Best of 2019

2019 was a crazy year. It started slow with a brutal winter keeping me inside during the beginning of my slow season. I used this time to take continuing education classes via KelbyOne, read, and write my years worth of blog posts. As the snow melted so did the slowness. As spring came I started working with a wide variety of clients ranging from brides and grooms to seniors, models, bands, magazines, and art galleries. The first wedding of the year took me to Centralia, Washington which I used as an excuse for a road trip across the country. I got to work with Chase Engel and The Night Shift who’s first EP is now on streaming services. During summer and fall I ended up beating my personal record for most weddings photographed in one year. 2019 ended up being my most profitable year in business thus far. In November I briefly moved to Florida for a long distance relationship that didn’t work out. I ended up moving back to Clare, Michigan in December 2019 with a newfound appreciation of the family, friends, church, and local communities I had left behind. In 2020 I plan to continue doing photography in central Michigan but will also be looking for a second job. I also plan on working towards several other goals and projects during the new year. Below are my favorite images from 2019.

Jesse and Carly Wedding in Midland, Michigan

I had a great time photographing Jesse and Carly’s beautiful wedding at Memorial Presbyterian in Midland, Michigan. After the ceremony we headed to Gratzi for the reception followed by carriage rides through downtown.

Write a memoir.


I like listening to podcasts. One of my favorites is the Tim Ferriss Show. In one episode I listened to, Ferriss was interviewing Richard Branson. Branson mentioned that every person should write a memoir. I made a note of this. This has stuck with me.

Both of my biological grandfathers died before I was born. I don’t know a lot about them. A memoir from either of them would have been amazing to read.

I have an Irish name because my dad thought we were primarily Irish. My grandpa on his side gave all of his kids, my aunts and uncles, Irish names because he thought they were primarily Irish. I recently got my DNA results back from Ancestry and it turns out I’m about half English/Welch. A third French. A tenth Irish/Scottish. Five percent Norwegian and five percent German.

Writing a memoir. Something to consider for your family.

Why You Can Pay Me In Bitcoin


Here at Ryan Watkins Photography I want to make everything as clear, straightforward, and easy as possible. This is why I put my prices on my website. I have no hidden fees. No minimum orders. You don’t have to meet with me in person to order prints. You can order prints from anywhere and have them shipped to your house. This is also why you can pay me in Bitcoin. I try to make the payment process as easy as possible. Via my invoices people can pay via bank transfer, debit, or credit card. I also accept cash or check. I’ve occasionally had clients pay via paypal or the cash app because they prefered that method, even though it requires a bit more work on my end. Also I’m optimistic about the possibilities of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Feel free to pay for your session using Bitcoin.

Why I Don’t Work On Sundays


As a Christian, and more specifically a confessional Presbyterian and member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I believe that God’s moral law, summarized in the ten commandments, is still binding today. This includes the fourth commandment to honour the sabbath. For this reason I abstain from working on Sundays. Instead I treat the Lord’s day as a day of rest. Using it to worship God corporately and privately. As well as for works of necessity and mercy.  

The Importance of Structure and Systems


One of the best business books I have read is the E-Myth Revisited. In the E-Myth Revisited author Michael Gerber talks about why most businesses fail. Many people assume that if they are good at a technical task they will be good at running a business which does that technical task. This isn’t the case. One must also know how to run a business. One of the keys to running a successful business is making it repeatable and setting internal systems structures for how things get done. Your business should ideally be able to run without you. If the internal systems are followed. Since reading this book I’ve been spending a ton of time working “on my business” as Gerber puts it. I have been developing the internal processes at Ryan Watkins Photography for how I go about doing every task in the business. I am constantly tweaking how I do these processes for maximum efficiency and best client experience. I would highly recommend fellow entrepreneurs check out The E-Myth Revisited.

Phillip and Abby Wedding at the Venue at 501 in Clare, Michigan

I had an amazing time photographing Phillip and Abby’s wedding at the beautiful Venue at 501 in downtown Clare. I’ve never laughed so much during a wedding!

Clayton and Alexis Engagement Session at Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan

I had a great time photographing Clayton and Alexis’ engagement session at Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan. I can’t wait to photograph their wedding next year!

Riley and Katie Wedding in Mattawan, Michigan

I had a great time photographing Riley and Katie’s beautiful wedding in Western Michigan. Here are my favorite images from the wedding.