Having a Full Time Job…and Pursuing Photography


One of the frequently asked questions I receive is how a photographer can balance working a full-time job and pursue professional photography at the same time. I try to offer my insight as best as possible, but it’s been five years since I had a part-time job and ventured into full-time wedding photography, so I wonder if I’m out of touch. Kinda like saying Let’s Git Jiggy Wit It in front of a group of teenagers…please don’t ask me about that. It’s a long and painful story.

I’m thoroughly impressed with how my friend Gail Werner handles the balance between her full-time job, being a professional photographer, and having a life. We’ve chatted about show she’s seemingly Super Woman (sans the leotard bootie shorts), but what it really boils down to is discipline. That’s it. I asked her to share more about how she successfully pursues business, art, and the love for many things.

When Jasmine asked if I could help with a guest blog post, I was happy to. Because, quite honestly, I think she’s the hardest working girl in the industry. And I want her to enjoy a vacation free of thoughts about blogging. Or anything, really, that doesn’t involve a drink with a little umbrella in it. 🙂

For the past two years, I’ve juggled a full-time position in public relations and a photography career. In my situation, I love both jobs. So the balance I’ve struck lets me carry on a fulfilling dual career. And yet, I know many are looking to transition into becoming full-time photographers, trying to do so while working 9-to-5 jobs and/or raising kids at the same time. It’s difficult, but I believe if you love the art of photography and are willing to manage your expectations, you can make it work. And maybe still enjoy episodes of Modern Family every now and then, too!

Here are a few thoughts on time management, organization and staying healthy. These kernels of truth have allowed me to reach ever closer to that elusive idea of a “balanced life.” I’m not sure any of us in this industry have mastered the idea, but we’re all better off for trying!

REMAIN IN CONTROL OF YOUR INBOX: I try to keep my inbox to fewer than 20-30 messages through a process I read about in “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. In a nutshell, I DELETE what I can; FILE what I want to keep but don’t need to act on (I set up folders like “Invoices” or “Receipts/Registrations” to handle this), DO the less-than-two-minute responses and MOVE into reminder folders things I’m waiting for (like responses back to emails I’ve sent out). As Allen says: “Getting everything you can out of your inbox is a huge boon to your clarity and control of day-to-day work. If you let your inbox become a staging ground for undecided action items and reference, your mind will grow numb, knowing you have to reassess everything every time you glance at the screen.” Time’s too precious to do that!

GET A WORKFLOW DOWN AND KEEP IT SIMPLE: If you’re not a full-time photographer, it’s going to be next-to-impossible to turn a wedding around in under a week. My goal with every wedding is a 2-week turnaround (telling my clients’ 3 weeks to pad the timeframe). This turnaround covers everything from culling/editing to finished blog post and preparation of deliverables. To keep things simple, I’m pretty much a shoot-and-burn photographer; I don’t have time for print order sessions or the errands involved with a lot of inventory. If you are in a dual-work situation similar to my own, you have to come up with a workflow you can stick to. There isn’t time to experiment with post-processing techniques, edit every image in Photoshop (I do the bulk of my editing in Lightroom) or take a week off and come back to it. Doing so is a sure-fire way to lose momentum and momentum is your workflow’s best friend.

LEARN TO SAY NO: The only way I can hold myself to this workflow is turning sessions down that take away from it. I am first and foremost a wedding photographer. I shoot 2 weddings a month (sometimes 3 for an average of 10-12 a year) and I have to keep it that way if I want to keep myself feeling balanced each month. It’s hard to turn some clients away, but remember your sanity is worth it. It’s often times better to build your business slowly and steadily. I’ve seen many photographers burn out with their inability to say no. Clients will keep coming, trust me. And some day, you’ll be ready not to have to turn them away.

LIMIT YOUR WORK HOURS: I make it a point most nights to cook dinner and eat with my husband. Afterwards, we squeeze in TV time on Hulu or Netflix or a walk with the dog before I head to work in my office. My aim is to keep at least one weeknight and one weekend evening work free, but on nights where I am in the office, my workframe window is 2 to 3 hours (typically from 8 until 10 or 11 so I can keep some time to read for pleasure before bedtime). I stick to this limited arrangement, plowing through my checklist as quickly and efficiently as I can. In some ways, it works to my advantage because I don’t have time for distractions like the Internet or social media.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY: When I see photographers posting to Facebook about how they’re editing until 2 a.m., I think a) that’s crazy! (I’m in bed by 11:30 most nights, thanks to a day job that starts at 8 a.m.) and b) it’s a warning sign of burn out. Building a photograph career shouldn’t come at the price of your health. You can’t work at your best (or be as fast thinking) if you’re letting yourself turn into a zombie from “The Walking Dead”!

