Kaelee Denise Photography

The Art of Juggling a Business & Life

I came across this AMAZING article today written by photographer Laurie Sachs. It really spoke to me. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a WORKAHOLIC- I like to think I can take on anything and everything and do it all at the same time. My husband has told me for years to "just sit down and relax". Something I have always found hard to do. When I don't have anything to do I find something to do. I am constantly struggling with the art of juggling my business, my life and my hobbies. When Chris and I found out we were expecting I was hit with the worst morning sickness ever. I couldn't eat, I was exhausted all the time (still am) and I just found it hard to function. This is when it hit me - I cant possibly do everything! So there went our clean house. Instead of trying to accomplish everything in one day I started to let things slide. The kitchen would be dirty for a week because my family and business came first. I have managed to keep ontop of laundry however it doesnt get put away and sits in the laundry basket for a couple of days. These are little things that used to bother me but I am slowly learning that its not the end of the world if the house is a wreck or I skip a day of washing my hair. Life will go on. As long as I am eating and somehow remember to feed our dogs, cat and guinea pig- we are safe and well. As we are jumping into the second trimester of pregnancy I think Im taking steps in the right direction of learning how to better balance my business, my personal life and down time.  Laurie's article really put things into perspective for me.  I am so thankful that I came across it.

Kaelee Denise Photography

I love my life. I love my job. I love photography.

Article by Laurie Sachs:

What do you think of when you hear that word? The fact that you are reading this indicates you’re probably somewhat like me. You think of the weight in your hands, the hum of your lens focusing, your view through the viewfinder… the way you hold your breath as you wait for that moment to unfold in front of you, the thunk of the shutter as you take your shot…. swoon. What could be better than making a living doing something you love? Having your passion turn into your paycheck, working from home, being your own boss… it all sounds great, right? Well it is great, but make no mistake… photography is a fickle mistress (or mister). She will suck out your soul, she will take over your life, she will burn you out, use you up, and step over your lifeless body as she leaves. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but I swear it’s true. Once you take that step to take this passion for making pictures and charge money for it everything changes. Let’s talk about some steps you can take to create a fulfilling career with balance for your life.

A little about me… what the heck do I know anyway? Well a lot I guess, but not everything… life is always a work in progress and no one is as together as you think they are. I am a photographer, a mother of four very busy children and two French bulldogs, and a wife to a pretty great guy… he ain’t bad to look at either. I’ve been with my husband for 24 years, married 17 years, been a mom for 15 years and this is my 6th year in business as a fine art newborn, maternity, child and family photographer here in California. I was recently named PPA’s California Family Photographer of the Year, top 10 photographer in California, and Fuji masterpiece award winner. I make my living working with actual clients, so I know what that juggle is like. In another life I was supposed to be a college History professor. I like to think I keep History of another sort and all those degrees look sort of cute on my wall. What I strive for in my life is balance. It is my biggest struggle and my biggest success when everything is clicking. It’s not always easy, we as women are pulled in so many directions, but balance is attainable.

First, you probably should decide if you really want to go into business. There is nothing wrong at all with being a happy and accomplished hobbyist. What makes you want to start a business? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit, do you want to be your own boss, do you like working with people? The reality is you will spend way more time running a business than you will taking pictures. You will be a bookkeeper, a customer service representative, a sales person, a marketing director, a late night editor… 90% of your time will not be taking pictures. Really think about what owning a business will mean for you and your family before you take the leap.

The price is right, or is it? What the heck does pricing have to do with finding balance??? Well, kind of everything. So many photographers, women especially, start into business thinking that any money made is just gravy. I love taking pictures and editing, I would own all this gear anyway, if I walk away from a shoot with $100 it’s all good. While that may be true when you’re taking pictures of your friends as a favor once you hang your shingle that vibe changes. You are providing a service that a client is paying money for. That client will have expectations and demands… and oddly the lower your pricepoint the more demanding the clientele. Don’t ask me why this is true but it just is, its some odd inverse correlation that the lower the pricepoint the bigger pain in the butt the clients… a big cosmic joke. Soon you’re missing snuggle time watching trashy reality tv with your husband (or is my husband the only one that watches trashy reality shows???) because you have to edit alone at your computer. You stay up late, you’re tired and grouchy, you feel guilty playing hotwheels with your child because you have so much else to do. You miss little Billy’s soccer game because someone insists they need a photoshoot precisely at 11:00 on Saturday, even though you know the light will be crap, even though you would rather be at the soccer game. Suddenly that $100 or $300 doesn’t seem so worth it especially if then you are having to pay taxes on it. I won’t go into the details here but do your research and set appropriate prices so that your time is properly compensated and you don’t end up burnt out and resentful.

