Important Announcement // A New Chapter

Hello friends,

This little note to you all has been hard to write.

In this season of transition, wrapping my words around all the feelings and giving them to you in a clear & concise way has too often led to pages of backstory or explaining. To try to minimize my own rambles, I’m going to keep this short but invite you to reach out with questions as Caleb and I would love to do a Q&A style instagram and facebook live later this week.

Now it’s finally announcement time:

I am taking a break from professional photography for 2019.

The only weddings or sessions I am booking are for friends and family.

There it is, out in the open. Despite how hard of a decision that was to make and that it took me about six months of praying to make it, I am confident that this transition will be the best thing possible for me and my family.

Why am I “quitting” photography? Here are a few reasons:

  1. I’m married to a youth pastor. Both photography and church ministry are centered around nights and weekends. Because we help each other with our jobs by Caleb second shooting weddings and me helping lead youth, it’s become too many nights & weekends for us to juggle. Too often, we’ll come back from 10-16 hours wedding days Saturday night and need to be ready to rumble on Sunday morning. Which leads into…
  2. My health (emotional, mental, physical) needs more time and attention. This last year, I’ve been navigating a lot of health issues relating to hormonal health (I have PCOS) and struggles with anxiety and depression while grieving my parents’ divorce. Being a small business owner and self-employed photographer is more stressful than it might seem on instagram. 😉 My body needs a lot of care and rest in this time in my life so I’m prioritizing that.
  3. I’m creating space for writing and Well Water Fargo. You may know that a big passion of mine is writing. I specifically love connecting and serving young women, like the brides and seniors I have worked with, to see them equipped and empowered in their daily lives. In addition to this, I love working with women through Well Water Fargo, a ministry I run doing outreach to the local strip club. God has given me opportunities to love and serve women in the sex industry while building up the leaders and volunteers who are on my team. These two things deserve more of my time than I’ve been able to give them. While I’m praying about pursuing other job options when my photography commitments end, most likely I will be focusing on writing and Well Water Fargo so I can build them to a place where they can be sustainable jobs long term.
  4. I’m creating space for others to go after their dreams. Yes, in many senses, running my own photography business was a dream come true. However, it was never my end goal. It was a hobby that turned into a business and was able to support me through college and my first two years of post-grad. Yet through the whole process, I’ve always returned to seeing photography as a means to an end: helping people. It was how I funded my ministries, how I was able to travel and give back to amazing organizations through visual storytelling, and a way to build relationships with amazing people. By me saying no and bowing out of the local wedding and senior photography industry, I’m creating more room for other creatives to thrive in their businesses. My prayer is that those who would have hired me are instead able to invest into other business owners whose big dream is to run an amazing photography business.

 

This combination of reasons had been pointing to an end of this era for a long time. However, this summer confirmed in my heart that it was time to be done. It’s time for new life. New life always requires some death and while it’s not fun, it’s good because of what is to come.

 

To anyone reading this who has ever hired me as your photographer, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’d say it a million times if you’d let me. If we were in person, I’d hug you and make sure you knew how much of an honor it was to be trusted with your stories. I have not always been perfect in running this business and I’m also so thankful for your grace, especially as I’ve navigated the last few years of family crisis and getting married myself. You have made this all possible and I do not regret a moment I spent on you or on your photographs.

 

So what’s next?

First off, I have a full fall of weddings to finish well! When things start to slow down around November, the plan is to focus on writing and Well Water Fargo. On the writing side, I’m hoping to really invest into building community, creating some new resources, and I have a few new projects ready and waiting for some free time. For Well Water Fargo, we are still working on our 501(c)3 nonprofit status and establishing our board of directors. This will be a top priority so that we can fundraise and have structures in place to grow. Speaking of growth, we are praying and training someone in right now to hopefully expand our outreach to Wahpeton, ND. I would also love to spend more time speaking to church, college, and community groups about the work we are doing and how they can get involved. 

 

Beyond that, the Alnes fam has some exciting new things coming up! (Nope, not a baby…) We are both attending a part-time Discipleship School through our church Burning Hearts Fargo. We will be attending classes, reading tons of books (including the whole Bible in a year), and also going on a 2-week missions trip to Thailand this February! Beyond the school, I’m helping Caleb run our youth group and we are officially starting weekly youth nights this fall. There are so many fun and energetic teens in our church that we are excited to continue befriending and mentoring.

 

As you can see, there’s no getting bored in my future. This change really is about needing to solidify my focus and give my whole heart to fewer things rather than dividing it in too many places. I haven’t been able to give anything my best because I’ve been spread too thin.

 

There are new things coming that I am really excited about. Yes, this is a bittersweet decision and I’m really going to miss all the free cake and dance parties. 😉 I’ve made amazing friends through photographing people and I truly hope that this new path opens up just a different kind of friendship with people! The people have truly been the best part of everything I’ve done and my love for people & their stories isn’t going anywhere.

 

Thank you in advance for all the grace and love I know you’ll show me during this transition! Please don’t run away because there’ll be a few less ring shots in your social media feeds. I’m still here and would love to continue to connect.

 

As always, you are so welcomed to drop any questions you might have below in the comments or shoot me an email! I’d love to clear up any confusion or just chat more about decision making, dream chasing, and this whole messy life thing. Caleb and I will be hopping on instagram and facebook live later this week to answer questions and share more about our process!

 

I love you all and thank you again!

 

Much love,

Olivia


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