I’ve been making lots of changes in my personal and professional lives lately. One of the decisions I recently made was to get more personal here, to help everyone get to know me. Yes, I’ve posted personal things here and there, but I’m talking about a deeper glimpse into who I am, what makes me tick, and the other things I am “into”. This is my first post to kick off this new direction. You can still expect to see the sneak peeks and helpful info I’ve always shared, but now you’ll see a little more behind the lens.
As my first personal post, it is also a bit profession-related. (Hmmm, is that a phrase?) As many of you know, I strongly believe in giving back to my community. I’ve been involved with many volunteer groups over the past few years. Everything from lab rescue (in honor of my furry love) to suicide prevention to cancer research to supporting our military community. I strongly believe in ALL of these causes and missions, as I have been touched by each one. But I found myself stretched very thin on time and resources. I had to sit down and evaluate my time commitments and personal investment in each effort, as well as how much I was affecting myself and the community with my participation. In the end, I had to come down to one volunteer effort to support, and that is my work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org). So, how does this affect me professionally? Well, I have resigned from my work with Operation Love Reunited. I joined the organization years ago, and I still passionately believe in their mission to support military members facing a deployment. I know that OpLove will carry on the fabulous work they are doing as long as there is a need in our military community. I will miss giving back to our military families. I know how they feel when facing or enduring a deployment. It’s rough. There are so many times when you just want to hold your deployed family member, or have them hold you. A photograph can help during these times. I cannot thank the photographer who took our pre-deployment portraits enough for the support she gave us in those images.
The work I did with OpLove was some of the most rewarding I have ever experienced. It’s a big responsibility, as well. So much emotion, love, and unfortunately, sadness. Saying, “See ya later.” It stinks. But welcoming our service men and women home is amazing. The work was such an emotional rollercoaster, but I don’t regret a moment of it. I thank all of my OpLove clients for welcoming me into their lives at such a difficult time. Thank you. And a huge thank you to the administrators of OpLove as well. You put in thousands of hours each year to make this organization what it is today. The way that the lives of our military families have been impacted is immeasurable. You rock!
I am sure that some of you are probably wondering if I will still provide similar services. I will, and I will post information on that to the website as soon as I can. I just didn’t feel like this was the time. You can still find participating photographers at www.oplove.org. And a final note, please check out www.AFSP.org and support the critical work being done there. I’ll share more about them in a blog post very soon. I believe the work they do with our military community is crucial.
Lots of love,
We just returned from our family vacation to Oahu, and I spent last night downloading the images from my memory cards and looking through them. I only took about 250 photos on our trip, which is not a lot, by my standards. But, in my opinion, the most important images weren’t on those cards. Yes, they were our memories of the trip, but there is one problem: not a single image contained all three of us, one of us was always behind the camera.
There were plenty of grumbles when I woke my husband and daughter up at 4:00 a.m. on the Saturday morning during our vacation. But we had somewhere important to be. We dressed, carefully did our hair, and jumped in the car to drive an hour in the darkness. We were having family portraits taken at sunrise on the famous North Shore. When we decided to take this trip, one of the first things I did was start looking for a photographer. As a recently reunited family following a 207 day deployment, it was very important to me to document our reunion and the special vacation we took to celebrate. And a tripod and remote shutter release is really no substitute for professional portraiture. Instead, we opted to have a portrait session that was relaxed and celebrated our family.
Could I have spent that money on an amazing dinner, or even a first-class upgrade on our flight? Sure. But those things are fleeting. Memories are forever. I value our time together as a family. I’m reminded all-too-often that our time together could be cut short at any time. Those portraits are going to be proudly displayed on our walls, at some rather large sizes, so I can remember this trip, this feeling of reunion, this joy and gratitude that we have all that we do. Those portraits will stop time. I wish there was a way I could explain to everyone just how valuable the family portrait experience is.
