This year I had planned to take a break from my photography business and dedicate my work time to focus on The World in My Backyard . The year did not quite go as planned. I realized I needed to focus my time and attention on my family and two growing boys. For many years, I have been struggling to find the balance between family, work and fueling my creative, adventure seeking spirit. After 12 years of being a working parent, it became imperative to me that my family needed to be my first priority. My boys will soon be young men, flying away from my nest before I know it. It has been great to find peace with this realization and for the first time in my 18 year career I spent a summer limiting the amount of work I took on and planning to be intentional about when I am available for my client...always putting my family first. That may sound like an obvious and simple thing to realize, but as a self-employed individual in a dual-income family work almost always took priority.
This shift has also allowed me to reinvigorate my excitement to give the best work possible to my clients. The next few sittings I share provided me with great insight to how important it is for families to prioritize investing in family pictures.
I have photographed this family a handful of times over the years. Sometimes I worry that my pictures will get repetitive for my clients and I will not be able to give them something new that they will love as much as past sittings. That was definitely my concern as I drove to meet this family at Seward Park. Driving away from our time together the concern had vanished and was replaced with an overwhelming sense of how special it is that families take time to capture their kids and I am honored to capture the moments in time for them. As much as my time is fleeting away with my boys and I am shifting my intentions to make sure I am as available as possible for them, I want parents to realize the importance of investing in family images. It is one investment that I know will become priceless in the future because you can never "buy" those slices of time with your family again.
This wonderful family taught me that every time I get to photograph them is uniquely different from the past. Of course, the kids have changed with each passing year but, more importantly, the embraces, laughter, smiles and love shared also look different each time. As a parent who does not prioritize capturing my own family with me in front of a camera, I am realizing I must make sure I do this same thing with my family this year.
I am excited about this shift with my work. I am limiting my availability to make sure I stay focused on the people most important in my life, which in turn will sharpen my focus and enthusiasm to document the beauty of the kids and families who give me the honor of capturing the most beautiful people in their lives.
If you are reading this post and thinking to yourself, "I need to get pictures for my family." or "I wish we would have pictures like these." or "I wish I would have done family photos when the kids were younger...", know that it is never too late to start but do it now before your most precious creations are gone.
Thank you Brooke and Tom for giving me the opportunity to photograph your family again this year. The time I spent with you and your kids impacted me deeply outside of my "normal work day". It was an afternoon I will remember for many years...the timing was perfect for me and I hope the smiles, beauty, love and laughter you see in these pictures will be cherished for many years to come.