Thoughts on Burnout...(and why I'm taking a step back from photography)

About 90% of my blog traffic comes from my family, friends, & Facebook friends.  That being said, I’m using this post as a platform so that everyone can hear read the same story.

I've had quite a few requests for photo sessions in these last few weeks, and I feel SO bad saying "no".  So I’m writing this post to help my lovely clients understand why I am declining their requests until further notice.  

First off, I don’t even know if can call these people my “clients”.  I don’t have an official photography business, nor did I ever pretend to…

It all started a few years ago, 2012-2013ish?  I took pictures of my sister’s kids & people asked her who did the photos.  She said “my sister”, and soon after, a few of them started to reach out to me to see if I would take pictures of their kids.  Over time, other family & friends inquired, and I was happy to provide the service, as it helped me practice my “craft”.  Each session I felt a little more comfortable behind my camera.  In no time, I was taking newborn, family, senior, engagement & maternity photos.  I even did a couple weddings (major props to wedding photographers, this is SOOO stressful)!

Mind you, I had/have no formal photography training.  I purchased my first DSLR in 2011 & am completely self-taught.  I shot in auto for a while, until I wanted more out of my camera & my photos.  I wanted my photos to make people feel & see exactly what I felt & saw when I took the photo.  Auto mode just wasn’t cutting it.  So, I read through a few online tutorials & watched a few YouTube videos & started shooting in Manuel mode.  I had a lot of questions & wasn’t completely understanding everything, so I took a photography class at NWTC.  It was WONDERFUL & I highly recommend this class to anyone.

After the class I was thirsty for more knowledge, so I scheduled some one-on-one mentoring sessions with a couple local photographers whom I admire.  My skills were improving, and pretty quickly, my “clients” started growing beyond just family & close friends.  I was shooting people I’d never met before & scheduling about 1 session/ week.  

This would have been all fine & well, however I was working a 40 hour/week daytime job & at that time,  was also going to school 2 nights a week to finish my Bachelor’s Degree.  It seemed any free time I had, I was either taking photos or editing photos.  Instead of cuddling up with my husband on the couch to watch TV in the evenings, I was stuck in front of the computer editing or doing homework.

Besides photography becoming a time suck, I was my own worst critic & thought my photos were just OK... mediocre at best.  I started to wonder if people were booking me because I was cheap, or if they actually liked my images?  Also, I had major computer storage issues.  My CD/DVD burner no longer works - which is how I'd get clients their photos.  I don’t know how to use Photoshop or Lightroom & I didn’t have time to learn it.  I still don’t understand some of the technical things, like aspect ratio & DPI,  All of these frustrations were building up, and by the end of 2015, I was exasperated.  This fall, I turned down 12 different people asking for sessions because I didn't have any spare time to shoot them...

Photography was becoming a chore -- a second job -- and I was losing interest.


This makes me SO sad, because photography used to bring me such joy.  My most favorite thing to do is throw my camera around my neck & go for a walk in the woods.  Or, snap photos candidly, on my own terms.  But I wasn’t even finding the time or feeling the itch to do that...

Photo by Shaunae Teske Photography
SO! Long story short, my photography hobby was turning into a part-time job that I didn't want anymore.   This can happen to anyone in any situation.  It’s called burnout.

My mom gave me a card once that said at lot of really nice, encouraging things, including something to the likes of “you can do a lot of things, but you can’t do them all…”  I took this piece of advice to heart & have decided to take some time off of shooting for other people.

I want to love my hobby again.  I never want it to feel like a chore or a job again.  I still love photography; I just want to do it on my terms.

If you've stuck with me through this whole post, bless your heart.

Burnout is a real thing.  I'm hoping I can find my flame again soon!

3 comments:

  1. Burnout is SO real! Props to you for keeping your hobby for yourself my dear!

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    1. Thanks Stormy -- it's hard saying 'no' to people, but girl's gotta do what girl's gotta do, right? Hope you're doing well! I love your weekly bump updates :)

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    2. Exactly! No sense in loosing interest in something that you really love just to satisfy others! Every girl needs something that is just for them! And thanks dear! I love doing them, but can't wait for them to be done too! ;)

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