looking back on 2020 | year in review

My desk chair actually collected dust. 

My out of office message worked hard for me while I stepped away from the office for almost 3 weeks this holiday season -- and wow, it was so needed. 

But as of this morning, January 4th 2021 at 10:09am, I've got my tush back in my chair, my new mug warmer plugged in on my recently tidied desk and I'm ready to make it happen. 2021, please be good. 

Even though I've got my sights set on the new year, I still want to take some time to go back and visit the events of 2020. Of course it looked very different than we had originally planned, but it was lovely in any case. 

Instead of my usual 18-20 weddings, this year I photographed 10. Of those 10, only TWO were full-day coverage style events (10 hours, starting at prep, ending after the dance-floor.) The others varied anywhere from 6 hours to 2. I'm still on a high from compiling the year in review series with the best wedding photos from the year, and if you haven't seen that yet go right now

And while you're at it, take a min to peek through my favourite engagement sessions from 2020 too!! 

My reduced wedding schedule allowed me to take on a record number of lifestyle sessions. I had a blast reconnecting with some of my favourite past clients to document their growing families. This little collection here warms my heart, but it's just a taste of what's waiting over on the best-of post

Also in photography-related news, what has always been called the "Bridal Guide" got a much needed update this year! I'm making an effort to make my business more inclusive and accessible to all, and it started with a change to how my couples fill out their contact form, and continued with the name change to "Client Guide." 

This guide goes out to all of the couples I meet with to plan their wedding photography packages, and it's one of my favourite creative pieces to work on during the off season!

Moving on to some real-life 2020 recap moments, let's start with the kids being off school for 2 weeks after March Break! (And then... never going back for the rest of the year and Summer camp being cancelled and oooooooh my goodness I have PTSD, don't send me back.)

I'm kidding (kinda) -- it was fine. We managed. But we had to get pretty creative to make the workdays bearable for our two little ones (Cooper is 6 and Jilly is 5) since Ry and I we were still working full time at home. 

We made a calendar every month and thought of a theme we could bring to each day. Movie night with popcorn, park visits, learning letters, baking banana bread... 

We also did a LOT of arts and crafts. That's my wheelhouse as a parent so I was happy to colour and paint during our little breaks in the day! In case it looks a little "too sunny" here, it was hard. It really was. But there was also a lot of joy sprinkled in. 

My crafty little one... 

I decided to grow out my blonde this year to discover my natural hair colour, and Ry grew out a quarantine beard like a meme-Dad. I was into it, but it's long gone now that he is back to going into the office and taking video calls... 

I can't even describe the elation of being told that school was coming back. Coop & Jilly were SO excited to go back! SK and Grade 1 have been amazing for them and we are really grateful for the incredible staff at their school. 

Anyone else pick up a quarantine hobby? I sure did! In the first week of break I ordered the supplies to learn how to do watercolour painting at home! I took youtube tutorials and even got a couple of my girlfriends into it. 

In the beginning I was going through watercolour pads on a bi-weekly basis, but now I've slowed down. I still find time to paint twice a month or so and I love it. It's really such a gift for a creative mind to have an outlet that doesn't need to be monetized or shared publicly -- this is just for me. 

I'm realizing in real time that we are the most basic and stereotypical quarantine family... Growing out mustaches, baking sourdough, doing arts and crafts, picking up a new hobby, and RENOVATING OUR KITCHEN. Lol, who else picked a room in their house this year and made a transformation??

A reminder of the before (December 2017) from when we moved in:

We are so happy with how the kitchen looks after getting cabinet refacing, ordering new countertops, installing black hardware, and putting in the two-toned backsplash (we did it ourselves and it was so fun!!)

Check out the after:

On a personal note, quarantine was made more fun by having themed Zoom nights for the first couple months. I can't believe I'm showing you this, but here we are -- Spice Girls, emo vibes, boys night, and dress-like-each-other lol. Brittany Smyth is working the high pony and head tilt as me... 

By the way, we still get together on Zoom but now we've moved on to trivia nights and cocktail making parties from home.

Now, it's no secret to the blog that I also have a podcast where I share tips and motivation for small business owners, while also sprinkling in content for anyone and everyone about life, marriage, friendships, mindset, and confidence. 

You Might Not Like It hit it's 100th episode this year! (And now we're sitting at 132 eps, with the next one dropping later today.) 

Since I love documenting the growth and seeing the real numbers every year, here are a few stats for ya: 

Currently 90,000 downloads
Top Listened: Episode 01 - An Unusual Introduction
Most Shared: Episode 51 - Feel Free to Unsubscribe with Becca from The Happy Ever Crafter
Most Downloads On Release - Episode 56 - How to Break Up With Your BFF

My second business, Laura Kelly Co., experienced some major growth with year, especially since I had more time to dedicate to it with the slower wedding season! 

I learned SO much in 2020 and put myself and my work out there in totally new and uncomfortable ways. I taught dozens of free trainings, workshops, and webinars in my scrappy set-up in my bedroom (remember, the kids were downstairs during it all!)

All of that work culminated in the creation of my first online course, SPIT IT OUT: Efficient Writing That Sells, which helps small business owners learn the tools to write powerful website copy, engaging social media captions, and compelling email templates to make their lives easier.

I launched SPIT IT OUT twice in 2020, and had the INCREDIBLE opportunity to collaborate with two local friends, Gemma Bonham-Carter and Mallow Rowan to form The Digital Entrepreneur's Cash Kit where we bundled up our three flagship programs to offer at one discounted price for Black Friday. 

I learned so much during the launch and it was a smash hit. 

I feel very lucky to have been a speaker at both Gem Conference events in 2020! At the Gem Conference 2.0 event at the end of September I got the chance to do a live podcast recording with Jenna Rae Cakes -- super cool. 

Photography friends, I am so happy you're here. In 2021 I'll be celebrating TEN YEARS as a photographer and this blog holds so many parts of the story. From the early sessions where I was learning how to shoot in real time, to the personal updates, the year in review posts, the style changes, and everything in between. 

I hope you're connected with me on instagram on my personal account @laurakelly.co and my photography portfolio @laurakellyweddings. I plan on dropping some killer content for you over the next month, so make sure we're connected!

2021, I've got big things in store for you!! xo


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