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If you’re a photographer, you’re cringing at the title of this post. You’re cringing because you have probably heard this said to you a few times. “You’re making bank and only have to work Saturdays! That’s awesome!”. Well, the first issue with that is, everyday on-lookers just see our starting price and nothing else. They don’t realize that 25% of what we bring in isn’t ours and then 25% is spent running the business and then when you factor in that we have to pay for private health insurance because Michael works with me full time. We are blessed in this season of life with our income but I remember the days when I barely profited anything from a

wedding and those remarks about “Only working on the weekends” were really hard to hear. Maybe I was just being a girl and overly sensitive… but if I’m being honest, I think anyone that has a job that is often misunderstood feels this way. My dad is a pastor of a church and has been there for almost 25years! I remember hearing people say things to him about “It must be nice just working on Sunday” and it just made me mad! We saw him leave at 2am to meet families at the hospital and then work hours in the office and have meetings every night of the week…. but to the outside world, they thought he preached on Sunday and then he was done…. far from the truth.

I’ve run into similar conversations about our business.  I can’t tell you how many people have commented on our lifestyle and how awesome it must be to work hard on Saturday and then just hangout until the next wedding! Well, for those that think that is our reality, I have news for you about our schedule :)

  •  We wake up at 7 or 7:30 in order to get everything accomplished on the weekdays and work until at least 6pm.  We don’t sleep in everyday just because we can :) And because it’s hard to shut down a business that is being run out of your house, a lot of times our work creeps into the night during the busy season. Not healthy, we’re working on it. :) 
  • Every hour of shooting breaks down to about 3-4 hours of work at home… so apply that to a 9-10 hour wedding day and then think about what our weeks look like after a DOUBLE HEADER weekend! Yikes!
  • Yesterday I spent 3 hours trying to get my inbox under control from neglecting it for two days because we hosted a workshop on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Blogging is a daily 1-3 hour commitment depending on the post for that day.
  • Yesterday I also spent 3-4 hours ordering albums, sending invoices for album upgrades and paying estimated taxes…. which was depressing. The amount of tax a small business owner pays is just ridiculous.
  • On a good week, we get one day off… normally Sundays if we’re not shooting a wedding. We have to work our butts off and prep for the next wedding if we want to take a day off during the week…. which we should because that’s what normal jobs do! 
  • A lot of times we act as a coordinator/planner for our couples and while I love this, it’s time consuming. Every week I’m writing up timelines for our brides and communicating with them about how we need to structure their wedding day and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
  • Editing! Whew! Not only do we have to load the thousands of images from each wedding, we have to “cull” them too… which means reviewing them and picking the images that will make it to the client’s full gallery. After that, the editing process begins. We outsource some editing which helps us have a life AND we use PASS which saves us about 2 hours per wedding workflow! 
  • Now I realize that not all photographers have an education side to their business but we do and we love it so much! …. But it’s like running a second business!! Thankfully Michael handles most of that! I couldn’t do both without him! 

So after listening to me ramble, those that aren’t photographers are probably thinking “Oh, so maybe there is more to it than just 8 hours on a Saturday!”…. and those that ARE photographers are silently screaming “AMEN!” at their computer screens! :) ANY small business owner wears a million different hats and as hard as it is, it’s also very rewarding. Michael and I are so thankful that we work for ourselves that our business is growing! We’re also thankful that even though our weeks are packed full of work to do, we could decide to take time off whenever our schedule allowed for it and that freedom is amazing!!

So happy Friday to all of my fellow photogs out there! I hope you can get your work done early and enjoy an afternoon off before the busyness of Saturday arrives!! Happy shooting everyone!!!

xoxo, Katelyn
24 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Lacoya H. reply

    Great post! And like you said, this applies to SEVERAL small business owners just because there is so much overhead to be paid! The amount of money that we have to pay is RI-DIC! I must say though, what a blessing it is to be a small business, and have such a large workload and income to still make a profit. That is all of our goals, right? So happy for you and Michael and for the success that God has blessed your business with! May you be blessed with much, MUCH more! :)

    P.S. – I’m happy to say that I’m a wedding/event coordinator, and I happily do all of the timelines and planning details for my clients – so if we ever get to work together, perhaps you can get a break on those things. Hahahaha! Much Love!

    xoxo

  2. Jessica Beale reply

    Love you, KK! I think you’re amazing and I’m proud of you and Michael both!

  3. jaine {brklyn view photography} reply

    completely true. thank you for sharing this! it’s hard work being a small business owner! xo

  4. jaine {brklyn view photography} reply

    thank you for sharing this! it’s hard work being a small business owner. xo

  5. rachelle reply

    I am saying amen and yes ma’m to everything, but especially the pastor comments. growing up as a pastors kid, i got so so sick (and still do) o hearing people make comments like that. they have no idea what goes into it.’ thanks for sharing :)

  6. Emily Lockard-Furry reply

    I DID NOT SILENTLY SCREAM “AMEN”…I SCREAMED IT LOUDLY!! AND THEN REPOSTED THIS TO FACEBOOK! THANK YOU, LOVE!

