I quit photography…..kind of.

Truth be told, December 2012 I honestly thought I was quitting photography.

I turned clients away.

I stopped posting on Facebook.

I stopped following most photographer’s pages.

I didn’t have a session for FOUR months.

I took pictures of my dog….and pig πŸ˜‰

It. Was. GLORIOUS.

It is SO easy to get caught up in this industry and let it run your life. I was spending every waking moment scouring the internet for new ideas, Facebooking, pinning, blogging, finding new locations to shoot, answering emails, looking for templates, reading blog after blog of photographers I admire, looking into new equipment, buying props and things I truly didn’t need, and it seemed to never end. I have a full time job at a medical school, I try to CrossFit after work 3-5 times a week, I am planning a wedding, and I have a fiance’ at home who I like to see when he’s not at HIS full time job, in school, or at CrossFit with me. I think I had a minor photography-related break down. I told my close photog friends that I was finished. That I was NEVER shooting again…other than my few pre-paid 2013 sessions. And God love them, they supported me. They said that while they hoped I changed my mind that in the bigger scheme of things I had to do what made me happy and in that moment photography was only weighing me down.

For 4 months I did nothing and everything. I didn’t have to plan anything around my shoots. My weekends were completely free. I slept in, stayed up late, went out of town, and didn’t touch my laptop. I did TONS of DIY projects at home and read until my little bookworm heart was content. It was like photographer rehab for meΒ  πŸ™‚Β  Then I had a long withstanding session I had do in March. I got anxious, sick to my stomach, and didn’t want to go. Lo and behold, the session was incredible and it felt SO good to be shooting again! I talked to my best friend about it and she encouraged me to always do what made me happy but to keep it on my terms. If I want to take on a session then do it. If it’s not the right time, be willing to refer out.

From now on I will schedule “closed” times for myself, and I encourage everyone to do this. For me, no shoots in July-August {when you can chew the air in Oklahoma from the heat+humidity} and no shoots for a few months after Christmas. Exceptions can be made {that’s the beauty of it all} but it’s important we don’t let this take us over.

DO NOT let this crazy beautiful business weigh you down and keep you up at night.

PRIORITIZE.

You can say no.

You can put YOU before your clients….and they will understand.

You can take time off!

I am taking on limited clients for 2013. With an upcoming wedding I just can’t mentally afford to overwhelm myself.
Have you planned a wedding?! I want to rip my hair out on a daily basis. No one should care THAT much about whether or not the corners of an invitation are rounded. THAT is my life right now. Be jealous.

I am also going to be changing my pricing structure sometime later this year. If I’m going to make this work I have to make it work for ME.

Please remember at the end of the day that this is a job. It is not your LIFE.

Be happy. Choose happiness. Choose yourself.

 

 

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Jessie Hartford - May 7, 2013 - 9:34 AM

Amy, this is so very well said. You are doing exactly what is right for you, and that is to be admired!

Lora - May 7, 2013 - 10:54 AM

Amen, sister! It’s good to see you back on your own terms.

Pam Smith - May 7, 2013 - 11:12 AM

I am not a photographer but I totally understand! Sometimes you just have to take a break! When a passion becomes a “dread” it is time to walk away for a while until you are ready to pursue the passion and not the work!

Em Green - May 7, 2013 - 11:21 AM

I agree completely!! I had a short break earlier this year, and treasured every moment! It makes you appreciate the work you *do*, AND the time for yourself. (Especially once you have kids–it makes things soooooo much crazier!) You put it so well! πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing!!! πŸ™‚ <3!-Em

Cris Passos - May 7, 2013 - 11:22 AM

That’s great Amy, do it for YOU!!!

Christine - May 7, 2013 - 11:23 AM

Amen Sister. I feel like I slept through about 2 years while I was starting my business. I feel like I never saw my kids, my little boy went from being 2 to 4 while I was asleep (working my ass off). Not worth it. I love my job, I love my clients, but I can’t give up my LIFE and my KIDS & my HUSBAND for it. No more.

Melissa C - May 7, 2013 - 11:38 AM

Great post ! I get that way sometimes too ! You are fortunate not to have to rely on the income from photography and can just keep it something you enjoy. Btw, love the pics of the dog and pig !

Jacqueline - May 7, 2013 - 12:05 PM

this was exactly what I needed to hear! I am finding balancing shoots and edits and my husband and kids and everything else so overwhelming. I forget that I have the ability to slow down if I choose to. It’s my choice.
Thanks for the reminder!!

KIM DANLEY - May 7, 2013 - 12:11 PM

CAN I GET AN AMEN!!!!… i have already done the same with my june-august schedule… have blocked out like three weeks (one will be catch up before i completely take two weeks OFF)… also making some changes to my fall schedule… we do tend to let others control our schedule at times… glad i realized this and made it STOP!!.. kuddos to you!!

rachel s - May 7, 2013 - 12:36 PM

It sounds more like having 2 jobs is your frustration, not photography, which you realized you love. anyone with 2 jobs would get frustrated like you, having no time for significant others, diy projects and ‘you’ time. photography is my only job (other than stay at home mom) and unlike you planning around your shoots, i plan my shoots around my life. i love it!

