It’s one of the hardest business decisions Trudy & I have had to make. Partly because of the emotional sentiment. Mostly because it’s such a key part of our business and image. But…
We are leaving the studio.
Five and a half years ago we saw that the beautiful building was vacant. The previous tenant had just moved out. The building was empty. It was available. It was a huge financial commitment, but we thought we’d take a chance. And it worked. The “old girl”, as she is affectionately known, became the home to our photography business. She was old, she was worn, but she was ours. Over the years we have expanded, refurbished, renovated and made her our own. Our time together has been amazing.
Clients have loved the space. Colleagues have admired it. We have always been grateful for it.
Life has changed.
Seven months ago we welcomed our first child into our lives. Carter. He is incredible. He is a gift. We love him more than anything else.
The business decisions we made in the past and the direction we are taking the business have been based on a family of two – Trudy and I. We love to work. We love business. We love the plans we have for Studio Con Brio. But Carter has changed those plans… for the good.
I can’t explain it, but Carter has given us a renewed perspective and appreciation for what is important.
Family and time.
During the last seven months, Trudy & I have watched a tiny little miracle grow into this beautiful, fun and entertaining little personality. We know we are incredibly lucky to have shared so much of the past seven months with Carter and watch him grow, develop and explore this amazing new world. We are not constrained to a structured and corporate style work day. We are fortunate to have the flexibility with our business where we can spend our days with him and schedule (most of) our work around him. But we know his demands on our time is only going to increase.
Running any business takes considerable time and energy. Being wedding photographers means this time impacts on family. Our hours are not Monday to Friday, nine to five. They are weekends. They are late nights. It’s just the way it is. We have always accepted that.
There are times in the year when weddings seem to congest. It’s always around autumn and spring. We call this “wedding season”. We have already been through one of these “wedding seasons” with Carter and it was tough. We were away from him for long days. We had to shuffle him around the family for weekends and late night appointments. We had a taste of what life is going to be like if we continue doing what we are doing. We no longer accept it.
Having Carter and becoming parents has made us want to do things differently. We are no longer comfortable with this encroachment on family time, especially now that this time is no longer just Trudy and mine, but Carter’s as well. Right now he is not aware of it, but soon he will be. We have had a realisation: if we continue doing what we are doing, a time will come when Carter will be spending most of his week nights with only one of his parents, most of his weekends without either of us and we will miss some important milestones of him growing up.
Plenty do it. Plenty have operated and are operating successful wedding photography businesses with young families. We thought we could too, but we don’t want to.
We love photography. We love business. But the nature of our business means we cannot do it with divided attention or with just one of us. Not at our current level of operation and not without compromising on a few things.
We are faced with a choice – continue our passion in our business and do our best to manage/minimise any impact on family life or adapt our plans to suit a new set of priorities – family and time. It’s basically a choice between (1) making the family work around the demands of the business or (2) making the business fit around the demands of the family.
We choose family.
This choice comes at a cost. We cannot continue doing what we are doing the way we have been doing it. Time is a limited resource. To reclaim it for the sake of family we need to either decrease our workload or become more efficient in what we do… or both. Basically, we need to work less or work smarter. We are aiming to do both. The first decision we have made is to pull back/slow down/ease up on the number of weddings we shoot. The second decision we have made is to change when we work. To suit our family, this means working more at night and at home. Both of these decisions and changes have resulted in the same thing…
A reduced need for the studio.
The thought of walking away from the studio hurts. It’s like saying goodbye to a loved one or a best friend. It’s been such a pivotal part of our business that it’s difficult letting it go. But this overwhelming emotion of sentiment is soon replaced with another one – the reason WHY we are making this decision. As I write this, it’s 11pm and that reason is currently sound asleep in his cot blissfully unaware of all of this. His only concern right now is sleeping. Tomorrow morning it will be eating. After that it will be exploring this exciting new world.
I want to be around to explore it with him for as much as I can.
We will continue to run the business and continue to photograph weddings, but in a different way. Right now, at this particular point in time, and for these short but very critical few years to come… our priority is family. This is what we have chosen.