Behind the Lens | Reflecting on November (aka: the joys of giving back and the work-from-home/family balance)
I can't believe we're 1/3 of the way through December already. The blog has been a bit quiet these these, partly because I've been giving a big push to get all of my November sessions out the door in time for Christmas cards and gifts, and partly because my website was down last week. I can't wait to start sharing my November sessions here with you, but first I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the whirlwind that was last month. In early October, I posted this announcement for the November "It's Better to Give" special, offering clients 40% off a regular session in exchange for a minimum donation of 8 non-perishable items to the food bank. I crossed my fingers and hoped that people would go for it. I was definitely hoping to attract some new clients as well as offer a great discount just before the holidays, but my main goal was to use my passion and gift to give back to the community. Photographers all over the world are using their gift in different ways and through different organizations to give back, and I was inspired to do something significant for my community.
The response was overwhelming, and this past November beat out October's record for being my busiest month yet, with 20 wonderful sessions. We had a bit of everything, unseasonable sunny days, snowy mornings, foggy evenings, you name it. I got to try out some great new locations and meet some amazing new families as well as reconnect with some of my beloved loyal clients! And at the end of this whirlwind of a month - I got to make a HUGE donation to the London Food Bank on behalf of all my amazing November clients - over 200 non-perishable items to go to those in need this holiday season. I was blown away by their generosity and enthusiasm, and I can't say THANK YOU enough to everyone who gave and allowed me to capture some memories for them!
As amazing as it was to have 20 sessions booked in a 30-day month, it definitely taught me a valuable lesson about balancing work and family time, a tough one for someone in the early stages of both motherhood and full time self-employement. I found myself so busy between shooting, editing, putting together packages, answering the flood of emails and fulfilling my promise for a ten-day turnaround for November sessions. As much as I love what I do, there were days when I longed to just snuggle with my girl and a pile of books, far away from my camera and my computer. It's all about balance, discipline and time management. I'm still learning the perfect equation to being an involved full-time mama and a successful and efficient work-from-home-super-woman, all while keeping the house clean, cooking healthy meals, maintaining my relationship with my spouse and friends and getting some exercise. I have a feeling this will be a lifelong lesson. I also have a feeling it may be impossible...haha!
The November rush taught me exactly what kind of workload I can handle while maintaining my high standards both as a photographer and as a mother. I've come out of the last month with a clearer picture of the type of business I want to run and the the kind of home I want to keep, along with a schedule and an action plan to make it happen. I never want my passion for photography to get in the way of my commitment to spend as much time with my daughter as I possibly can during these precious early years. I also don't want to make promises I can't keep on the business side of things and am committed to providing my clients with an amazing experience from the first email to the session to the package pickup. I'm sure there will be many bumps along the way, but I am so excited to start the new year with this fresh outlook and many exciting plans for Raw Footage Photography. It's a wonderful feeling when people respond positively to their experience with me, and I am so grateful for each and every one of my clients who has trusted me with the huge honour of capturing some of their precious memories.
December promises to be much slower, on purpose, with only a handful of portrait sessions and one wedding. This month will be for mornings spent in pyjamas, afternoons spent baking holiday treats and experiencing all the joys of Christmas with my wide-eyed little girl. Wishing all of you a family-fun-filled December.