This July will mark my 3rd year full-time with our business. I still remember the nerves, anticipation and excitement of taking my love for photography in both hands and leaping into the unknown. It was a period of hustle. I hustled so hard, wanting with every fibre of my being to make a success of this business. I hustled to save enough money to feel secure to leave my accounting job. And for two years straight I hustled every season to ensure the numbers stacked up & that I could continue to pay myself and meet every mortgage payment.
There is a time for hustle, and hustle I did. But that time has now passed. I feel 'at home' in our business. Well established. I've proven to myself that it's viable. Now I'm ready for the next season of business; sustaining.
2019 and beyond for me looks very different to the previous few years. The hustle and big hours are being replaced with a calmness, steadiness and balance that has got me just as excited as I was taking that leap full-time. It's not that I can now sit back and rest on my laurels - I don't think you can ever do that when you're in business. But I am learning to button off, say no to what doesn't set my heart on fire and create more space for life.
Instead of stressing about getting enough bookings to keep my cashflow happy, I have been concentrating my energy on doing the work that brings me joy and letting the latter take care of itself. Rather than allowing my calendar for next wedding season to fill up every single weekend, we've capped weddings at a maximum of two per month. I no longer say yes to commercial shoots, because I'd rather be shooting portraits & weddings (and those enquiring value my honesty & recommendations for better suited photographers that love shooting commercial stuff because it will mean better results for them!). I've quit putting pressure on myself to post to social media at least 5 times a week! I plan to take it slow this winter, to work on some personal projects and recharge my creativity. Not to mention that we're building!
I am so excited for this new season of our business. It's like that feeling of free-wheeling on your bicycle after you've worked hard to get your speed up. We're still moving forwards, but without having to push as hard.
I've had an afternoon filled with laugh-out-loud moments as I compiled this year's behind the scenes blog post! I'd completely forgotten some of these hilarious, fun moments from each of the 17 weddings we've shot this year. As much as I cringe looking at a few of these shots, I also cherish that we were a part of these awesome weddings & that we have these photos to remind us of wonderful memories made.
While I do go on about how much I love my job, it doesn't mean wedding days aren't still long days of hard work. I found compiling this blog post this year really re-freshing & re-energizing. It's been a full-on, crazy year and sometimes there's nothing better for the soul than to sit back, reflect on happy memories & have a few good laughs.
And now without further a-do, let's crack into the most popular blog post of the year...We've shot in new venues this year - from autumn garden goodness to summer stunners in the mid 30 degrees heat!
From the iconic Wanaka Tree to the Borland Saddle!
Helicopter charters to back country roads.
And I wouldn't be doing any of this without my number 1 partner in crime and all-time favourite lighting test model...
He's so good - he'll even stand out in the pouring rain for me.
Channelling his blue steel look here. Roaw!
Sometimes I'll be his lighting test model too...
And on occasion I'll even smile...
I think it is important to note that no cakes were harmed in the making of these photos.
I swear it's all just to get our camera settings right. We've even had a videographer help us!
In all seriousness though we do actually do some work on a wedding day. Besides taking the photographs we also do our bit to make sure everything looks just right, to help ensure the day runs to schedule and everything else in between that creates our signature Heidi Horton Photography experience.
Have you noticed I've had more hairstyles than I've had different outfits this year?!
From straight to curly. All shades of red, then back to natural. And that undercut. My poor 2019 couples are probably thinking what version of Heidi will we get next year!?!
Anyway back to Matt...here's a wee series I call "How do I work this thing again?!"
And this is Matt's annual series for "Photos of the back of Heidi's head"...
At each wedding we get someone in the bridal party to take a photo of us with our bride and groom. It's always entertaining (and sometimes a little nerve-wracking) watching someone with our cameras. Here's a few "behind-the-scenes" snapshots from our budding photographers...
Whatever Matt is saying here, Shanaye & Oscar don't like it...
Oh nah, it's all good.
While we're on the subject of questionable facial expressions...
But surely for once the annual award of who can take the worst photo... goes to me with this stunner of Matt right?!
There's always at least one photo of me standing up on something to get the shot...
This year Matt decided to start copying me!
The annual 'bare foot' photo...
But usually we try to blend in to the crowd as much as we can...
Unless we're giving directions in which case we need everyone's attention.
And here's how many people it takes to get the flower girls & pageboys' to look at the camera!
Matt with his favourite celebrant...Sharyn you are lucky I love ya! 😜
While Matt doesn't shoot at engagement sessions he is useful at holding the bags, dogs, babies, beers etc. And he also needs to get a new t-shirt!
We enjoy capturing two perspectives of all the moments.
Although this blog post is evidence that our facial expressions may not always be on point, we have a lot of fun working together.
And with our fellow wedding vendors too!
Above all we love getting to know our awesome couples, having the honour of being their photographers and sharing in all the fun & joy of their incredible days!
Lastly, thank you to Matt, without whom none of these shenanigans would be possible! Love you to the moon & back babe. x
Earlier this year when I moved my office & studio space in to Gore, creating a separation between work and home, it created a very different dynamic which has brought about some healthy changes for me. I'm talking about that elusive work/life balance thing you hear self-employed people talking about.
With the new office space I had hopes I would only need 1-2 days a week in there for meetings and consults (and to use Gore's much faster broadband!) while still being able to get the bulk of my day-to-day computer work done at home. However within a month of being in the new office space I realised my two years of productive working from home life was vanishing. I could no longer get motivated to work at home, I suddenly craved the office environment where there were no distractions of domestic chores or homely comforts, where I could come in, sit down and power through my workload.
I'd always been so good at working from home that at first I found this sudden change in motivation alarming. But then I realised to look at this change as a good thing. I'd finally forced myself to draw a line between work and life. The office space was for getting the work done, then I could come home and switch off. I was actually gaining that elusive balance. 🙌
Sure there are days when I am required to work from home still and sometimes I do want to just edit from the couch rather than drive into the office, but there is a new joy of coming to work and then switching off the computer and going home to be present in my life. Instead of that awkward in-between where the laptop was always open as I flitted between work and home life constantly and at any hour of the day (or evening!).
I love what I get to do as a job. And I love the life I get to live because of my business. But the transition into an office space really opened my eyes to just how merged my work and life had been. At the time I had thought I had it pretty well sussed with work routines and good workflows, but really I still let the email inbox into every awake minute of my day. As a business owner there will always be a blurred line, work can never really ever be left at the office, but that doesn't mean we should just let it be a part of our life 24/7.
Here's to continuing to create the perfect work/life balance! 🥂