There are many of us out there who are parents, spouses, and photographers. Some of us manage to balance our photography with our marriages, raising children, day jobs (if photography is not your day job). For me, love, marriage, children, and my job came before photography. Over the past year, I have had the fine task of integrating it all. It has influenced every facet of my photography from the camera I purchased to where and how I shoot. I have learned a bit, and I want to share those lessons.
The first thing I learned, not just from photography, but from my other hobbies, was that if I always put my family first, above everything I wanted to do, I had a better chance of doing what I wanted. It may sound weird but by putting the wife and kids first, satisfying their needs and wants, I earned good karma with them, making it easier to get most of the things I wanted done. There is no escape from your family if you want them and your photography passion to co-exist.
I found the easiest way to get thing done in my photography life was to be inclusive and involve my wife and children in what I do. My other hobbies, which consisted of beer events, and comics book related things proved challenging, but photography was easy. Close family member are great to use to refine certain aspects of your photography. You never have to show anybody but them, too. Your spouse and kids can make fine subjects for portraits, or as models. Kids can be used to give objects a sense of scale in landscape photography. Photography is also a skill that can be taught to children. Time can be spent taking pictures in a park or on photo walks. I can ask my spouse for her views on my images, if she likes the colors etc. This turns my photography into a cohesive, bond forming experience for the family. I feel if I did not do this, it would just form a rift between us all, possibly a pattern of sins that could not be fixed with gifts and a hug.
Photography can be expensive, but being frugal can be very helpful. Looking for deals, like the ones we have posted for the holidays here, or around the internet are extremely helpful. If you are not taking money away from the family and not buying every new thing that comes out, photography is much easily handles. Sometimes you have to be willing to buy second hand goods or just spend time saving money. Kids will notice you saving money and learn from that.
Be Honest and share
Honesty is the best policy, it really is. Talk with your spouse when you want to go out and shoot, and not bring the kids. Give your spouse free time to follow their passions. It is all give and take. It may seem like a simple thing to say but it keeps the peace. If you have young children this is especially important. Parents need breaks at times, if your open about it, breaks will happen and you will have time for photography.
Plan & Prioritize
One of the most important things you can do is plan and prioritize, how and when you shoot. If you work around the families schedule and try to plan as many things, as possible, few photography opportunities have to be missed. No family events have to be skipped or forgotten.
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