To be completely honest, I’ve been putting this post off for awhile now. But the time has come where I can no longer pretend that this isn’t happening, that this doesn’t need to happen. I also feel like I owe an explanation to families, births, and seniors I’ve recently photographed, and then not blogged, or families who have reached out to me in hopes of doing a family session with me. So, I’ll just come out and say this: It is with both a great deal of excitement and also a small twinge of sadness that I make the biggest announcement of my photography career thus far:
I have made the decision to specialize in and only shoot engagements, weddings, and anniversary sessions. Thus, I am no longer photographing families, seniors, or birth sessions. For those who have sessions booked with me from now until October, don’t worry – I’m still honoring and very much looking forward to shooting your session. However, please know that I will not be blogging these sessions so as to more fully begin the transition in my online presence. What I will be doing with my family sessions is asking the parents to take 15 minutes throughout their session to allow me to capture just the two of them on film! That way I can still practice my film technique, as well as posing for my anniversary sessions!
In the past few years of running this business, I’ve had many people offer the advice to specialize. I was never ready to do that, as I really do love the variety of shooting different types of sessions. I feel like shooting a birth one week helps keep me on my feet and my journalistic eye keen to better serve my wedding clients. I like that I learn things from shooting a family with young children that later helps me to appreciate a parent’s love for their soon-to-be-graduating senior. But if you’ve read my mission statement for my business, then you and I both know we really should have seen this coming – my mission statement is centered on protecting the eternal nature of marriage. And while, yes, eternal marriages typically do include births, families, and eventually a high school senior graduating, that is clearly not where my heart truly lies.
….but, really, I did not see this coming until I was sobbing in the front seat of my car late at night, not having talked to my husband for the last 2 1/2 days straight. I did not see this coming until I felt like my marriage, and therefore, my life, was falling apart. I did not see this coming until I heard the Lord tell me, “You’re saying things with your mouth but you’re not putting them into action. What are you willing to do to put your family first?”
In my business and my online presence, I was claiming that God, my marriage, and my children come first. I was saying those words with my mouth and typing them on my blog but do you know what was really happening?
I was keeping my business account separate from our family expenses, and I was getting selfish with my income. If I wanted to buy something, I would calculate how many sessions it would take to earn enough money for it, and then I booked away – all without consulting with my husband first.
I was sacrificing more time with my kids to edit, shoot, and run a business than I knew in my heart I should be.
I was booking sessions instead of booking dates with Adam.
We were running parallel lives that only intersected to trade off the kids.
I don’t take full credit for that three-day-long fight that shifted everything. I know there are two (imperfect) people in a marriage, and that Adam brought his own set of issues to the table. But this is not his platform and therefore I will not discuss nor blame him on here – I will only bring forward my side, for I feel that is the only fair way to be honest on this blog.
At the end of the week Where Everything Fell Apart, at the end of our silent treatment, I knew in my heart what I had to do. I knew I had to cut back, quit trying to “do it all.” This business model is no longer working for me – and it had become apparent in every aspect of my life.
And so, doing this will better serve my family. Rather than keeping up with the emails, questionnaires, locations, time of day, and various times spent on editing for every different type of session I was accepting, I will only have to keep track of one type of client. I’m hoping this will help keep my brain from feeling like it is SPLIT IN SEVENTY DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.
Births are especially draining on myself and my family – it means being away from home for 24 hours at a time with little to no notice at all. This is just not the season of life for me to be doing that!
This will give me a more defined busy season and off-season. And since weddings are generally booked much farther in advanced, it will give me a good idea of what my schedule will look like far in the future. This will help both Adam and I to get on the same page with schedules, vacations, dates, and babysitters. I have also promised to check with Adam before accepting any new wedding or client – something I had previously been lacking in.
Doing this will better serve my clients. Again, because I will only have one type of client to keep track of, I can set up a better flow and work system for keeping in touch with my clients, treating them and serving them. Because I will hopefully feel less overwhelmed, I will have more energy and desire to give them the type of treatment they need and deserve.
Doing this will better serve myself. If I’m feeling less stressed, less stretched out, less guilty …. If I’m feeling like a better wife, a better mom, a better photographer….well, then I’m going to be happier. And ultimately, that’s the goal in this life and in this business: to better serve those around me, bring them closer in their marriages and closer to Christ.
So, as of right now, I’m no longer accepting any more family, birth, or senior sessions. If you know anyone in need of a wedding photographer, or would like to get anniversary photos taken with their love, please send them my way. Over the next 6 months you’ll begin to see changes to my blog and website, and perhaps you’ve already notice a lack of blogging and posting my family sessions. A part of me will always miss shooting my families and especially my births, but I’ve come to accept the seasons of life. Right now, I’m in the season of weddings – and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!