It's easy to get caught up in the doing more, being more, experiencing more trap of being a photographer or even just a creative in general. If you're on social media at all it feels like you need to measure up, to be all things to all people, to prove your worth in a sea of voices louder than your own. It's exhausting. Even when you know you have something good to say, it's often exhausting to even think of trying to say it amidst the noise. There are so many "shoulds" out there. You should be doing this on your social media or that for your marketing campaign. Your reach is suffering if you don't have an email list and a weekly newsletter. Have you attended the latest workshops and weighed in on the most recent webinar? Are you up to speed with the latest SEO for your website? Are you blogging weekly? Fill in the blank with whatever nagging advice you feel you should be doing right now.
Sometimes (a lot of times) it becomes too much. We find ourselves spread too thin, neglecting the things that are most important, while trying to please people we don't even know, and for what? A few more likes? Another email subscriber? Some clicks to your website?
What if what we really need is less? Less noise. Less strategy. Less clamor. And more of what matters. More connection. More soul. More depth.
Lately Tim and I have been choosing less. We've taken a lengthy break from blogging as we've been working on a new website (update: this is the new site!), we've started growing our family, we've shifted our priorities, and in the midst of all this we've been learning more of what's important to us. It's taken this big step back to see everything - our business, our lives, our relationships - from a distance, to realize the value and beauty of what we have.
Choosing less noise and less busy with our business has allowed for more of what matters in other areas of our lives. More time with our family, more deep conversation, more meaningful connections, and more of exploring the things that give us life.
What we get to do through capturing our couples' stories is an extraordinary gift. We are so grateful for each and every person that has trusted us behind the camera. Our creative journey has been fun and challenging, pushing us to ask hard questions and constantly learn and grow. Seeing our business from a distance has also helped us find some sense of balance between work and rest. Our office is across the hall from our bedroom and next door to the nursery, so it's hard to feel like we can truly step away from our work to rest. It's become necessary to rest though.
And adding a little one to the equation has put an entirely different perspective on our time. We've come to value our own time so much more. We don't want to spend hours upon hours in front of the computer. We'd rather spend them with each other and with Beckett. So we've been asking ourselves - how can we use our time well?
One of the best ways we know how to balance our time is to take on less, to say no to things (even ones we'd love to say yes to), and to set a limit on how many weddings and how many sessions we do. By saying no to some things we can more fully invest in the wedding days, sessions, and projects that we've said yes to. Rather than getting burnt out by photographing one too many wedding days, we plan to say fresh and energized, resting well between each wedding, being fully present with each of our couples on their day. This choosing less allows us to dig deeper into each story, to truly experience the heart of a wedding day, to savor and soak in each moment and encourage our bride and groom to do the same.
In the new year we're releasing a new website that has been a long time coming. (Update: You've found it! Welcome!!) Our friend Matt Daniels has done an extraordinary job creating a new logo and new website for us and we are so excited to share it with you. We keep joking that it's the grownup version of Grain & Compass. In a lot of ways it's that "less" we've been looking for. Less noise, less of "trying" so hard, less striving to be all things to all people. It's more of who we really are. More depth. More story. More focus. More confidence in declaring what we are and what we're not.
We've been reluctant to say goodbye to our old brand - in a way it feels like saying goodbye to an old friend. But it has served us well, brought us so many sweet couples, and taught us a lot about who we are and who we want to be. We want to care deeply for each of our couples, we want to work smarter and more efficiently while providing each wedding our full attention, we value our time as a little family of three so we'll be taking on a limited number of weddings next year and a very limited number of video-specific weddings. (Update: we are no longer booking additional video weddings. It's time for us to focus on just photography again.) Some people would see this as a step backward for our business, as if we should constantly be doing more and more weddings, but we see it as freedom. Freedom to invest fully in each one of our couples, freedom to devote our attention more wholly to each wedding, and the freedom to provide each bride and groom with our undivided care and love on their wedding day and the highest quality photos and video we can give them.
Letting go of our current identity and growing into this new one feels so significant and we're beyond excited for this new chapter of our creative journey. We hope you'll join us!
This post also serves as a look back at 2016. These are a few of our favorite images from this past year.