  7. Morgan Leigh reply

    I am currently working a 40+ hour a week at my full time receiption job and trying to get my business off of the ground! My evenings were quickly disappearing in front of my computer trying to get editing and business work done. In order to try to have my evenings back, I am now getting up 1-2 hours earlier than I would have to normally (Today that was 5:30am…), but it’s working out! I want to have a day off too! And spend time with my family and fiance in the evening. Wedding photographers work HARD, that’s for sure! I couldn’t imagine taking the time to teach other photographers too!

  8. Mary Marantz reply

    I am SOO proud of you for this post!! Awesome, awesome stuff! xo

  9. Thomas Filke reply

    true words

  10. Sharon reply

    You both are so disciplined. This will stand you in good stead for when you and michael have children. (if) :)

  11. katie reply

    Yes yes yes! Love this, and LOVE you!

  12. Rosa reply

    Posts like these are a real eye opener when thinking about starting ones own photography business. Thank you for talking about the reality of things, not only does it help to REALLY think things through if we want to go into business, but it also helps others realize that being a photographer is not an easy job. Photographers like you that are willing to share so openly about the business helps some of us decide whether or not to go forward as a business. Thank you for educating us as well :)

  13. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    I love this and I love how you are so honest! It is SO hard to juggle it all, and nothing makes me more frustrated than people thinking I don’t work hard. The reality is that I’m getting sick because I’m working too much but I can’t slow down because the work piles up! Aiyiyi! I’m just thankful for an off-season this winter :)

  14. Angela reply

    Amen and thank you for saying what so many of us want to say! As a full time wedding photographer with a 2 month old baby I am learning the hard way just how much time I do actually spend working. Sometimes you realize maybe its too much to do it all and I have decided to walk away for a year (pout sniff and whine!). But it’s passion and pure love for photography that makes us continue creating and capturing!!

  15. the girl tyler reply

    Amen and Thank you!!! You explained and shared so positively something that we experience day in and out. You have to love hard work (and caffeine) to do what we do!

  16. Elle reply

    LOVE this!!! WHere do you outsource? Looking to do that soon!

  17. Alicia reply

    Thank you! I hate when my friends make these comments or ask me to do something during the day and scoff when I say I’m working. Don’t you work for yourself? Just take a day off! Haha I work 8am to 10 pm every single day!

  18. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    Thanks so much for this post! Before I really got into photography, I couldn’t believe people could charge $400+ for a photo shoot! I thought they were nuts! Now that I’m doing more photography, I can hardly keep my head above water just charging $100. I’d really like to charge $200-300 but I’m worried people won’t hire me then. Ah…such a hard line to figure out.

  19. Crystal reply

    Owning a small business has definitely been an eye opening experience for me. It is more work than I anticipated and definitely more expensive. :( The taxes and overhead are out of this world. And everyone seems to think photographers have the easiest job (working weekends only) and make bank. It’s just not that way. I say all the time if people knew how much I worked and what I made, there is no way they would do it. I have been half tempted to post my income just to stop hearing people say I’m too expensive.

    So this experience has changed my respect for small businesses. I pay a little more for the mug in the little shop than I would at target knowing it’s helping that owner. I try to use check or cash when I can to save on their cc fees. I try to spread the word about their businesses.

    And at the end of the day, I don’t have formal education or options to make more than $25k a year. So if I can make this business work and be around for my 3 kids, I’m going to work hard to make that happen. :) Great post!

  20. Emily reply

    I was guilty of being that person who thought wedding photographers were “making bank” and had it so easy. Boy was i ever wrong! Since then I have become a full time wedding photographer and quickly realized that running a full time business is extremely time consuming and expensive. it definitely has its rewards and benefits, but it does not come without its sacrifices too. i miss out on so many important family events throughout the wedding season and have so many expenses i never realized i would have. but, I wouldn’t change it for the world! i love this job. thank you so much for posting this! i’m glad i’m not the only person getting frustrated with these kind of comments all the time.

  21. Sara wise reply

    Right on, Katelyn! I was thinking “Amen” the whole time I read your post :) BUT, I certainly wouldn’t change a thing about being in business :) (except the taxes we have to pay!!)
    I’m so amazed that you’re able to blog every day!

  22. Angela Snyder reply

    AMEN.

  23. Dale Boudreaux reply

    I’ve said a lot of the very same things for the past 20 years! I’d love to see a lot of folks, who think this job is so easy, try it sometime.

  24. What You Should Know Before Considering A Career In Photography | PICR reply

    […] If you aren’t bound by natural light or the rigors of nature photography, you’ll need to work around your clients’ schedules. Consider portraiture: When are most people free to have their pictures taken? Evenings and weekends. When do most weddings take place? Saturdays and Sundays. […]

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