Leave a Comment


Share to:


Comment with Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. colleen

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    thank you Gail and Jasmine. This is me….I’m just starting out and have a full-time career that I just love. But I feel the pull of photography and a creative outlet. I’ve been balancing 2nd shooting weddings (and post processing them) and other shoots. Your words are wise and appreciated (and I’ve followed your beautiful images for awhile now). Thank you!!

  2. Abbey

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    OMG!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this post Jasmine and Gail. I’m in a similar situation, where I love my day job as a Marketer, but I also love photography and want to find a happy medium and do both. Prioritizing and setting boundaries are definitely key . I’ve been a fan of Gail’s work for over 2 years and I’m soo happy to see that she’s able to manage both and quite well, I might add!

  3. Katherine

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Just what I needed. Thanks!

  4. naomi chokr

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    thank you for this post. i have a full time job too and im a full time photographer. thanks gail great post… i need to remember to give myself a day off. right now my husband has been cooking for the 2 of us.

  5. Kelly Lane

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    LOVE IT! I currently work FT and am pursuing photography and it is difficult to keep a balance. So reassuring reading your words. Thanks Gail!

  6. Alicia

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    This is SO, so SO very perfect for me right now! With a full-time 8-5, a full-time photography business, husband & 2 small children I am the picture of overloaded. I’m also quickly turning into that zombie you mentioned too. Thank you so much for this post. My goal for 2012 is to say NO more and come up with a good workflow so I can have a life…and more than 5 hours sleep maybe too:) Thank you Gail!

  7. Amy

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    This is a great post I found it really insightful, thank you. Also it’s so good to hear about a photographer who also has a full-time job. I am in the lucky position of having a full-time graphic design job that I LOVE. At the same time I’m in the early stages of building a wedding photography business. Sometimes this industry takes a negative attitude to photographers in this position (weekend warriors – yuck!) and I try not to listen to much to those opinions, confident in the knowledge that we offer our clients an exceptional service and we limit the number of clients we have to ensure this is the case.

  8. Emilia Jane

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Love this!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  9. Lane Baldwin

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you, THANK YOU for this post! I’ve been struggling with what to do about my full-time job (which I love) as photography starts to take off. I’m so thankful to know that others do both … and do both successfully!

  10. Wrenn Pacheco

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you for this post! I too am trying to balance both and felt stressed most of this fall! 🙂

  11. Di Holmes

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Excellent advice, thank you. I was working 4 days a week at a job I didn’t enjoy and wanted more time to pursue my passion for photography. It’s been a hobby for many years. I’ve finally gone down to 2 days a week and am now enjoying, more than anything having time to study the art. Jobs have started to come in, so I need to keep control of my workflow.
    I’m constantly inspired by Jasmine’s blog, so thank you for your insights too. I shall be checking out your website.

  12. Adriana Morett

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks a lot for this post Gail!! Very helpful for us part/time photogs. And I hope J* is enjoying her vacations! 😉

  13. Tiffany

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    This is exactly the kind of post I needed to read this morning!

  14. michelle

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I love seeing Gail on your blog! I think I’ve been following her photography blog as long as I’ve been following yours, Jasmine. She’s so fantastic. 😀

  15. Tara

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    what a great post! I love the balance between everything! I think it is a great way to think, and remember our health!

  16. Katie Higbee

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. My full time job is mom to 4 kids so it’s definitely something I need to focus on and don’t want to neglect while pursuing something I love and don’t want to get burned out on. I’ve been trying to do most of the things mentioned here, but this is much more clear and specific about it. Can’t wait to start implementing!

  17. Photographer

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Just want to say that I like your blog’s design very much. I just stumbled for the first time and want to let you know that this magazine layout is very cool.

  18. Lupe Ruiz

    December 8th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Your timing couldn’t have been better!! Thank you so much for this post!!

  19. MelissaFoscardo

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Love this post! Great advice not only for dual career types, but really, anyone.

