Yin and Yang: How to you balance work and family
Everyones idea of balance is different.
I live at the wonderful Bethells Beach on the west coast of Auckland and am lucky enough that many of my clients come here on weekend mornings and afternoons for their family shoots. It’s a special place to live and we never take it for granted. All editing is done at home while the kids are at school and I have a partner who works very hard during the week, so he is home when I work during the weekends. I am here for the kids when they get off the bus after school. My needs are simple and I have been happy at a steady pace while the kids were young. With the kids getting older now, I am ready to take on more work, but am confident that between my partner and the close community that we have here we will make it work.
The Drive: what challenges have you overcome
One of the big challenges I face is the fact that although I am a 40 min drive to New Zealand’s biggest city, my internet runs like I’m in the deepest darkest jungle. This means I have to be organised and mobile with my work, ready to gather my things and move to another location if the connection is bad on any particular day. I use USBs more than most photographers who would usually have online galleries, but find that I gain a lot from delivering files in person. The client sees my commitment to them and that adds to the trust we have been working on. I genuinely love the connections I make and value another chance to enjoy our time together.
For Better Or Worse: Pros and Cons
I feel like the pros are pretty clear – you are hopefully doing work that you enjoy, so you can give it all your energy because you love it and you know its worth. There is usually some flexibility that being employed doesn’t offer and you are freer to create your own style and follow your own path.
The cons are varied, not least because our skills and weaknesses quickly become clear when you are running your own business. You can’t just pass things on to HR and chances are there’s is no social media copy writer or designer to pull your wonderful ideas together, so you have to learn all the time. The “too hard basket” can get quite full in the early days but as time passes you learn that figuring it out and getting it done is so much less stressful and very rewarding.
Hopes and dreams
I dream of a hillside studio with a view of Bethells Beach where the light is always perfect and mums and dads can get lost of the eyes of their magical new babies and not even notice that I’m there. But in the meantime, my goal is to shoot more during the week. There is nothing more wonderful than someone finding a sneaky day off work to spend it running wild on the beach while I photograph them and the glee at being together. It also means beautiful quiet newborns and fun heartfelt “Mummy/Daddy and me” sessions in people’s homes.
A more important and ongoing goal is helping people see that they don’t need to wait till they are “better”, that they are wonderful as they are. Their children will cherish these photos regardless of whether their hair is done, they didn’t buy a new dress or have not yet lost those kgs they planned to lose over the summer. I deeply wish women could see how hard on themselves they are and see that they are enough, more than enough. To their children they are everything and I want to take photos that show that.