Let's get personal: I got promoted!

This is a personal post, and it's a long-time overdue... as you'll see if you keep reading. Why is it so overdue? Because I simply haven't had a free millisecond to sit down and write it. Yes, now that May is here, wedding season is ramping up, and I'm always busy, but it's so much more than that: I got promoted!

Most of my couples and other clients know by now; I'm not exactly spilling the beans. But for those of you who don't know, photography isn't my full-time career. I love photography, but I also have a very fulfilling career I love at a small non-profit here in the DC region: the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Until recently, I was the Coalition for Smarter Growth's Communications Director. We have a small staff of 6, and we work across the DC to advocate for more walkable, transit-oriented, bike-friendly, and affordable communities. (PS - I can't help myself. If you think that sounds really cool and you want to learn more, you should sign up for our email blasts.)

As Communications Director, I was responsible for all of our online work -- our website, writing and designing our email blasts, and social media, as well as more traditional communications responsibilities like media outreach, branding and marketing, writing, editing, and a few other things besides (like photography)! I LOVE my communications work, and I love the Coalition for Smarter Growth's mission.

My office does a really wonderful series of walking tours of neighborhoods throughout the DC region. Yes, you guessed it -- I usually take the photos.

Early in 2016, our #2 in charge -- our Managing Director, Alex -- got offered a job as the Executive  Director of a non-profit in New Orleans... and our Executive Director and Board of Directors made the decision to promote me to be the new Managing Director! Stepping into my boss' shoes has been a big, big transition -- and one that I'm still adjusting to a LOT right now.

Being responsible for being the boss to other people is a big deal, and I have a lot of other new responsibilities, too. I want to make sure I'm doing a good job, and that I am also giving both myself, and Kian -- the most important person in my life! -- the time and attention WE need. As a wedding photographer, my partner (even if we're not married) is SO important to me, and I want to model a healthy relationship to my couples. Spending quality time being with Kian doing things we both love is so important... and even more important than ever, now that my job as Managing Director is taking up more of my time and brainpower!

Being an advocate means I spend a lot of weekday evenings speaking or networking at various community functions. Sometime, I even end up on the other side of the lens.

So... since there are only 24 hours in every day... what does that mean? It means that as much as I love photography, and as important as it is to me, these are my priorities right now:

  1. Kian and family
  2. Doing a good job in my Managing Director promotion
  3. Photography.

Now, to be clear, I'm still working very hard for all of my 2016 couples! I'm fulfilling all of my contracts, and striving to provide everyone with the full Aimee Custis Photography wedding experience! That is so important to me!!!

This guy is the most important person in my life. He deserves to be my #1 priority, and I need to make sure we're spending time together.

But, beyond my 2016 couples, a few things have had to take back burner. For one, I'm blogging less frequently. I hope to change that and I have so many good ideas, but right now if I have to choose between an extra hour of sleep, an hour spending time with Kian, or writing a blog post... Kian or sleep win!

I'm also behind where I'd hoped to be on growing my business and building relationships with other wedding professionals who I've come to know and admire. My social media isn't as frequent, I'm not doing any advertising besides word-of-mouth (who has the time to set it all up!?), and the two styled shoots I've been trying to get off the ground since December are still languishing sadly in my email inbox. 

For my 2016 couples, there has been one noticeable change -- I used to be lightning-quick in responding to emails. Now sometimes it takes 4-5 days for me to get back to non-urgent messages. But I've let folks know this is happening and why.

... and you know what? I'm coming to terms with it. I'm okay with the fact that you can have it all, but you can't have it all at once.

I capped my 2016 wedding calendar at 15 weddings, but you know what? In 2017, I'm capping my calendar at 10 weddings. I'd rather work less and do better work, than spread myself too thin and do too many things, none of them well.

Photography is a huge love of mine -- and one that I can never thank Kian enough for bringing into my life. It brings me so much joy and creative release, and to truly serve my couples in creating lasting memories is a whole other kind of rewarding. And I don't plan to give it up anytime soon -- but I do have other loves, and they're important! And for every season of life, we have to choose what's most important and what makes us happy.

For now, I'm choosing to spend a little more time on my career and a little less time on my photography. But you know what I'm finding? It makes the time I do spend on photography all that much sweeter.