Change is a good thing.
Little do most people know, when I started my business in 2016, I had a different name than Cranberries and Tea Photography - something that we won't speak of, but let's just say, it was a little cheesy and not at all me. But hey, we all grow.
So in 2017 when I felt so much more professional than 2016 me, I renamed my company to Cranberries and Tea Photography - with no good story, no background to it, literally just a list of things I liked slapped together to sound good. Over the course of the next two years I would have a slew of people tell me how cute the name was! How unique it was! What's the story?? And every time it led to a face of slight disappointment when I said there was no story. No reason.
And then the growing pains came.
And suddenly, I began finding things that didn't feel right about the name. It didn't describe my work anymore. It was really long. It was difficult to remember for some people. I went through months when I knew I had to change it again but the though of changing all my business paperwork and website URL's and so many complicated things scared me. But I knew I had to break out of the shell.
This was a hard feeling too, because people were just starting to get familiar with my name. Clients were starting to say how much they loved it. I was on the brink of being made that changing a name felt like a death sentence. But it had to be done.
So for months, I was brainstorming names. I would write a desktop post-it notes of names I liked with variations, and then the next day hate it. It was a rough period of constantly trying to define who I was and what I stood for.
So one day, I hopped over to my website and read through all of the text on the homepage, and asked myself - of the things I say I love and represent, what from this homepage describes it?
And there it was.
A few things stood out, but one in particular was me sharing a memory of something I love about dogs - their unfettered joy when they're doing something they love. And you know what I'm talking about too - the eyes wide open, giant smile, ultra-fast running - a complete disregard for what would be considered "behaved" behavior.
Something that humans so often stop themselves from doing.
But that's what I loved about weddings, right? I loved those moments of mouth wide open laughing, of tear-shed, of joy in dancing even if it's awful. It's the doing what you loved completely, thoroughly, in the moment its happening. It's the unbridled and unchained love of people and experience.
And where did I most commonly find that feeling?
In my little dog, running through piles of leaves, in autumn.
Now, she doesn't do it so much anymore - she grew up to be a "refined" dog, and doesn't freak out as much (but she finds that feeling in other ways). But that feeling, that representation is everything I knew I stood for - and needed to represent in my name.
So I wrote The Autumn Dog Studio on that desktop post-it note - and it stayed for months. So I decided it was here to stay.
And of course, some of the people around me didn't get it - "You're naming your business after your dog?" "What happens when she passes?". But the thing is it's not named after my dog - it's named after that joy. That feeling. That purpose.
It's found in all the images on the home page of this site. It's found in so many of the images that my clients receive from their wedding. It's found in the real and the honest, and not the picture perfect.
And so, The Autumn Dog Studio is here to stay. And it's still in the process of becoming exactly what it's meant to be - but I'm feeling just a little less boxed in, and filled with a little more opportunity.
And with that purpose comes the opportunity to connect with just the right people, for just the right reason. And together we're going to make that magic and do the damn thing and have the best time together.
Here. We. Go.