At FOTO, we are committed to helping our fellow creatives flourish. In our new Q&A style blog series, Coffee with Creatives, we'll be highlighting the unique expertise of some of our favorite professionals, sharing tips and information on relevant topics to bring you some practical insight and inspiration for the important work you do.
Today, we are uncovering how to find that "sweet spot" between work and life with full-time photographer & twin mom, Katie Lamb.
Tell us a bit about why and when you started your photography business.
Katie: When I was 17, my family adopted two precious baby girls from China who became my world and very best friends. Through the adoption experience, I became passionate about photography and documenting stories through my lens. I went on to Baylor University where I majored in Fine Art Photography with the hopes to travel the world photographing the works of various nonprofit organizations and helping to promote orphan outreach and adoption. I spent time in Africa, China, and all over western and eastern Europe pursuing this passion, all while never thinking I would own my own business.
While I wish I could have spent all my days traveling and pursuing nonprofit work, there came a time where I needed to think more seriously about income and my future family. Traveling the world all the time for your passion is wonderful and beautiful, but there often comes a time when it's not practical (i.e. when you are newly married, having babies, etc.). I honestly didn't know the first thing about running a business when I started. However, I am a pretty headstrong person and always love a challenge, so I set out to start a business where I could weave my passion into my career.
I officially started my business in 2008, and began photographing families and weddings. However, it wasn't until 2011 when my husband's pursuit of law school moved us to Houston that I became serious about my business standing on its own. We were determined not to take out school loans, so all the weight was on me to create this business in a new city that could sustain us for three years of law school. I worked a lot of hours and poured my heart and soul into my business. I read book after book about marketing, accounting, taxes, client management, etc., and learned the ins and outs of running a business. I made and learned from mistakes, tried new things and failed, and put myself out there in a big way. Out of that grew an overwhelming passion for creating, running, and sustaining a small business - to the point that I created many other businesses alongside photography.
I have to admit, I went through a season of great sadness and frustration over my "loss" of being able to use photography strictly for international nonprofit work; however, looking back, it is neat to see the way the Lord placed a new passion in my heart using the same gift of photography He gave me many years ago.
How has motherhood most impacted your professional life?
Katie: For one, I can't just work whenever I please. ;) It has taught me to be more intentional in my business as I'm not able to do everything I'd like to do and when I'd like to do it. It's changed my daily schedule as well as the amount of clients I can take on.
How has motherhood most impacted your personal life?
Katie: Motherhood grows you, molds you, challenges you, and most definitely changes you. Motherhood has been a daily lesson of dying-to-self for me, especially as we are in these young toddler years when they need me so desperately for everything. It is a constant reminder that my to-do lists can wait because my most important job right now is being their mama. Motherhood has changed my perspective on everything small and large - the way I view the world, political issues, and other people. Motherhood has its way of instilling compassion and patience for others, doesn't it? Because everyone is someone's baby boy or girl, no matter their age.
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you get it all done?
Katie: I try to only work when my little ones are sleeping in order to be fully present these few short years I have them home to myself (as if 2 two year olds would even let me work when they are awake!). This definitely makes things challenging; however, I have found that waking before my kiddos is the best thing I can do in regards to my business and my role as mama. It allows me to get in a few hours of work while having a little time to myself before the craziness of the day begins. Once my twins get up, we try and do something fun in the mornings - whether that's going to the park, play place, or Target (can I get an AMEN!?). Once they go down for their nap, I immediately head to my office and put in a couple more hours before heading into the afternoon. Once they go to bed at night, I'm right back in my office working. It's not easy being a work from home mama, and you often feel like you never have a moment to relax since anytime they are sleeping, you are working; however, I know this is just a season. There will be a day when they are off at school each day. I'll have plenty of hours to work, and I will miss these days so desperately! There are definitely sacrifices made; however, working from home allows me to be a part of every second of my twin's fleeting childhood which is something I wouldn't trade for anything.
Any quick tips or fun advice for other working moms out there?
Katie: My best advice is to give yourself grace. Grace when you're exhausted, grace when you fail, grace when that to-do list didn't get done, and grace when you don't think you have it all together... because who does? Also, wine is wonderful. ;)
What do you do in your free time? What energizes you to keep going?
Katie: I love to workout, and it's definitely my "me-time" that helps me refocus and recharge. My husband and I recently moved into a (major) fixer upper, so home projects have become fun to-dos in our free time, and we also love going hiking with our little ones!
What Fotostrap do you wear?
Katie: I love all things neutral, so I wear the "Stone" strap!
Looking for more inspiration from industry creatives? Check out this Q&A with professional wedding photographer, Misty Rodda:
Coffee with Creatives: Misty Rodda's Tips on Keeping a Fresh Perspective
Want to be a guest on our series Coffee with Creatives?
Nominate yourself or someone you think would inspire our FOTO family: