Brooklyn and Burnout

Sorry for the crickets on the blog this past week.  We had a really nice holiday weekend, spent it in Brooklyn celebrating our friend Jay’s birthday in prospect park and then stayed over their apartment Saturday night.  Jay and Sarah have two gorgeous girls Daphne and Madeline, Daphne is about 6 months older than Jasper, but they are finally at an age where they play together really nicely. Just in time for Sarah and Jay to decide to move to South Florida of course.  Following in the footsteps of Sara, Mando & Lola, Mike Tracy and Gemma, our very last NYC couple friends with kids are leaving us too.  It’s too sad to even think about and so I’m just going to deny it’s happening until they are actually gone.  Blech.

Anyway, Jasper was as happy as a clam playing football in the park with the guys.. except he kept interrupting the game so he could hold the football:

Jasper is really good at throwing and catching, but what he REALLY likes to do is kick.  Yep, he knows where the money is! Here he is lining it up:

And the kick:

Check out that form! The follow through, the head tuck.. mommy is of course thinking college football scholarship,  but I guess we’ll wait and see how pop warner goes. With Jasper’s antipathy for any group activities, it could be a disaster. Though as kicker he’d be the lone wolf that he likes to be! Plus, mommy won’t have to have a heart attack every time he gets tackled.

here is my favorite shot of Daphne from the day:

and my overall favorite:

(These were all shot with my 70-200 which doesn’t leave my camera if I’m outdoors – I dread the winter when I will have to make do with mere mortal lenses!)

So anyway, the beautiful weekend was marred only by the fact that a) I lost my favorite necklace to the apartment elves and b) Jasper Jeff & I all caught Madeline’s cold.  I was the worst off, I’ve been in a Nyquil induced haze the entire week and haven’t had the energy to string two sentences together!   Of course the timing sucks because now I’m a little worried that the cold will leave Jasper with some residual congestion or worse yet, water in his ears that will make flying miserable.. also, I have SO much to do photography wise before we leave 8 days from now and I’m so burnt out.

People email and ask me how I do it all, balance family, photography, day job, templates etc. The truth is that there isn’t really any balance, I work way too hard.   I get very little sleep as I am up most nights until 1am editing photos, and my relationship with Jeff suffers because I’m always on my computer.   It’s kind of miserable really, so much that I actually slightly dread each booking.  Part of me wants to raise my prices to the point that almost no one can afford me, that way I’d only do a few shoots a year!  But then I worry my blog will be too desolate, and my skills will get rusty.   So for now I guess I will just look forward to the inevitable winter month slow down, which has it’s own challenges like: what to do about a studio space?

I no longer want to shoot on 53″ paper in our dining room/Jasper’s playroom. I HATE having clients over to the house.  Having to clean it,  make sure Jeff & Jasper aren’t around, having to move the furniture etc.. I just don’t have the energy anymore.   So I’ve been pondering renting a space, but am not sure I have the volume (or want the volume!) necessary to sustain it.

So there is are my thoughts for the day (week!) I am no superwoman.  I am sick, burnout, tired and sooooo in need of the vacation we have planned for next week!

But, here’s the good news.. I DO have big plans for a blog revitalization project after I return with two AWESOME giveaways, one for a copy of LR3 and one for a gorgeous camera bag.  So please, if you can just bear with me  I promise I’ll do better in the fall than I have done in the summer!

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ariana says:

LOL – the possibility of meeting Jasper & I AND a trip to H&M? I’d say you were conservative on the !!!. ;)

Kimberly says:

Wow… maybe just a little overkill on the exclamation points there. ;)

Kimberly says:

Hmmm… ok well I will be in the bay area this weekend, 17-19th, BUT I have nothing on my calendar for the following weekend, AND Tommy is out of town so I will have James… maybe we can work something out!!!! Email me or send me a message on facebook… let’s see if we can pull it off! Meanwhile, I’m SOOO looking forward to my trip to H&M this Friday! ;) I’m wearing the cutest little long-sleeved button-down maternity dress from there today!

ariana says:

Thanks for the advice everyone! I don’t know if I can quite my job.. definitely not YET, and its tricky because if keep working I’ll never have the volume to sustain photography alone. I think between the templates and photography I probably could equal my work income, but there are other factors to consider because I LIKE my job. It’s not creatively fulfilling like photography, but its a great place, amazing benefits, good people and they do good things in the world (earth science research), so it’s not an easy decision.

Kimberly – yes, we’ll be in LA from the 18-22nd and then SF from the 22-25th, will our paths cross? That would be too amazing!

Kimberly says:

WAIT, wait, wait…. so you’re coming to CA THIS WEEKEND??? I thought you were already here and back home… I am going to be IN THE BAY AREA this weekend… (and in Napa on Saturday). Maybe, just maybe….???

Ava’s got some good advice. Lay down the law. Find your priorities and don’t let them slip. IF they slip, back up and fix it before you get too far involved that you have to dig yourself out. Trust me. I know what it means to be too involved and it’s not good for anyone!

Ava says:

Learn from G and Jasper, and repeat after them: “NO!”
Can you do two shoots back to back? No.
Can you drive out 3 hours for a photo shoot? No.
Can you deliver my proofs overnight? No.

Well, maybe you can/want to, but you have to draw your limits somewhere. Make exceptions for shoots where you learn or you have a very special opportunity. The rest, like raising a kid comes down to staying firm on things you know are important.

I think the first thing you might want to figure out is how your photography business will fit into your life & financial planning. You’re very good at it, and you enjoy it. Is it something that could be a full-time gig for you? Do you want it to be? Would you have to expand your services in order to afford the lifestyle you need with photography as your earning profession?
Then work from there.

For me? I learned that:
1. I don’t/can’t do more than 1 shoot per week-end (although I will make a very, very rare exception)
2. I don’t work back-to-back week-ends. This gives me both a) the breathing room I need to post-process, and b) the ability to schedule events with my family friends. Since most clients can’t take time off work for photos (nor can I), that means I sacrifice family play time, and I want to enjoy these moments too.

I have my calendar/availability on my web-site. It’s easier for people to see what times work for them. Do I loose business because of it? I’m certain I do, but it doesn’t bother me.

That’s my business strategy. It may not work for you, but I thought I’d share.

Emily says:

Could you quit your day job? Would you want to do photography full time?

Emma says:

I love the football photos – Jasper is a cutie pie!

Nina says:

Glad you got in some well deserved family time!

Tottums says:

The football pictures are PRICELESS. <3 them!

jbhat says:

Welcome back. And I am here to say that we don’t mind crickets! Pace yourself, and don’t overdo it. And stop neglecting Jeff. (There, I said it!)

Feel better! xo