Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Musings on Preparing to Launch a Business and Household Organization... and Regina Lynn's Super Weird Brain

Hello friends, virtual and otherwise. I really do have a good excuse for my absence. I mean, kinda. What I don't have a good excuse for is not having picked up my camera and doing some semi-extensive shooting in the last several weeks. I guess you could say I've been hibernating. At least, when it comes to actual photography. And, probably, when it comes to actually going outside too. Usually I am not such an indoor bum during the winter but this year I have a kid. And wanting to avoid getting him all bundled up to go out sounds like a good reason to stay in.

And since there's only so much shooting I can do in my house, creative photography has slowed to a crawl. But that's ok. I know the really good and great photographers out there would argue that I should have my camera with me at all times and shoot no matter what. But I'm lazy. And I know that if I pressure myself too much for too long my creativity nodules will burn out. I am, in my own way, a perfectionist. The kind of perfectionist that, if I can't do it right from the beginning, I won't even start. And yes, these perfectionistic tendencies do play a part in my creative burn out. See, every single time I pick up my camera, even if only for snapshots, I have this intense, self-imposed pressure to get the perfect shot. The best angle. Best use of lighting. You get the point. Of course, this is probably also why I love shooting in RAW format so much. If I don't get everything perfect, as far as white balance, exposure, etc., SOOC, I can fix it and get it exactly the way I want it in PSE later. Takes some of the pressure off.

But, I think you can see my point regarding burn out. The pressure I put on myself to have everything perfect is my own fault. I choose to see it in a positive light. If nothing or no one else will push me to do my best, to learn new things, and achieve new heights, at least I know that my own psych will. But what better time to take a break from that pressure than during the dreary end of winter, after the holidays are over and spring has not yet come.
I love winter and am still enjoying it, but today it hit me that I will be happy when it gets warm and things start blooming again.

