A couple of weeks ago, I did a post where I logged one of my days, minute by minute. Just being a mom is a lot of work. Trying to juggle running a business full time and taking care of a baby and four furry kids as well is a lot to handle every day and I am running myself down in the process.
Previously, I have felt like I have been failing with the photography business because I wasn’t meeting certain arbitrary goals, or booking as many clients as some other photographers on a regular basis. Then I had a couple of weeks where I met my “goal” number of sessions per week and I realized something…it was way too much for me. Some people may be able to handle shooting that much and that often, but I cannot for so many reasons. The main reason, I was in too much physical pain with my limited mobility to handle shooting that often. Second, I am not a photographer who runs a quick couple of presets on my photos and burns them on a CD. Each image I produce gets hand processed to perfection. When I overwhelm myself with shooting too much, that also means that I will be spending hours upon hours editing photos, which is a lot of time away from my family. At the end of E’s first year, the thing I regret most is how little time we have spent together as a family. It really makes me sad. I am tired of doing the baby transfer once my husband gets home so I can rush into my office and spend hours in there alone. Things are going to be very different around here going forward.
I felt like I kept looking at so many other photographers and thinking wow…if they can shoot so many sessions per week, plus keep up with a blog, homeschool their kids, and grow all of their own veggies, etc. what am I doing wrong that I can’t seem to manage my time better? Then I realized that everyone’s circumstances are totally different, and I am so over trying to work at goals for myself based on what other people are or are not doing. It is a really dumb way to set goals. My husband works long hours most days, and is usually exhausted by the time he gets home. I feel bad that I have put so much stress on him to help me with things when he does get home, and it is time to make things easier on all of us.
I also realized when looking around my office today that while I have spent a lot of time photographing our baby E, I have spent more time photographing other people’s pets than our own in the past year, which makes me feel so sad. Our poor furry kids are often too shaggy and dirty to be photo ready, so they have been left out on many occasions. I am going to work on putting my own family first, and make more of an effort to do the photos that I want to take for our own use…like more of our furry kids each individually, and more of E with his “siblings” (and Instagram pictures do not count). I am going to start putting in bath time/nail clipping/hair cut time for the pets in my calendar and treating it like any other appointment that I have to keep. I have also promised Ed more park/play time and less Mommy working on the computer time. :)
So if you are one of my photo clients and reading this and curious how this may affect you, here is what will be changing. I will be booking less per month, which means some of the session fees have gone up slightly. When I say I am fully booked for a month, it means I am fully booked…whether or not I have days without appointments. Instead of promising that photos will be ready in 1-2 weeks, processing time is going to be extended. Saturdays are premium sessions only, any upgrades to standard sessions come at an additional cost, and Sundays are not available for anyone, ever. We are also thinking about cutting out seasonal mini sessions in the future, but we are undecided on that at the moment. I am really sad that I feel like I was so stressed out and overworked this past holiday season. I am going to make more of an effort to be an emotionally present wife and mother.