Oh man, this is a hard one for me to write. I don’t want to come across as “preachy” as I’m talking straight to myself in this one, but I know as much as I need it, there has to be others that do as well! Especially this year as I'm only booking a limited number of weddings with baby on the way.
In this industry, and paired with social media, it is SO easy to look at what everyone else is doing and compare it to what I am doing. To see that other photographer posting wedding images from what seems like being booked every single weekend. To see their gorgeous home, that never seems to get dirty and have piles of unfolded laundry in the corner and stacked up on the living room couch. It’s so easy to constantly be comparing how many shoots another photographer shoots compared to how many you shoot. We compare what other people are charging, trips they go on, social media followers and comments. It is exhausting. And not accurate.
It’s extremely difficult not to get wrapped up in how everyone else seems to be doing better and booking more weddings than you. Then it can seriously spiral from there, that you must not be as good and talented as they are. But really it needs to come down to your own personal definition of success. Your definition of success shouldn’t be the same as anyone else’s- it should be what is success for you and your family specifically. Everyone’s journey is different and unique.
There was a time in my life where shooting a wedding every single Saturday (or most of them, anyways) was what I genuinely wanted to do. There was a time when I was working full-time and trying to build my business and my definition of success would have been to shoot more than 10 weddings a year.
It’s so important when running your own business to take everyone else out of the equation and ask yourself- what is success to you? What makes you happy at the end of the day- that says, I feel fulfilled, content and am doing what I need to do for my family.
For me, my definition of success always focuses on my family. I am able to do what I love to do, but also be available for my family. When Michael has a Friday off, we can go on a lunch date (always El Jefe downtown for tacos and margaritas! Can’t wait to go after this baby is born- I’ve missed those margaritas!!) or I can go on field trips and volunteer in Emmie’s classroom. I love that I’m doing something I am so passionate about, can love on my couples and have my family stay a priority as well! I haven’t always been able to balance everything well- especially when I was first full-time with my business, or balancing both working full time and trying to build my business up. It takes some work and learning to adjust, but you can get there!
Keep your eyes on your own paper. Be encouraged by looking back at what you have accomplished and how far you’ve come- not how far you feel that other people are in relation to where you are. It’s totally okay to grow at your own pace, and be as busy as you want to be!
Ashley Eiban is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer based in Central Virginia. Serving the Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, and surrounding areas. Available for travel world-wide. Ashley is passionate about cultivating genuine relationships built on mutual understanding, trust and lasting friendship.
Currently booking a limited number of wedding and portrait sessions for 2018 and 2019. Contact Ashley today for additional information!