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    April 13, 2011


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    This sounds all too familiar.... Good for you for stepping back. It sucks to experience burn-out. I'm right there with ya! Hopefully, the break will revive you and your desire for portrait sessions again!


    I cannot even express the ways this has hit home. Thank you.


    I'm so sorry you have been going through all of this. I can relate to a lot of what you have said on both sides. I hope that you can get back into the groove of things on your terms. You are truly talented.


    Great post about the journey that a lot of us go on as photographers. I know for me, I always look forward to the "down time" that January and February typically offer each year. I think it's almost essential, especially as "artists", to take time off to regain some vision. Those months are often both relaxing and difficult, but I find that that time always pushes me to learn something new about myself, my craft, my business, my life goals... Thanks for sharing!

    Nathalie Lamy

    Jessica, I've been following your blog for 2 years now and found every post inspiring and insightful. I've just read this one and I can totally relate. I could not have written it better myself. I felt this way until very recently (March 1st) when I decided to join the "Professional Photographer's of Canada". Through this association I have found a network of people who are there to help me along the way and encourage me to be a better photographer. And me too, I don't usually want to pick up the camera for my own kids because it then feels like a job. But last night, I got excited. I got this idea for a photo project, a personal photo project. This has never happened before. Also this coming Friday, I am going to the PPOC's annual conference for a week and at that event I will find out if the images that I've sent to them 2 weeks ago will be accepted or rejected for what they call an "accreditation". I had lost that desire somehow and suddenly it's coming back slowly. Jessica, I hope you get your groove back because you are truly a very talented photographer and I look forward as always to reading your blog.

    Greta S.

    Thank your for your honesty, Jessica. To thine own self be true! I have post-poned my own business opening (was supposed to open March 1) just because I fear the very things you mentioned. My family comes first, and I worry I won't be able to balance it all and feel burned out. So right now I am just focusing on my own family & photos and not a business. It will come when its ready to.


    Like the others, I can relate to this post in so many ways, I've just never put it in words as clearly as you have. I'm heading upstairs to hug my wife and children!

    Kim Bova

    Thank you for posting in such an honest way. I too have only been in business for a short time and feel all the things that you described. The 'boom' time we are experiencing is quite over-whelming as everyone thinks they are a pro photographer! I do hope you do not give it up and will know your talent and have the confidence to go back to standing by your work AND your prices! I am still struggling to find the clients who love me so much that price does not matter! Good luck! Thanks for sharing.


    Good for you for seeing that you needed a break. I can relate to much of what you're saying. I am making some significant changes in my business right now and it helps to know that I'm not the only one out there feeling that way.


    Really awesome. Good for you for learning to say no. And when you're ready, I'm sure you'll be able to pick it back up again. Thank for being authentic. :)


    My eyes welled up reading this today (my 35th birthday actually) and what a gift! I spent last year on a sabbatical to after surviving each bullet point you mentioned above. Every. Single. One. It was like looking in a mirror. I left behind the 2,200 sq. ft studio, the 100 hour work weeks, the unrelenting clients (I literally had one client come to pick up her order and throw her check at me b/c I didn't give her a full 3 hour family session for free b/c her husband, several years prior, got a free session for a promo I was doing - quicktake 15 min session. This was witnessed by my assistant who almost launched herself at said client). I watch the posts on our local mother's club (750 members in a middle class to affluent community) where a mom's hubby "takes good pics and would love to do your session for free and give you the images on disk". It's heartbreaking, brutal, the newbies to our industry have no idea what lays ahead not just for them but for the industry as a whole...

    I have been in this profession for eight years now. It's tough, really really tough. There's so much more than people realize to entering a profession that everyone thinks they can do. It takes a lot of time, money, education, practice, understanding, business savvy, personality, skill, persistence, a tough hide and yes, talent. Not everyone has what it takes and like polluting the environment, they end up polluting the profession.

    My break/sabbatical was much needed. I invested in my education, become a CPP, and studied business strategy. There's a major shift about to occur in the industry and those who function outside the law of business (not paying taxes, having a legit business operation) will be left way behind.

    The experiences true professionals have survived (like YOU:) will be what enables to "stay in the game". Think about it, anything worth doing takes effort and pain - it makes us stronger, better, more resilient.

    I admire and honor you for this honest and encouraging post. It truly tells of the reality of being in the photography profession and it also reveals how amazing you are.

    With so much gratitude, Dawn Norris, CPP


    Thank you for your honesty and taking the time to write this. It really hit home with me. I'm so happy you've given yourself time to take a break and reevaluate.


    I got a little teary eyed reading this. It sounds like you were writing about my life. I have also taken a small step back and it's been SO wonderful. It makes me WANT to get out there and shoot some more. It's made me think more creatively. I found this article a little too late, but I can say I know exactly where you're coming from. Thanks for sharing!

    Ruth Koziatek-Krueger

    Hallelujah! You said it takes guts to open up like you did. As female photographers we carry more "responsibility" than our male counterparts. But like you said, we owe it to ourselves to put our family first. It's good to step back and revealuate the priorities in our life. Thank you for sharing and showing us we're not alone. It's a daily struggle, but knowing there are others like yourself dealing with the same issues makes it easier to thrive in this rewarding business of photography.


    Everyone's comments and private emails to me mean more than you can imagine. This was a difficult post for me to make. It took me a long time to find the right words. I didn't want to make it all negative I'm glad I waited to give myself a little space and the ability to end the post on a positive note. Excited about the future and know this is the right step for me.


