If you’ve been anywhere around my social media the past couple of days then you’ve heard that Saturday was Cassady K Photography’s 10 year anniversary! I originally wasn’t going to put together a 10 year anniversary blog post – the social media and my 1 hour session giveaway was enough. But I looked back and read my 5 year anniversary and saw that I didn’t go over board and thought I could easily do a recap of the past 5 years. So if you’d like to read about the first 5 years go to this blog post.
Have you heard of the #10YearChallenge? It’s on social media where you post pictures that are 10 years apart. So that’s what I’m doing for this blog post, the images are ROUGHLY 10 years apart. And I’m not “tooting my own horn” but I am pretty proud of how similar my editing styles are. I did not edit any of the images for this post, just the ones for my 10 year shoot. Now when it comes to quality and consistency that’s a little different. But I was also editing all my images one by one in Photoshop back then where now I use Lightroom and copy and paste a setting on multiple images at once.
As I re-read my 5 year anniversary blog post I was proud of everything I had done and figured out to get to that point. But I did want to add some bts info that I didn’t feel like I could share then so I felt like I needed to be bubbly and positive. (Part of this was because I was trying to build my business & part of it was because of the hustle culture even though I wanted to be a part of that, my body was forcing me into early burnout.) I was struggling! It was hard moving away from my family and I felt out of place. Thankfully, I can honestly say Ben and our marriage has always been safe and easy. I was also dealing with constant migraines that would leave me laying on the couch ALL DAY long. (I had to track them to get Botox for them and I had 25 migraine days in a month.) And then the constant neck pain started, literally out of no where. I saw so many doctors, had so many procedures, so many needles, so much physical therapy to keep me where I could just manage the pain. And then I had a herniated disc replacement surgery where they moved my throat, put in a titanium disc, and then moved my throat back and closed. Needless to say I was making it look good back then, but behind the scenes I was scrambling to make it through each day and to each event.
So now I’m going to be a little more honest about the next 5 years that brings us to today 🙂
When I posted that blog post on June 13, 2018 everything was going well with my mental health. I had anxiety, but I had took medicine since college that helped. I would get nervous before each wedding, but then I would kick into (what Ben called) my “photographer mode”. I honestly feel like I could move mountains when I’m in “photographer mode”. I know it’s an adrenaline rush, it’s from God, and it makes me feel like I am doing what I was born to do.
The time before a wedding where I would get nervous started getting longer and longer and then it started getting worse. I had a wedding in July 2018 that was very hard for me to get to. And then I had a second shooting date and I woke up that morning in a complete panic, rocking back and forth, and I couldn’t even communicate to Ben. He had to call the photographer and cancel for me, but I didn’t get better and Ben had to take me to the hospital for a panic attack. I don’t want to give all the little details because there are a lot, but basically my medicine of 10 years had stopped working. It’s a common occurrence. I went to a psychiatrist that put me on medication after medication, all during wedding season, because either they didn’t work or I was susceptible to the side effects. My anxiety attacks got more frequent and worse, like seizures. I would thrash around and I couldn’t communicate, but I was aware of it all the whole time.
The next wedding season, 2019, it was so bad I had to let my couples know what was going on and I had to hire a third photographer for all my weddings in case I couldn’t make it to a wedding. There was only 1 wedding where I was in the ER the day before and it wasn’t looking good. Those “seizures” and the medicine I would get at the hospital wore me out, not to mention how it would worsen my neck pain. But I woke up that wedding day energized and ready to go!
I didn’t book much for 2020 because I had a new psychiatrist/neurologist that was a specialist in psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (What I had finally been diagnosed with.) and I was going through therapy and medicine changes. Plus in the very first of the year I had to have a second herniated disc replacement with a titanium one. The two are right in a row. My surgeon said he’s never had to do a third so I’m praying that’s true. I had my first wedding of the year on Leap Day and the next week the world shut down thanks to Covid. I feel bad saying it, but it kind of worked out for me.
I feel like I don’t even remember the beginning of 2021. I built my confidence back up with what I could mentally and physically handle. Not to mention the world was building their confidence back up with what was Covid-safe. And then in August we officially moved back to Pennsylvania. I’m from Pittsburgh, in Western PA. We moved to be near Ben’s family and where he has more possibilities of jobs in Eastern PA, north of Philadelphia. We began looking for a house in July since we had said when we moved to NY that when we moved back to PA that we’d buy a house.
A lot of my business stuff is still listed in NY, which means I get most of my inquiries from NY, which meant I booked most of my jobs in NY in 2022. (Oh darn, that meant we had to visit friends!) Each wedding and session was a test for me and it went well last year. Also my neck pain magically went away in 2022. I stopped going to physical therapy. I still get some shots, stretch my neck, and use heating pads a lot, but it’s not the constant/chronic pain.
For 2023 there are some medicine changes to be made, but I feel like I continue to improve. Ben comes with me to every wedding and session as my assistant, but I have really come a far way with my anxiety, the medication and therapy. I know what are possible triggers for my anxiety and ways to cope or plan ahead. I hope that as I book more wedding that are closer to us in PA that he can start coming less and less. I love him and I love having him with me on a wedding day, but I don’t want him to work 2 jobs. My goals for this year is a secret project I’m going to release soon (Yay!) and just to really continue relocating the bulk of CKP to Pennsylvania. Don’t get me wrong, I still love photographing in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey!
I am honored to have a female-owned, business that is celebrating its 10 year anniversary! But this business does not run clearly just because of me. I know that God has given me CKP to use to further His kingdom. Ben has also been my biggest supporter and encourager. I am also so thankful to my family and friends and all their support. And there are so many of you who have trusted me with your precious memories and capturing them. Thank you everyone!
This function has been disabled for Wedding Photographers NYC | Cassady K Photography Blog.