Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

The Art of Balance

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The Working Photographer Mom

Two months of weddings under my belt. Two months of being mom and a business owner under my belt. Two months of a brand new learning curve under my belt. What a new experience this has been.  
Being a working mom is what I have always dreamed of being. I never wanted to be the stay at home mom, but I also never wanted to be the mom who was never home. I remember two years ago, in a mentor session with Justin and Mary, expressing my not so secret dream of being a wedding photographer who was a mom. I wanted to run a successful business that allowed me the freedom and flexibility to have a family on my terms. And two years later I'm starting to do just that.  
In these past two months I've learned a thing or two about what it takes to run a business and to be a mom. It's game of balance and grace but I certainly think that are are things and circumstances that can make the process easier, more efficient and fun!! Today I'm sharing just a few tidbits of what I've learned in hopes that I can encourage you that it's not impossible to dream of a life you want and then chase after it!! 
1. Grace.  
The number one thing you can arm yourself as a new mom and working photographer is grace. Grace because there are going to be days that are hard. Gut wrenchingly hard. You'll make mistakes. You'll say the wrong thing. You'll do the wrong thing. You'll feel guilty or burdened or burnt out or tired. And you have to give yourself grace. Grace knowing that you'll get through those hard days, you'll make it through and you'll learn. And you'll be stronger for the struggle.  
2. Get Help. 
The second thing I learned this past year is that I can't do it all myself. As someone who is a perfectionist and likes to do things HER way, it can be hard for me to hand things off, to say "No, I can't do it all." And if you want to be successful as a mom and a business owner you need to be able to let people help you. For me that looked like getting a babysitter during the week and an assistant for the wedding day. We don't have the babysitter every day, just twice a week, but when we do I know it's time to shut out the world and WORK. When I'm with my son, I know that's the time to shut out my work. It's a delicate balance and I don't always get it right, but between my husband, our baby sitter, our amazing family and friends, I can begin to maneuver what it looks like to split my life between mom and entrepreneur.  
3. Keep a schedule.  
I'm a huge advocate for keeping a schedule, being incredibly organized and mastering your to do list. Without these things my life would be chaos. I know that the morning time is for my son. I do emails before he wakes up for his first feed. I blog and edit during his midday nap. And I do more work when my husband gets home. My day is split, my schedule is not a continuous 8 hour schedule, but it's one that works for me in this stage right now. I also keep a meticulous to do list so as to stay on top of all the tasks I have as a wedding photographer in the prime of wedding season. It's this attention to detail and keeping a strict schedule that has allowed me to shoot six weddings in two months, take care of a baby and still find the time to sell, buy and move a house.  
4. Make the wedding day timeline work. 
As a wedding photographer I work 10 plus hours on a wedding day. Even for a technically scheduled eight hour wedding, I'm more likely to actually be working 10 hours knowing that I'll get to the venues early and leave the wedding only after I've said goodbye to the Bride and Groom and packed up my gear. That's a LONG day and as a new mom who wanted breastfeed exclusively I just HAD to make time in the schedule to step away and pump. The ONLY way that I could do that was to bring on an assistant in addition to my second shooter. This assistant not only helps set up gear when I was pumping but to also stands in as a photographer while I'm hiding away. (If you'd like more detailed information on pumping while shooting a wedding, please feel free to email me!) Speaking of pumping... 
5. Get the right tools.  
Without my pump I don't think I could survive the wedding day. I use this version and it was one of the best decisions we made on our registry. I can pump in about ten minutes (usually in between portraits and the ceremony and the cocktail hour and reception) without missing a beat and can get myself back to the party as quickly as possible. As a mom who wants to work and exclusively breastfeed, pumping is an absolutely must and making the time to do that on a wedding day is an absolute must. By having the right tools AND working with a great team who can support me, I know that I can give my clients a great experience and great coverage while still finding the time to provide the nutrients for my baby that he needs.  
6. Give yourself time.  
Before having our baby I had to make a tough choice. Part of me wanted to book every wedding that came my way but another part of me knew that I was going to need rest and time to enjoy our baby the weeks following his birth. I decided to only take ten weddings this year instead of my usual 20 and I thought that was good enough. After all, I didn't want the train that is my business to slow down and I wanted to keep shooting. But I'll admit that I don't think I gave myself enough time between jumping back into the swing of things and the birth of our baby. I photographed two engagement sessions, a portrait session and two weddings within the first two and half months of his life. Now, please don't get me wrong. I LOVED working with my clients and I LOVED being behind the camera again. But I'm the type of person that often jumps from one thing to the next and often during the first two months of Jonathan's life I was thinking ahead to my first shoot and then to my first wedding, instead of just thinking just about him. I guess what I am trying to say is, take the time to think about what you want your life to look like as a mom BEFORE you're a mom and give yourself time to ENJOY this new phase of your life. Whatever that period is, whether it's two weeks or two months or two years, make sure it's time that's dedicated to your family. It's going to look different for everyone, do what is right for you. Just remember in a society that says "Go, Go, Go," it can be easy to want to jump back into life as normal. But guess what, life isn't normal anymore, it's better. Take time to recover, to enjoy, to rest, to learn to be with your baby and family. Everything will fall into place when it needs to.deborah zoe photography the working photographer mom tips for working moms boston wedding photographer_2.jpgOf course there is so much more that I've learned over this past year, but for certain these are the biggest takeaways that I've gleaned in my few short months as a working mom. I know there is going to be SO much more to grow into as my business grows and as Jonathan grows but I'm certainly thankful for these building block type lessons that are creating a firm foundation for me now and in the future. If you have any questions about what it's like to be the working photographer mom or have anything to share, please, leave a comment! And if you'd like to message me privately, feel free to email me directly at! I'm thankful to share this journey with you!!