As I wrote before, working as a photographer and being self-employed while you’re pregnant is a great experience and one that has the opportunity to provide flexibility in schedule.
Having been through the experience recently, still fresh in my mind are a few things I’m so glad we did prior to having our boy, and a couple of others still that I wish we’d done a bit differently.
What we did right:
Hired Help. We hired a third shooter for weddings before my due date just in case the arrival of our baby was a bit sooner than expected.
Having that extra professional there in this situation was valuable to not only our clients who knew they would have someone to cover the event if he did arrive early, but to ourselves as we were already over the top with emotion.
Knowing we’d still be able to deliver (hehe) to our clients in the event the birth was early gave us great peace of mind.
Automated Everything. Not even kidding. That workflow we never had suddenly had a Word document dedicated to streamlining our processes.
I used Buffer to schedule social media posts well ahead of time, and a few months prior to the birth I went in to ShootQ and created a templated email for *every* client situation that was branded with our colors, logo, and detailed information.
Trained Up. Adam was primarily a shooter and editor, and I used to handle all the e-mails and ShootQ in its entirety. Anticipating the arrival of our baby I trained him up in ShootQ (with those oh-so-helpful aforementioned automated emails and procedures) so he could feel confident answering inquiries and responding to clients in my absence.
I realize not all photographers work as a team with their husband, but if you have any employees it’s helpful to ensure they are on track with your processes so everyone is kept up to date and your business doesn’t skip a beat.
What I might have possibly maybe done differently:
Given myself (and Adam) more time to recover. Remember how I mentioned 27th February was my due date and how we took most of February off to get ready for the baby? I wish we’d taken a bit more of March off.
Because instead of arriving on the 27th, he arrived on the 5th, and we had an elopement scheduled on the 10th. It was fine in the end of course that Adam had that booked and shot it perfectly, but I know he would have loved a bit more time to be at home with me and the baby before leaving to shoot and edit a session when he got back.
At the same time, I wish we’d told a few more clients that I wouldn’t be available to shoot. I thought I’d be emotionally ready to leave our baby for a couple of hours a month after the birth.
Turns out it’s now one month after the birth to the date and I just can’t leave him yet. That’s my own issue, but it’s one I feel strongly about so we had to explain to a couple of April clients that Adam would be working with a second shooter, not myself. It was okay in the end.
What I didn’t realize wouldn’t really be an issue:
I assumed that having a newborn, all the time in our day would be consumed by him. And while this is definitely the case, especially when he feeds for 29 hours a day, I have been able to edit the sessions Adam photographs while the baby naps (if I don’t feel like napping myself) and have actually become more streamlined with productivity.
Suddenly there’s no time for Facebook distractions, and those emails in the inbox are answered even quicker than before.
I hope these last three blog posts have given some insight on what it has been to travel through pregnancy as a photographer.
While your situation might be different, I want to assure you that it’s entirely possible to operate a full time wedding and portrait business in the midst of one of the most important times in your life while still taking the time to enjoy every bit of the journey.
And really, the journey is what it’s all about prepare to embark on one of the best rides of your life!