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There’s something about a photographer and his/her camera.
When they think of a new idea, take on a new assignment, or simply hear of “breaking news” across town, they are off and running with camera in hand.
That comes with the territory – its part of the job.
Unless you had a dinner planned, and you now have to cancel.
While every job has its ups and downs, a photographer tends to live and breathe photography 24 hours a day.
Yet that’s not good for you – or for your family.
As with every career, learning a few life balance tips early on can be the difference between having a family – or living life on the road alone.
Separate family time and work time
Even though you love what you do, and it’s enticing to head into the studio to Photoshop your last shoot, set up a schedule first and stick to it. While there will always be the little emergencies that come along, don’t make it a habit. Create a work and personal schedule and stick to it. We turn off our computers Friday night, and turn them back on Monday morning. While that took many months to train ourselves to stick to that schedule, we wouldn’t change it now for anything. We highly value our personal free time on the weekends.
Plan trips together
Just because you travel for a living doesn’t mean you have to travel alone. Why not bring your spouse and kids on some of your easier assignments? You might even find a way to have them help. Doing a photo shoot of a tourist area? Get your kids involved and photograph from different angles and perspectives.
Stay in contact when you’re not together
With Skype, Google Voice and a whole variety of online tools, you can do just about anything from anywhere in the world. While reading a bedtime story via Skype isn’t as good as the real thing, its close enough to make someone feel loved and appreciated.
Combine your travel
While two weeks away traveling from place to place may be hard to do, having two weeks at home where you can focus on your family is a great tradeoff. Instead of flying in and out all month long, look for ways you can double up and accomplish more while you are away.
Don’t miss the big occasions
I once had an assignment in another state at the end of the summer. Normally it wouldn’t be a problem, but in this particular case, my daughter was finishing up a theater summer camp and the final performance was while I was away. I missed the play, and still have regrets today. Years later, its still “the year Mom missed my play”. I learned a valuable lesson, and put large priorities first. Also remember that your idea of a big occasion may not mesh with your family members. Be sure to get their true feelings first, and abide by their decisions. You’ll never regret it.