Self-Employment: Month 2 ~ Chicago Wedding Photographer

So apparently this last month got away from me – because I’m late on this post by 11 days! Whoops. 🙂 November 19th marked the end of my 2nd month of self-employment. (I made it 2 months! YAY!!) And I’m trying really hard to remember what on earth happened between October 20th and November 19th… but I’m having trouble because it was such a whirlwind!

Looking back on my calendar – I’m told that I shot 7 family sessions, 6 engagement sessions, 2 weddings, 1 corporate session, had 4 meet-ups, and edited photos until my eyes popped out of my head (almost). I also had my brother Josh and my mom come stay with us for a bit while they were both in town for separate occasions (work & a wedding), and we headed up to Wisconsin to celebrate my niece’s 2nd birthday. In the middle of all this I tried my best to schedule in some time for myself for a change. After month 1 of complete insanity and almost no “me time” – I knew that I had to attempt to change that (even though some of it was forced upon me because I got sick).  I scheduled a couple of lunches with friends, and I closed out my 2nd month by finally cracking open the Wii James got me for my birthday (turns out we’re SUPER competitive – shocking!), and going to see Breaking Dawn with a friend. (Hush hush Twilight haters… I happen to have one of my rare celebrity crushes on Robert Pattinson – so I must go see these movies! Oh… and I read all the books – within like – ummm… a week. So maybe it isn’t just the Robert Pattinson thing. *oops*)

Anyway – I digress! It was a busy month. And as the month came to close I found myself looking forward to having some true down time (an hour every few days was not cutting it). It seemed for every 3 sessions I edited and sent out to clients, I shot 5 more. I just could never catch up – which meant I could never stop myself from working and it was starting to wear on me (and my marriage). The light at the end of the tunnel was Thanksgiving. I thought if I could just make it to Thanksgiving – everything would be okay. I kept telling James: Just hang in there with me until Thanksgiving… then I’m taking a full 4-days off and we can finally get some time together. No working. I promise.

So I guess – you can see that month 2 did not really give me anymore insight on having a work/life balance. Because again – there wasn’t much of one. There was MORE of it than in the 1st month – but still not really a healthy balance (at all). Clearly this is something I have to work on.


So my goals in the future are:

1. To start working out regularly (seriously – my gym membership is a waste right now. I don’t think I’ve been since we adopted Chloe!)

2. To sleep more (I’m really, really bad at this)

3. To read more (news, books, the million magazines I have to catch up on, anything!)

4. To get out of the house more (Because as it turns out – getting out of the house means that you have new things flowing around in your brain! New thoughts – new inspirations – new everything. And I know not only I would love for that – but so would James… because – as it turns out – he apparently does NOT love talking about photography and/or my business ALL.THE.TIME. Who knew?! Also, the other day J and I were laying in bed and out of no where he says, “Do you miss human interaction?” And I didn’t have to think about it for long before saying YES. I explained that this is why I LOVE shooting sessions because I get to talk, laugh, and have fun with other humans! Yes – Chloe is a lot of fun – but occasionally it’s nice to interact with someone who can speak back and not just lick me and bark. My need for social interaction was further proven at Thanksgiving when my cousins and brothers all gave me a hard time for being super peppy and crazy talkative. I explained again, that obviously I don’t get out much, and don’t get to talk to a lot of people on a day-to-day basis – so I was excited to have them all around and to be social! DUH!)

5. To get dressed more often (I know, I know, this is kind of super embarrassing, but seriously… if I’m not going anywhere – I don’t get dressed. And as glamorous as it sounds wearing pajamas all day every day –  it actually really isn’t that cool. I have forgotten that I can actually look attractive and feel good about myself… feel like a woman again… if I just put a little effort into it. And it is proven every time I actually shower & get dressed for a session or meeting because James looks utterly shocked when I walk out of the bedroom with my hair washed & down, and makeup & clothes on. Imagine that! CLOTHES! I think this effort is not helped by the fact that most of the clothes I own I bought because they were “office appropriate” for my old job, and not because I truly LOVED them. So now that I don’t need to wear office appropriate clothes – I obviously don’t want to wear that clothes because it’s pretty blah and boring. Basically, I think I need a “What Not to Wear” intervention (i.e. a new $5,000 wardrobe). Anybody want to nominate me?! Please?! ;))

6. To schedule date nights with James (Because we pretty much only see each other in sweats and pajamas around the house – we definitely need to make these dates nights actually happen. We need to both get dressed and LEAVE HOME together to do something, anything, out of these walls – not to mention – something without a puppy following us everywhere. We could both use some attention, and some good conversation with each other. So I really REALLY need to make this start happening…. because I’m terrible about scheduling this in!!! Those of you who are regular readers know that we tried this in the past. It rarely sticks. I’m determined to make it stick finally!)

7. To focus on the business side of things (Another difficulty about being super busy is that the business side of things really takes a hit. Yes… there are LOTS of business-y things I need to do – like budget/balance my books/reply to emails/plan for the year ahead/etc. I don’t like feeling lost with all of this – which I do now – so I desperately need to sit down and analyze the year ahead, and check out how the money situation is looking. For reals. **Also P.S. – To those of you looking to start a photography business – You must also love being a business person!! Because I feel like this gig is about 20% shooting and 80% business and/or office tasks. Just an FYI that you should be aware of that going in. Luckily – I’ve always loved playing ‘office’, being organized, shuffling papers, and crunching numbers – so this side of things is right up my alley too.)


So – there we have it. I think based on my goals – it is clear what I did NOT do in this 2nd month of self-employment. However, I can’t just focus on what I need to fix. I do think I did a few things right! I brought in new clients and new weddings for 2012. I shot a lot of sessions I really really LOVED. I grew as a business person and a photographer. And I did spend *some* time with family & friends. And if this 2nd month is any indication of what the future holds – then I can’t wait to see what is yet to come!


And of course – every day when I wake up without an alarm clock (even if it is only 5 hours after going to bed) – I pinch myself to see if this life is real, because I still can’t believe it. Then Chloe licks me square on my eye ball to let me know she has to go out and pee – and I’m very, very aware that this life is in fact real. 🙂


(And I can’t post without a picture… so here is the view from my parents yard over Thanksgiving weekend at dawn one morning when I was taking Chloe out. It was so peaceful and gorgeous – I just stood out there in the freezing cold – soaking it in.)

check out OUR VERY



chicago & worldwide

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