  20. Anda

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I love it, Gail. You are so awesome. I find the timing of this post UNCANNY. Did you have this written before our Twitter convo last week? So funny, Super Woman 😉

  21. Rachel Tatem

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for all the tips: time management is huge!

  22. Sage Jensen

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Wow, great post! I’m so impressed by your sense of balance (in a way that makes me want to smack my forehead. Duh.) I especially liked the thought on limiting your work hours. Sometimes I feel like there’s not enough hours in the day to do everything I want, but when you step back and remove all of the inefficiencies it becomes quite easy to knock out all of the work. Thanks for some inspiration and common sense for us who are starting out!

  23. Brent - Live View Studios

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Great post! Thanks for the inspiration. It is hard to juggle multiple work scenarios around .. we do social branding for businesses in addition to photography, and juggling both is a challenge at times!


    December 8th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you! I’m happy to read a post that doesn’t make me feel I’m less than a real photographer for working on a full-time job. 🙂

  25. The New Diplomat's Wife

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    very helpful – and very reassuring to know that frankly, you can do multiple things at once since everyone will tell you that you can’t.

  26. Arielle

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the great info, Gail! I found this post to be so helpful/informative! You’re awesome!

  27. Haley Johnston

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Such GREAT advice. Thanks!!

  28. Gary Wong

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Really good reminder on being a healthy photographer. Need to adjust my working time!

  29. Rachel McCloud

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    As a newlywed (3 months:) and a part-time bank teller and photographer I definitly needed to read this today. Thanks so much.

  30. Kelly Wilson

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you SO much for this post. It’s sometimes REALLY hard to keep it in perspective and to take one thing at a time. Full time day job, single mommy, trying to make a go at photography = NOT EASY. But it can be done 🙂 THANK YOU!!!

  31. Amy Jo

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Great post! Thank you Gail!

  32. Tony Whitmore

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Ah, phew, I’m already doing most of that. 🙂

  33. Vijesh

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Brilliant post & totally agree with most points.

    I’m reading the last point more than once to tell myself to stick to schedules and take care of my health.

  34. Jenelle Sewell

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    This is great!!! Thanks for the insight on balancing and maintaining composition in the photography business!

  35. Melissa Jill :)

    December 8th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Great advice Gail! You rock! And the fact that you have the discipline to pull this kind of structure off is impressive!

  36. Shannon K.

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I love how I can apply some of these tips for my situation (staying home with my young kids). Thanks so much for the insight, Gail!

    Oh and Jasmine, just so I’m clear "Let’s get jiggy wit it" in a crowd of teenagers is NOT cool?

  37. Lindsay Vallas

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Being in a similar situation, right now I find it very hard to find a balance in life, so, truly, thank you for this post. Much needed and very helpful.

  38. Jessica Danielle

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I’m a full-time nurse and I’m also starting my photography career. Finding a way to balance the both has definitely been an ongoing task. This post couldn’t have come at a better time! Your advise is much appreciated…thank you Gail and Jasmine <3

  39. Sandra Fazzino Photography

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Very powerful and so simple. Thanks for the book reco and the good advice!!

  40. Vasia

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    GREAT post! I’ve never had to juggle a 9-5 with my photography business, but I have a 2 year old and on most days it really feels like I’m working 2 jobs, some days 3! Balance is tough. Thanks for the post 🙂

  41. Jenna

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    LOVE you Gail!!! Great insights! 🙂

  42. Carla Barnett

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Great post! Thank you!

  43. Mark Nabong

    December 8th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Amazing blog! I’m working on my workflow right now since I’m balancing a full-time job and trying to build my photography career at the same time along with many other things like family, church, etc. This was perfect! Thank you!

  44. Julie Villarreal

    December 8th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks Gail! Now I don’t feel so guilty by not staying up until 2am. I have a full time job and husband and family and stress about not putting in more time. It’s good to know if you’re disciplined and have realistic goals, you can have a full time job and a career in photography!

  45. Tony Belmont

    December 8th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Great advice, Gail, and I hope people follow it. Photography should be enjoyable and as stress free as possible (stress free can be difficult while shooting a wedding) and too much stress can start affecting your happiness, and your health. One of my favorite quotes: "he who has health, has hope, and who has hope, has everything." So try to stay out of "zombie land."

  46. Victoria O'Connor

    December 8th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Great comments and ideas Gail – I’ll be putting those to use in my life for sure!! Especially since we are expecting twins next month – every tip helps!!