But all this explaining of my perfectionism and coming up with an excuse for my laziness is all for naught if I do not mention what I've been doing instead being a photographic art genius every single day. Honestly, I have been busy.
Since this site is dedicated to Regina Lynn Photography, it's kind of obvious that I'm aspiring to start my own photography business. And, back to that perfectionism thing again, I like to start things from the ground up. I guess you could say I'm methodical. There's always a method or a plan to my madness, random as it may seem. Yes, back to the old wontdoanythingifIcantdoitright thing. And part of doing things right is building a good foundation and being prepared before taking on something new. I am totally that person who measures out all her baking/cooking ingredients before starting, just like Martha or Rachel Ray, because it's all nice and neat and ready to go. Ok, I don't exactly do that. But I would if I had enough of those ohmygoodnesstotallycute little glass bowls on hand.
So, back to the subject at hand. Using the time I would otherwise be using to shoot, I've been getting prepared to launch my business this spring. Brainstorming about packages and prices. Learning about contracts, model releases. Trying my hand at networking with other photographers in the state- I've made 1 or 2 contacts, but nothing too substantial yet. Slowly but surely I've been building a sleeker, more professional website using It only exists on my hard drive at the moment, but I'll make it public once I get enough info on it. And it's actually gonna be an easy .com URL. Yay! Sorry, Blogger. I haven't been here long enough to get really attached to you. Besides, Worpress makes an attractive, photo-heavy blog post so much easier. Actually, I have to confess: I used to be a Xanga nerd. Yes, it's true. But, back to the subject at hand, I'm hoping to have the new blog/site up and running in a month or two. Once I figure all the tech stuff out. Not that an awesome site is necessary to starting a successful business but I'm pretty sure it's helpful. Especially since most up and coming photographers having something of the type. And then there is always that appeal of answering the "Do you have a website?" question with, "Yes, it's" Nice. Easy to remember.
So yes, those are some of the directly-related-to-my-photography-business things I've been up to. Of course, once I get enough stuff down on paper, I'll have to start thinking about advertising, calling the Chamber of Commerce (*gulp*), etc. And then hoping I actually get a few clients.
Another not so related project has been putting together a 'Homemakers Organizational Binder.' If you haven't already heard of this kind of thing on the interwebs or in the mommy blogging world, Google it- you'll find something. Mine contains, so far, a master schedule for every day of the week (except for Sunday) and a pre-planned weekly (except for Sunday) menu. I left Sunday totally unplanned to make room for more spontaneity and a bit of breathing room. I'm hoping to add a monthly calendar page, phone numbers and addresses, a budget/spending tracking sheet, a reminder page for jobs that need to be done every few months or so.
I have to confess: I am not a good housekeeper. Sure, I can do all the little jobs involved in keeping a household clean and running, but not in an organized fashion so, therefore, often not at all or not often enough. Before deciding to implement this plan, there would be many mornings where I would get up, take care of G, but basically wandering around the house, seeing things to do, but not knowing where to start. The master schedule is basically a to-do list that plots a time of day for every little job, particularly cleaning jobs. Some items are on the schedule to be done every day- others are scheduled for once, twice, or even three times a week. I've been following the schedule for 3 days now and, so far, I like it a lot. It puts my mind at ease. An example: Before the schedule, I would start tidying up my kitchen and, halfway through cleaning off the counter tops and loading the dishwasher, I make a pit stop in the bathroom where I notice how unorganized the towel closet is. So I'll start refolding towels and putting them on the right stacks because, if I don't do it now, I'll forget. Still working on the towels when Baby G wakes up from his nap, needing his diaper changed and to be fed. He's crying so I drop what I'm doing to take care of him, taking him out to the kitchen for lunch only to discover that kitchen is still a mess because I forgot about it while folding towels. But I can't take care of that now because my bubs needs to be fed. And so on and so forth. And feel free to replace any of these interruption scenarios with my getting distracted by Facebook. Guilty as charged. I'm an all or nothing girl. I absolutely detest going back to finish a only halfway finished job. So, if I see something that needs to be done, either I won't do it because I don't have the time to finish it properly or I'll start and not finish it because I noticed or remembered something else that needs to be done. All this leading to a messy, half-cleaned house, probably no plan for supper, and a incredibly frustrated me- because I can't get anything done right. No mas! With the schedule I have a time slot for all those little jobs and errands, going by room. Tidy kitchen can mean anything from sweeping the floor, cleaning off the dining table, wiping off the fridge, etc. Anything that needs to be done to set the kitchen to rights at that time. Same with the bathroom, bedrooms, and living room. And if I don't get everything completely done, I know I have a space to do it later in the day, or even the next day. Or I can finish that job and push the next one off until a little later. I have a slot for blogging (!), paying bills, making out the weekly grocery list, etc. But I do not have every minute of every day scheduled. There are several hours spread throughout the day where nothing is scheduled and I can either fill it with random jobs (taking down Christmas decor) or Facebook. Ok, kidding. I have computer/internet/Facebook time scheduled in and usually I can stick to that. Sure, it sounds very rigid and structured, but honestly, it's not. It helps me get everything done in a timely fashion but I can totally rearrange it to fit something else in, as long as I get done the tasks scheduled for that day.
How is this whole time organization thing related to starting my business? Well, I figured I better get my homemaking ducks in a row before piling something else on. If I can't keep my bathroom clean now, with just Baby G to take care of, how's it gonna happen when (if) I have a couple of photo shoots, not to mention editing time, a week? See, it's another one of those working from the ground up, preparation things. It's methodical and I love it!
Which brings me to another subject: I thought artists were supposed to be moody (ok, I may be *slightly* guilty of this), prone to sudden, unpredictable fits of creative activity (and maybe a little of this), day-dreamy (ok, totally guilty of this), and just plain spontaneous. I consider myself an artist, but, while I may have some of these qualities, I'm methodical. I'm analytical. I like order. I love patterns, of a kind. When I "see" a photo, I often see lines, shadows, forms that have an aesthetic that just works for me. I'm guessing this is the reason I love the Rule of Thirds*. It's orderly. It just looks right. And I though I was always under the impression that all artists were right-brained people, I'm beginning to think I'm freak of nature- a left-brained artist. How weird is that? The only way I'm spontaneous is that I love the occasional random McDonald's run. At least, I used to- before we moved to a town with no MickyD's. Now it's the random Taco John's run. Usually these random things happen when I'm bored and want to get out and see other people. Ask those people which I've just totally dropped in on because it was a lovely Sunday afternoon and I wanted to go see someone. But other than that, I'm a total planner. Yeah, ok, have I made it known just how weird I am yet? Good, because I really need to bring this slightly rambling, very wordy post to a close.
Anyone else out there not fit in a category? Are you a planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantser?

*Ask my husband- I've totally told him that I don't like a house just because it has too many dormers and they aren't placed evenly across the roof.


  1. I get into a lull during the winter. Good luck and I'm excited to see some newness coming along :)

  2. Hi Regina! I can totally empathize with you! But I have to confess - after months of trying to work things out neatly in my brain, my then-fiance MADE me sit down and put together a business plan. That really helped me organize mentally and in reality. Kind of identified all the relevant points. And from my own experience I can tell the following:

    - putting together a blog is WAY more important than a site - people go to the blog MUCH more often than to the site
    - creating a logo is VERY important
    - which leads to your business cards
    - working for free will happen much more than one expects
    - having a mentor is HUGE (I don't have one and it has been hard!)
    - asserting your vision as a photographer is extremely important, otherwise clients will boss you around

    This is MY personal experience and I hope it helps. I am sure some other photographers will share with you other tips.

    I sincerely wish you ALL THE BEST in starting your business - and my last advice here - just do it!!! Stop thinking and DO IT :-) Kind of like in a Nike commercial :-)

    Yay for you!!!

  3. That's exciting! You will do great! I am loving the winter photos you posted!

  4. So, this is a story. And I love it. You are all over the place, just like I would be. As far as being a perfectionist, I get like that. Don't forget to listen to others respond to your photos in that process. I often don't think much of my photos and recently people asked me about certain photos because they want to order one on canvas. That was quite surprising to me. Being a perfectionist is good if we don't take it too far. Don't forget to enjoy the talent that is obvious there!!

  5. Why can I never share my thoughts in one comment? But I forgot to say I LOVE these last 2 photos. Very dreamy and I get lost looking at them, that is a good thing!