2020: A Year That Was….

Well, it’s almost over. How was 2020 for you? I can kinda guess I think. For me, looking back at 2020, I’d have to say it was a year that was…..stressful AF when covid hit if I’m gonna be brutally honest, LOL. But we made it through with the busiest season I have ever had in the near 6 years of my business, so that’s a win! In looking back at 2020, it turns out that it wasn’t all that bad. It was actually a great year of learning for me.

Oh and my business turned 5 in April but I totally forgot to celebrate. No worries though as there’s always time for cake. Ha!

Looking Back at 2020 and Celebrating the Good Things

Lots of Learning

I managed to make it to WPPI (a photog’s conference) in Vegas in February with my friend Kate right before life went bonkers. It was a great week of learning and really helped me to see what I do want to do with my business and what needed to be let go.

Somehow I also took a 40 week (yes 40 week!) mentorship with Denise F’ing Birdsong (can we stop and adore her name for a minute?!). She is the queen bee of boudoir photography and I was so lucky to have studied under her. I learned so much and all of it will span way beyond my boudoir work. There was supposed to be an in-person part of the course, so that is still pending and I can’t wait for it to happen.

After that I worked with Wendy Yalom, queen of branding photography. People fly her ALL OVER the world to shoot them, and well, I get it now, even more so. She is not only a talented photographer, she is also just the most radiant, loving human being I met all year. She also wore this heart necklace from Collective Hearts. It filled me with so much joy every zoom call so I had to get one for myself. Everyone comments on it and I love spreading love through zoom with this simple piece of jewellery. I am also now obsessed with all things hearts.

Looking back at 2020 and grateful for many things

I also worked with local business coach Lisa Van Reeuwky who helped me coalesce all of the other learning I did throughout the year to set some big goals and intentions for my business in 2021. Forgive my french but this Sh*t gets me so excited! As a business owner, we try new things (y’all know how much I love the word pivot lol) and we see what we like and what we don’t like and where our strengths are. 2020 has been all about that for me.

Found My Loves

2020 was my fifth year in business doing Personal Branding and my oh my, have I grown since year one! I can honestly say I have tried ALL kinds of photography over this time period and I am SO excited to finally be able to truly focus on the two I love most: Branding & Boudoir.

What do these two genres have in common you might be wondering? Well two things:
-they both focus on showing people their awesomeness and celebrating who they are, and,
-both of these genre’s work to empower people to be unabashedly, authentically themselves, without shame, or judgement.

The transformations that I have seen happen in clients, in both genres, have been incredibly powerful and rewarding for me. More so than any award I have ever won, and I am so excited to continue to grow and service the people I work with, in these areas of photography.

Looking back at 2020 and grateful for many things

Awesome Peeps

I hired Rebecca, a friend of mine, who worked in comms previously, and OMG, I would be so lost without her! She has been my social media/blog fairy godmother and I am so, so grateful for her. Nothing happens alone and you for sure cannot grow doing it all yourself as an entrepreneur. When you find good people, it is a dream come true! (addition from Rebecca: I truly love working with Michele too! So grateful for her friendship and she’s literally the best boss ever!)

Speaking of good people, I have had a great year working with Jenny Ruth, my hair & makeup artist. We work so well together and my clients adore her!

Looking back at 2020 and grateful for many things

Life Lesson

So if I’m to reflect on the past year and identify the biggest lesson learned, I’d have to say this: everything will work out. It’s important to say no, and let go of shit that doesn’t serve you or bring you joy, and when you set intentions, write them down and share them with other like minded folks. Amazing things start to happen – the laws of attraction are a real thing!

Looking back at 2020 and grateful for many things


Thank you to everyone who has been part of my 2020 shenanigans, zoom calls, text chats and of course my amazing frients! The love could be felt through this all, and quite honestly 2020 wasn’t all bad. I launched Mateus Studios in January: yup, right before this pandemic, and well, my 2021 January is booked solid, so something good happened. I am keeping that love and gratitude in my heart and taking it into 2021 with full force.

Looking back at 2020 and grateful for many things

AND, I can’t forget all of my loved ones, friends and family who are not my clients, but my backbone, my support system, and my cheerleaders. Having a small business is a labour of love and I am so lucky to have so many amazing people supporting me through it all.

I’m wishing all of you a lovely holiday season, which I know for many will be tough this year. Always know you are not alone and your feelings are valid. May 2021 bring better days for those whom 2020 was hard for. May it be abundant, and I’m not just talking about money here. I mean joy, love and all things that fill your soul!

Images shared with permission.

Michele Mateus is an award winning Vancouver area Personal Branding Photographer & Portrait Photographer.