Sherri M - May 7, 2013 - 12:57 PM

I think that is awesome Amy! I actually did quit. πŸ™ It was to much for me right now! My kids desperately need me and my family was being put on the back burner. I’ve also stepped away from FB for the last 3 weeks and it’s been the best decision I ever made! It’s so important to be able to realize when it’s time to cut back or put certain things on hold in your life to make time for ourselves or our loved ones. Being a stay at home mom, I had to take a step back and remember the real reason I chose to stay at home……for my children!

Ashley - May 7, 2013 - 2:09 PM

I am so selfishly glad you didn’t quit, but would have completely understood if you did. I quit baking and a part time evening job because I finally understood that just because I had time to do more didn’t mean I actually HAD to do more. Enjoy your time with those precious little furry kiddos and that amazing dancer fiance you have. πŸ˜‰

Jessica Harris - May 7, 2013 - 2:14 PM

I will be working on a similar post soon. You know why. I love you for always following your heart and encouraging others as well!!

Abby Hacker - May 7, 2013 - 2:28 PM

Nicely said! Way to go…always stand up for yourself! πŸ™‚

Sonja Jones - May 7, 2013 - 8:30 PM

Good for you! This is something that I learned years ago, always have “me” time.
I’ve been away from the film industry too long but with my hubby’s circumstances it can’t be helped. When he is better I’ll be jumping back in with both feet, or maybe I’ll do a big cannonball! πŸ™‚
I love looking at your pictures, your DIY projects and reading your posts. Can’t wait to see more, when you’re ready.

Jennifer - May 7, 2013 - 8:39 PM

I did the EXACT same thing… I quit in December after a grueling Fall season. I was done, burned out. I had put my husband and daughter on the back burner along with everything else. It was too much! I quit not thinking I would go back but after several months I missed it and just in the last week started back BUT on my own terms which includes very few sessions compared to what I did before. We just have to learn to say NO sometimes!

Sharna Waksmulski - May 7, 2013 - 8:50 PM

Congrats to you! so much of the time we feel like we have to give & give & give and have yet to learn when its OK to say *NO*. I had a hard enough time with my wedding plus 1 full time job, let alone 2 and working out!! Weddings are also a special kind of stress and pressure as well. Having then to deal with booking, clients editing etc… I don’t blame you!!

When you reach a place where you are comfortable with the bookings you have its OK to say once a month, or only these months, or only weekends or what have you.

It should also be ok to adjust your pricing based on what you feel is necessary to reflect your new outlook.

Jessica - May 8, 2013 - 1:05 AM

Thank you so much for posting this! I am not a photographer, but this spoke to me on so many other levels. I am pushing myself so hard at school work right now, and lately I feel like I am falling apart at the seams. I am also raising four kids, have housework, yard work, etc. For two years I kept it all together, then last month, I just fell apart. Didn’t turn any assignments in (huge anxiety, couldn’t complete anything), and just lost it. I think, like you, a four month break would allow me to go back into it with a different mindset. Thanks for being willing to put yourself out there and be raw. Not everyone is able to say “I am done!” You did just that. For yourself. I need to do the same. Even if it’s just for a few months. The similarity in your situation and mine is a ton of stress. Right now is a super stressful time for both of us. πŸ™‚ In a year you will look back and be proud. Hoping I will do the same. πŸ˜‰

Deirdre - May 8, 2013 - 10:52 AM

Thank you for this post! That’s where I am right now, and this gave me comfort because I’m also in a state of shock—I LOVE photography and normally shoots and editing and all of it were what GAVE me energy. But right now, I’m just drained by it all. I’m stepping back, taking time and hoping to fall in love with it all again.

(And, as a bride about to celebrate her 20th anniversary I can’t resist giving my favorite wedding advice —pick three things wedding details to care about, make them a priority and then let the rest go. For me, it was the Father-Daughter dance, the church songs, and including a bit of my heritage. The rest we just decided but didn’t get hung up on the choice—the most important decision, who to marry, has already been made. I give thanks I got married in the pre-pinterest days; it has the potential to make you nuts. All the best!)

Gina - May 8, 2013 - 12:53 PM

Thank you for posting this. I’m still hard working at it. My youngest is graduating this year and it will be an empty nest. Yes, I’m remarried and just recently planned the wedding! Had to put A LOT of this on hold to get it done! I understand the hair pulling. I have to say I did enjoy my time off planning and some days it’s hard for me to get motivated but I’m still very much IN LOVE with this thing we call PHOTOGRAPHY. <3 Follow your dreams girl!

Devin - May 8, 2013 - 1:10 PM

I am there with you my friend!!! Just went through that…yes and thank you

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