A Photographer's Public Apology
I try to avoid negativity or anything that would reflect poorly upon my business, but I wanted to publicly apologize to two of my clients. Four months from when I provided photographic services, I had their session completely uploaded. I'll forever feel guilty and though I apologized privately, I wanted to do so publicly. I don't feel I deserve to let this incident be unknown. I wanted this post to be a forever reminder so that I hold myself accountable in order to learn from it and better ensure this never happens again.
The Abston's sunrise session was a 1hr session captured at their home early one frosty sunrise late in November. The client requested the location and chose sunrise rather than sunset. The intention was to capture an image worth of being used for their holiday cards. The light was rapidly increasing which was a challenge. I can work in any light, but absolutely adore the slowly fading, magical light of a sunset. Anyway, It was a frosty 15 degrees, but still a beautiful morning. There was a few trees in a lone corner of their backyard, so we utilized them for open shade. The field beyond also had several beautiful Amish horses, so being the dedicated photographer that I am, I was glad to energetically call them with various stereotypical horse sounds. I'm sure they thought I was crazy, but it was worth it to be able to include at least one of these horses in the session.
I usually do my best to space out my clients so that I can return edited photos within 2-4 weeks. However, in November, I started a large commercial client project (which I am still regularly being commissioned for) and had an engagement session the week before. Normally, the random increase would delay me maybe a week or two at most. Although I was able to provide a selection of edited images for their cards, I wasn't prepared for the randomness of life. I'd had a two week break during the holidays. Our kids were home. My husband was too, which reduced income which always stresses out this budget minded Virgo. In November, my commercial client recommended that I file as LLC in order to continue, so I did. It was something that I'd put off and was always afraid to do. To take that next step towards my future, was terrifying. Doubt and fear is a great enemy. Yet, I knew what I had to do and the project was too valuable to lose. I still lacked organization, but I was emotionally ready to progress beyond a 10yr hobby and into a career. So, I filed as LLC, obtained licensing and other required legalities. Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in high school, this was a really big step for me, so I was proud of myself despite a torrent of negativity swirling inside my mind.
What most don't know is that I am practically living as a single mother. My husband works 6-7 day weeks, 10-12hr shifts over an hour away from home and on an opposite shift from us. Lorna is 8 and Tristan is 6. Both are at the age where they still need me to devote much of my time to them and I will not fail them in that regard, which does require much of my time. So I sacrifice sleep so that I can work at night after they are asleep and do most of my sessions and work around their schedule. Often, this results in a very exhausted me who tends to oversleep during the day. I've been working to work harder while they are in school so that I'm not up so late. Over the last couple months, this goal has finally started to become a more common reality. Yet, I am human so I still have all the usual stresses that face any wife, mother, photographer and small business owner. I also don't have a busy social life like most my age and so living 11mi outside of town, it gets lonely out here. My work is my greatest distraction.
For a few months, both children had a very emotional battle accepting his extended work schedule. They'd gotten used to his weekends off and our hiking adventures. During their time adjusting, we'd visit friends or Brandon's family only to have them break down as if losing their favorite toy upon leaving. It was hard and so very painful. I worried people would think I wasn't being good to them. I even lost the understanding some friends who weren't aware of our situation. Our son's issues at school with impulsive behaviors progressed and I was on my own. The pressure from the school to medicate became a great injustice and he was even suspended off the bus despite his sensory issues. Eventually, it became too much and not realizing the pressure and difficult the adjustment was for me, I broke down. I retreated inward as I often do in order to let the waves of anxiety pass so that I could somehow do my duty as a wife and mother. I felt beyond guilty, but worked on the Abston's session on the days where I was able to stay on the computer without falling asleep or being in tears. I was also in the middle of a full website redesign and migration of both my former website and blog while attempting to organize the entire year in order to file taxes while searching for a better qualified CPA. I've also been a rep for Jewelry In Candles since November 2013, regularly review products as a blogger, BzzAgent, Influenster, Smiley360 member and brand ambassador. Stretching myself too thin, I became overwhelmed. I am human, but I sometimes forget that I am not perfect. I do try my best and sometimes that results in becoming too particular and judging myself too harshly which also can slow down editing when I find fault where none exists. Being so afraid of failure is one thing that I am working to improve upon. It does not serve me well to judge myself so harshly. I know what I am capable of and it's definitely time I stop holding myself back.
The most amazing part of this tale of photographic injustice is that despite the delay, Susan and Marvin never once complained or were rude towards me. Such clients are a rarity and deeply and forever appreciated. I've offered them another full session free of charge and I can never thank them enough for their patience and for everyone over the years who have supported me and provided the inspiration to believe in my work and not to give up. I can not promise that I will always be able to provide the fastest editing times, but I can promise that I dedicate myself to provide the best quality I can for each image and try my best at everything I do. My skills are fully self taught and have grown in ways I never expected. I will forever continue to expand my knowledge and further my photographic experience and education. I will only be successful with your help and support as I progress down this winding path into the great unknown.
Thank you to Susan and Marvin Abston for trusting me to provide photography and for your amazing and undeserved patience. I can never thank you or apologize enough. Such clients are a rarity and deeply and forever appreciated. <3
A few of my favorite images from the session:
You can't tell, but it was a very frosty 15 degrees and they totally rocked it. Send them some love in the comments below! Not that they need any, for it was obvious during the session how much they cared for each other as he softly touched her face, still a bit shy upon kissing her softly.
Beautiful. Love is so perfect that even during the coldest mornings, you never feel the chill.