The end of something… can only mean the beginning.

 

Well it’s quite a momentous day for me, and for Light and Day photography; a day to take a deep, grounding, knowing breath and share with you a decision which may seem surprising, brave, selfish or reckless, depending on your point of view.

 I have decided to leave the business of photography.

 Like many business people who grow a hobby into a business, I have struggled with the balance between fulfilling my creative urges and driving, striving, struggling. ‘And eventually ‘I just want to take pictures’ turned into ‘I just don’t want to take pictures’.

It’s hard to measure success as a photographer. As a breed, we never quite ‘get there’. The holy grail morphs and shifts and is ever elusive. We compare our worst work with every others’ best.

We concentrate on the clients that didn’t book, or the order that wasn’t placed. Someone else always charges more, blogs more, shouts more and shoots more. I’m exhausted by it. My success metric is how I feel when I wake up in the morning, and how I feel at the end of the day. Does the blood fizz in my veins? Do I have spring in my step? Am I uplifted? Am I happy? And increasingly, I experienced these positive feelings more through other activities than through running a business. I know from past experience that my health and wellbeing depends on self care and self compassion, and having waded through a few personal challenges in the last few years; two major bereavements, a concussion that set me back by months, a horrendously stressful house move and renovation and a role as a carer that will inevitably increase in the next few years- it’s time to stop balancing, and just live for a bit. For now, for me, and for those I care about.

I don’t feel like I’m quitting, failing or giving-up. In many ways I’m leaving on a high- 2013 was by far my most successful year in business, in terms of the nature and variety of shots, and for the ‘bottom line’. I’ve had some wonderful clients and opportunities.

So why stop now? As Napoleon Hill said, “You might be three feet from gold.” I was within sight of the gold, and I even got to touch it, but it turned out that gold wasn’t what I wanted.

 There’s been many times when it would have been easy to throw in the towel. In the early days, when confidence was low; When I didn’t feel worthy of the prices I was charging; When I put my prices up and had to find a new client base; when I had a shoot that felt like everything went wrong; When family challenges meant I felt like I was being pulled in so many directions I thought I’d stretch into nothingness.

But because I have come so far, committed so much, learnt and grown more than I ever dreamt, I kept going. And I was making money, so why stop? And yet the reality kept nipping at my heels.

 I love photography but I don’t love running a business.

I love seeing the beauty in this world through my camera.

But I also want to

 Write

Paint

Walk

Sow seeds

Explore

Think

Listen Teach

Learn

Be

 The last few weeks I’ve been mulling questions like

‘What can I not go a day without doing?’

‘What did I dream of as a child?’

‘What do I do for hours on end that makes me forget to eat, breathe even. Where time just vanishes?’

Just not- what shall I do with my photography business this year? That’s a clue, isn’t it?

What would I have told my best friend in the same situation? Listen to your heart. It was a no brainer. So I’ve been my own best friend and made the decision. And I haven’t had a moment’s doubt since.

That little list above may, or may not turn into my next career. (Hell, life is too short for just one career. Or three, in my case. So far J ) I may write a book, maybe not. I may walk the Camino de Santiago, maybe I won’t. But whatever I do, I’ll be doing it for the right reasons and with wholeheartedness.

I know, I’m lucky. I have the space, support and opportunity to make this decision. But I’m not going to feel guilty. Only if I waste the opportunity to work out what will really make my soul sing, do I deserve to feel guilty.

Since starting to tell people, I’ve had amazing comments from my clients, friends, family, and other cheerleaders. I’ve met an amazing community, made the best of friends, found a confidence I never knew was possible, and produced a body of work that I’m immensely proud of. Nothing is wasted, and I have no regrets.

I’m not giving up, I’m moving on. And it feels great.

Thank you for reading.

 

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SarahJanuary 21, 2014 - 2:51 pm

Good for you!!! It’s a rare and brave thing to do, quitting whilst you’re (financially) ahead and I take my hat off to you.
Listening to your heart is the way to go, if you are able to do so. I wonder how many others would follow in your footsteps, if they were able? I know I would!
Best wishes for whatever you find that makes your heart sing.
Sarah x
Ditsybird on IG

Karen DempseyJanuary 21, 2014 - 3:00 pm

Well done.

I have admired your work and your ability to communicate for a good while now and I’m sorry that it is coming to an end but I’m thrilled for you and wish you the absolutely very best of luck in your new adventure.

