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There Is No Such Thing As A Photo Emergency

November 9th, 2011  |  Published in Featured, Shoot  |  4 Comments

If you’re anything like me, you’re a workaholic, a control freak and a perfectionist. Ok, that might be harsh even on myself, but I think most small business owners can relate to not being able to shut off work when it’s necessary. This is especially hard to do for photographers because even those of us who have an office away from home, still most likely have a computer at home, or at the very least, a smart phone in your hands way way way too often. Not to mention that the tools we use for work – cameras and computers – are also used for play.

And if you’re like me, you’ve had friends, loved ones, family, or (the worst) your own child say “Can’t you just shut it down for the night? Can you just put your phone down? Are you still on the computer?”. And it sucks because you don’t really realize what you’re doing. You think you’re being productive. You think that if you don’t work every waking part of the day, that you will fall behind, that clients will get mad, that inquiries will go elsewhere, or that you’ll miss out on something major.

You check your work emails on your phone, in your bed. Really??

The fact that my husband leaves me little love notes on the computer, because he knows that’s where I’m sure to look? Cute, but really – a little sad.

There is no such thing as a photo emergency. This is what I have to remind myself every time I feel guilty for putting an away message on my email when I (very rarely) get away for a weekend or vaca. But more importantly, this is what I need to remember when my work day is over. Once the baker closes its doors, no more cupcakes for you!

Since most of us shoot weddings on weekends and portraits in the evenings, we need to make a different schedule for ourselves than the average 9-5 M-F. For me, this past season, I would mark off one day a week as my day off. This didn’t mean a day off from everything, to be fair. I simply wouldn’t shoot that day, or I wouldn’t edit, or I wouldn’t go to the office. It was a day off from one or all parts of work. I may still check email, but I wouldn’t respond until the next day. It took a LOT of restraint, trust me.

I recently posted my own, self proclaimed, office hours on my home office door. My studio office downtown is by appointment only, and I often work from home. No clients come to my home office, but this sign is a reminder to me, no – a guideline that I must follow. You know, unless I want to end up a big nerd with no family, no friends, no life, no hobbies, no fresh air, no sun on my skin, a bad back, carpal tunnel, thick glasses, and unwashed hair…

Since wedding season is almost over, and portrait season is drawing to a close all in about a month, I am busting my hump to have evenings and weekends free again. My daughter deserves my full attention. Forcing myself to take a day off in peak season allowed me to manage my workflow a lot better. I would work on one project at a time, finish it, and then start a new one. I pride myself in multi-tasking, but I now see that it wasn’t helping me; it was actually diluting the work that I did do since it wasn’t getting my full attention. A cool little app for Mac OSX that my intern Caroline told me about is SelfControl. Look into it if you have a really hard time closing Facebook, emails, etc while you’re editing.

Now that I’ve caught up on work by managing my time a lot better and writing this article without designing an album at the same time, I’m going to turn over the sign to CLOSED and go enjoy this beautiful Indian Summer day with a bike ride to the beach. The album will wait and no one will die because of it.


About zofia

zofia has written 22 post in this blog.

Zofia is a Nantucket Wedding Photographer who combines style, love and art in everything she creates. She wants to be the girl with the most cake.



  1. Kristina says:

    November 9th, 2011 at 1:44 pm (#)

    Is it wrong that I read this and went straight back to my editing? :) Seriously though, I think we all probably needed this! Thank you!

  2. Admin says:

    November 9th, 2011 at 4:57 pm (#)

    At least it was 1pm not 1am that you went back to editing. ;)

  3. Photo Emergency? Probably Not | Stay Strong says:

    May 21st, 2013 at 2:30 pm (#)

    [...] To kick off the Stay Strong blog, we are thrilled to be featuring the wisdom of Zofia Crosby, a Massachusetts photographer who has found the benefits of keeping regular office hours to extend to all realms of her life. We hope you are inspired to take a step toward balance after reading her blog: There Is No Such Thing As A Photo Emergency. [...]

  4. rene says:

    May 23rd, 2013 at 4:32 pm (#)

    Thank you! this was insightful. I am very guilty of things mentioned above, and this has given me something to think about :)

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