Being pregnant definitely has it’s challenges and working through a hot wedding season as a photographer is definitely ranked high on that list. Having two previous pregnancies I knew that I would have limitations but I also felt the need to be SUPERMOM and “The Incredible Entrepreneur” all at once.
When Jason and I originally started thinking about adding to our family we first knew that it was crucial for me to plan my pregnancy around working through a wedding season but I also knew I had to step back and consider booking less then our usual workload. Typically we take about 16-20 weddings in a season depending on how they schedule throughout the year. We rarely take double weekends and usually we try to not take more than 3 weddings per month. Of course, I have have the lovely opportunity to meet some super sweet brides that I simply couldn’t say “NO” to…of course that creates a little chaos but it has always been worth it!
We have decided that this wedding season (while I am massively pregnant) and next wedding season (while the babies are infants) we will between 10-13 weddings so I am not over-extending ourselves as a business owner or as a mother.
2. Making clients aware
So I admit I felt kind of weird about this one!! I mean can you imagine going into a “regular 9-5 working place” for an interview saying “Yeah I plan to get knocked up in about a year or so…how do feel about that?” But on the same token I wanted to be honest about our plans because it would deeply affect any couple we would book for that wedding season. During the meetings for all my September weddings and beyond I did try to mention that WE were thinking about having more children and I could potentially be as far as 8 months pregnant during the time that I would be shooting their wedding. I am sure this turned off many potential couples from booking and some brides were really excited for me…and I wasn’t even pregnant yet.
Once I found out that I was pregnant, I waited until I was about 9 weeks and heard a heartbeat to share the news that I was indeed pregnant. Unfortunately, this did cause one of the brides to cancel our services for her wedding. Did make this bride aware that I could be pregnant? Absolutely…she even joked about me dancing with my big belly and taking photographs at her wedding. We handled the situation and moved on.
All for the best 🙂 Lemons~~~>Lemonade!!
3. Hiring an assistant/second shooter
Good help is hard to find and I have noticed this year more than any other season I am relying on my assistant or second photographer a little bit more than usual. Having my husband Jason or my friend photog Lauren with me this wedding season has been such a blessing. It can be hard for me to imagine working with anyone else because they both know me so well…they know what I need and how to just be a help. I was also blessed that in a last minute crunch another fellow photog Jennifer came through to be of assistance when my husband was unable to make the event…and Jennifer is also pregnant this year with her first baby!! Congrats to her!
Being pregnant with twins I find that many of what I considered “typical” pregnancy ailments are magnified by 2…maybe 3!! I get exhausted more easily and it is more difficult for me to keep up. This year I have noticed that I truly relish those very few moments I get to sit down and take a break during a wedding day’s “down time”.
Thank you Jason, Lauren and Jennifer!! You guys are so amazing.
4. Just in case
I did have a couple brides that asked me “What if something happens?”
Of course who wants to think about this? It is entirely a negative realm I wanted to stay out of but the truth is that I needed to be prepared. In case of emergency my good friend and fellow photog Lauren would be an associate for Stephanie Karen Photography. She would show and shoot the wedding, abiding by the schedule and family formal list set forth by myself and the bride prior to the event. All images would be retouched by Stephanie Karen as well as any album designs or print orders.
With my two previous pregnancies I worked up until my due date. Literally! Of course I intended to do the same thing until I was completely surprised with not one little bean but twins beans in the early weeks of pregnancy. It truly changed even our best laid out plans…but for a procrastinator such as myself…thank goodness I made plans in the first place because it was fairly easy to make adjustments.
5. Maternity Leave…Baby Moon…
This was by far one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make. My husband is always telling me that I need to put the blackberry/laptop/workload down and just enjoy life with the kids. Taking more time off this wedding season as been really special for me because it has given me more time with my children. Therefore, I have decided to greatly limit the number of bookings I will be taking for all of 2012 to full enjoy the twins first year of life, as well as more time with my older children.
I am not booking any clients past the first week in October for fear of going into labor and cancelations…Depending on when I deliver the babies will really depend on when I choose to come back from leave to start shooting sessions on a more regular basis again. We will likely start shooting sessions on a “regular” basis starting in Dec/January but will only take 2 sessions per month. We will not be taking any wedding commissions for events prior to April 2012. For all potential wedding clients that may want to book their wedding with us for 2012 wedding season we are taking 1-2 weddings per month, which means if you like us…get in touch asap!! 🙂
As I have nursed my first two children for well over a year I simply can’t imagine not giving these babies the same experience…or having that experience with them. This is one reason for the extended period of time not shooting weddings as the babies will be around 6 months before I am working a full day…I won’t need to pump as much as if they were 2-3 months old. That said, I will still need to pump at least once during a wedding day and so I have also decided that MOST 2012 wedding commissions will include a second photographer at no extra fee. (this will depend on the time of year the wedding occurs and the length of the wedding) I want to ensure that my clients are getting the best possible wedding coverage while I step away for a little mommy duty.
Final words....It is likely that these babies are going to the last for Jason and I, not that I intend for us to take any set in stone action…but the reality is that parenthood is hard with ONE child…let alone FOUR! It is important that I maintain a successful business and grow within myself as an artist and entrepreneur. However, my first priority will always be to my children. Raising them to be genuine people who are kind and loving to others, and letting them “teach/raise me to be a good mother” 🙂 While it is hard to “say no” to a passing career opportunities I understand that life is short and I want to savor each and every moment of their childhood.