Can you remember something from your past that was seemingly insignificant but would change the direction of your life? For me, a PCS letter for a move from Upstate New York to the Bayous of Louisiana… This is my why.
I’ll never forget the day the Farmer’s got Permeant Change of duty Station (PCS) orders to Fort Polk, Louisiana! I was riding the struggle bus on overload! At this point, it was at the end of the year (which is the busiest time for photographers) and I had taken photos for over 100 families , photographed 5 weddings, and ran minis for Fall + Winter; all within a 7 month time period. I hand edited over 1 million photos and delivered them to various clients, only hearing feedback from MAYBE a handful of people. I didn’t want to look at my camera let alone touch the computer.. I was ready to throw in the towel, white flag.. white flaggggg….
Little did I know, that stressful event would push me in ways I never knew I could be pushed.. I decided that my business model was in need of a serious overhaul. I thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures of families, absolutely LOVED connecting with those families and being able to give them photographs from their journey as a family at Fort Drum, but I felt like I was mass producing like an assembly line, operating on little to no sleep + lots and lots of coffee..
With a move comes change, right? Right… I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. I had heard a lot about full service photographers and how they offer a personalized experience vs shoot and burn (you shoot the session, burn the disk and peace out). I was intrigued! I knew that if I wanted this to happen, now was the time to rebrand and do it! It’s now or never. I researched the heck out of everything, youtube videos, viewed blogs, started following groups that teaches you how to personalize experiences rather than checking the box off the to do list. Invested in a lot of trial and error products that I thought I wanted to offer… This was something that I wanted to incorporate into my business model so bad that I couldn’t stand it. I was tired of feeling burned out. I was tired of working night and day to get images out to these clients who legit never thanked me, never told me they loved their images, heck some never responded at all, they’d download their gallery and that was it. I was SO tired of pouring my heart and soul into something; and yes! I wear my heart on my sleeve, so no feedback = an unsatisfied client to me, which did WONDERS for my confidence and anxiety in a very negative way!
It takes A LOT of work running a full service photography studio. A LOT seems like an understatement. I work a full time job, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and well, the weekends by appointment. (I take Wednesdays off to be present with my family and clean house.) I’m a story teller, editor, marketer, bookkeeper, wanna be blogger, organizer/planner, accountant… I have to be social on social media all the time.. and yes, I get inquiries in the middle of the night that I feel obligated to respond to… Did I mention I’m a mom of 3? B1 will be 10 soon, B2 is 6, and B3 is entering her terrible twos. lol So working from home is REAL FUN… Jammed pack full of refereeing, cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, painting nails, having pretend spa/salon days, taking dogs out to potty, entertaining the older two…
Needless to say, I wanted to take this side hustle that I’m pouring my heart and soul into, skipping family time for, loosing sleep over…. and turn it into a full blown business.. But I didn’t want to just offer an average photography session. I wanted to offer an experience that’s fun and memorable for the whole family, man child included… I wanted to offer something to my moms that helped ease the stress of planning a photo session and take something that’s overwhelming and turn it into something exciting! I needed the instant gratification for myself with revealing galleries to my clients IN PERSON.. Not only am I able to watch the reactions of my clients as they watch a heartfelt slideshow of their family (which to me is priceless), but I can also assist in selecting photos that can be printed and shared/hung on the wall, or turn the families story into the families heirloom album in which they plan to pass down and share for generations.
I love being a part of a memory the family shares and reminisces on later in life. I treasure the connections made through my job! MANY of my clients become family; family that I enjoy watching grow and adapt in their new seasons of life! I cheer them on from the sidelines, I pray for my clients and their family, I laugh and cry (sad/happy tears) with my families, but most of all I am impacted by my clients! <3 My clients love me, they enjoy talking to me, we bounce ideas off each other, help one another through terrible twos, celebrate mom wins together, share tacos and margaritas together… These are my people.. my tribe.. my cheerleaders… My teammates. For me, success isn’t measured by the amount of people you get in front of your camera. Success is doing something you truly enjoy doing… helping a mom by teaching and guiding them, executing a beautiful session filled with lots of authentic love and laughter, watching the happy tears flow as a clients session is played out on the screen, sharing a cup of coffee while we pick through favorites… building families first set of heirlooms.. Success is subjective, but one things true, when you’ve hit the bottom you appreciate it a heck of a lot more! <3
Photo credit: Karen Fosberg Photography, Watertown, New York. 2015 <3