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Wrapping Up 2019

What a year it has been! From officially starting my business, to traveling and continuing to conquer my MBA, I feel like superwoman when I look back on everything I have accomplished.

I officially started my business in February this year. On my birthday to be exact. I registered Shannon Castaneda Photography LLC with the state of Florida on February 11, 2019. I am so happy I took a leap of faith in following two of my deepest passions in life: horses and photography.

Horses have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom tells stories about me as an infant riding in her backpack while she cleaned stalls. I started riding as soon as I was physically able and never turned back. I picked up the camera and fell in love with capturing beauty when I was 12 years old. I got my first Sony cybershop camera for Christmas and it wasn't long before I became the official barn photographer.

As we are approaching the end of 2019 I am feeling extra thankful for the accomplishments I have made with my business this year. From learning to shoot in manual to growing my social media and getting better at editing; I am proud and excited about where I am at entering the new decade. I joined a bunch of equine photography Facebook groups, read articles, watched youtube videos, and tried to network as much as I could to help me learn more about becoming a successful equine photographer. Looking back at my photos I believe I have come a long way! What do you think?!

I am super excited for 2020! This will be my first full year running an equine photography business. I learned so much this year and am ready to take on new challenges next year to help me learn and grow more! At the end of the year it is important to set goals for the upcoming year and here are a few of mine for the business:

-Continue to grow my social media following by increasing the creativity of my posts and trying to become more consistent with my posting all together. I tend to take breaks for a few weeks when I get too busy or don't have content ready.

-Create an official welcome package document that I can send out to new and potential clients. I want it to include an about me section to tell them who I am, why I do what I do, and what to expect from a session with me. I also want it to have a break down of my packages and pricing.

-Do a mentor session with one of the photographers I look up to such as Sara Shier. I missed her Black Friday sale but am going to keep an eye out for a sale next year.

-Becoming an official photographer at a smaller hunter/jumper show. Taking photos of horses jumping is my absolute favorite.

-Growing my reach in Colorado. I visit frequently to visit family and friends and would love to change up the backdrop of my photos to include mountains! My husband, Antonio and I see ourselves moving to Colorado one day so it would be awesome to start networking out there.

-Introduce another focus of my photography company. Continue reading to learn about this addition!

Outside working full time at Wells Fargo and running my equine photography business I also made time to continue working on my MBA and travel around the U.S.

I am officially 3 classes away from earning my Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in e-business. I will most likely finish up at the end of next year. I just enrolled for digital marketing analytics in spring 2020. I was most excited to take this elective when signing up for the MBA program. It took the University of North Florida 3 years to find a professor to teach this class I am excited I finally get to take it next semester!

Throughout the year I took quite a few awesome trips! Antonio came with me on a work trip to Vegas in February and we extended it a few extra nights to enjoy the city outside work. In April we went down to Miami Beach with my horse girls for the Longines Global Championship Tour. I was able to capture some amazing photos of so many incredibly talented horses and riders!! May was extra fun because I was able to go on two adventures. Antonio and I went to Atlanta with a few friends for Shaky Beats Music Festival and then at the end of the month I went on a girls trip to North Carolina. At the end of July I took a trip out to Colorado to visit family. My Papaw went to an assisted living facility in spring this year. It was a really emotional trip but I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with him. The big trip of the year was in October. Antonio and I did a road trip around northern California and then stopped in Colorado on the way back for a wedding. The road trip started in San Francisco and continued to Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Big Sur, and then back to San Francisco. Some of the highlights are pictured here:

This trip was absolutely incredible! It is hard to say which place was my favorite. It was my first time coming home from a trip and saying I could take that exact trip over and over again and it never get old. It was also my first adventure with a major focus on capturing landscape masterpieces that can be used to start the travel side to my photography company. I am going to be expanding my business in 2020 by offering landscape artwork from the trips I take as well as starting a second blog to talk about my experiences and offer itineraries to fellow travelers. I will be releasing more information on this after the new year :)

I really enjoyed the last few hours crafting this blog post. I loved taking the time to reflect on 2019 and plan for 2020. Antonio and I will be spending the holidays in Colorado this year. I am excited for a white Christmas, family time, amazing food, and lots of fun! I hope everyone has an amazing holiday and a Happy New Year!!


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