firefly photography

The blog

March 29, 2021

Endings and beginnings / Saying goodbye to our Studio Manager

By : Autumn Bridgers / Studio Manager


In the summer of 2019, Leah posted about a part-time position as Studio Manager for her photography business. I had followed Leah’s work for a few years, always admiring the moments she was able to capture with such rich emotion. We also were familiar with one another as we attended the same church for a while. With a pretty intensive background in administration and a heart for photography, I applied without hesitation. It was 100% a gut decision, as most of my enneagram 9 decisions are.
After a few interviews, I was head-first into a job that I dearly loved and was humbled to be a part of
Fast forward to 2021 and my husband had begun some conversations with architecture firms in Colorado. When we were dating, he asked me “would you ever move to Colorado?” Of course, wanting to be a cool adventurous girlfriend, I said “yes”. Well, as job opportunities began to open this past February, my coolness was definitely hard to muster up! In all honesty, we both had a wide spectrum of emotion as we envisioned Aaron’s dream to be out west and closer to family start to become a reality. Both of us were feeling “not so cool” about adventure and leaving our sweet home in Charlottesville.
However, through prayer, an incredible amount of discernment practices, and encouragement from friends, we eagerly decided to accept a position in Aspen, Colorado.
Aaron and I will be moving to Aspen, Colorado late this summer.
I always think of life as holding both grief and joy in each hand. My position here at Firefly Photography can be described in one word: joyful. And naturally, there is a lot of grief leaving the community we have formed here in Charlottesville, VA through work, church, and more.
This we know, is a blessing.
Leah has blown me away as a boss. Her humility, creativity, and leadership has encouraged me to grow in many areas of my life. Our team dynamic is honest, encouraging, and fun. We work well together, which is not taken for granted, and I think we both know that our teamwork is something special.
To the families of Firefly Photography
You all have so lovingly welcomed me on since day one.
When your inquiries hit my inbox, we become instant friends whether you know it or not.
I truly feel like your cheerleader as you seek to create memories with your family through photos. Every family is so unique and it has been an honor to hear your stories. The year of 2020 will forever be a memorable one. Yes, it was hard. But families were still reaching out with more passion than ever to capture memories. In our book, that is the greatest win. It has been a delight to be a part of documenting a moment in time that will create legacy for your family.
A couple of logistics to note
My last day will be April 16th. We’ve been working diligently over the past month to make it a smooth transition so nothing falls through the cracks for you. Even though I will be saying goodbye to my role as a studio manager and associate photographer, I am excited to still have a hand in Firefly and get to share in these moments with you from afar by collaborating as a contracted editor! I have a few small business petit sessions on the calendar to shoot, but will not be photographing any more small businesses here in Charlottesville as an associate after that date
Autumn.bts-5.jpgWhat’s next
Although exiting at Firefly Photography is not easy, Leah has equipped me in more ways than one to chase after some of my personal desires.
As my husband begins his position in Colorado, I will be working to build my business as a photographer in the Roaring Fork Valley area and a private photo editor.
I have an itch for entrepreneurship and my dreams for what that has looked like has shaped and adjusted over the years. Because of my experience at Firefly, I feel equipped to tackle this endeavor.
If you haven’t already, you can follow me on instagram @autumnbrookebridgers to stay up to date with this transition.
Endings are always hard. So, I will leave you with this quote from one of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen:
“Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking”.
With love,
Autumn2020teamphotos-0075.jpgA note from Leah:
I am so incredibly proud of Autumn and Aaron for saying ‘yes’ to something scary but spoken on their hearts. Of course, when Autumn first came to me to talk through their thoughts and what was on the horizon for them, I was heartbroken because she’s not only become an incredible asset to me and our Firefly families, but a teammate, friend, and trusted peer as well.
What I felt even more, though, was the overwhelming sense of peace that she is moving in the direction of her calling for what’s next in her career, her family, and her dreams.
When I started Firefly Photography, I always knew I wanted it to be bigger than me. As I was creating the job description back in 2019 I remember telling my husband… “I really want someone like Autumn; she would really be so good for this.” God was smiling because he clearly put it on both of our hearts, and there was no more perfect fit that what she brought to the table.
While she started out with the little tasks like packaging prints and sending out booking proposals, she’s grown her role into more than a studio manager, but editor, designer, and associate photographer as well through trust and dedication to our mission.
We have been through SO much together in these two years
When she joined, I had just found out I was pregnant with my son, so she trained through my first trimester and helped me carry my busiest fall season ever during my third trimester.
She held up and cared for the business logistics while I was on maternity leave, and she made room for endless grace, space, creativity, and dedication through the difficulties of 2020.
This meant trying brand new things like zoom meetings and software solutions…it meant putting a hold on some of the fun aspects of teamwork like working together in person and coffee dates.
It meant being flexible about our meetings revolving around the start and stop times of unpredictable nap schedules.
It even meant watching my kids so I could go to weekday sessions when we were without childcare due to the pandemic.
None of that was in the job description — but she always rose to the task.
I consider it one of the greatest, most humbling joys of my life (literally not exaggerating) that we traveled the road we did and she is able to walk forward with a stepping stone towards the success of her personal dreams, while falling even more in love with photography, people, business, and how to join them all together. I have certainly learned just as much from her if not more than I was able to give.
Change is never easy, but if we didn’t have winters, we’d never have springs.
God has incredible plans for Autumn and Aaron and I will be praying for, cheering for, and celebrating them on through every step.