You cannot do it all, stop trying. We’re supposed to be able to do it all right? That’s what they tell us anyway… look at Martha Stewart… she does it all! Martha Stewart has a staff that does it all people. No one can do everything. You cannot be a full time mother, a wife, have an outside job, be a full time photographer, bookkeeper, marketing director, etc… You can’t. There will come a tipping point with your small business where you either need to scale back or outsource. Awe… it’s a magic word- OUTSOURCE. I outsource my editing, my album design, I outsource scrubbing my toilets and cleaning my floors. Darn if I could outsource cooking dinner I would, instead I’m trying to get friendly with my crockpot. You need to really look at which tasks need your personal touch and which tasks do not. Taking the pictures is all me, as is client relations… oh and raising my kids… those things need my personal touch. Editing the full gallery and scrubbing the toilets? Not so much. Outsourcing allows me to run a full time business working part time hours myself. I only edit my favorite 5-7 images I’m going to blog, my assistant does the rest. I shoot 3 days a week max, I can have my youngest in part time preschool and home with me the rest of the week, I volunteer, I tote my kids around to sports every afternoon. My evenings are spent curled up with the aforementioned hot husband and a glass of Zinfandel. Is my life perfect? No! But, it’s a whole heck of a lot better than it would be if I were trying to do everything myself. I am more present for my family because my business isn’t sucking up all my time and attention and that’s priceless. Speaking of priceless… while it is priceless, outsourcing does cost money. That brings us back to the whole charging what you’re worth thing… wink… wink. Outsourcing my editing also allows me to take on more shoots than I would be able to otherwise, making me more money. It’s a win/win.

Prioritize and Specialize. Photography is a weird thing, it’s “art” but it’s a job. How do you create amazing art but insure you provide what the client commissioned you to produce? Well, in short, you find the right clients. Working with newborns, babies, and young families feeds my soul. I am so inspired and energized by a newborn shoot and my work shows it. There are few things I can think of that would be more painful to shoot than corporate headshots or architecture. I think brides are pretty but I would loathe giving up my weekends to shoot weddings. Be real with yourself about what you love and what you don’t, what you’re good at and what you’re not. There are very few photographers that are good at everything. I know hundreds of photographers and there are maybe… two that I could recommend for a wedding, a newborn session, a child and family session. They are both crazy talented super freaks but that’s not most of us. When you first start your business you will dabble in lots of things and that’s fine but in time a clear path should present itself to you, follow it.

All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. All business all the time will make you tired, boring, burnt out, and likely bitchy… who wants to hang out with someone like that? Fill your life up with lots of things and do it without guilt. Play hotwheels or barbies with your kids, get out and ride bikes, walk your dogs, work out, catch up with your friends on Facebook, go out for coffee, get a pedicure, see a movie, make out with your husband. While you are doing these things don’t be stressing about what you should be editing. Make yourself a schedule and give yourself the right to turn off your phone and step away from the computer. There is always something that needs to be done but just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should work around the clock. I love my job, I mean I really LOVE my job. I want you to love your job too.

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Happy 2013

Happy 2013!

2012 was such an amazing year!  And I owe it all to the amazing love and support from my family, friends and clients.  Kaelee Denise Photography would not be where it is today without that love and support.  Be on the lookout for an email with your 2013 coupon and savings!

Be sure to sign up for the Kaelee Denise Photography mailing list- Click Here
Those on the mailing list will be the first to know about any specials and Family Portrait Day dates

On a personal note- Chris and I had such a fabulous year. My all time favorite moment of 2013 . . .
Photo by: Kate Monroe Photography

I cant wait to see what lies ahead for 2013. This year I will not be making any New Years Resolutions. Who ever really keeps up with theirs after the first month anyway?!? I just want to live in the moment and enjoy life.

Kaelee Denise Photography will be closed from January 8th - January 23rd for some much need REST and RELAXATION. No photo orders will be shipped during this time. So please place all orders by Thursday January 3rd to ensure that they ship before we close. Please be patient during this time as we may be a little slow on returning phone calls and emails. Happy New Year!


Happy Holidays 2012

A little sneak peek into our life! If you missed our Holiday card this year- FEAST YOUR EYES! We had fun making this one. Our little pup, Clover, is missing from the front Grinch photo because as soon as she saw Chris in the Grinch costume she peed ALL OVER the floor! So we let her skip out on the humiliation 🙂

Happy Holidays from Kaelee Denise Photography!!




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