Friday, May 11, 2012

{big} news.



Well, there you have it! We are happy to announce that our sweet peanut number FOUR will be arriving sometime in November! {The full post is on the family blog}

 Admittedly, it was hard to keep it a secret for so long, even more so because of how sick I've been. I am eternally grateful to current clients who have been so patient while I've worked on galleries. I have been living on my bathroom floor for almost 3 months and it hasn't let up at all. (Pretty much standard for me, it seems to get worse with each baby!)

What does this mean for the business?

It's been on my mind for months (longer than I've been pregnant for sure). I have been happily in business for two years! Two wonderful years capturing memories and moments, births and even a wedding! It has been incredibly hard to balance family life (which understandably!) always comes first with two kids and then three kids. But we've made it work. My husband has been ever patient, watching kids, helping with bath time and bed time so I could get more editing done. I have loved having another job besides mama. But I've also struggled with a battle. It's been hard to balance all the work of a business and being a stay at home mom. Let's be honest, I couldn't realistically do EVERYTHING while they slept. And I hated saying, "Hang on a minute, mama is working". After all, my dream was to be a stay at home mama. And in the last two years, I've slowly felt like less of the mom who's at home, playing, laughing and learning with my kids and more like one stressed out mama which slowly was affecting my love of photography.

 When I started out in photography, my husband had just deployed for 5 months. I dove head first into learning everything I could about my camera and composition and post processing. I read book after book, spent hours online in photography forums and chatting with other photographers. I'm proud to say I'm self taught, proof that anyone can do anything they put their mind to if they have dedication and put in lots of hard work. My first images were hardly stunning, I had "mommy goggles" for sure but I LOVED taking pictures of my kids, I spent hours snapping away, testing out all my new knowledge on them. And it paid off. I'm a fairly humble person, but I can proudly say I've taken some darn good images of my kids (and once in business- plenty of pictures of your kids that I adore!)

But somewhere along the way, I lost the passion. I dreaded getting out the camera. While I truly loved interacting with clients and watching their families grow and was very proud of myself for providing them with beautiful images to remember their family with. I hated taking pictures of my own kids; my project 365 became a chore and not something I looked forward to. Only my stubbornness for not giving up on a commitment kept me working on it. I felt my creativity completely draining away. I managed to pull it out for a session but my joy of photographing my own family was disappearing. I was scared to admit all of this, and have debated it internally and with family and close friends for a few months. Would I be a failure if I was no longer in business? Would it be okay to be just a MWAC? (Mom with a camera). How do I justify having a fairly expensive hobby? While I don't honestly feel the need to upgrade anything right now, I know eventually I do want a full frame body and a few different upgraded lenses. When in business, it's an investment to buy new gear. As a MWAC...I wasn't sure. Would people look at me and think, "Oh she couldn't hack it as a "professional" or "she must not have been good enough".

 And then, we found out about peanut number four. No, it wasn't a surprise. And the timing suddenly seemed even more perfect. I know I have struggled to make it all work with three kids, and I'm not going to kid myself that I'm sure it will be even harder with four.

And then two blog posts from a series a photographer I greatly admire, Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens really spoke to me.

 The first was an interview with an immensely talented photographer, Melissa Gibson, she happily calls herself a "mwac" and her work is just gorgeous. She was complete proof that even if you weren't in business, you could rock a camera and only take pictures of your babies and be happy about it!

And then a few days later, Sarah posted another interview with Sarah Wilkerson I've been a fan of Sarah's for a long time but I guess I never realized she also wasn't in business until this interview.

One of her answers in the interview just really blew me away...

 "Biggest Photography related insecurity? This industry describes photographers who don’t operate a business using the words “hobbyist” or “amateur” – both of which tend to imply lesser skill or a lack of commitment. I struggled for a long time with the perception that a photographer has to go into business to be taken seriously. I so admire the extraordinary photographers who manage a client based business while maintaining a passion for what they do and staying true to themselves as artists, but it wasn’t a good model for me. The most beneficial thing I did for myself as an artist was to step back from client work; when I released myself from the pressure to deliver, I found that I became a more adventurous photographer who was willing to take risks, to “fail,” to shoot what, when and how it moved me. All of those things really accelerated my growth and made photography more personally fulfilling. Being a “hobbyist” is not a sign of inexperience, inferiority, or whimsy; it is, for me, a luxury. "

 (from Sarah Cornish's interview with Sarah Wilkerson) 

Wow. What I have wanted to say if only I were more eloquent...exactly. All my thoughts from the last months, clearly and explicitly spelled out.

 I want to be like Sarah Wilkerson,  since "being a "hobbyist" is not a sign of inexperience, inferiority, or whimsy; it is, for me, a luxury." I want to tattoo those words on my arm and anytime I doubt myself for going out of business I want to just remember. I am not a failure. I will be a happy MWAC rockin' my camera and taking gorgeous shots of my four precious babies.

 So, yes. I am no longer in business. I have a few shoots still on the books and may consider very limited sessions this fall. But my children are the reason I developed a passion and talent in photography, why I went into business and now they are the reason I am leaving it all behind. To spend more time with them, enjoying their swiftly passing childhood.

 "Professional" photography and a client based business will be around when they are grown up, but for now, officially, I am "just" a MWAC now. And I intend to enjoy every moment of it.


Every. single. moment.  :)