I had thought 2011 was a big year. I mean, it was. 2011 was a giant bag of mixed emotions…

  • tornado «< unimaginable response & kindness
  • business ‘getting there’  «< completely overwhelming 

Then 2012 happened. Again, a crazy mix; terrible, awesome, and everything between. Again, a really big year. I had hoped 2012 would be that calm ‘recovery year’, but alas, no, it was not meant to be a calm year at all. And yet, in all things good and bad, so much was learned this year; so much growth for my family, for me individually, and for me as a business-owner and photographer.

My wife’s dad passed away this spring. That was hands down the hardest thing- it has been incredibly hard for her and for us to handle the passing of someone so close and meaningful in our lives. And yet, again, we were taught a lot through that.

The best of this year? Oh man. My daughter moved into putting sentences together. My son moved into putting paragraphs (and battle plans) together. Lots, lots more family stuff.

This is, however, a photography blog, not a ‘listen-to-mark-ramble-about-his-personal-life’ blog.

That being said, in celebration of thanksgiving, I’m going to list out some pretty cool things that have happened in my business this year that I’m thankful for.

And let it be known. Every accomplishment and awesome blessing listed here is the result of God’s goodness. Not me. I thanked God for nachos saving me from a tornado. Now I’m thanking him again, for a huge year for 9art.


  • hired an employee. Can’t tell you how thankful I am for Michelle, who came on board early this year to handle my editing workload. Being a one-man-show couldn’t last forever…she does an awesome job and truly cares about her part in making the 9art experience a top notch one. In addition, she’s a great friend to have around.
Michelle & her sweet little Ava!

  • did more business than any year past. This has been true of almost every year so far, but thankful every year as people spread the word and I have more customers than ever. So thankful for my loyal fans who continue to trust me with their family’s portraits, and for new ones who decided to give me a try this year.
  • reached nearly 2800 fans on facebook. I know this doesn’t matter, but it’s cool anyway.
  • saw a huge surge in third thursday photo booth attendance. This spring we went from having a trickle of people here and there throughout the night, to a line-out-the-door nearly ALL night. So many people now attend the photo booth events that we had to move it out of our little studio into a space that can better handle the traffic.
  • had a photo make it onto a billboard.  yep. that was pretty cool. The photo I’m referring to is on a different hard drive that I’m too lazy to go get so that you can see, but I promise, it’s true.
  • had a 9art image chosen to be the joplin ‘names & numbers’ phonebook cover.
(and it’s my own kiddo on the cover. double bonus round.)
  • became an LLC.   We’s legit now.
  • Streamlined, organized, and re-branded the company. It takes awhile to get a business running smoothly. I’ve been at this a few years and have awhile to go before I get things ‘just so’, but more smoothing-out of the rough edges has happened this year than in any past for 9art. And my good friend Matthew Spiel re-did our logo, which I am pretty excited about.
  • hugely expanded the commercial side of 9art. Gained some amazing new clients for advertising campaigns and other commercial work, including the Joplin convention & visitors bureau and Christ in Youth. 
  • had our images published in 2 page spreads in not one, but three national level magazines. My good friends the Scotts- with ‘Whitney Scott photography’-asked me to do the pictures for the Black River Imaging ad campaign in which they are featured.   I was honored to be asked by one of my main competitors to capture them in an image; but after all, we’re not good at being ‘competitors’ and much better at being friends. 🙂  The spreads were featured in ‘Rangefinder’, ‘Professional Photographer’ magazine, and ‘Click.’

[stole this image from the scotts’ blog. whitney is excitedly holding up copies of her magazine; the spread with my photo is below the image of her.] 

  • teamed up with local framing company, ‘cherry’s’. Josh LeMasters with Cherry’s, out of carthage, mo, approached me about framing earlier this year. After seeing their awesome attention to detail and hearing good things about them, 9art and Cherry’s became partners.
Plenty more happened this year as well, but I feel like that’s a long enough list. 
Finally, I am thankful for everyone who helped these accomplishments happen, either directly or just by encouraging me over the last few years. My wonderful wife, supportive family, inspiring friends, fellow photographers, big hearted customers, and excited fans… thank you guys. 
To end things, here’s something most personal of all… my very own kiddos. This is the most ‘studioish’ picture I can get of them… and I’ll take it.


Enough sappy. Enough rambling. It’s turkey time. Hope you have a great one.

See you all next week!  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s