What am I doing with my life? I have no idea. Where are my pants.
HA! That was my test sentence when a dear friend took the time to help me figure out this whole BLOG thing. I’m a disaster when it comes to this kinda stuff…
I am entering into my 26th year in the photography business. I can barely wrap my brain around this number. I don’t feel old enough.
I look back on the last 16 years specifically… and I don’t know how I managed. Single Mom, 2 babies under 2, day job, side hustle, and wanting to spend as much time with my kids as humanly possible. I would only take photo shoots during nap time or after bed time, and I would only edit when my kids were sleeping. I never got enough sleep, but I LOVED what I was doing, which kept me going. When my kids were a little older I was able to take shoots when my parents would watch them for a few hours. Standing in my field, helping them find grasshoppers. Before I knew it they were both in school full time. I missed having babies, but this was a blessing for my business! Somewhere along the line I blinked and now both my babies are in high school and my son will be driving alone in 2 weeks. I no longer have to pull all-nighters editing. Now I edit when my son is at sports practice and my daughter is at dance class. This allows me to be available to them when they are home. Cooking meals together, watching Criminal Minds together, laughing together. In 4 years I’ll be able to edit whenever I want because I will no longer have babies living at home.
The advice that I give new photographers just starting out: charge enough to make this business worth it for you. My time away from my children is so precious. What is it worth for you to be away from them. How much are you taking home after taxes, equipment (my camera was $3,099 and my favorite lens was $2,000 alone!) your Photoshop subscription, your web page, insurance… are you paying yourself for the hours you spend editing? What is left for you when all this is paid for? Trust me, if you are losing money you will burn out fast. And if you are profiting, your passion will continue to grow. And most important, take care of yourself.
I don’t know if I could have sustained this whole ‘self-employed’ journey of mine without the help of my parents. Whether it be ass-up in the field looking for bugs, or sitting on the sofa with me letting me cry-out my daily frustrations… they are the people that make this all worth while.