A Personal Update
Hi, friends! It’s so good to be back to sharing some personal things. For a wedding photographer, September to December can feel absolutely crazy with weddings, sessions, and getting all of those images carefully edited and delivered, but this year I added an additional layer of crazy because we bought a house and moved in early November. Then I started a new job in January. I haven’t really talked about either of those things much on social media, but I am sharing today!
Over the last two years of documenting weddings full-time, I started to realize that the traditional way of running a wedding photography business was not working for me. For our financial goals, I was taking on approximately 20 weddings per year in addition to engagement sessions, miscellaneous portrait sessions, and food photography. I was away from home most weekends and a lot of nights depending on the season, and when I was home, I was editing for hours while simultaneously worrying about marketing, new ideas, trying to keep up with trends and just generally stressing out. Not only was I missing out on precious time with my husband, Kyle, I started to realize that my capacity for creativity and for serving my couples well was taking a hit.
My creativity is not an endless well, and by the end of the 2023 season, I was showing up to sessions on autopilot and had no creativity left for hours of meticulous editing. I knew something had to change because that’s certainly not the way I wanted to show up for my clients, and it’s not the way I wanted to live my life. A healthy work-life balance is so important to me. It’s part of the reason I chose to leave my corporate job, to begin with, and now I had even less time and no margin.
I went to Kyle in September and told him how I was feeling, and while he has been the MOST supportive husband through the highs and lows of small business ownership he told me that he would love for me to be home more, and to be present when I was home. I knew then that things had to change, so I started praying for an opportunity and for some direction.
God provided an answer to that prayer in November 2023, and I began working in full-time ministry at my church as an Executive Pastor in January 2024. If you didn’t know, I graduated with a Master’s in Theology in September of 2020 fulfilling a lifelong desire to be in vocational ministry. This new job is such a perfect fit with my talents that it feels like a gift!
So what does this mean for Meredith Brooke Photography?
One of the reasons this opportunity is such an answer to prayer is that it is incredibly flexible. I am currently bi-vocational meaning I am working full-time for the church but I am also still doing wedding and food photography full-time.
One of the pain points in how I was relating to and running my business was that I was saying yes to every opportunity that was presented to me even if I knew the client or project was not a good fit. I didn’t have myself priced for profit, so I was leaving home to go to projects I wasn’t passionate about and not getting paid adequately for my time, expertise, and ability.
So, all of this means you’ll see some changes in Meredith Brooke Photography over the next several months that I incredibly excited about!
- I have narrowed my business focus to two areas: weddings and food. I won’t be serving families, kids, or seniors any longer. Part of this is to protect my creative capacity and schedule, but it’s also because I am not an excellent family, kids, or senior photographer, and I have lots of photographer friends who are. So now I get to refer people to my friends!
- You will start seeing more food content from me! Food photography GIVES ME LIFE creatively and I am so excited to dedicate more time to growing that side of my business and helping food-based businesses with the visual content they need to grow!
- My pricing has changed. You will see a noticeable increase in pricing going forward. When you inquire with me, my pricing will be more expensive than other photographers…I might even be the most expensive, by a lot. My pricing is no longer determined emotionally, but strategically based on 1) the experience I want to give to my couples and clients, 2) my limited availability, and 3) the finances my business has to generate for me to pay the bills. You will pay a premium price for a premium, customized, one-of-a-kind product.
- My availability has changed. One of the worst things last year was realizing that I was not serving the couples in the best way because I was creatively burned out, so instead of booking 20+ weddings a year, I am only booking 8 (potentially 10 depending on dates) per year. I want to be creatively fresh at every wedding, and I want to be more present with each couple leading up to their wedding day.
I’m excited about these changes because they will ultimately give me the ability to serve my couples with excellence and be creatively present on their day.
If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to email me! I would love to talk to you!
Ok, now on to some fun things of the month!
January Favorite Things
Podcast recommendation: Girls Night Podcast Episode #234 “The Simplest (and Most Transformative!) New Years Resolution you Can Make This Year”
I LOVED this podcast for a whole new approach to goal setting and yearly rhythms. The two biggest takeaways are 1) to plan my rhythms around seasons and 2) to ask for help!
I’ve recommended this podcast to so many friends and now I’m sharing it with you!
Winter Skin Savers: Osea Body Oil and Osea Salt Scrub
My skin gets so dry in the winter, and these two products are saving me! I discovered this combo a year ago and ordered the oil and scrub again when the weather cooled down. They’re pricey, but worth the splurge!
One of my goals for 2024 is to spend less time on social media. Opal actually blocks access to the apps you select which is what I needed to break the mindless scrolling habit.
Books I Read in January
First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
5 stars for me on this one! It’s a twisty thriller that I could not figure out….which always gets a 5 star review from me. It feels very much like the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith!
The Fury by Alex Michaelides ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was kinda disappointed with this one. The premise sounded great, and liked the way it was organized, but I felt like the ending fell flat after an incredible build-up.
Thanks for reading! Meredith