This is a post I never thought I’d write. For years, photography was my dream job. I worked so hard for so long. And yet, the decision to stop was incredibly easy and I have a huge peace about it.
I had been thinking my time might be winding down and it got to a point where we had to decide – are we stopping or are we going to keep at it? What happened next was one of the most awesome moments in our marriage.
We knelt down to pray about the business and asked God for clarity. After we finished, Bret said he had an answer, almost immediately. He said he wanted to wait until I had an answer before he told me what he heard.
So for about 5-10 minutes, I was lost. I had no idea what God was telling me. I felt like it was time, but we just had a great opportunity pop up. Then God reminded me of an odd trend in our marriage. We’ll make a decision and almost immediately (sometimes hours or a day or two) a seemingly better opportunity comes up. Being reminded of this, I told Bret, you know, I think we’re supposed to stop but this opportunity made it sound like we should keep going. I think God is saying to stop photographing. He gave me a serious stare, just to the point of worrying me, laughed and said that he heard the same thing. It was so awesome to be in accord and of the same mind. It was great to see how God had knit us so close to each other and to God that we could both clearly hear what God was saying.
What am I going to do now?
I’m currently working for a few amazing photographers helping them with the business side of their business. The short description is I’m a fancy virtual assistant (and in person assistant). 🙂 It has been so fulfilling to take the skills I’ve gained over ten years in business and use them to help other businesses. I’m also still working on my book…which is a whole adventure in and of itself! All in all, I’m going to enjoy my weekends and free time with Bret.
What about my client’s photos?
Never fear! All of my weddings and portraits are online and will stay there. I use the site for backing up my personal photos too! You can still order your photos from here too. No change there. I have my client photos backed up multiple times offline too. The only thing that has changed is that we won’t be photographing any new clients. That’s it. If you have questions about ordering photos or albums, let me know.
So what was the REAL reason you stopped?
Well, a big part was Bret teaching full-time. It was so much work for him to work a full day at school and then work another 6-8+ hours for me. We were both pretty spent. It wasn’t because we had bad clients or didn’t like photographing weddings anymore. It all comes down to God said it’s time to stop and we said ok.
Jen! Who is supposed to photograph my wedding?
I highly recommend Shawna Sherrell Photography – she was one of our wedding photographers.
I also highly recommend Robin Shotola Photography & Design – she is an amazing photographer and also offers photo booth services.
I am so incredibly thankful for the many years of owning my own photography business. For the dozens and dozens of clients and the hundreds and hundreds of family and friends I met through my weddings and portrait sessions. I have lifelong friendships that I truly cherish.
And here’s the best part – my business was not a failure. A few years back, we started praying before every consult, get to know you, rehearsal, wedding, photo viewing and everything related to our clients. We would pray that the couple would be blessed through our work, that God would be glorified through us and that everyone would just have a blast. I feel that prayer was answered every time. I am satisfied with the product we gave to our clients and the customer service we gave with each one. I am thankful that I was the boss and I could “make the rules” and make the business very personable and warm.
In the time leading up to “announcing” this, I was more excited than anything else. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t bummed…which is so weird to say considering how long I was in business. But I will admit when I updated my website the other day to say we would not be taking on any new clients, I got a little weepy. I poured so much of myself into this business. I have grown so much over the last decade of my life. I would change a few decisions, to be sure (bet you were thinking I would say I wouldn’t change a thing…well, I thought about it, but it’s not true). What I wouldn’t change are the friendships. What I wouldn’t change is how Bret gave me wings (take that Red Bull!) to fly high with my dream. Heck, he bought the materials and built the wings for me. He has nurtured me into the business owner and person that I am today.
If you have any questions, please let me know. My email is still active (firstname.lastname@example.org). I love you all and I’m excited to see where this new journey will take me.
And nothing ends this post better than a few behind the scenes photos. 🙂
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