I looked at the calendar this morning to figure out how many days we have until we move next month (nothing serious, just another apartment on the other side of town), and I realized that I made it a month as a full time photographer without going completely broke, or bursting into flames. I had double check the date because I really couldn’t believe that yesterday marked one month since I left my full time job. Where did all that time GO??
So far it has been very scary, but so worth it. As much as I worry about money and whether or not I will meet my booking quota for next year, I’m also loving having the time to put into my work…my real work! I’m also realizing that I don’t have as much free time for work as I thought I would. It seems like there will always be more things I can work on or do…even though July has been slow photography wise, I haven’t slowed down in my office!
Another unexpected thing has been dealing with my own guilt that I should be out there working a “real” job and making more money than I currently am. I’ve struggled with this feeling a lot since I left my full time job and would even get defensive if John asked me something as simple as was I going to be taking a break anytime soon. I guess I’ve always felt like a job isn’t really a job unless you hate it, so getting up every day and truly enjoying work is kind of foreign. It has taken some time and some pep talk for me to remind myself that my job is very real, I work hard, and I shouldn’t feel like I don’t.
Over the past month, the very worst part of self employment has been all the self inflicted worries and stress. If I had more faith in myself and my business, this part might not be so bad. I’m working on it….but it’s a struggle for me because I’m a class A worrier. Seriously…I worry about the most random and ridiculous things along with actual, serious worries. I feel like I do it to myself, but I don’t know how to be any other way! Maybe I need yoga. Or wine. Or both 😉 Seriously though…this has been the most negative thing about self employment. I guess the other thing that people don’t seem to talk about much is the money. Maybe they don’t talk about it because they have way more than me and it’s not a struggle? I don’t know. But I am much, MUCH more conscious of where our money is going now that I don’t have that second income every month. We are eating out way less (we used to eat out pretty much all weekend…it was BAD), and I’m doing my best to avoid impulse purchases at Target. Being honest about where our money is going has been a rough ride for us, but it was something that we needed to do anyway. So I wouldn’t necessarily even call that part a negative, but it’s definitely an adjustment. My friend Ashley told me there would be adjustments with how we lived and I kind of just thought eh okay I guess so…but she was right. And every time I try to complain to myself about how much I wish I was going out for dinner and drinks instead of making my own pizza at home, I remind myself how lucky I am to be living my dream.
Thought I’d save the best for last….the best part of being self employed has been the flexibility. I know some people have written that they struggle with this…that they need structure. I guess I have a semi structured day (I wake up, get to my desk, work til my husband gets home, keep the tv off), but I also have given myself free reign to change that and do something fun for me if I feel like it. I feel like that’s the benefit of working from home. For example, today I have a to do list of work that I need to get done before noon, then I have a date with my sister who’s in town for the week. I love being able to spend time with my family or friends more because I’m available more. I like being able to meet a friend who has a busy schedule for lunch or meet new potential clients on a weekday afternoon because I can. I couldn’t do very much when I still worked my full time job, but now I’m getting a little bit of my life back and it’s so amazing it really makes up for all the awful moments when I’m worrying about our budget at midnight in front of a notepad full of scribbles.
So far I have loved being a full time photographer and I’m so glad that I made the leap. No, my life is not ideal and I definitely have had plenty of moments where I questioned whether or not my decision to leave my job was the right one. But when I look back at the month I’ve just had and compare it to the ones before, there were just as many worries and stresses in those months, they were just about other things. But now I work a job that I love and am proud of, and I’m never up late crying because I don’t want to go to work in the morning. Instead, I’m sitting up dreaming about all of the places I want to take my business…and some nights I’m even actually reading a book for fun.
My friend Annamarie took this for me in my first week of self employment. I’m wearing my favorite outfit!!
Lately lots of businesses out there that have come out against same sex marriage, including my favorite cracktastic chicken place. I have also been reading some things other people have said about being worried people will know they support marriage equality or that they might lose customers if people see them shooting gay marriages (or engagements/portraits/whatever).Well, I believe that if you really feel strongly about something, you should stand up for it no matter what. Especially if what we’re talking about is INJUSTICE, so I decided I should be honest and write about how I feel.
I want it on the record that I support marriage equality and I always will.
I feel very strongly about marriage equality because not only are some of the best people I know gay and lesbians who are denied this right, but also not too long ago John and I wouldn’t have been legally allowed to marry each other either. Isn’t that crazy now, to think that back in the 60s and before, people could not marry if they were not the same race? I don’t really see this as any different. A group of people thought that you should marry within your race, so it was the law, despite not being fair or right. In 2012, a group of people believes you should marry outside of your gender, so it is the law, despite not being fair or right.
