What I did right this year and what I did wrong – 2019 in my rearview

portrait photographer in Lawrence Kansas, best photographer Lawrence Kansas, Olathe ks, Overland Park ks, Topeka ks, fresh 48 photography, brave
portrait photographer in Lawrence Kansas, best photographer Lawrence Kansas, Olathe ks, Overland Park ks, Topeka ks, fresh 48 photography, brave
What is my word heading into 2020?

Is it too soon to say – Hindsight is 2020?… haha lol I kid!

Last year I wrote a blog post around this time of year called “What I did right this year and What I did wrong.”

Looking back a year later — I still really like the way I framed my end-of-year round up so I’m gonna do the same this year. But this year I’ll frame it more like a battlefield analogy because that’s that’s the story I play in my head when I think about my job. It’s like going onto a battlefield. And that sounds super heavy, and that’s not what I mean.
What I mean is, creating art is a creative and emotional battle. And then when you add in clients and their wants and needs and expectations and your goals to deliver on those things and then back to … the process of creating art. It becomes very much this battle that you wage daily and try and win at! So I mean to say — I love this battlefield and I love getting out there and following my dreams and creating gorgeous portraits for my families to keep and cherish.

Birth Stories book by Kayla Kohn


Birth Stories Book

Birth Story Book
My greatest accomplishment this year was completing my birth story book. This sounds super fancy and like I published a book. But there is no other way in describing what I made, which officially was a book. But I handmade it. I did not upload it into any layout or system and then add text and words. No, I used photoshop and hand designed pages, exported page files, etc. I changed colors from RGB to CMYK.. and created PDFs… which sounds simple but is quite time consuming. And that is not even factoring in that this book included 20 handwritten stories by the mothers of 20 of my newborn sessions. I am so grateful that this mother’s took the time to write out their birth stories for me so I could gather them together and put them in a book. I could go on and on and on about this book, the leg work, the editing, the formatting, the emailing, the entire process….. but in the end what’s really left to be said is that I learned a lot. Oh, my gosh did I learn a lot. And I feel 200 times farther ahead on even the smallest notion of actually publishing a book — which is my biggest goal for 2020 and one I plan on accomplishing very shortly.
The mothers met with me in the fall, most of them and I got to hand deliver these books to my clients. It was a wonderful occasion, definitely went in the old hand written journal of my journey in life. It is my proudest moment as a photographer, and maybe it doesn’t sound like anything to you but to me it was epic.

Unraveled Academy Teaching Lesson

In 2018 I was accepted as an Unraveled Expert Artist. The Unraveled Academy is a online community of trending photography styles and I submitted my work and was excepted in their ranks as their elite photographers. That was my greatest victory of 2018. In March of this year, 2019, I was emailed by the academy and asked if I could write a lesson for them. I was in shock when I got that email. “I’m sorry, what?! You’re asking if I can “teach” a lesson? — to other photographers??” Yeah it felt huge. I have only been photographing families and newborns professionally for two years but I put myself out there with what I had already learned and it paid off. So, I finished writing my lesson and delivered it by it’s deadline of November 1st, and it’s set to be live on the Unraveled Academy’s site in February of this year! Yay! It’s called, “The Newborn Experience: Fresh 48 and Lifestyle Newborn Sessions with Kayla Kohn” HOW FREAKIN RAD IS THAT?!

First Ever Mini-Session Day

I hosted my first mini-session day ever this past Fall, and it taught me more than I knew I was going to learn. Not about working with a ton of families, but more that when push comes to shove and you have limited amounts of time, like — what’s the most important thing. And when I was under that mindset, it was easier to laser focus and get the most out of our time together, which later influenced my other sessions. I learned how to focus on getting what I knew I wanted to capture to make it what I felt like was a successful session. I plan on offer a few days in November next year for “Fall minis.” I am really excited actually, I used to be afraid of these and now I’m excited.

Spring Cover – Baldwin City Living Magazine

Not only did I get the Baldwin City Living Magazine cover for the Spring 2019 edition, but I did it with my child on the cover. And it was my third cover in a ROW! Yay! I was so thrilled!

In Other News

I got sent in my camera and lenses to Canon directly and actually had a repair done under warrenty. At the end of last year I was b**ching and complaining about my gear having issues and I fully blamed my Sigma Art lens on my focusing issues. BUT actually — It WAS my camera. Literally Canon came back with “Your Autofocusing unit was out of position.” Meaning my entire focusing ability was out of position. And I grumbled and complained hard at the end of last year in photography groups about my focusing issues before I got it fixed and realized what was wrong. In the end I did upgrade my lens to the Canon L series 35 and I sold my Sigma. I look back at my images with my Sigma, and I gotta say, they beat the Canon and bokeh but I like the reliability of my Canon lens more. #andthatsthehonesttruth


I didn’t get as many bookings as I would have liked. I have targeted areas in my business I need to improve on for the next year. I am working on some new marketing ideas and I am planning on some new revenue streams to make up for the lower cost of my sessions vs what my market area wants and expects to pay for sessions.
I feel like I live in a whirlpool that actually spins me around and around and I’m constantly working on this and that and this and that and I never like finish anything. And that’s my disorganized brain perhaps and my type B personality. I don’t hate it, it just really sucks not being a naturally organized person. I seriously don’t even like the idea of “planning” — I put more energy into resisting planning. It’s just who I am, but I am trying to change.

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