  47. Christa Hann

    December 8th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    What a GREAT post! I most Definitely need a more structured workflow!! 🙂

  48. husband

    December 8th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks for this incredibly useful posting. I’m married to an awesome photographer, but its difficult for her to organize her time. She often stays up till 2am editing. But she wants to be better, so she sent me this link and I think ALL your suggestions will be incredibly helpful. Thank you so much

  49. whitney elizabeth

    December 8th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    such a great post! and always enlightening to hear others workflow!

  50. Claudia

    December 8th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    love this post Gail… I sure need a lot of work on my inbox…

  51. Claudia

    December 8th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    love this post Gail… I sure need a lot of work on my inbox…

  52. Chris Baltazar

    December 8th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Great post and topic. It’s definitely a juggling act if you’re a wedding photog and have a f/t job.

  53. Shannon Wimberly

    December 8th, 2011 at 7:20 pm


  54. Lloryn

    December 8th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    This was so helpful! thanks for sharing the tidbits that I think about doing but do actually do… yes i’m the 2am editor. but I will really strive to work these tips into the new year.

  55. Amber

    December 8th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks for the great article! I love Gail’s tips.

  56. Nancy Mitchell

    December 8th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Super great advice Gail! Hoping you have a great 2012!

  57. Morgan

    December 8th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks Gail for such a great post. I was starting to get really stressed about the amount of work I had and your tips will come in very useful. No more looking like a zombie for me!

  58. Erin Loechner

    December 8th, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Just hopping in to say how much I love this photo of you, Gail! Betsy did a great job of capturing your natural beauty! 🙂

  59. Carlise

    December 8th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Great post and so excited to read Gail’s thoughts! I am with her when I read other people’s posts saying they are editing until the crack of dawn, I think it is insane!! I, too, give myself a time frame and a workable schedule so that I have time to keep ME healthy…if YOU aren’t taking care of YOURSELF then it’s time to rethink how you are doing things in this business. 🙂

  60. Lisa Scherer

    December 8th, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Gail Rocks!! This blog post couldn’t of come at a better time for me. I work full time and have 3 small children and burn out is right where I am heading. I need to figure out how to make changes next year so that I can find my love for Photography again. Thanks so much for this post!

  61. Rob Northover

    December 8th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    /zombie noise 🙂

    (seriously – great post and perspective!)

  62. Mona Alicia

    December 8th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Great post Gail (and Jasmine), I love your tips, they make lots of sense to me. Thank you!

  63. Catie Ronquillo

    December 8th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Love that you squeaked a "Walking Dead" reference into this post. Great advice!

  64. Dennis Bullock

    December 8th, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Fantastic post Gail … Thanks for giving her the opportunity on your blog Jasmine!

  65. Dovecote Decor

    December 8th, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I just checked, and I have 7,628 messages in my in-box. This works for me because I can always find purchase orders and any other important communiques. I don’t shift mail into folders, because I can search and it does it for me automatically.
    I do need to unplug more!!

  66. Mindy Metivier

    December 8th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you Gail!!! I loved your advice about MY INBOX!!! I am usually pretty good at keeping my personal email inbox to a minimum of 20-30 emails, but my business email was starting to get quite disorganized!!! You inspired me today to organize it and clean out my inbox!!! Thank you for the inspiration!!! 🙂

  67. Katelyn James

    December 9th, 2011 at 12:25 am

    GAIL!!! Ohhh why do I just love you so much and we’re never even met?!!! Such great info and those 2am’ers you speak of… I’m one of them! I just get SO much done at night… but that’s because I feel like I’m on a time crunch! I’m working on it:) The hubs appreciates it when I actually come to bed at a normal hour:)

  68. Lisa P.

    December 9th, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Jasmine, I am loving the posts by the guest bloggers. Gail, thanks for helpful tips.

  69. Melissa Tomsik

    December 9th, 2011 at 2:19 am

    I am a fulltime photographer and I have a really hard time getting out of the home office! There is always work to be done, but yes, balance is best and we do make a point to take some breaks from work.


  70. angela young

    December 9th, 2011 at 2:19 am

    doesn’t everyone love Gail? she seems like a super cool person! and she and her husband look like Ken and Barbie!! 🙂 so cute! glad you gave j* the day off! she deserves a break every now and then, and it’s cool to see how other people juggle this business!! 🙂 hugs, angela

  71. Natasha

    December 9th, 2011 at 2:25 am

    This post is so helpful for someone like me who enjoys my day job AND wants to pursue photography. Thanks for breaking it down into tangible numbers. So very helpful.

