

When school was out for the summer, we headed to my favorite beach town – Anna Maria Island. We discovered it last year, and fell in love. It a quieter island with the cutest little shops and restaurants and the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen. We loved riding our bikes through the neighborhoods and looking at all the pastel beach houses, on the way to get tacos every night. I’m pretty sure we had tacos 5 of the 6 nights we were there. We also spent our time spotting dolphins, swimming in the pool, and visiting Lego Land!

9. Wedding Blog Publications

Remember how I mentioned that I took a class at the Reset conference about how to get published? Well, I used what I learned, and was so excited to have one of the shoots I attended published in TWO different wedding blogs! You can see the feature on The Coordinated Bride HERE and the feature on Tacari Weddings HERE.

10. New Nephew and Cousin

My brother and his wife had their first son this year, and we were all so excited to meet him. Ethan and Abby now have a cousin, and they couldn’t get enough of baby Austin. We were able to visit with them several times while they were in the area this summer, which was a treat since they live in Belize.

11. Visits to Charleston

You may notice a common theme from this year – beaches and food. 🙂 Phil and I explored Charleston for several days in July to celebrate our 13th anniversary and then visited again in September to shoot a wedding. Even though it was crazy hot and humid, we fell in love with the historic charm, oak trees covered in Spanish moss, sunsets on the beaches, and Southern food. Getting to do a few shoots and a wedding there were definitely *pinch me* moments!

12. 1st Grade and 3rd Grade

I keep thinking that each new phase with the kids gets better and more fun. Abby started 1st grade this fall, and Ethan entered 3rd grade. I love watching Abby learn to read and sing, and Ethan has amazed me with his math and board game skills!

13. Adoption of Airdra

When we decided to become a foster family with 4 Paws for Ability, we had no idea how much it would change our family. We brought Airdra into our home when she was just 8 weeks old, and over the next 2 years she received training to be a service dog. When she didn’t pass the advanced training program, we were disappointed she wouldn’t be able to go on and help someone in need, but we were excited to be able to adopt her and officially keep her as part of our family.

14. Trip to Colorado

While the beach is my happy place, Phil loves the mountains. So when he signed up for a conference in Denver, I decided to come along and do some sight seining with him. The first day we were there was an absolutely beautiful sunny day in the 70’s. We explored Colorado Springs’s Garden of the Gods and were blown away by the amazing rock formations. We also did a zipline tour in the mountains, across canyons and waterfalls! It was the best zipline tour we’ve ever done, and definitely worth any nervous moments! The next day, a snowstorm came and dropped about 10 inches of snow on the area. While we didn’t get to explore as much as we would have liked because of that, it was beautiful to see the snowy mountains and experience a little of Colorado life.

15. Showit United Conference in Arizona

I was so excited to attend the ShowIt conference for the first time in November and meet some of my favorite photography teachers – Katelyn James and Amy and Jordan Demos! They have been instrumental in my photography journey, and it was amazing to learn from them in person and get selfies with them! Along with learning in sessions, I was able to get out into the desert for a few incredible shoots! The way the sun set over the desert landscape was so pretty!

16. SSAA Conference in Texas

I loved the spring SSAA conference so much that I decided to do the fall one too! I was barely home from Arizona before I got back on an airplane and flew to Dallas. The conference was held at The Olana, a gorgeous French-inspired luxure estate, and I swooned over all the chandeliers, a Rolls Royce antique car, fancy cakes, glittery dresses, and thousands of flowers. The speakers were amazing, and I, especially, enjoyed learning from a photo editor on how to hone in on my artistic style to be able to deliver beautiful, consistent photos to my couples and families! I was also in Taco Heaven with all the amazing Tex-Mex restaurants!

17. Family Trip to Charleston

We ended 2019 with one final trip to Charleston as a family. It was so fun watching the kids run and play on the beach, searching for sand dollars, trying some new taco places, and listening to the fireworks go off all New Year Eve night.

 

THANK YOU for following along with us this year! I have some fun things coming up this year and am SO excited to share them with you!

 

Check out the 2019 Slideshow of some of my favorites from Portrait Sessions:

Check out my 2019 Wedding Slideshow: