It's time to retire this blog, and move to the new one!
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FILED UNDER: uncategorized
It's time to retire this blog, and move to the new one!
>> KimberlyBrooke.com <<
FILED UNDER: Weddings
Pretty excited that Beth & Ryan's beautiful Chesapeake Bay Beach Club Wedding is on the Style Me Pretty Little Black Book Blog today! Swing on over and leave a comment :)
FILED UNDER: uncategorized
Brad and Kendall's wedding was such a fun way to start the 2012 season. To say they were the most laid back couple is an understatement. They completely enjoyed their day without all of the fuss and stress most bride and groom's suffer from!
Winter weddings are always a challenge since Maryland weather is so unpredictable in January. However, we had a beautiful day and were able to shoot their First Look outside on the grounds of The Antrim 1844.
Kendall's dress was designed by her costumer designer aunt, whose Tony award winning designs have appeared on Broadway. The delicate jacket was a nod to Kendall's mom's mandarin collared gown and even had "Z" embroidered on either side referencing the family name Zoa that has graced the women for many generations. And who could miss the gold Jimmy Choo's? Good thing Brad was still taller than Kendall with these on!
I have to say that I LOVE when a bride and groom choose to see each other before the ceremony. In this instance, my heart jumped for joy when Brad turned around and literally sprang forward in a run towards his bride. It is such a beautiful moment to be a part of.
After a traditional Catholic ceremony, the guests returned to Antrim for the treat of the century - the bluegrass band The Hackensaw Boys were playing in the mansion. The mood that they set during cocktails contunied throughout the night - carefree, exuberant partying! I cannot describe to you how the floor was bouncing so much that I literally had to stabilize myself for some shots when in the middle of the crazy dancing mass of friends! And speaking of friends - Brad and Kendal have a TON. Kendall included guys on her side of the bridal party which I love! It was such a family event even down to the decor!
Ceremony: St. Joseph's in Taneytown
Reception: The Antrim 1844
Bouquets and Boutonnieres: The Flower Box
Room Design and Decor: Steve Szymanski (email typed this way for spam: stephenszymanski (at) stephenszymanski (dot) com)
Band: The Hackensaw Boys
Cupcakes: Starry Night Bakery
FILED UNDER: Personal
That is the short of it, the long of it is below. If you just want to know what now, skip down to that bolded heading. If you want to know how I got to this decision, read on.
I have been in business for myself for 11 years. It seems hard to believe.. but 10 of those have been dedicated solely to photography. Mostly weddings, but lots of portraiture in the past 5 years, and with 2 different studio locations. I only moved into my Roop's Mill studio last summer. But I will be closing the portrait side of my business as of September 1. I will continue with weddings as usual.
This is a heartbreaking decision for me, yet I feel completely at peace about it. When I survey the last 3 years of my life, I am not happy with it, and yet - it seems I have hit this great place in my career. I have worked hard to be "known" in my area for portraits. I have finally gotten studio space with property to shoot on. I have great business connections. I am busy. And yet, I have been giving my family my leftovers and am super burned out. I have spent waaaay too many all nighters editing, stressed myself out over clients enough to snap at my kids constantly, and have been so uninvolved in my husband's ministry I can only name a few of the kids in his youth ministry. That to me is a shame. If I hear one more person say, "I know you must be really busy." I think I will scream! I HATE the busyness of my business. I will not have to stand before God to give account for my business. I have to stand before him to give account for my marriage and my parenting. That weight hit me like a ton of bricks late this spring.
I was a photographer before I had kids. I had a thriving business before kids... so it never occurred to me to set it aside when I had kids. I was my own boss, I could manage the amount of work I wanted to take on. But, as many of my close friends can tell you, I am a creative type - not an organized type and definitely not a business type. I am terrible at business to be honest. But, I do have drive, and I wanted to have a portrait business as well as wedding business. I loved shooting seniors, babies, families, food even! And so I pursued all of it.
But when I was with my kids, I was distracted by work stresses. When I was at work, I was distracted by mommy-guilt. Any working mom knows this divided feeling. It is awful. So awful that the past 3 years have been miserable in that sense. Sure, the business was growing, but inwardly I was shriveling up.
I knew I wanted more time with my boys and Pete. But I couldn't stop what I had started. I even had various people working for me at different points along the way. I knew I wanted more time with my boys and Pete, but I couldn't stop what I had started... could I? With everyone and their mother starting photography businesses lately, who closes one??
So here is the transparent, vulnerable part; the ugly part that comes to the surface when God is working a painful but GOOD refining process in you. I am a control freak and fear has driven me for the past 6 months. I kept thinking, if I quit portraiture now, I will never be able to get back into it. I have worked so hard to create a space for my style of portraiture in my area and now newbies will ride on my coattails and take all my business. I felt that I had paid my dues and wanted to stay in the game to get what I felt I was owed. But the more I stayed in the game operating with this wrong spirit, the less satisfied I was. The more control I wanted to exert over my life, the more out of control I began to feel. I realized I had begun to tie up my identity in my career. Big problem.
My identity does not come from a brand, a logo, or a name in my very fickle photography industry. My worth is not based on who likes or doesn't like my images, how much a client invests with me in time or money or in the accolades of peers. My identity is in Christ alone. For some of you, this may sound strange. It may seem like the craziest time to close my portrait business and what the heck does this have to do with Jesus?
In the world's eyes closing the portrait side of the business may seem like a failure. I may seem like I am walking away from future successes. But what I am choosing instead is worth far more than any money, accolade, fame or even self satisfaction that my career can bring, and that is to raise my boys to be men of God, who live lives of integrity and honor God in all they do. I need to choose to stay close to Pete and pour more into our marriage than I do in building a business. My identity needs to come first from being a follower of Christ, then a wife to Pete and then a mother to Caden and Ryder. How does my identity come from those things? Ask yourself, what is the first thing you think about when you wake up and go to bed? What do you spend all your time on? What does your checkbook reveal is your priority? For me, I want my photography business to not be the answer to any of those questions and right now it is. So I am putting it to rest.
This all just came into focus for me recently. At first, I thought I was making a big sacrifice of my own personal desires in exhange for quality time with my family. But I realized I had already been sacrificing my family to an idol. The idol was "success" as a photographer. And as silly as it is to watch a live human with a soul bow down and offer gifts to a lifeless manmade idol, that is exactly what I was doing. By scaling back and cutting out the portraiture and the studio, I hope to focus more on my family. I want to be emotionally and spiritually more in tune with a husband who has the crazy emotionally/spiritually draining vocation of pastor. I want to put my kids to bed and go to bed myself, not go to work!
I can see now that my security was coming from how well my business was doing or how well clients liked me or whatever. God has been pulling on my heart over the past few years to return to a homeward focus and I have ignored Him. He has been giving me hints and signs at what He wanted for me and I was stubborn and selfish and did not see or chose not to see them. This caused me a lot of pain and anguish this past year. Some of you have said to me, "I don't know how you do it all." and I jokingly reply, "I don't claim to do it well!" And while I shrugged those comments off with a joke, the piercing truth was there. I have not been doing it all well. I thank God for Pete and a few close godly girlfriends for being a sounding board and speaking truth to me when I sought them out for counsel. It is rare to have friends like this and I am grateful to you. (Want real friends like this? Stop faking it and get real: brutally honestly transparently real).
I covet your prayers. I am at peace with my decision, but it seems at every bend that there is someone or something posing a temptation to veer off course. An influx of portrait requests, opportunities becoming available, etc. But I am more excited about some room to breathe in my life, focus on my quickly growing boys and the ability to provide better customer service to my wedding clients. I am excited to refocus my energy on weddings solely and some teaching here and there of my photography classes. I want to get back into ministry. I want redefine my identity to be 100% found in Christ alone.
If you are a current portrait client (meaning you have a scheduled session and contract with me) I will be honoring the schedule and contractual agreements. I am no longer taking on new sessions. My September is very booked with weddings and I will be in Mozambique with Pete for part of October. If you have been given a gift certificate or have one from an I Shoot My Kids class, please contact me immediately to make plans. If you have had a session with me and want to purchase the disc of images, please contact me for pricing. And look back soon as I may be posting some items for sale from the studio/portrait side of my business :)
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
FILED UNDER: Babies & Maternity
Love this session album that just came in today!