I have wanted to sit and type from my heart for a long time. And I mean, ALONG time. Since the beginning of Chunky Monkey Photography. Some of that need comes from hard lessons learned, negative interactions, frustrating moments but then so many more come from the good moments and happy times in my photography career. Most people think they “know” how running a photography business goes. How “easy” it must be to do what you want, when you want to. I just wanted to lay it all out there and give alittle insight to my wonderful crazy life!
When starting a business, so much goes into it. Its not all a bed of roses. I struggled ALOT. Jumped a lot of hurdles. Swam though a lot of critiques and some photographer drama. But, I had told myself that this is what I loved, I thought I was good at it and that I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives…including my kiddos lives. (Well, at that point, I only had one!) So, I kept my head up and just did what I loved. I learned a lot. Some was by the way of my own mistakes and lessons. And then others, by teaching of some amazing photographers that shared their expertise and own ways of life with others.
After taking a moment (or maybe a few than just one), I took a look back on my work from the beginning. Lets just say, I can’t thank everyone enough for standing by me. WOW. I was bad! But, Chunky Monkey Photography was growing and my CMP families were hanging in there with me while I learned my craft. I was working all day and all night. Shooting like a crazy woman and editing into the wee hours into the night (or morning I should say). I was never home. I was 110% into the photography world. I breathed it, I smelt like it, I lived it. I missed my daughters first crawl, first steps and first words. But, I told myself it would be worth it because in short time, I would have more time with her and could be the mom that I wanted to be. My husband was an awesome father and took care of her and me like a champ.
Chunky Monkey continued to grow. I got the chance to meet so many families and have a ton of fun with each of them. Many of them I hold dear to my heart today. Once I started to step up my level of photography, I raised my prices up off the bottom of the floor. I fiqured, I knew what I was doing, I was worth it. Little did I know at that point. I still worked crazy hours and was still never home. Still missing out on so much. Then came my pregnancy with Mr. Kaden. As many know, my pregnancies were not a cake walk. I had pregnancy induced seizures. I was not allowed to drive throughout the 9 months. My husband, friends and mother had to drive me to all my sessions on top of their own jobs. It was CRAZY. I am surprised everyone came out alive. But, they both knew how much I loved what I did and they believed in me. So…we pressed on.
Once Kaden was born, I had learned a lot about the photography world and had much more control over my business. Still busy (and loving it) but able to be home and be a part of what was going on. I continued to learn, train with others, practiced and tried new things. Then…I took a look at who I was, what I had become and what I was worth (in my own opinion, oh and my husbands!). So, I raised my prices again. Knowing how much time I put into every single session; how much photography gear is (and forever changing and upgrading), the best props, insurance, taxes (yuck!), gas, hours of shooting, hours of editing, and so on and so on.
Then one day, I looked up and things had changed. There were TONS of photographers that were where I was just years ago. I was “too expensive” or not worth it anymore to so many people. That is a hard pill to swallow. Nothing changed with the people…they still wanted pictures of their kiddos. So, I saw them going to others. Cheaper others. The one I was years ago. Yikes! I didn’t understand.
Today, I sit on the couch, watching Bubble Guppies ONE more time with my son as my first grader is fast asleep and excited about the next day of school. I look at what all I have overcome, learned and accomplished over the past 6+ years. Then I go, what can I do to reach people? What can I do to attract people? What am I doing wrong? Its not that I am not busy, because I am. Its not because I am not booking, because I am. Its not because I suck..because I don’t. I am aware of all that. So, my first thought was to drop my prices down. But, what does that say about myself? What does that teach my kiddos. To work your hardest to get to the top of the mountain and then step down a bit because your scared? NO! You stand tall and continue to prove yourself. Let those that want to invest in their memories pick you. I am here and ready. Ready to commit to your family and give you the memories that are really priceless and will be treasured for forever!
So, please know as you finish up reading this (much longer than I thought it would be) blog about the trials and tribulations that CMP has endured over the years…that when you pick a photographer, you are picking someone that is a part of your life. Not just in front of you with the camera. Someone that is invested in you and your family. Someone that works hard to give you the best memories possible. Someone that you are trusting with your memories. Someone that cares. I love holding my camera but I love being invested in your family and your memories. Being a part of your family and watching your kiddos grow means so much to me. I love snuggling your newborn, chasing after your toddler, and crying with you when they head to Kindergarten. From the beginning, being your photographer means more to me than you will ever know.
Thank you for taking the time to read my “from the heart” and a bigger thank you for adopting Chunky Monkey Photography into your family.