Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking back and pressing forward

I'm a bit behind on this post - I know everyone else has already posted their resolutions and their year in review, so I hope you don't mind me adding one more to the mix. I find New Year's Resolutions to be very therapeutic and I tend to embrace the symbolic fresh start and chance to recommit to bettering oneself. This year, however, I have been so wishy-washy and unsure about where I want my life to be focused that I found it really difficult to nail down concrete goals, especially ones pertaining to my photography and my business. Perhaps I need to go back a few months to better explain.

Last summer, it was just Axton and I at home during the day. My business was finally start to go in the direction I had always hoped it would. I had time to edit and it was easy to leave Axton with Adam or another babysitter I had my body back, we had a good routine, and things fell into a comfortable groove...or at least I really wanted to be comfortable with life. But something in the back of my mind kept nagging at me and I wanted to shrug it off.... but I just couldn't. I knew I could either ignore the feeling and pretend to be happy or I could be brave and face my instincts head-on

I knew it was time to be pregnant again. But so much fear came with that - the fear of losing the business I had worked so hard to build up, the fear of maternity leave putting me "behind" (behind who? Behind "everyone else"? I don't know), the fear of giving my body up for the next two years, the fear that I may never again have time to do the things I love....the list goes on.

But still I pressed forward, swimming through my anxiety and worries.We were pregnant by August. For the most part, I was happy. I worked hard, booking sessions up to the point of not-being-able-to-bend-over (which for me was 37 weeks), I enjoyed the last fleeting time of Just Axton. And then Rhenner was here, and it was hard. It was so hard. Harder than I had anticipated and I was no longer swimming through it all - I was drowning. I kept posting and editing and booking and scheduling, but I wasn't sleeping and I wasn't spending time with Axton or my husband or even myself, really, and I certainly wasn't happy. I was constantly stressed - I could never really relax, something was always left on my to-do list and someone was always crying.

A sweet friend made a comment about me being her hero because I was still managing my business and my kids. As kind as this was, it only made me feel worse. I was only "managing" it on the outside. I felt like I couldn't admit to struggling when others were looking to me as an "example." I couldn't slow down for fear of losing respect. I followed other photographers who also had babies and they seemed to be doing just fine.

Winter and the holidays came as a huge relief and a huge blessing to me. I could hide behind the excuse of Christmas and family coming into town. I finally gave myself a break - I took the whole month of December off to refocus and reclaim my happiness and sanity. And what I took away from it was this:

-My family is the most important thing in the world to me. When I'm not putting them first, everything is out of balance and I am not comfortable in life.
- I LOVE photography and sharing that with other people, but I like to do other things, too. Things like keeping my house clean (!), watching TV and movies with my husband after the kids go to bed, running and exercising, meal planning, and projects.
- Overbooking myself is not only detrimental to me, but to my clients, as well. I cannot give them my full heart in a session when I am stretching myself too thin.

I learned that this year I need to S I M P L I F Y. This year, my babies need me just a little bit more. This year, I need to slow down. This year I need to breathe. This year. Who knows what next year will bring? But this year .....

- I will only be taking 4 sessions a month. They could all four be in one week or they could be spread out, but no more than 4 in each calendar month.

- I will no longer be taking "posed" newborn sessions. This means I will not be bringing props, blankets, headbands, etc to a newborn session. If a client has something they would like to include in the session, that's totally fine. But Posed Newborn sessions take me upwards of 7 hours, with packing my car with all my props, driving to the clients' homes, and then, of course, waiting for baby to fall into a deep enough sleep to pose them. If I had a studio I could invite my clients into, then it would be a different story. But at this point in my life, I've decided to move away from these types of sessions.

- I want to shoot more for myself. I finished my first ever 365 Project and was tremendously proud and happy with the images I can now treasure forever. I am not quite going to start another 365 project, as much I would love to, but I am going to recommit to taking my camera out in my own home more often.

- I will only blog when I want to and/or when I have something to blog about. I am not going to force myself into a blogging schedule.

- I do have a goal of shooting more births, because really, that is when I come alive. There is nothing more empowering and magical to me than a woman in the Realm of Labor. I thrive off the energy, the adrenaline, the beauty that is birth. Please, please refer anyone you know searching for a birth photographer to me.

With all that being said, I cannot properly express how much I truly do enjoy photography. Looking back over all these gorgeous images from the year, my heart leaps with pride, happiness, delight, and most of all, gratitude. I have met so many wonderful people and captured truly sacred moments in their lives - it is such an honor to have that entrusted to me! I love what I do and really, I'm only making changes so that I can continue to give my whole heart and soul to the most important things.

I've photographed beginnings and fresh starts, first love and true love and forever love. I've captured wispy hair and stolen kisses, hands clasped and warm embraces, beautiful pain and ugly anguish. 

I've stopped time and frozen memories.

Laughter. Tears. 



  1. This is such a beautiful post, Meagan. A few years ago I began to appreciate the power in vulnerability. Both from myself and others. I appreciated so much reading your honest words. I want so badly to pursue a similar path to yours but it scares the heck out of me not knowing how to manage. So thanks for sharing that you have struggled, because I thought you were Wonder Woman, and now I KNOW you are for knowing your limits but still excelling at something you love and are so good at. I really enjoyed seeing you at the Temple this morning. You've got such a good spirit about you. Thanks again for sharing, Sarah

  2. I have been having the exact same struggle. It's so hard, and people don't get this... When you put your soul into everything you do, it takes so much time and energy that you feel sucked dry. For me, my business was growing so much, but I love teaching, and I love my daughter, and I need to be able to have a say when I don't have a camera or computer in my hand until bedtime. I want to have time to just BE... To have a clean house, to do DIY projects, to paint with my kid. I've always seen such vibrance and life in your photos, and I know that with the renewed time and energy you will create beautiful art.

  3. You are so talented. At everything you do. Mom, wife, and photographer. So glad your doing what will make yourself and family happy!

  4. Loved this roundup post and hearing what's going through your mind. Love you xxx