Thursday, February 19, 2015

FAQ | pregnancy + wedding photography


Since we announced the news of our second pregnancy, I've been getting all kinds of messages from photographers and other wedding industry pros with questions. I've been doing my best to answer them all one by one, but I figured a little FAQ post about pregnancy and the wedding industry might come in handy to a few...

By the way -- This post is sprinkled with photos of Coop (in the belly and out) just for fun!


"DID YOU HAVE TO CANCEL ANY WEDDINGS?!"

Short answer? Yes, two. And it broke my heart. 

Let me start this FAQ post about pregnancy & wedding photography with a little bit of backstory... We didn't really "plan" to get pregnant this time. It took us 7 months to get pregnant with Coop (and that's when we were actively trying!) and although we always said we wanted to have our babies close together, getting pregnant with baby number two so quickly was a total shock! A happy, happy shock :)

I found out that I was pregnant on December 5th, 2014, and learned that my due date was early August, 2015. At the time...I had 5 weddings booked for August. It was my busiest month of the year without a shadow of a doubt. 

I panicked. 

All I could think about was getting in touch with my clients and letting them know. Even if I was letting them know that the baby was coming months before their wedding or months after, I wanted them to know immediately. It felt irresponsible for me to sit on this information and not share it with my clients.

I took the day to really study my calendar and figure out my plan. It was the saddest thing ever to realize that I had to cancel two weddings, one on August 2nd, and one on August 15th. There was just no conceivable way that I could put those clients through the stress of not knowing if I was going into labour ON their wedding day. But I used the knowledge from my last pregnancy to make the other tough decisions. 

I remembered back to how I felt at 9 months pregnant, even just a few days before delivering Coop. Could I have shot a wedding? I honestly would say yes. I was blessed with a terrific pregnancy and giving birth taught me that I'm a pretty tough cookie. 

"HOW DID YOU TELL YOUR CLIENTS YOU WERE PREGNANT?"


The morning after I found out about this pregnancy, I drafted three different emails. 


The first one was for clients whose weddings I would have no problem shooting in the months leading up to August. I let them know of my due date, and shared some information about my last pregnancy and how I shot a wedding at 7 months pregnant in the dead of Winter and that it wasn't even a problem.

The second one was for clients whose weddings I would still be able to shoot, even though it would be in the next few weeks after the baby arrived. I told them about my recovery from my last pregnancy and how I remember feeling after about 5 or 6 days that I was back to my old self completely and could shoot a 12 hour wedding if I had to. (Thankfully I don't shoot 12 hour weddings anymore, but you get the idea.)

The third email simply said that I needed to talk to my two early August brides about something that just came up. This was the hardest part.

"HOW DID THEY REACT?"

The reaction from my clients was something I wasn't emotionally prepared for. I received countless emails that all shared the same sentiments. They congratulated me for my big news, told me that they trust my instincts fully as their wedding photographer and that's part of the reason they trusted me with the job in the first place. They asked how they could make my experience of shooting their wedding any easier, and they wished me nothing but the best for our growing family. 

I cried. 

I remember sitting down after reading the messages pour in and just thinking that I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my business. I was photographing weddings for the most amazing clients; clients who trusted me, believed in me, and treated me like a friend rather than a business partner.

When I spoke with my two early August brides on the phone and let them know that I would have to cancel on them and return their deposits, they shocked me by saying that although they were so sad that we couldn't work together, they were simply happy for me and knew that it would all work out for the best. I helped them find the most amazing wedding photographers for their dates and I can honestly sit here right now and say that they're both in great hands. 

I feel lucky that I had the opportunity to photograph their engagements and although I am sad to be missing their beautiful weddings, they'll always be Laura Kelly brides in my heart. 

Part of the reason I think my clients reacted to my news so well was because of how upfront and honest I was with them. Every single one of my 2015 brides knew that Ryan and I were having another baby before our parents did. Let me just emphasize that part again... they were informed of our news before ANYONE because I respect their trust so much. The worst thing I think I could ever do to a bride is announce my pregnancy on Facebook or Instagram when the 12 week mark finally rolled around, leaving her to try and calculate how far I must be, and what that would mean for her wedding.

I can't even imagine doing that.


"HOW PREGNANT WILL YOU BE SHOOTING YOUR LAST WEDDING?"

My very last wedding before the arrival of baby number two will be on July 18th. I will be just about 8 months pregnant :) There will be a big baby bump but I can barely wait. 

It's going to be an amazing wedding for a stunning couple. I'm so pumped to photograph their engagement session in March! 

"WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT ABOUT THE WEDDINGS YOU SHOOT THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF THE PREGNANCY?"

When I photographed a wedding at 7 months pregnant last time, the only thing that was slightly different was an intense need to be properly fueled for the whole day. I ate more on that wedding day than I'll ever admit and it was because that's how I kept my energy up to my regular peppy self :)

The back pockets of my ShootSac were filled with sleeves of graham crackers , ziplock bags of fruit, and a pack of KitKat Bites. I took out one of my lenses and stuck a HUGE water bottle in there, and I think I even had a bag of skittles tucked in my dress somewhere. My clients that day will remember me sharing my graham crackers with them when we all started getting hungry together. 

It's times like this that I'm so thankful I pack very lightly on a wedding day. AND I'm grateful for TOMS.



"SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING PREGNANT DURING WEDDING SEASON?" 

That's a tough question! Every pregnancy is different and if this was my FIRST pregnancy and I didn't have any personal experience to reference, I'd probably be panicking about my August due date. 

But every mom knows that you learn SO much about yourself by going through a pregnancy and a delivery. Personally, I learned that I am a really low stress person. I handle being busy very well. When I look at my year at a glance and realize that I'll have two babies at home while shooting a full wedding season...I feel calm. 

Because I HAVE to feel calm. 

Somehow it's going to work out and I'll come out the other end stronger because of it. I will work harder than I've ever worked this year because there's no option to give anything less than 100% to every piece of the puzzle.

However, if just reading this post is giving you anxiety, you might not want to embark on a busy wedding season during your pregnancy. It can be really unhealthy to stress your body while your little baby is growing, and the last thing you want to do is feel like you're not giving enough attention to your clients. You have to make the right decision for you, and I hope after reading this, you can rest assured that your clients will support your decision :)

(photo one and two were taken with a self timer, 
photo three was taken by Brittany Lee Photography during our family portraits)  

4 comments:

  1. Girlllll! Thank you so much for this awesome post!!!! I really needed to hear that. And I'm sure others did too!
    xoxox

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    1. I told you I'd write something like this (even though it was like 6 months ago haha!). Thanks so much for all of your support always <3

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  2. So exciting Laura! You're such a pro and I love following your work, but your life just as much here and on your fam jam blog. I know Steph's SUPER pumped to have you as her photographer and I seriously CAN. NOT. WAIT to see the images. July couldn't come faster :)

    All the absolute best!

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    1. Thank you!! That is so incredibly kind of you. I'm so touched that you follow my work Tracey :)

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