...and this is where I've been! :-)
There is probably no one left to even read this, but after struggling to make time for posts I have recently decided to try again. I love looking back at my posts from when the kids were smaller and I don't want to miss documenting this time in their lives either. The last year and a half has been quite a whirlwind! But things are slowly settling into a manageable routine, so I'm going to attempt to make this a priority again!
In the Spring of 2010 I decided to turn my hobby and love of photography into a full time business. It was a bittersweet choice, because it involved putting Anderson and Lydia in full time daycare. However, since the business is mine, and I create my schedule it has been very flexible and a great compromise between working and staying at home. When the children are out for Spring Break, Christmas and the weeks between Spring and Summer and then Summer and Fall, I simply don't book any appointments. The same thing with their Christmas parties, Halloween fund days at school, etc... Now it isn't a perfect world and there are times when I can't help that things overlap, but for the most part it is working well for us. Ideally this will allow me to take them to school and pick them up at 3:00 on most days when they start "BIG" school and either bring them back to the studio to do homework or watch a movie while I edit or return calls. I can shoot during the day while they are at school. So that is the plan for now....
When I started photographing friends and then friends of friends in the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2009 I never dreamed that in a very short couple of years I would have a full blown studio with an actual employee besides myself or that I would ever be able to drum up enough people that would even PAY me to take their photos at a rate that would even be profitable. I still have to pinch myself on some days to believe that this is really my job and that it is doing so well. Now, having said that the first year in business was TOUGH! Lots and lots of 12-14 hour days, lots of learning and re-doing and making mistakes and figuring out what works and what doesn't work. Lots of trying to figure out what my style is and what it ISN'T! Lots of money spent on start up equipment and getting the space ready to be a studio. Basically looking back on that year now, I'm not really sure how I survived it. I guess it's because I loved the art of photography so much that it really just drove me to do what it took to make it work.
Last April (2010) after months of doing shoots in my living room, we leased a small space in a strip mall in Downtown, Tuscaloosa. I nearly had a full blown panic attack signing that document. Talk about pressure... What if no one called to book appointments? What in the world would I do if I couldn't make my rent payment one month?? Luckily my super awesome husband talked some sense into me and reassured me that I was good at this and that plenty of people had been calling and that they would continue to do so. So after making some structural changes to the space and painting and putting down hardwoods we opened the doors on June 1st, 2010.
That was a great little space and we did so well there, but my business took us both by surprise and really took off....like, whiplash took off. We quickly were out of room for backdrops and props and I was a little frustrated that the space didn't have a separate changing area. it basically was a lobby/ office wrap desk, a huge shooting room, a prop closet and a small bathroom. When we signed the lease I couldn't imagine needing more room, but we quickly ran out of space.
One day on my way back from the post office, I passed (for the zillionth time) an old studio where the photographer had gone out of business about 3 years prior. It had been vacant and for lease for at least two years, but we hadn't even considered looking at it when we leased the first building because it was HUGE and I thought would be way out of my price range. But on a fluke that morning, I called to see how much it was. I spoke to the landlord and he told me the price and shockingly it was totally doable. I called Jeff and said... "You are going to think I have totally lost me mind" I think he is always scared to get calls that begin with that statement. Ha!! We took a tour and boom one week later we signed the lease and began a few minor changes. We moved in at the end of April and it is finally now pretty much the way I want it. I'm going to save the pics of the new place for the next post...