It's with a lot of excitement and relief, mixed with a little sadness and trepidation, that I've decided to move away from traditional portrait photography. I want to focus on developing my photojournalism while also spending time with the people I love the most.
Kinsley's teacher asked me, on the last day of school as I took photos of her class party, "What do you do with all of your photos?"
That question struck a cord and I probably didn't answer it the best way I could have. Just the night before, I stayed up way too late having one of those rare heart-to-hearts with my husband of nearly 10 years. During that conversation, I heard him. The same way I heard my mom a few months ago at my birthday dinner. It's too much. Something needs to give.
The last three years, the very busiest times of my personal life collided with my busiest photography seasons. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I stayed up til 1 or 2am every night, editing my heart out for my clients. I didn't have time to decorate, to do Elf on the Shelf, to wrap presents, go shopping, bake cookies, etc - all of those things that make Christmas a magical time for a family. I robbed my kids of that time, and forced my husband to pick up my slack.
My clients also love portraits done in the Spring, April or May, once the flowers begin to bloom but before it gets so bloody hot here. But May is also an insane month for our family - almost all of our family birthdays fall in May and the kids' last weeks of school are filled with summer birthday and end-of-the-year parties. Next year, all three of mine will be in school, and I have no idea how I'm going to manage it all.
I don't say all this to complain - in fact, I loooooove working on my clients' sessions. I love that I've been able to figure out this photography thing and turn it into a business. (And I will say, running a business is no joke! I spend so much time (and money!) on things other than photography, it's crazy! Definitely not what I expected, although I don't hate all of it.)
So - back to the question, "What do you do with all your photos?" Maybe she meant, do I print them, put them in albums, make slideshows, etc? But my answer, "They languish for years on my hard drive and I usually don't have time to ever even look at them. In fact, last night I decided that I'm quitting." Yup, that was my answer. (Insert emoji with the big wide eyes.) "I spend all of my time working on my clients' photos. And I decided I'm not going to do that anymore."
But then reality sets in. So many friends and clients have come to rely on me for their family portraits for Christmas cards, their newborn pictures, the kids' milestone photos. How do I say, "I'm sorry, I can't." Because I do enjoy it, I love it. I truly do.
But at the end of the day, I hear Andy Stanley saying, "Don't trade what only you can do for something anyone can do." There are a ton of photographers. There are plenty of really good ones too. I'd be happy to recommend them. But I have three little kids and I'm their only mom. This is my only shot at this mom thing. I don't want to screw it up.
So, here we are. I'm following my heart. I'm going to focus on pictures of my own kids, and if that starts to get nauseating, you're welcome to un-fan me, un-follow me, whatever. No hard feelings.
I plan to take on commissions for family photojournalism, but on a very limited basis and at a price point where it makes sense for me to take time away from my family. I only have them for what, 16 more years? That's nothing. Just yesterday, I graduated from high school and now I'm looking forward to my 20 year reunion.
So, here's some fun photos I took yesterday and actually worked on. My girls. Our little cul de sac.