    Oh my goodness! I feel like you were reading my mind with each point. I was here at my computer nodding my head and saying Amen sista!! Good for you for taking time for your family and mental health! Enjoy it for the rest of us :-)

    Nathan Rye

    Wow Jessica... You've expressed what so many of us are feeling. In fact, it was through a lengthy series of discussions, that touched on each of the points you listed, that my wife and I have, just this month, decided to shut down our photography business after a 10 year run.

    The onslaught of new photographers and a community of subjects who embrace low quality at a better price have caused a vocation that we used to love to become one that is a miserable affair now.

    Thank you for your moving words that have touched many, including me. I hope that you reenter the market stronger than ever!

    Best wishes,



    Thank you for candidly sharing... This rings so true! It's easy to gt caught up in the movements and actions and forget about the passion and heart that got you there in the first place! Everyone occasionally needs that time away to get back to what it's all about. It can only make you better! Thanks for giving permission, through your story, to do that!


    Like SO many others, I started taking photos of my kids and found to love it as my creative outlet. I've taken photography classes and invested in equipment and have taken some good photos over the last year or two. I've had people tell me I should do it professionally. However, I've decided not to. I love taking photos and I'm afraid that as soon as it becomes a "job", it won't be my passion anymore. It won't be the thing I want to do when I'm stressed or down or when the sun is low in the sky! So it remains a wonderful hobby that I just happen to be decent at. Thank you for your honesty! Just more confirmation that I'm doing the right thing for me, for now.


    Seems like many of us go through similar things but you had the courage to let it all out. I coudn't agree with you more and you know how much I admire you and your work. Thank you for sharing this with the world! xoxoxoxoxo


    Love this! I feel like you took the words right out of my mouth. I had planned to take 2011 off but something in me wouldn't let me. Our stories are very similar, with the exception of me still taking work. :) Thanks for the inspiration! This is nice to start the day off!


    Love your honesty. I'm not at the level of burn out however, i can so relate to your bullet points. Good for you to taking the risk of stepping back and revaluating! Photography is a love and a passion and so glad you got it back...


    I don't know you, but I think I might love you. I needed THIS today. Thank you.


    I truly admire your courage in sharing this with the photography community Jessica. And it's refreshing to read your supporter's comments -- all reflecting some of the same feelings--(me too)--if anything, it must feel good to know that you are not alone. Thank you for your honesty; I hope that the joy will either return via the photography business--or that you take your teaching to a nice-happy-and balanced-level which will be a good fit for you AND your young family.


    I'm new to your blog but every reason you stated is why I won't go into business. I appreciate your honesty and agree so much with everything you said! Good for you for taking a step back....I hope it was all that you hoped it would be!


    Thank you so much for posting this. I needed to know that I was not the only one that had these feelings! God Bless You!!!

    Used to love photography

    A Photo by Ashley posted this article and I had never read your blog. WOW. You literally PULLED every single thought out of my head and heart that I have been feeling for the past 2 yrs. This economy is crazy and anyone will do anything to make a buck to pay the mortgage, keep the house. I have to say...I'm one of them... I have to be.

    I'm a good photographer. I still need to learn, yes, but I pay my taxes, I charge appropriately. Doesn't mean that I am so entirely sick of doing it daily, and only wish I could go back to the days of photographing and learning on my toddlers. :(

    I'm finally at a point where I'm making money and not buying everything to "get better". But now, I'm burnt. BURRRRRNT. At the end of the day family needs my extra income. We need it. I must continue and find a way to make it work. It was refreshing to read this article! Thank you!!!

    Ann Niddrie Photographer

    Thanks so much for sharing that about your journey, and for giving us a moment to reflect on where we are in our own journey..


    Oh this was me about 6 years ago. I had been a wedding and portrait photographer for 4 years. Thanks for sharing your experiences. As much as I miss it, I still haven't fully recovered from it. I still have a difficult time choosing to bring my camera places with me. It sounds like you are in a much better place than I was. I hope you can find the balance. Best of luck if you choose to go back to it!


    Glad to see you're thinking about getting back in the game! I cringe every time I see people's Facebook photos. I haven't gotten the support I had hoped for from friends and family and it's heartbreaking. I really wanted to give this business a chance but it's a mental challenge when everyone's asking you to recommend a camera so "they can take good pictures too." Like it's just that easy! Professional grade cameras just shouldn't have an automatic setting to fool people into thinking they can shoot! I'm still working on the business side, but unfortunately there's no quit-the-day-job day in sight. I think those times are over. I've also found out that more "professional" photographers than I could ever imagine still have day jobs. It can be hard not to compare yourself to others who you think are on the same level but doing so much better....and then it turns out that they're really not and it's all a facade anyway!


    I completely relate to your post! I can't believe i just saw my feelings in writing and not by me.
    Congratulations on your hiatus and thank you for your post.

    Jessica Grieves

    This is no longer my active email address. Email sent to the account is forwarded to my new address but I encourage you to update your address book. Im using a less spam friendly email address now as this provider tends to have problems with accounts getting hacked quite frequently and I get a lot of spam on this domain too.

    Jessica Grieves

    This is no longer my active email address. Email sent to the account is forwarded to my new address but I encourage you to update your address book. Im using a less spam friendly email address now as this provider tends to have problems with accounts getting hacked quite frequently and I get a lot of spam on this domain too.

    Jessica Grieves

    This is no longer my active email address. Email sent to the account is forwarded to my new address but I encourage you to update your address book. Im using a less spam friendly email address now as this provider tends to have problems with accounts getting hacked quite frequently and I get a lot of spam on this domain too.

    Jessica Grieves

    This is no longer my active email address. Email sent to the account is forwarded to my new address but I encourage you to update your address book. Im using a less spam friendly email address now as this provider tends to have problems with accounts getting hacked quite frequently and I get a lot of spam on this domain too.

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