On Going Full-Time

For Photographers

Aug 10, 2015

learning series _ full time

When people ask about my job, I get an array of questions.  A lot of people want to know why I taught for as long as I did (4 years) and didn’t go full-time sooner.  Others wonder why I don’t continue to do both.  

This year, in June, was when I took Ivan & Louise on as my full-time career.  When I first started Emily Weis Photography, I was a senior in college.  I booked my first wedding on my own for May of 2011 which was right after I graduated from Indiana University with a teaching degree.  That year, I taught kindergarten and photographed 5 weddings.  My second year of teaching, I photographed 18 weddings.  Then, in my third year, I booked 25 weddings.  I was working all day teaching (and for those of you who are teachers yourself or are close to a teacher, know that the job doesn’t end when the school bell rings at the end of the day.), coming home to edit photos from weddings and sessions, in addition to week night engagement and family sessions, and then photographing weddings on Saturdays.  My schedule was full and it was taking a beating on me mentally and emotionally. I was exhausted, and I wasn’t good at taking time for myself.  I worked non-stop.  Then, I came thiiiiiiiis close to not teaching the 2014-2015 school year, but knew that with a wedding of my own coming up, buying a house, and needing health insurance, I better stick with it one more year.  That was last year.  We planned our wedding, I taught, we rebranded to Ivan & Louise, and we photographed 28 weddings.  And that was the breaking point. 😉  Not because I couldn’t do it.  I could because I pushed myself so far. And people suggested things such as “Reduce the number of weddings you take!” and “Don’t book family sessions, just shoot weddings and engagement sessions for your wedding clients.” I responded with something along the lines of “Absolutely  not!  I love this job so much.  So much so that I’ll take it all on right now because it’s so worth it.  It makes me so happy.”  And all of that is the truth. This job makes me happier than I ever thought I’d feel in regards to a job.  I love it.   And I pushed myself so hard because I refused to let my students down. I wouldn’t give them anything less than I knew they deserved.  This was their very first year of school.  I wanted to instill a love of learning in them. I wanted them well taken care of.  Same goes for my clients.  I did not want them to feel like they were on the back-burner because I had another job.  Sure, I could have emailed them back after 4 days, but I wanted to reply within 48 hours.  Sure, I could have taken 8 weeks to get them their images, but I knew how happy it made people to receive them in half that time.  Sure, I could have not done Sunday sessions to give myself a day of rest, but weekends are better for a lot of people and I didn’t want to refuse to offer them. Sure, I could have not blogged, posted on social media, or sent any sneak peeks of their photos to them, but it’s so much fun to get a little glimpse of your images and I love sharing that with people.  I could have done things differently to save me time and energy, but after all, it’s not about me.  

At the end of the day though, for my health and my joy, I needed to do this full-time.  I needed to devote everything to my clients and my business.  Even more so than I already did, and also be able to devote more time to my health and my new marriage.

 So, at the end of May, I had my last day of teaching.  Two days later we got married.  Two days after that, I cleaned out my classroom and here we are.  Crazy summer, that’s for sure!  It will definitely be one that goes down in the books! 

I’m typing this from Sanibel Island Florida as I enjoy a vacation with James and our friends, Jill and Aaron. It’s a rainy day and I’m sitting on the screened in porch listing to the rain hit the pool.  I can’t believe this is where I am in life right now.  At 26 I’m married to the best guy on the planet, have the worlds’ most incredible family, and am already working my dream job. Life is good and worth all the hard work to get here along with all the hard work ahead of me.


This is the first blog post in a series about going full-time, staying full-time, and choosing a life that brings you joy (challenges included).


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