  72. Allyson Garrison

    December 9th, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Thanks for this post! Great suggestions! Coming from someone who is getting burned out, I agree that keeping the photography "work" to scheduled time is so important!

  73. Lloyed Valenzuela Photography

    December 9th, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Excellent Post Gail!!! I can relate to the last portion…but sometime if you dont have much time, we need to do that. But i agree with you that we cannot sacrifice our health for the business that we want to build!

    Thanks for sharing this with us!!!

  74. Elise

    December 9th, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Thanks for this post! I’m also working under similar conditions and keep repeating the mantra "slow and steady"

  75. Amber Fox

    December 9th, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Great post Gail! Well done my friend. I think I need to take some of your suggestions. Maybe a trip back out to Cali is needed. And Gail, I love that you manage to blend the two lives, of a photographer and a 9 to fiver. It gives voice to those of us who DON’T want to quit our day jobs, but do both. You amaze me! You too Jasmine!

  76. Amelia Rhea

    December 9th, 2011 at 6:40 am

    I think this really answers alot of questions, so useful. I too am in the same situation, it’s a struggle to strike a balance but it’s so worth it in the end.

  77. Lydia

    December 9th, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Great advice Gail! I need to get more structure into my life to be able to take more clients as they come!

  78. tamsen

    December 9th, 2011 at 7:12 am

    as I read this at 2:12 am …. lol

    Thanks for the reminder to go to bed! 🙂

  79. Tina Nandi

    December 9th, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Such a great and helpful post! Thank you thank you thank you! I walk away encouraged and revamped as always!

  80. koreen

    December 9th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Great ideas here. It’s tough to balance a job, being a single mom, and trying to get a photography business off the ground. Having a child takes away any extra time. It’s a work in progress.

  81. Matt rondel

    December 9th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Jasmine and Gail your timing on this post couldn’t of been more perfect. I too struggle with a full time job and a pursuit as a professional photographer. Thank you for sharing and have a great weekend!

  82. Wedding Photographer

    December 9th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Some days I wish I did it this way. I could work, earn money and actually have a marketing budget 🙂

  83. melanie janse

    December 9th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you, Thank you, this is the exact position I am in 🙂 Love both jobs, but struggle with the balancing of the 2 and then the family aswell. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  84. Jennifer

    December 9th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Wonderful article! I’ve been struggling with how to balance my full-time job and my blossoming photog business, and I will definitely be taking away some of your tips. Thank you, Gail! And thank you, Jasmine, for featuring her! 🙂

  85. Melody Gillikin

    December 9th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Oh goodness…this was timely for me. I am a 2am-er and most of the other "don’ts" you mention here. I am a full time photographer and can’t seem to get a handle on the small things….I think it’s time to make some big changes for 2012! J* hope your having a great vacay….thanks Gail for the post!!!

  86. Tina Mercer

    December 9th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Wonderful blog post! I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one that works like this. I’m so happy because I do the same as well – you have to discipline yourself and make yourself stay on schedule or else everything will clasp! but it’s a balancing act for sure and I don’t think I wouldn’t have it anyother way. I actually get the best of both worlds. A job that can support my habit of Photography needs and then a job with photography that makes me happy! "KIR" your friend in South Georgia ~ Cheers, Tina

  87. N Owens

    December 9th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I can totally connect with this. Having a demanding full-time job in a leading hightech industry and having a photography business of my own, and with a baby on the way, this is exactly what I have to do. Turning down jobs is hards, but work-life balance is the key to keeping up a happy and satisfying life.

  88. Nicole Lennox

    December 9th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Fantastic post! Thanks for the advice Gail. I too am in PR and photography so it was great to read the ways in which you balance both.