Enjoy every moment…

K:)

Jessica NicholsJanuary 21, 2014 - 3:06 pm

I am supremely happy for you! Giddy up into your new places! xoxo

Aga TomaszekJanuary 21, 2014 - 3:40 pm

I’m so ridiculously proud of you, I know EXACTLY where you’re coming from. Yes you’re lucky but you also have balls, girl. Will be a serious loss for portraiture, but a huge win for you, hope we can photograph together for fun one day. Sending love. xxx

VickiJanuary 21, 2014 - 5:08 pm

What a beautifully written post. I’m sad to see you leave the world of lifestyle photography but I totally understand your reasons for doing so. You are right to listen to your heart and I’m excited to see what the future holds for you! Thank you for the inspiration, advice and help you’ve given to so many people in the industry. Please keep in touch and good luck!

AnnaJanuary 21, 2014 - 5:34 pm

Good for you Maz; I applaud your courage and I know exactly what you mean. Only you can know if you’ve made the right decision and it’s fantastic that you’ve been able to step back and acknowledge what feels right for you, instead of just being swept along by the unrelenting tide.

Very best of luck with whatever path you choose to follow.

Anna xx

Debbie HumphreysJanuary 21, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Oh Maz. What a beautifully written post. As they always are..might be a clue and it was on your list….writing.
I am bereft at loosing the photographer who has built my brand with me, and always be a total delight to work with, from our very first doggy shoot in Devon back in 2010.
But I also know where you are, and why you are doing this. I had the same feelings when I gave up a successful Wedding Dress Shop. I just wasn’t loving it any more and it was the right time to move on, and look where I am now, combining all my passions with creating and dogs!
So lovely lady, you go forward and be happy in what ever you do, and what ever path life takes you down, do just what your friend recommended……follow your heart and you won’t go far wrong.
With love and more
Debs xxxxx

GeorginaJanuary 21, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Loved your post. I too stopped my business as I no longer enjoyed it, my family situation had changed and I felt I needed less balls to juggle. I was very proud of my achievements but felt immense relief when I finally ceased trading. I think it is what you don’t do that you regret.
Knowing what you have achieved will stand you in good stead. Enjoy your time whatever you do.

Charis WarrellJanuary 21, 2014 - 6:46 pm

Maz, well done! This is a beautiful rounding up of a wonderful business & I’m proud of you for making such a big step. You’ve always been a pleasure to know within the industry & I know that your next steps & decisions have not been made lightly. You always seem to shine creativity & enthusiasm & I know that photography is just one string to your bow. Enjoy your new adventure. Enjoy finding out more about you & being able to share more of your abilities with others. Enjoy time with those precious people you love. Enjoy being able to take photos for you! Xxxx

Nadia SwindellJanuary 21, 2014 - 6:48 pm

Good for you Maz. A beautifully written post. I totally understand your decision and I admire you for it. I love photography too, but I don’t really enjoy the business side, and really loathe the competitive & cliquey aspect, (which I guess is inevitable in any industry), but not something I personally signed up for. There is also, and oddly, a big expectation to conform by your peers, not just in a business sense but also creatively, and that in itself can stifle the best creative spirit. You will always be a very talented photographer, just because you choose not to charge doesn’t diminish that in any way. xxx

jo douetJanuary 21, 2014 - 8:51 pm

I agree with what everyone has said Maz and very well said by you ! I totally understand am in the same position myself, yet I doubt I am as brave ! As the kidz say YOLO ! Maybe i will take my own advice one day and see what else is part of my journey ! Good luck! x

Michael RammellJanuary 22, 2014 - 3:52 pm

Best of luck with it all, I sincerely mean that. Now that you’re moving on I genuinly wish you all the success in whatever it is you decide to do. I also hope that your time with your family and friends is more blessed than ever.

As someone who approached a similar crossroads (albeit I went a different direction) I can relate to what you’re saying.

If you don’t like it, change it. That’s what you’ve done and I’m sure that every other aspect of your life will be more fulfilled for it.

Enjoy yourself!

VinitaJanuary 22, 2014 - 5:06 pm

So beautifully written and I’m happy that our paths crossed through photography! I can imagine it must have been a hard decision to make, but a very brave one! Wishing you all the luck in your new endeavors!

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