Balancing Family Life and Your Photography Passion
The topic of balancing time with your family and time to nurture your photography passion is always a tricky one to master. Photography is such a fantastic journey to embark on, but if you are not careful, it can become difficult to schedule time limits and remember the most important thing of putting your family first.
I'm a mom of four kids ranging from a darling baby to my handsome 9 year old boy. I have always home schooled my kids, and so I have the extra bonus of trying to figure out how to balance family, learning, and photography. It can be done! It just takes an extra dose of creativity. At least that's what I tell myself. It's a work in progress.
I began learning photography eight years ago when my oldest was a little one. I remember the blessed afternoon nap when he would sleep, and I would run for the couch and my laptop, eager to research all I could find on photography and photo forums. It was easy to go out and shoot pictures when one kid was at home with Daddy, but as the rest of my children came, I needed to be careful with how often I went out, and how much time I devoted to my craft.
As with any passion or interest, I learned that if I didn't set some limits and made some boundaries, time could easily take over and start flying by like it always does, and precious relationships might go neglected. Of course, when we begin our photography path, we don't want it to consume us and push everything else out of the way, but I do believe that we can balance our family time and continue to enrich our lives with the joy of creating art. After all, what would life be without an outlet for joy and creation?
The danger with not putting family first is that photography can turn into a work machine that leaves you exhausted and uninspired. I found that my kids would definitely let me know when I've been on the computer too long, and time with my dear husband is precious and needs to be safeguarded. When I had a session to do, I would give my client a reasonable time of two weeks to get their pictures done. I would then work on them either at night or early morning, and try to take the weekends off for my family.
Then recently, I had my fourth gift, little Adam, who came to us having Dwarfism. That was definitely unexpected, and I took a year off from my business to hunker down and savor the fleeting first year of a newborn, and learn more about his condition. I enjoyed that time, but also began to miss taking pictures and creating beautiful memories. I wondered if I could come back again, if it would be hard to start over, but I reassured myself that photography would be there waiting patiently, and there would be new worlds of learning to explore.
Indeed, I have found that to be true this year. I began taking pictures of my children again, where it all started in the beginning. After taking that break and focusing on my family, I felt that my creative batteries were recharged, and I was invigorated to begin again. I began to book sessions and was not prepared for the positive, overwhelming amount of bookings. In order to get my sessions edited and not let it disrupt family time, I got up early at 5am, set the timer for at least an hour, and worked hard. That's just what worked for me at this time in my life, and it probably will change with new seasons. Each of us can find the best time to schedule editing and business work. For some, it might be an hour in the afternoon, or right after the kids are in bed. Find what works for you, set time limits, and go for it!
The bottom line is this; you started this path of photography because something sparked you. Something inspired you to seek your voice, find what style of art makes your heart happy, and learn all you can like there's no tomorrow. We all want to continue our journey and keep growing, and we can all learn how to place our love of photography carefully among our family time. If you've messed up and have struggled with this balance, it's ok. It happens. Be gentle on yourself, go back to the drawing board, and reschedule. Think of the precious twenty four hours in a day that is given to you, and plan carefully what you will do within those hours. Hug your loved ones, take some pictures of them, and then put the camera down and play some more. Go to bed happy, and when the sun comes up, go tackle another day that's waiting to give you beautiful and tender moments.
ABOUT ERIN: Erin Hatch is the owner of Erin Hatch Photography. She's a desert girl who loves finding lush, outdoor locations to photograph in. Images that evoke softness and beauty make her heart happy. When she's not taking pictures, she's going bonkers in her garden, planting up a storm of flowers and veggies and spending time with her family. You can find her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/erinhatchphoto/
View more of Erin's work below.