  89. Tardy

    December 9th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    thank you! this is so stinkin helpful it’s unreal

  90. Jessica

    December 9th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Awesome tips! I realized that editing can be never ending if you let it. So what I did was play for a day or two with every preset (LR) I had, how they worked, what they did, what I liked…and what I didn’t. Once I was better acquainted with that part, I made it possible to open my pics and rock and roll. Editing should be tweaking..not trying to recreate an image. If you’re doing all that, you need to practice more with your camera 🙂

  91. Bobbie Brown

    December 9th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Loved this post! Thanks so much 🙂

  92. Camilla

    December 9th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    This is sooo helpful. I mean I know all these things already, but hearing it from someone else always helps. Photography is my full-time jo but I am also a "stay-at-home" with two kids under the age of two, so doing the 2am editing routine isn’t foreign to me and I feel it (and see it in the mirror) in my bones how it’s slowly drowning me- I am also really bad at turning away clients. So thankyou to both gail and jasmine for coming up with the idea:) happy christmas to both of you…

  93. Manya Keseloff

    December 9th, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Wow! I needed this! Thank you 🙂

  94. Elisa (at EventsbyElisa)

    December 9th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    You’ve said everything here that I always say about balancing my two jobs (student advisor and wedding planner). I love them both, and when people ask me if I’d want to quit one to do the other, the thought makes me sad. I DO have to keep a balance, though, and part of it is getting to bed by 11 every night (my husband has to be at work at 6 am, so this is imperative). And another part is keeping to 2 weddings per month. Sanity and balance are important – and they help us to continue to love what we do! It bothers me to no end when people call those of us who have additional jobs "hobbyists" because we can be (and often are; in my case, I planned galas for years as my one-and-only job) just as experienced and professional (or more!) as someone who has no other job. We simply choose to pursue our passion differently! Also what you said about burnout? I see it in other planners too. Sometimes being a professional who doesn’t stare at wedding stuff a zillion hours a week is actually a GOOD thing! 😉

  95. Trude

    December 9th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Thank you so, so much for sharing this! Glad to know I’m not the only one who always calls it quits before midnight. I always feel like the nerdy kid, but I leave for my day job before 7am! 🙂

  96. Life with Kaishon

    December 9th, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Really great tips! I love it! : ) Thanks for taking the time to share.

  97. Betsy King

    December 10th, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Great article from someone who truly does a great job at balancing both worlds!

    PS Saying no is the best bit of advice!!!

  98. Wedding Photographer Duncan

    December 10th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I suppose it’s all about balance. For me running a wedding photography business is time consuming – and of course its not all about photography. Marketing takes up a huge chunk – By the way your site is wonderfully refreshing. Keep up the great work and enjoy!

  99. Schaffer Photography

    December 10th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Amazing advice!! I struggle with the same things- I work full time in a research lab and own a photography business. Because of my day job, I can’t schedule photography sessions during the weekdays or work on editing tasks anytime during 9-5. I often find that a lot of my time I spend at home trying to get things done for my photography business could be used more efficiently. Thank you for the tips about inbox and time organization- I will definately use them!!

  100. Clary

    December 10th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Oh!! I’m so happy to see Gail’s shinny face:) Great advice friend.

  101. Jodie Lemke

    December 11th, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Thank you so so so much. you have NO idea. I am that girl up till 1-2 am .. im burnt out and struggling. this spot directly to me. i felt liek you were talking right to me.. shaking me! WAKE UP JODIE… lol. My poor hubby and kids need me.. I need me.. THANK YOU. (PS i can’t remember if I already commented lol as i did read this earlier too) <3 Enjoy that Vay-cay J*

  102. Melbourne Wedding Photography

    December 11th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    All great advice. It’s tough balancing a job and also a fledgling business/career. BUT, the hard work and focus (no pun intended) does eventually pay off.
    Good luck to those who are making the leap and don’t forget some of the best advice – ‘Don’t spend more than you earn’, and you’ll be fine!

  103. Iza

    December 11th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I love your Inbox management tip. I have been using it for a while, except of the Reminder folder. I need to add it to my workflow. I also do the respond-right-away, although found there are days I am spending most of the time just responding to those types of e-mails, not being able to get anything else done :(. I guess adding "occasionally, turn mail software off to get things done" should be added ;).

  104. Julie Cortens

    December 12th, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Wow Thanks Gail. I too hold down a full time day job and shoot on the weekends. I am doing everything you have said here and keeping the balance. Although I have pulled a few 2 am Lightroom sessions – but usually because I am loving it and not because I am under pressure. What I am finding difficult though is finding time to just hang with my grandbabies. This experience I do not want to miss. Ah if there were just 6 more hours in the day.
    Thanks for the post – a great encouragement to keep on keeping on.

