Working For Yourself: Month 5

Something happened yesterday that made me think that it was time for a Working For Yourself update. When I checked back, I realized that I hadn’t done one for the past couple of months. But I feel this post encompasses more than just the last half-year… I have to start with a rollback to the beginning of 2011, when I noticed that something was awry with my body.

As I mentioned previously, I started developing cystic acne all over my face and back during the last two years of my day job. It was unexpected and weird. I didn’t understand — I had great hygiene, drank lots of water, had a pretty clean diet, used a prescription ointment, and it just kept coming. A dermatologist recommended Accutane, and on the eve of quitting my state agency job I seriously considered it, despite all the health risks and sun sensitivity. Like, discussed it with Walt, instructed him to sign up for a health plan that would cost more out of pocket but would save us money in the long run (for all the doctors’ visits, blood tests, and medication), and made the first appointment to get my initial blood test done.

At the same time, my dentist told me that my teeth were not doing so well. Listen: if there is one thing I am meticulous about, it is my teeth. I realize that I only get one set for my entire adult lifetime, and I intend to be buried with my full jaw when I’m an over-ripe old woman. Both of my parents grew up with less-than-satisfactory oral care and drilled the importance of dental health into both my sister and me from an early age. I brushed and flossed diligently. So when I was informed that my mouth wasn’t looking so hot and if the decline continued I’d need invasive intervention, I was incredibly frustrated. “Are you under a lot of stress?” the¬†hygienist asked.

Well, yes. I was trying to get a business off the ground, while simultaneously paying all ours bills with a job that had me shut in a basement under fluorescent lighting for all daylight hours doing repetitive motions with my hands as my brain fought in vain to stay sharp and alert… I would say that that was a little bit on the stressful side.

elissa is up close

But.

As soon as I gave my notice, my skin started clearing up. I watched as June slipped by and my complexion, with additional coaxing from prescription cream, evened out. My last week at the job, I didn’t even feel like I needed to wear makeup to cover my blemishes. I canceled the doctor’s appointment, which had been scheduled a month in advance (it’s a pregnancy test, as Accutane is toxic to fetuses). At the same time, I splurged on an electric toothbrush.

It’s been around 6 months since I gave notice, and a year since my last dental appointment. Yesterday I went back and, despite the fact that I had been past due for a cleaning, I was given an optimistic, mostly-clean bill of health (sadly, a small cavity needs to be filled, but that’s about it). Which prompted some reflection and the creation of this post. [Read more...]

Survey Results & Behind the Scenes!

Well, well. The survey results have come in and I was actually pretty surprised by the response. Let’s get down to business.

92% of you readers are ladies. I expected that. It was also no surprise that 72% of you are between 23 and 29 years old. (Only one person younger than 23 responded, 17% were from 30-35, and 1% of readers were over 35.

But I did have a little jolt when I realized that the majority of my readers are married. I guess it makes sense that many people read me regularly because they like my work, and those who are just passing through, checking out my portfolio and my pricing before heading out to another photographer’s website to shop some more, would not respond to a survey that they believe has nothing to do with them. Which is why I thought it was interesting that 3 respondents are actually thinking of hiring me. Who are you, my beautiful people? I am pretty keen to talk to you! :) Anyway, the breakdown for relationship statuses were: 61% married, 18% engaged, 15% in a relationship, and 0.5% single. I’m not sure why that doesn’t add up to 100% but my math is great, so don’t judge.

A few of you are dreaming of hiring me one day, which is nice, but most of you readers (47%) are okay with the possibility that you’ll never be photographed by me. I guess I’m okay with that if you’re okay with that. 17% of you are past clients who stick around. 3 of my current clients read me regularly! Aww. Who are you? Also, which one of you just ordered 500 felt balls for your wedding? I want to know!

Biggest of all, to me, was where you’d found me originally. I was expecting a lot of “I’m your friend! Gosh!” responses, but in truth… 47% of you found me through A Practical Wedding whereas only 31% are real-life friends or family. That’s nuts to me.

Y’all like to look at (in order of preference): weddings and engagements (I would hope so!), tips for clients and behind-the-scenes stuff (I did not realize that was so popular or well-liked), other personal / life / thoughts posts, then working for yourself posts, nail polish, and finally, books. Those of you who like book posts really like them, but on the whole they didn’t seem to be very popular.

Y’all asked for more: tips for clients / behind-the-scenes posts (really?), other personal / life / thoughts posts (huh), weddings, nail polish, and working for yourself. One person said more books. Well, I’ll still post about books — you can’t really get around that, since I am such a bookworm — but, preferences noted, internet.

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Anyway, since so many of you were interested in “behind the scenes” stuff, I decided to compile a bunch of photos where I am taking photos, or instructing the taking of photos, or doing something at a wedding, etc. I usually find these when I’m culling through shots taken by my second shooter, or when clients tag me in photos taken by their friends. Maybe now you can see past my carefully cultivated “look” that I share on the blog and see just now normal I am.

I’m also about to let you in on a not-so-little secret: I basically wear the same two outfits to weddings. I have my dressy get-up (Anthropologie dress, black leggings, Earth shoes) and my pants get-up (tunic, twill pants, and my trusty ol’ Earth shoes). Now you know.

Me + a guest messing with Olivia and Amy’s DIY photobooth! Is it worth noting that on all 9 photos that Olivia tagged me in, the caption is “Best Photographer Ever!”? Yeah, probably a good idea to mention that :) [Read more...]

Austin Wedding Photographer | Mayfield Park Wedding

Back in the spring, I had the pleasure of helping Austin wedding photographer Anne Marie Carson at a lovely Mayfield Park wedding. I was so happy to be along for this one, because it was gorgeous: live peacocks strutted around the vintage Mayfield cottage, and roosted in the trees above the ceremony space. The bride wore an amazing blue and gold dress and her attendants walked down the aisle barefoot.

Here are a few of the photos that I shot for Anne.

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