Self-Employment: Month 1 ~ Chicago Wedding Photographer

It’s a little hard to believe – but today marks one month of working for myself! Crazy. Totally crazy. Time has FLOWN by (too quickly, if you ask me)!

I suppose that may be because we packed as much as possible into the last month! I went full-time with my photography business, we adopted our crazy puppy Chloe, we moved to a new apartment, and we settled are settling into our new apartment… all while attempting to keep my business moving forward. I shot 3 weddings, 12 mini-sessions, and 9 regular sessions in the past month – along with all the things listed above going on in my personal life – and did my best to keep up with editing, replying to emails, and meeting up with clients.

I’m not sure I have much insight about working for myself quite yet – because this month has just been a whirlwind of complete and total insanity. I haven’t developed any sort of routine, and I have not yet started doing the things I hoped to when I went full-time (*ahem* cooking real dinners, sleeping, and exercising). BUT – I know it’s only a matter of time until those things come to fruition. Right? (First I must – get – caught – up!)

In fact, this month has been so nutso that I didn’t even have much time to really THINK about the fact that I’m finally doing what I’ve been working towards for soooo long until just this past weekend.


You see – last Friday, after editing all week long, I decided to get out of the house for the afternoon and find a new fall-appropriate dress to shoot the remainder of this year’s weddings in. And somewhere along the drive up 94 to Old Orchard mall – I started to lose it. I felt like I had to pinch myself.

Right there in the car – all by myself – I finally had some time to think about the last month. (I may have been exhausted – but mostly, I was just completely thankful.) I didn’t have to have 4 lawyers sign off on my request for time off for my afternoon excursion. I knew I had worked as hard as I could all week and I needed to run some errands so I wouldn’t freeze while shooting a wedding that weekend, so I took the afternoon off and went to the mall by myself, because I could.

And for some reason – that’s when it all finally hit me. Right there – while sitting in my car alone in a DSW parking lot – I completely lost it. I cried, and cried…  ha ha!! (Oh man… I must have been a sight!) I just couldn’t get past the overwhelming feelings of joy, relief, and thanks.

I couldn’t believe that – This. Is. My. Life…  the life I’ve dreamed about for so long.


I’m living it.


So I thought I’d write all of this down, because I don’t ever want to forget this time or this feeling. I don’t ever want to take it all for granted, and I don’t want to forget how far I’ve come.


In an effort to continue this thought process (and hopefully avoid another meltdown at DSW) – when I was in Madison this past Sunday morning after shooting a couple sessions, I decided to go to the University of Wisconsin Arboretum to just take a moment, enjoy my favorite time of year, and think. I went to the place where 10 years ago, as a 20-something college student, I used to go for long runs through the woods. I used to love to see the yellow and green leaves flying past my face, and hear them crunching under my feet.

It was with this memory that I parked my car, grabbed my camera, and headed deep into the woods. It was just as beautiful as I remembered it to be. The further down the trail I got, the brighter and more colorful the leaves became.

I listened to the sound of the wind in the trees, and felt my feet shuffling through the leaves. I eventually found a spot to sit down, and took a slow, deep breath as I looked out at the beauty around me. I felt blessed and thankful to be there in that moment, and to be at this point in my life. I thought of how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go. I thought of the dreams I’ve realized, and the dreams that are still bouncing around in my head. I felt at peace with where I am, and hopeful of where I have yet to go.

And then I thought to myself, It has been a good month.

Here’s to (hopefully) many, many more…


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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!