Why have I been so quiet on social media lately?

Why have I been so quiet on social media lately?

17022061_10155902184068642_7327744107820885066_n.jpg

Hi friends! I'm sure some of you have noticed that I kind of dropped off the face of the earth as far as social media goes. Yes, winter is naturally my down time for my business, but to be honest I just haven't had any desire to post anything! Haha well, that's not something terribly new for me, I've said it before how I'm really not a huge fan of sharing my life online, but that's been especially true lately!

I've been taking a step back because my life was turned upside down this past December. The man that I had hoped and planed to spend the rest of my life with was supposed to be finishing up his battle with one disease only to be diagnosed with a new one that we were told was terminal. Not something you expect to hear and have to deal with in your early thirties! So, needless to say my priorities had shifted a bit and I've been focusing my thoughts, time, and energy elsewhere. Fast forward through a second opinion which led to more tests and now a different diagnosis which will hopefully prove to be correct when he goes in to remission after treatment!! What does this all mean? Why am I finally sharing about it? What have I learned?

First, people are what matters! Thinking that I would only have him in my life a short while longer just made me want to spend every moment possible together and have as many experiences together as possible! Along with that, you need people to get through life with! One afternoon after we first found about all of this I was sitting in a coffee shop with a good friend and we both ended up crying, not able to talk, having to type messages to each other, all the while I'm picking at my lettuce hoping that it'll help me to stop crying. Guys, as great as lettuce is at helping you cope, people are much better :)

As self serving as this may sound, I really have a new appreciation for having pictures of us! Trust me, I am the last person who wants a picture of myself, but suddenly none of that mattered anymore and it meant so much to have those moments to look back on! Take the time, make the effort, spend the money on professional portraits, because honestly they will become some of the most valuable things you have!

Lastly, I know we hear it all of the time, but I'm going to say it again because it's important, and that please do not take time or your health for granted! You honestly never know when something may happen. Also, please just remember to always approach people or situations with kindness! You never know what someone may be going through or dealing with and the simple act of kindness and understanding may be just the thing they need to help them get through their day!

I know this post may seem a bit random, but I felt that I need to explain a bit of what's been going on before I jump back in to normal life. I know the points I made earlier seem a little scattered and short, but I could go on for days about all of these thoughts and more! So, my goal was to just explain why I took a bit of a step back and maybe remind you to be grateful for what you have, appreciate the people in your life, and to just always start with kindness!

Photo credit: April Zelenka

Patty + Jayson | Exploring the Northwoods Engagement Session | Copper Falls State Park, WI

Patty + Jayson | Exploring the Northwoods Engagement Session | Copper Falls State Park, WI

One of my favorite things to do is to hike and explore for portrait sessions! When Patty and Jayson asked if I would be willing to have a little adventure I immediately said, "of course!!" Our initial plan was to actually hike out to the ice caves at the Apostle Islands, but unfortunately the weather just did not cooperate and give us an opportunity to do that, but luckily there are still so many gorgeous places to wander and explore! We met at Copper Falls State Park, where I had actually never been, and hiked a couple trails to some really beautiful locations :)

And to make things even better, these two fabulous people brought their adorable pup, Aurora, who really loved the hikes as well. Who doesn't love a dog that looks like a sweet little fox?! Patty and Jayson had actually hiked this park in the summer so it was really neat for them to get to see what it looks like in the winter as well! I could go on and on, but give me a super sweet and adorable couple AND an adventure portrait session and I will pretty much be the happiest photographer, ever!

Erica + Chris | A Fun and Snowy Engagement Session | Delafield, Wisconsin

Erica + Chris | A Fun and Snowy Engagement Session | Delafield, Wisconsin

We waited, and waited, and waited... for snow!! You would think that in Wisconsin that that we always have beautiful snowy winters that looks like a snow globe, right? But that was not the case this winter when we didn't have big snowfalls until February! Luckily though Erica and Chris were patient and it totally paid off! We met in Delafield and had such a great time wandering around Lapham Peak. This was actually my first time at that park and it's definitely somewhere I look forward to going back to! And we got to cross off one other cool first, it was Erica's first time walking on a frozen pond!

A Personal Post | A Fresh New Year Ahead

A Personal Post | A Fresh New Year Ahead

JenDederich.jpg

Whew. I don't know about everyone else, but for me 2017 was a crazy year! It was definitely a year of personal growth, and that in turn means changes for my business. Lessons that I thought I knew and beliefs I thought I had were just reinforced! I know I've said it many times, but I believe it now more than ever, that life is short and experiences with people are what matters! You honestly never know what life is going to throw at you and even though you think you've got everything planned and figured out, something will happen and you've got to adjust and change your course.

I like to think that one of my strengths as a photographer is my calm and easy-going personality and that lends itself perfectly to wedding days and even portrait sessions when the unexpected happens. But I also like to think that helps to attract the kind of people that I want to work with! I have been so blessed to have so many wonderful people that have come in to my life through my business, and I am honestly so grateful for the opportunity to preserve so many important memories for them! I have said numerous times that weddings and portraits should be about creating an experience, that's why I suggest making the extra effort to hike to an epic location or really think about the parts of the wedding day and things that matter the most to the two of you.

As you can see from the collection of images I've put together above I really try to practice what I preach in my life, but have I really done this in my professional life? Well I don't think I'm quite there yet in my professional life, but I'm more at peace with that! One of the new things that I've learned is that it's not always about the end goal, that the journey can be even more important! Haha basically I'm going in to 2018 with a more zen mindset. It's so easy to get caught up in the unfairness and unpredictability of life that I think sometimes we forget to just stop, slow down, and appreciate all that we do have. I'm grateful for my amazing friends and family, a very special guy that makes me feel loved and special, a job that I absolutely LOVE, and good health which allows me to eat all of the pie that I want :) Outside of that, I'm still working on improving and growing my business, but my focus now is about really creating those experiences that I keep talking about!

Lynnea + Brian | A Classy Autumn Wedding at the Edgewater | Madison, WI

Lynnea + Brian | A Classy Autumn Wedding at the Edgewater | Madison, WI

I'm always so honored when a friend asks me to photograph their wedding and with Lynnea I was extra excited because I knew her day would be so gorgeous and just a super fun day all around! Their day was definitely all of that and more :) I think my favorite moment from the day was knowing that as a wedding day gift Brian had planned months in advance and gotten Lynnea another kitten so their little (haha, okay if you've seen him maybe not so little) furbaby, Bandit, could have a friend! When they finally got to talk about it after the ceremony Lynnea was just beaming getting to talk about her new kitten with her now husband! 

VENDORS: Church: Bethel Lutheran Church // Reception: The Edgewater // Second Photographer: Joel Ondercin // Florals: B-Style Floral // Bridesmaids: Bill Levkoff // Groom's Attire: Men's Warehouse // Stationary: Holly Whitlef // Videographer: Simply Love Films // Band: The Company Band