I totally get it: the life of a photographer looks absolutely fabulous. Our Instagram feeds are full of gorgeous images, our stories tell you we are always traveling or in my case riding multiple horses a day, and we’re always telling you how we work in yoga pants.
What is there to possibly complain about?
Nothing, I don’t complain one bit. Well, maybe just a little when I’m editing at 2:00 am in the morning.
Because the truth is, our Instagram feeds are formulated to tell you what makes us “us” and share the story of our beloved clients. It doesn’t show the sacrifices we make, the long hours, behind the computer, and the feeling of not-enoughness, because just about everyone is a photographer nowadays right?
So what are the sacrifices I had to make to go after the career of my dreams and make this life of mine a reality? Here’s my list:
1. I sold my horse
Without a doubt the most difficult decision I had to make. Many people don’t realize that in 2017 I was only shooting 3 days a week and then working 45 hours the other 4. I worked 7 days a week from April through October and practically lost my mind. During all this I was also trying to stay a competitive barrel racer on my Quarter Horse Sawyer and look after my retired boy Marco. The animals that filed my passion and my business were put on the back burner, and when you are training a young horse, sitting for days on end isn’t fair for him or the talent that he offered. I knew I made a really good horse, but he needed the time to truly be great and it wasn’t something I was able to give him. I knew that if I really wanted my business to succeed I knew my time and money needed to be dedicated there. Spending $1000 on a horse I did not have the time he needed to be a successful competitor, wasn’t fair for either of us. Sawyer went to a great family and is doing fantastic, I’m so happy for him! But it doesn’t mean it hurts, it doesn’t mean I don’t cry every so often, and it doesn’t mean I won’t always want him back
2. I put my boyfriend in an uncomfortable situation
Remember that awesome Instagram story that shows us traveling everywhere? Its because we have clients…everywhere. I cover Solvang through San Diego most months with travel dates throughout the year to different parts of the country. However, a large majority of my clients were in Orange County and San Diego. When Nick moved to Huntington Beach I definitely tried to push my business down south more just so I could actually see him since I was working through the weekend, but I didn’t know it was going to turn into EVER, SINGLE, WEEKEND. I started getting into the routine of leaving work Thursday night at 9:30 and driving straight to Huntington Beach, photographing Friday-Sunday, and then driving to work in Burbank Monday morning. Thats a lot of travel and what I felt was wasting my life away in a car. When I decided to pursue my business full time it didn’t make sense for me to continue to be in Santa Clarita and paying rent alone when my work was pulling me down south. It took a lot of uncomfortable conversations to convince Nick that we should live together. Moving in with your partner is a big step for anyone especially when it feels like a forced situation. I truly felt awful but knew it needed to happen to not only excel my business BUT I felt like it was something our relationship needed. It was time and there were outside factors that proved it. Trust me, we’re both thankful we took the step, and it's not because he gets meals cooked for him, a clean house and foot rubs on hard work days….well maybe just slightly.
3. I felt like I let a lot of people down
Everyone in the automotive industry knew that I was the person that knew the ins and outs of running BSI. They knew I was the go-to person to have quick and accurate answers, who kept the guys in check and was a huge asset to the business. I knew before I started working for Bodie that I would not be there forever, and I knew my departure was not going to be easy. It was far from easy, it was quite awful. I felt that by leaving to pursue my dreams and better my relationship with Nick I was letting everyone that surrounded BSI down. Bodie, his family, Bleu and her band, the guys and their families, our vendors, and the customers. Everyone who walked in and out of that building every day, I felt like I was letting them down. It took a huge emotional toll on me for months and made the people that surrounded me despise the shop which was never what I wanted. I loved my time at BSI and loved everyone involved, but I knew I needed to take care of things that I wanted for myself and my life.
4. I moved from my family and friends
I didn't think too much about moving away because I had done it, twice. I went to two different colleges that were both across the country so I didn't think "making friends" was going to be difficult. The thing I forgot was I wasn't in college anymore living in dorm rooms or a student-athlete that always had a team to rely on. I had Nick and my clients, and that was about it within a 20-minute radius. I'm happy to say I've made friends and relationships since moving down here and I do travel about once a month to see my family, but the first month was definitely a shell shock!
5. My self-care sucks
My name is Sara and I am a workaholic. My business, opportunities to ride, and being a good girlfriend are my top priorities...so things like working out, taking care of hangnails, taking care of my skin, going to the doctor, taking care of my injuries, and y'know a list of all these other things are always on the back burner. Again...I suck and its a goal of mine in 2018 to get better at this!
I’m happy to say most of these situations have been mended, I’m lucky enough to have found an amazing woman to ride with and Nick quickly took on to having home cooked meals every day for lunch and dinner. The self-care thing…I’ll hopefully get around to one day!
Remember that social media is only a highlight real of someone's work and lives. I always encourage people to look at what the person you aspire had to go through to get where they are before believing the lie that everything is sunshine and rainbows!