  105. Wedding Photographer

    December 12th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    It would be a huge amount of work but I think the cross over is good. You have money from both jobs and with the income you can afford a marketing strategy. I started a business after being laid off at work and the marketing budget is my problem now…Nice post buy the way

  106. Jen Rice

    December 12th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing, balancing homeschooling kids, momma/wife stuff and a photog business is tough. Wonderful tips here 😀

  107. Laura

    December 12th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Loved this post! Very helpful. 🙂

  108. junmadayag

    December 13th, 2011 at 2:27 am

    First of all thank you for this great post1 I am a part time photographer as well and I have a day job being a financial broker. I mostly shoot family and a few low end commercial. I shoot only on weekends. I am just curious how you do your post processing since you are doing weddings at least 2 times a month. Do you have a third party who does your editing? Thank you!


  109. cassandra-m

    December 13th, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Awesome advice Gail….thank ou for sharing your knowledge and experience/opinion. Thank you!!!

  110. Harrie the Harpist

    December 13th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Hi, this is an AWESOME post – thank you! I am a part time musician (a lot of this is wedding-related!) and also have a full time job – so to know that there are others out there trying to squeeze everything in, well it’s very reassuring! I took on too much this year, am paying for it now health-wise so am planning carefully for next year. I hope to use some of your wonderful advice and get that holiest of holy grails – BALANCE as well as self-expression and creative satisfaction! x

  111. Mark Hayes

    December 13th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    First of all how awesome is it to see one of my favorite friends/photographers guest blogging on one of my favorite blogs.

    Gail your advice is spot on and even for those who do photography full time they should look at these things. The same tips can keep a fully self employed full time photographer from having to work 60-70 hours a week. Work smarter, nor harder.

  112. Erin H.

    December 14th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Awesome tips and very doable. Thanks Gail… you spoke right to me this afternoon. 🙂

  113. Louise {Bow Occasions}

    December 16th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Fab post! As someone who works 9 – 5 in Marketing and then also runs a wedding planning business, this post spoke straight to me. I also make sure I eat dinner with my partner before settling down to an evenings work and make sure I don’t work more than 1 evening at the weekend. This really works for me and ensure’s I still get my R & R time.

  114. Jodie Lemke

    December 18th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I’m commenting again cause it blows me away how relevant this is to me. THANK YOU J* for having guest speakers. Its nice to hear all this .. .i just keep reading it. I am making changes but its super hard! I would love to see another quest post from a newborn or family photographer! I’ve yet to find one open like this in sharing tips.. especially about prioritizing ect!

  115. Julia

    December 31st, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I suppose 3978 messages (689 unread) is entirely unacceptable? Right. On it…

  116. Fotograf Sofia

    January 19th, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  117. katie o.

    January 28th, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Such perfect advice. And on a side note, Gail keeps popping up everywhere! That is one talented gal.

  118. Heather Scharf

    May 10th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Gail!
    I was so excited to read this post because I think I have found a twin in you! I too work full time and do photography full time and somehow still squeeze in time for my husband and Modern Family! I just can’t seem to make the jump into full time photography and I am ok with that! Thanks for sharing…it is so good to see there is another chick out there making it happen! Cheers!

  119. Kayla F

    May 10th, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    This is everything that I needed to hear!

  120. Harrisburg Wedding Photographer

    June 5th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Good tips! I tend to work a bit too much and get too little sleep for my day job.

  121. Oana

    January 14th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Haa! Nice post. I assume it will be a bit more difficult than that having a 9 to 5 job AND being in the translation business for the rest of the time, as well. But I’m gonna make it work! Otherwise, I’ll turn into a zombie and make my canine teeth grow. 🙂

  122. Nathalie H.

    September 11th, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    This post is very inspiring. I am simply a hobby photographer since my teen years (this is already quite a while ago!). I have a 9-5-job and I always dream to run a little photo business aside of it. I think that I would not be able to give up my day job solely for the financial security and not knowing what will come up in the future. It is nice to know that it is possible to make both jobs work and still stay sane.
    Thanks for this post!

  123. Jessica Rogers

    January 29th, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    It’s so nice to know this is actually an attainable dream! I have a fulltime job (and then some), a child and hubby at home, and I do photography. I’m hoping to just do photography soon, but until then I feel like I have to juggle so much. I love the boundaries you suggested on time management.

  124. Tatyana

    February 16th, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you Gail!