Last month, I had the pleasure of photographing Leslie and her two daughters. This is a family who knows how important it is to capture these moments. Their dad is currently overseas, serving in the military, and I know he misses every small moment like the ones we captured this day. Even the seemingly insignificant moments are truly precious. I thank Leslie and her girls for spending an evening at the beach with me. They are beautiful and so full of love and life!
Most schools are already back in session or getting ready to start this week. I cannot believe it’s almost September! This year has flown by.
I want to take a moment to thank all of my clients and fans for standing by me and supporting my business as well as my family. My husband returned last week from a seven month tour in Afghanistan. Many of you probably weren’t aware he was away serving, as I tried my best to not allow it to affect my business. It’s been hard work, being a temporarily single mom, running a growing business, caring for two homes on opposite coasts, and raising a preschooler, all while trying to encourage my own personal & professional growth. Thank you, for supporting my business.
Now he is home, we’re enjoying our time together again, and I’ll be taking a few weeks off. I plan to return to shooting sessions on September 15th, so schedule your fall session now. The fall is booking quickly for holiday and family sessions, as well as for seniors. If you haven’t scheduled your family portraits yet, you’ll want to do it as soon as you can, and take advantage of this special:
In the next few weeks, I will be rolling out the new GRADUATES site by Powell Woulfe Photography. I know everyone has been waiting for a look at the new design, so here you go…just a little preview of the colors and style coming your way!! I’m really excited to launch it, but want to make sure it is absolutely perfect. Stay tuned for lots of updates in September, and have a GREAT school year 2012-13!!
This post has been a long time coming. Be warned…there is brutal honesty ahead. 🙂 For several months, I have been contemplating what I am about to share. It did not come easily to me. I don’t like to “give up” on things, so mostly this journey has been about finding myself and my true happiness. I learned that change is not failure, nor is it surrender. And once the decision was made, it was as if a weight has been lifted.
The last several years, I’ve been proud to serve all types of clients: families, new parents, children, babies, seniors, couples, engagements and weddings. I find joy in every single session or event I photograph. I truly love to do it all. But, as both my family and my business has grown, I have found myself pulled in too many directions and coming up short, especially at home with my daughter. You see, in addition to the time spent photographing and editing images for my clients, there is four or fives times as many hours put in on administrative tasks: managing websites, travel, meetings, consults, blogs, responding to emails and phone calls, placing orders, designing albums, etc. My average work week is 50-60 hours, with only about 10-12 of those actually behind the camera. And when your focus is pulled in so many directions at once, something (or someone) will suffer.
I took some time to reflect on my business, my goals, and what my heart was telling me. I listed out pages of pros and cons of the various paths I could take, and I kept coming back to the same conclusion. So, moving forward and keeping with my business model and dreams, I have decided that I will no longer be photographing weddings. In many ways, it breaks my heart and it is so difficult to say that, but it is necessary. A wedding is much more time intensive than even 10 portrait clients, and often my weddings and the administrative side of them was taking me away from my other duties.
I am proud to say that this change will allow me the time I’ve been looking for to focus on my growing senior portrait business. I’m very excited about finally having the time to expand into this niche that I find so fulfilling and rewarding! The work I have done with my seniors these last few months has made my heart grow three sizes larger, and I realized that the rainbow leading to my dreams is filled with senior and family portrait photography. So, I’m following my heart, chasing after my true calling and dreams. We all deserve to reach for that golden ring that holds our true fulfillment. For some, like myself, that may be career-related. I will continue to second-shoot with some of my photographer friends, because I do truly love weddings. Seconding and assisting will allow me to return to a time when every wedding I photographed was absolutely magical and invigorating.
Moving forward (I love the sound of that…forward), there will be some more changes you will see on the website, to my blog, and yes, even to pricing (for the benefit of all!). Stay tuned as I roll out these changes over the next week. And if you are looking for a wedding photographer, I have a list of preferred photographers and videographers I am more than willing to share with you! I’m looking forward to working with all my future family, maternity/newborn, and senior/graduate clients!
Just a little note, at this time I will continue to offer my mentoring and workshops on a limited basis, as it is just too rewarding to stop!