This time last year, I was celebrating Independence Day on so many levels than most realized…It was the first weekend of being a full time, self employed, wedding photographer! I remember how giddy I was thinking that, while out at a BBQ, someone might ask me what I do for a living, and how crazy it was going to be to say, “I AM PHOTOGRAPHER in Southern Maryland”, not a hobbyist or part timer, but ALL IN, SCARY AS HELL, wearing the big girl britches, wedding photographer.
Holy crap! This year has been one heck of a roller coaster. Like any career change, it’s normal to have butterflies, excitement and nerves about the unknown, and running my own business has been no exception. There is a lot about being a full time wedding photographer that I just didn’t expect. So, I thought it would be fun to celebrate my full time one year anniversary and take a look back at what my new reality is like for anyone about to make the switch to full time boss lady. Real, raw, funny, scary. You know I don’t have a filter, but if you can embrace all this, I promise it’s totally worth it!
The bed. The kitchen. The desk. The bathroom. The car. Get your mind out of the gutter. I was referring to all the places I find myself working.
Yoga pants and leggings are amazing. You probably think it’s because they’re comfortable, but while that’s true, that’s not the biggest reason I love them. I can totally shower and get dressed in said yoga pants and leggings and work from sun up to sun down. No need to change into pajamas. I’m one step ahead of the game.
Saturdays are for wearing “the little black dress”. It appears like I only own one dress, but in reality if it’s lightweight, cute and has pockets, I’ve purchased 6 of the exact same dress or one in every color option available.
I still remember the day I had a deadline and a long to do list and the printer stopped working. It was the first time I realized there wasn’t a help desk to call to save the day while I worked on another project. Instead, life and work had to halt over the stupid printer not working. The remainder of the afternoon was spent researching new printers, uninstalling/reinstalling printer drives, etc. I am the photographer, editor, bookkeeper, marketing manager, social media expert, scheduler, computer technician, printer repairman, office manager, website designer, secretary, etc. I wear all the hats. I’m not JUST a photographer. I’m a business owner.
That leads me to my next discovery: Expect the unexpected. Life happens and as weird as it sounds I’ve learned you have to plan. I now have my calendar mapped out for every little task that needs to be completed for each photo shoot, wedding and event. It’s super helpful to see just how much work I have on my plate before I take on anymore work or attempt to take a day off. (More about this on the blog later.)
Just like Allie McBeal, I too have a theme song or rather a Pandora radio station for each business tasks. For blogging weddings, any country and acoustic love music will do. Administrative and financial tasks must be soothing, classical music to calm me the heck down. haha Personal blogging or editing, you can never go wrong with 90s Gangsta rap. (It’s just me and Dr. Dre right now.)
Carryout and delivery…are on speed dial. Meal prepping is a must, but I still need to fit in the prep for meal prepping (i.e. grocery shopping). Ain’t nobody got time for that. 😉
The elusive “work life” balance is a joke. I remember reading one of my mentors Facebook posts that she was no longer taking on new clients and slowing things down to focus on her family. I didn’t get it. WHEN I GO FULL TIME, I’M GOING TO EAT HEALTHY, WORK OUT, READ A BOOK, AND GET SHHH DONE. Bahahahahaha The longer I’ve been a part of this creative community, the more I’ve come to know that “the struggle is real”. When your passion is for something so important to your clients and a legacy for their family, you check out to pour your heart and soul into your work. Add the extra element of this work being what puts food on the tables instead of just fun money for new shoes, and you will put in some crazy hours. You’ll never work a day in your life if you love what you do. #worthit
You’ll be a sucky friend/daughter/wife/mom/sister. Photographing weddings means I miss about 99.9% of any fun holiday or event my loved ones host. I definitely get bummed missing out on stuff, and for the most part they totally understand. I’m not working at a restaurant and serving someone a meal they will quickly forget about. I’m capturing memories that will be with these families for GENERATIONS. THAT IS PRETTY INCREDIBLE AND HUMBLING!
Wine or bust. That sums up my social life. On an evening off, I’m either fast asleep before 9 o’clock or the life of the party after one glass of bubbly. The latter probably only happens once or twice a year, but those few times I have an epic dance party in my kitchen is enough excitement to live by until the next time.
I’ve only just begun. The work is never done. I will never think I’m as good as I can be for myself, for my clients, for that weird part of my brain that likes taking pretty photographs. I’m pouring my heart and soul into learning, growing, always striving to be better for those who have so graciously given me the honor of capturing these memories. That’s a promise.
I wanted this blog to be funny and quirky, but I am just feeling really humbled and emotional right now. Thank you to all my family, friends and clients that have made this first year of being full time wedding photographer successful, memorable and worth all the craziness.
Happy Independence Day to you all!