Lifestyle design… the first two steps

Someday I’m going to make a visual graphic that depicts my life. Where my time goes, where my income comes from. Where I want to be, where I’ve been. This the analytical side of me yelling out. I’ve been blessed with drive and ability to end up in a decent position. My freelance business has been growing for nearly a decade, my job-job has never been better and my lovely bride is at the job where she wanted to be for years.

I’ve heard the term lifestyle design thrown around in podcasts and it sounds like the gist is this. Design the lifestyle you want to live first. Then find the work that fits that lifestyle and live happily ever after entering the Zen mentality forever. This sounds like pie in the sky to me, however, in the position I have worked so hard to get into… maybe some life design is in my cards.

Why I retired from second shooting.

Nothing is more valuable to a wedding photographer than the experience of second shooting. Personally I did it for years, not because I was unsure of my ability to be the lead photographer, but because I knew of the post processing time I would feel necessary to put in. As a perfectionist, I can’t let photos go to client that ‘could be more’ even if it’s a photo the couple will just flip by in their album.  Second shooting was a way to really get creative, enhance my experience, learn something new every wedding and at the end of the day I made a decent check, handed over the raw files to the lead photographer and was finished!

Then the blessing of twins came along for my wife and me. In no time they started sleeping through the night! Going to bed at 6pm no less. Working my 8-4 job that meant during the week I was seeing my kids only about two, two and a half hours a weekday. Then when the weekend would come, Nick would be off to shoot a wedding. There goes virtually half of the time with my children. While the money was good, I can’t buy time.

By dropping 12-16 second shooting gigs a year, the income can be replaced by 3-4 bookings as the lead photographer (or videography). So if income is a push then the result is 9-12 Saturdays free up. Yes, this should add a few weeks’ worth of post-production, but as I said, the kiddos go to bed at 6pm and my wife a couple hours later.

This went into effect six months ago and it has been fantastic. I spent some time focusing on getting new clients and have exceeded the bookings to replace the income.

Why I am blacking out Memorial Day starting THIS year.

If the first sacrifice was for my children, this sacrifice is for my bride. When we were dating I made a promise to show her the world. For our honeymoon we went to Australia, New Zealand and stayed in San Francisco for a few day while on the way home. Anniversaries were spent in Europe, New York, Colorado and the list continues.

Just like a high percentage of Americans, our anniversary falls on Memorial Day weekend. May and June are by far my busiest months, literally a third to half of my business income falls in those sixty days. So it goes without saying those days are precious to my business. And one weekend is even more precious to my marriage. Therefore, unless the gig is a $5,000+ budget, I am closed on Memorial Day… indefinitely.

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