And that's a wrap ! 2015 has come and gone.
So much happened in 2015. It was my 11th (and best) year photographing professionally. I can't believe I took on so many assignments to be honest. To some, I am considered a grandpa or dinosaur in this industry. But I truly love what I do and I have the best couples ever ! THE BEST !
I had a wonderful variety of weddings this year from backyard weddings to the beach to some of the most desired venues in the city. Dominican Republic was definitely the destination of choice for my couples. I was there a record THREE times in the span of 7 months. I'm not complaining. All three were ridiculous ! So many good times, that's for sure. Regardless of the location of the wedding, one thing was consistent across the board — it was a celebration of love. Not the 'show', but true love and what real weddings are about. I even photographed a surprise proposal for a wonderful couple from Dallas to cap off my year !
One of the big wins for me this year was launching my commercial site (finally!). I also saw images of mine published in Vogue Italia ! Ok, that was a big deal for me. Getting published is not a goal of mine. I just want to produce meaningful work for my couples. I shoot from the heart, not for a magazine. But when you get approached to have images used for publication, it's quite exciting and an honor.
On a personal note, 3 of my 4 kids are in school full-time, which I think was the main reason I was able somewhat manage work this year. Come September 2016, I will be free from the daily chains of parenthood as all 4 of them will be in school ! haha If you're a loyal reader, you'll know my youngest is my only daughter, Mila. You can bet I will be enjoying as much time with her over the next nine months. There is something about the father/daughter relationship that cannot be explained. She is so different than my boys and in a way, I have become... *cough*... soft. I melt. I kid you not. Having said that, my availability will be extremely limited this year. I cannot wait for this years weddings though !!!
This year will be a pivotal year for me. I'm reaching another milestone in my life and I have a lot of things planned for myself and for the direction of my business. I had a lot of goals this year that were met, but some that weren't. This year, they will be executed. Health will be of utmost priority this year. Ever since I broke my foot a few years ago, my body hasn't felt the same but with some good gym time, I've definitely gotten stronger and am able to power through. It will be a time for healing and the plan is to take a step back from the demands of weddings to work on some personal projects.
To my couples and families — what can I say. I am completely humbled that you have invited me into your private lives so I can document the most significant day of your lives. Thank you to all my friends, 'friendors', past couples, past guests, random strangers for always thinking of me and recommending me to your loved ones for photography. Referrals are the lifeline of my business and I thank you for placing so much trust in me. THANK YOU !
This year would not have been possible with my team: Kevin F, Chris, Francis, Kevin L, Heidi, James, Bojan. Thank you for your incredible hard work and dedication. I know weekends are precious to you and I thank you for your loyalty. Special thanks to Jessica, who has played a huge role in the web design and visual identity of JW. I'm a bit of a control freak but sometimes you just gotta place trust and let these youngens run with it. Can't forget my hair stylist, Mike P., my amazing RMT, Erika, the best travel agent ever, Beatrice, and Alberto, for making incredible hair products 😛
Lastly, I have to thank the Wong Dynasty and our immediate families for dealing with my insane work schedule. There have been way too many last minute and spontaneous assignments where I just had to pack up and go. I can't thank you enough for accommodating my schedule. I am reminded daily how blessed I am to be doing this for a living especially coming from our very, very humble beginnings. To my kiddies: Ethan, Brandon, Jalen, and Mila, you are my biggest inspirations. Everything I do, I do for you.
Speaking of packing up and go, I'm not going to have much rest over my 'off season'. In a few weeks I'm tentatively off to assignments in San Francisco, Tennessee, Las Vegas, New York, Florida, Hong Kong, Japan, Dominican Republic, and Mexico to start off my first 4 months. Who wants to come ? 🙂
Wishing you all a healthy and joyous 2016 ! I cannot wait to share more wedding stories with you all !
All images and content © 2016 Joee Wong | Photographer