Why I Stepped Away from Wedding Photography
A few weeks ago, I photographed my last wedding at the beautiful Don Cesar with the most amazing couple… yes…. you read that right… my last wedding. I’ve decided to take a step away and put my wedding photography chapter to a close. I wish I could explain in words how much I love photography, especially capturing weddings… but there has been an overwhelming number of reasons why I needed to go another direction…
I Want My Weekends Back | Weddings are typically on Saturdays, and my family typically only has Saturdays free… so losing that time I got to spend with them was getting too hard to miss. My babes are so young and I don't want to miss out on the really good quality time with them that happens during the weekend. And I’m not saying that you can’t have quality time throughout the week, but let’s be real… Saturday pool days are hard to come by during the week. And I’m aware there’s another day in the weekend, but if you’re shooting an 8 hour wedding on Saturday, you’re basically beyond spent all day Sunday. Weekends were becoming too important to miss, and I want them back.
Running a Business is Really Fucking Hard | When you own a business… you own every aspect of that business… from Customer Service, to Project Planning, to IT Support, to Marketing Manager, to Accounting Analyst, to CEO… ALL. OF. IT. Yes, you can outsource some aspects, but you still need to manage those outsources. And for a photographer, you spend maybe 20% of your time actually photographing… if that??? Owning a business and then running that business are two different things and require so much of you, but are necessary for the success of the company. I give all the props to my freelance creatives out there making it work! But I have two kids under the age of three that require a lot of my attention, and I want nothing more but to give them the attention they deserve. They need a mom who can work, but be able to shut if off both mentally and physically to be present with them, and that was getting too hard to manage with photography.
I Stopped Picking Up My Camera for Me | This is probably the thing that made me realize I wasn’t growing anymore, and my love for photography itself was fading. To explain how much I love photography would be just too difficult to put into words… it was/has been my creative release for so long… that somehow turned into just being part of the “job”. Photography was my mental getaway and to have that one thing that I loved so much turn into just something so basic was a hard pill to swallow, but a pretty important aspect to realize. I'm hoping I find a way to get back to my creative love… and who knows… maybe I will just in another capacity.
I Like Money Too Much | I’ll never be ashamed to say that I like nice things, or like buying nice things for my family. Photography is a very competitive industry, and most brides (not all) are looking at checklist when comparing vendors and price. And please spare me this “find your ideal client” BS… those ideal clients are a small percentage of the market… small. And I have had some GREAT brides… like so great if every wedding and couple were alike maybe I would reconsider. But not everyone is the same… and the weddings I was working the most at, were typically not my top producing one’s. The above and beyond requests that would cause disruptions in me up workflow cost me time and money. The truth is wedding photographers are not compensated for the amount of work done… and I wouldn’t blame a bride or couple for that at all….. it’s just very hard to assign value to something where the end product doesn't physically exist yet. And people who are not in the industry, don’t understand how hard it is to capture moments during the hustle and bustle of a wedding day… like so fucking hard. So what happens? Your work is devalued and then you end up making less… and THEN 35% needs to go to the government. SOOOOO… my cost analysis was a pretty big factor given the time spent vs actual income.
My Priorities Shifted | Earlier this year I photographed a wedding and I got a fever mid day. It was awful, and though I had a second shooter with me, I was still the lead. Powering through both physically and mentally, put a toll on me that really didn’t need to be there. When you’re the face of business you need to be the one to show up. Sick days are not planned, and if you have to do something then you have to show up because no one else will. While, when I was younger and more agile ;) my body could take the extra stress and workload… but not now. As mentioned above, running and owning a business is all on you. The amount of worry and stress the overall operation was costing me, no matter how efficient my workflow was, didn't amount to the time lost with my kids, husband, or myself. I have other priorities that weren't present 6 years ago… and that’s fine… actually… it’s really fucking great.
This decision wasn‘t made lightly, and I will miss so many aspects of photographing weddings, but I know in my deepest of hearts this is the right move for me. With ALL that being said, this blog is going to live on, and this post is somewhat of a reintroduction into what matters to me now. I want this space to become an online diary of sorts to document my life with my family, and share our experiences with others. Closing the final chapter of one book, but starting a new volume in the series :)