Waiting to Dive In

Being a wedding photographer is kinda funny sometimes. You go from being soinsanelybusyyoucanhardlybreathe May through October to sloooooow over the winter. I think no matter how many wedding seasons I go through it will always take me by surprise. I'm wired to be very calculated and routine, and I'm still learning to speed up and then slow down and bask in a day off during the week when I work all weekend. Today is one of those days. I've been on the cusp of busy season for awhile now but I haven't completely dived in. Starting this weekend I'll begin my long stretch, and to make sure I'm completely refreshed and ready for that, I'm going to relax today.

I'm going to play with Rosie.

I'm going to have lunch with my mom.

I'm going to go for a run and enjoy being outside.

I'm going to get some things crossed off my to do list that won't otherwise get done this busy season.

I'm going to eat lots and lots of Nutella (and maybe frozen yogurt if I'm being completely honest).

I'm going to watch the season finale of New Girl.

It's going to be a glorious day! :D

Ferocious Rosie_0001

Business Lessons: Taking Time Off

A little blogkeeping: For me, some of the most interesting posts on other photographers' blogs are the ones about things they've learned while running a business. I get business questions from time to time and I thought I'd start another series to address some of my "aha" moments. I'll keep my FAQ posts strictly about photography and Business Lessons will be about ... business! :) Feel free to e-mail me questions at any time (lane@lanebaldwinphotography.com). My perspective obviously isn't the only one or the right one, but hopefully I can help at least one person along the way. Having worked in an office for the first five years of my professional life, I got pretty used to structure. I had a structured work day, I knew I had weekends off and I had a certain number of PTO hours set aside for my pre-planned vacations. There was not a lot of spontaneity in office life.

Figuring out a work-life balance in this new season of my life is probably my biggest struggle in self-employment ... as you can probably tell because I talk about it all the time! It's really, really hard for me to take a whole day off because my office is in my house and it's SO easy for me to pop in and check my e-mail or look at my business Facebook page on my phone. Plus I feel like I need to be doing things constantly or I'll get behind.

It's taken me a year to realize that this is not healthy. Or maybe it's just taken me a year to burn out from always being plugged in. Being plugged in all the time doesn't make me better at my job. In fact, I get less and less productive the longer I work without a full day off ... completely off, no thinking about photography. Because even though I love photography and it's my passion, it's still work.

It's been increasingly important for me to schedule my work day into chunks of time and stay super focused during my scheduled work hours (see an example schedule here). Then when my schedule says to close my office door, it's super important for me to listen and go do something completely unrelated to work.

And you know what I've realized recently? I can be spontaneous and take a random weekday off if I schedule my days on in the right way. It feels really good, especially when these two are waiting to hang out with me all day ... without a camera in front of my face. :)

Nathan and Rosie_0001

Thoughts: Being Present Over Being Perfect

“Sabbath is the discipline of rest. It’s practicing our belief that we’re not the center of the universe. Sabbath is practicing the belief that the world will keep on spinning even without our very productive selves working our tails off seven days a week.” —Shauna Niequist As a photographer, there’s this pressure. I know it might seem ridiculous, and maybe I’m imagining it, but I feel this pressure to create the most awe-inspiring pictures, to have the most Facebook likes, to write the most witty blogs. The most, the best, the funniest.

I know this doesn’t just apply to photography. It’s life. There’s pressure to be perfect. To be the most successful, to make the most money, to work the hardest. And I get caught up in it when really, to be more human is to be present in life. Real life. Not some made-up perfect life that I’m constantly chasing. Because it doesn’t exist.

“Our world is bent on making us less and less human. Less and less connected. Less and less imperfect and fragile and raw and messy and beautiful. Our world values speed and perfection and performance and technology.” —Shauna Niequist

If you know me, you know I love Shauna Niequist, and especially her first book Cold Tangerines. I just really identify with her writing style, subject matter and honesty.

She recently did a message on “Present to Perfection” where she discussed this notion that we’re always running, always adding things to our to do list instead of slowing down and really being present in life.

This is me. I feel so blessed that I’m able to be a photographer, and there are so many good things about working for yourself. One thing I really struggle with though is setting office hours and sticking to my pre-determined time off. I’m always looking to the next thing, instead of what’s right in front of my face.

Yesterday, I had a client meeting (hi, Hailee and Stefan!). We sat, we talked, we drank coffee … and I found myself loosing track of time. I was present in the moment. I was there learning about them and not checking my planner, worried that I was missing out on time to get stuff done. When I left that meeting, I felt fulfilled. Like I was truly embracing my purpose of being a photographer.

This season, I’m going to embrace Shauna’s challenge. I hope you’ll join me.

“I’m going to choose less. And, in turn, be present for more.” —Shauna Niequist

Lilac Flowers