I hesitated before posting this today because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get political on my blog…my mom always taught me that it’s best to leave politics and religion out of the conversation whenever possible. But the more I thought about it, I realized…this discussion is NOT about politics or even religion, though I have seen people make it about both. It’s about human rights, plain and simple. And about discrimination. I never want to be the kind of person who sits by idly while people are discriminated against and doesn’t take a stand. Not only that, I don’t want to ever give off the impression that I’m ashamed of what I believe or that it shouldn’t be talked about, or discussed, or even acknowledged. This blog is supposed to be not only a vehicle for sharing all of my latest work, but also for people to be able to get to know me. I mostly post lots of frivolous things about myself, like my favorite tv shows and what I ate for dinner, but I feel like this post probably says more than a hundred of those types of posts ever could.
Side note: Finding a picture to share with this post was almost harder than writing it!
I’m working on a behind the scenes post about my workflow and as I’ve been screen capturing the things that I do to share in that post, I’ve started thinking a lot about how I do things, how other people do things, and whether or not I’m doing things the “right” way. You know, they way you “should” be doing things because “other people” do them that way. Sometimes I almost feel a little bit guilty or a shamed if I admit that I do things differently than other people. And though most of the time people are open minded about how others do things, there have been a few photographers I’ve come across that were pretty mean/rude about the choices I’ve made. So obviously being the worrier I am, I start doubting myself. I’m not shooting with 5DMKII or III (yet), I didn’t go to school for photography, and GASP, I never second shot before I dived into shooting my own weddings. I also didn’t grow up loving photography, I don’t use a fancy pro photo blog, and my proofing site is not the one the majority of people use. Does any of that really matter though, at the end of the day as long as my work makes my clients (and me) happy? I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think that it really makes one bit of a difference.
The point of this post is not to justify my choices or my path. It’s to tell you that you don’t have to do things a certain way. I recognize that there are a good amount of people who read the blog who are either just in the beginning stages of starting their business and wondering what to do next and people who are still on the fence about whether or not a photography business is for them at all. Well, peeps, let me let you in on a secret…there really is no right or wrong when it comes to how you decide to run your business*. It’s all about what works for you. It doesn’t MATTER if what you do is completely different from anything any other photographers do. If you blog, or you don’t blog, or if you send client gifts, or if you don’t. If you share of your life like I do, or if you’re much more reserved. If you edit every single image in photoshop or if you batch edit with lightroom. Even though it sometimes seems like there is one straight path to success and if you follow what those steps are you will “make it”, everyone is different and so is every business. What worked for one photographer might not work for you. And what works for you might not work for someone else. Follow your heart, go with what your gut tells you is right, and use where YOU have come from to guide how you make your decisions and what you do with your business. Don’t let others (or the “industry”) pressure you into going against what you feel is right for you! Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, try out new things, and make lots of mistakes. Do what works for you, and don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s wrong.
*Unless you are running a business selling crack. Then yeah, you’re wrong;) Crack is wack.
I was going to make the title of this post “cat lady”, but then I got to thinking, John is just as in love with our cat (and cats in general) so why should I shoulder the burden of being creepily obsessed with cats? I definitely shouldn’t.
I’ve been wanting to showcase Lucy the cat on the blog for a while now…I’ve noticed that a lot of photographers have adorable dogs that they share a lot through social media and on their blogs. I LOVE dogs, but we live in an apartment and it’s just not practical so instead we have what I consider to be the universe’s gift to apartment dwellers who are waiting on having kids….they’re called CATS. Laura and Lauryn are also self-described cat ladies, but I still feel as though cat people are still vastly under represented in the photography community so I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to my cat. We got our cat, Lucy, about four years ago. She was a stray wandering the neighborhood and she had these sad little black (dirty) feet. I fed her a can of tuna once because I felt sorry for her and you probably know what happened next…she just kept coming back. Eventually we opened our door and let her come inside…and then never let her leave:)
If you follow me on instagram, you might already be familiar with her and how close she likes to sit to my face or her random sleeping positions. If I were to try and sum up her personality in one word, it would be CHARACTER. As in, wow cat, you are such a character. For a cat she is surprisingly affectionate. She will come up to us a lot and give us little headbutts or rub her face against our pant legs. If I sit on the couch to watch TV or use my laptop, before too long Lucy will run out and sit on my lap. Or straight on top of my computer if that’s what it takes to get my attention. She jumps up on my desk when I’m working and sits in front of the windows when I ignore her. She is seriously the sweetest cat, but she generally only shows her love to me and John. To guests that visit with us, she is kind of nonchalant. Okay, sometimes she’s a jerk too, but cats are MOODY. Still, the best part of my day is coming home in the afternoon and seeing my cat run up to the door to greet me! That and making her do the Soulja Boy dance…ahhh memories;)
It makes me a little sad that there are a lot of people out there that don’t like cats or think cats are mean, aloof creatures who hate everyone. Cats are AMAZING! And no they’re not super portable like dogs, but they don’t have to be taken on long walks out in the freezing cold before bed and they generally clean themselves! They are sensitive little furballs with funny personalities that sleep all day and constantly remind you how to relax and live a full life.
I know I need to take some more legit images of her…it’s on my to-do list:)