June 25, 2019
At the beginning of the year I filled my dream board with the things I wanted to accomplish this year. Oh boy, and now I’m crying as I type this…
On that board were three main things:
When Nick and I moved here in August of 2013, we were 22 years old. I didn’t know anyone. But on the one month mark of us moving here, I got my first business phone call. I remember crying tears of joy as I packed up a table to set-up at the Mamaroneck Shares Street Fair, with a little bit of confidence under my belt as I was already getting bites. I contacted every mom’s Facebook group page I could find, I approached strangers at restaurants while Nick cringed at our table, I slipped business cards into diaper boxes down the baby aisle at Target…I was ready to do whatever it took to get my name out and build a business here in Westchester.
Now almost six years later, I can say I’m really proud of myself. I’ve worked really hard for this. Multiple shoots almost every weekend, opting for low-key Friday nights to get up early the next morning for work, playing with your kids, falling down on purpose to make them laugh, hours of editing, and mastering the ultimate swaddle. I’ve dedicated myself to getting my name into your homes and building an honorable reputation. This feels like a promotion, a validation, and I could not be more thankful for the recognition to be named “Westchester’s 2019 Best Family Photographer.”
At the end of April, I came home from a packed day of three shoots. I had baby throw up on me and a flower behind my ear from a little girl who picked it for me and then insisted I wear it. I pulled my car into the driveway and saw a sign sitting in front of my door. It said “Darrah Shea Photography, 2019 Best of Westchester Winner!”. I thought Nick was being really sweet and trying to give me a pat on the back of sorts after a long day of work. But when I walked closer to the door I saw him with his phone up filming me. The letter came in and he had opened it before I got home. We barely had any time to celebrate as I left the next morning for Florida to celebrate my mom’s birthday. But ever since then, I feel like I’ve been celebrating every day.
More than anything, I want to say thank you and express how much this means to me. To those of you who voted for me and to the people who believed in me from day one, this is all because of you. I started this business in my hometown, which gave me a head start in finding people who would let me take their picture. And then we came to New York and I had to find an entirely new support system of clients from scratch. I never would have imagined that I would have found the clients I have today. I’m so grateful to you all for sharing my name and booking shoots with me year after year.
Here’s to having that dream board checked off and to an exciting remainder of 2019 ahead. I’ll see you all at this year’s Best of Westchester party with my own booth! Let’s do this!
Darrah Shea Arnheim
follow along @DARRAHSHEAPHOTOGRAPHY