Letting Go and Going Forward

Letting Go and Going Forward

Our lives are defined by a series of moments. A flip book of little snapshots that make up a whole life. Blink and the years fly by. That’s why I became a photographer. To define those moments in the flipbook of people’s lives.

All my life, I’ve wanted to tell stories. Stories have shaped me into who I am today. My great-grandma’s stories of leaving Switzerland as a teen. My grandfather’s stories of serving in World War Two. My mama’s stories of visiting her grandparents’ store as a child. As a nerdy, artistic kid who never fit in, books were my best friends. I laughed at the escapades of Anne of Green Gables. I dreamed of magic with Harry Potter. I fell in love with Elizabeth Bennett. I drew and read and dreamed and wished for a place where I could sum up the world in a few hundred pages. I traveled the world to find something that I couldn’t define. I went to college to study history because I needed to know why those stories were so important. I saw how stories could shape the world. I learned to use my skills as a photographer to capture other people’s stories.

As I get older, the stories I read and want to tell are changing. Last year, I cut way back on shooting weddings, and recently, I realized, it was time to put aside that story. I won’t say that I will never shoot another wedding, because I might change my mind in a couple years and miss weddings. For now, I want to focus on other things, on other stories. I’m not sure what will happen with the website or the blog, but my goal is to catch up on my backlog this year, and enjoy these last few weddings. I’ve been shooting a lot more families and small businesses, and I’m not sure what the future will hold at this moment. I know I’ll always be a storyteller, and I’m opening my heart up to the next chapter of stories.

I’ve got some ideas, and I hate to be vague, but first, I’m going to enjoy the last bit of this season of my life, and spend some time trying new things, before I make any announcements.

Wedding portraits in a field in the Methow Valley

The Wahluke Farmer’s Market – Nonprofit Branding Shoot

The Wahluke Farmer’s Market – Nonprofit Branding Shoot

Last year, I started working with more small businesses, non-profits, and companies to provide them with high quality images. So often, I would meet a fellow small business owner or nonprofit warrior who had a great product, event, or platform, but didn’t have good images to go with that. That’s where I come in! We work together to create content for your brand, business, or organization to help market you better. I’m here to help your small business grow, your nonprofit thrive, and your product launch with beautiful, on-brand images.

The Wahluke Farmer’s Market is a project that is near and dear to my heart for a two reasons. First, it’s in my hometown! I grew up in a small town, and when I was little, there was one – ONE – single grocery store in town. Now there’s two, and this seasonal farmer’s market. Second, my mama – the woman who I look up to as a parent and person – was the driving force behind this coming into existance. She would visit me in the South Perry District and loved to see our farmer’s market. She saw a need for that in our hometown and being the amazing woman she is, she went out and made it happen. [As an aside: my entire family is full of people who have small businesses, creative hobbies, and awesome side hustles. I have a ton of great role models for forging my own life path.]

These images were shot last summer, and I’m so excited to share them with you today! If you are in area, the Wahluke Farmer’s Market is on Wednesdays, from 3pm-7pm at Hund Park in Mattawa and runs from mid-June to the end of September. You can find more information on their Facebook page. If you are looking for branding or commercial photography, from head shots to full digital branding images, contact me today.

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Balancing a Business and a Life as a Small Business Owner

Balancing a Business and a Life as a Small Business Owner

Hey there.

Does anyone still read a blog? Like, really read them? Besides me? I love blogs, I’ll never pivot to video, and while I know 98% of you are just here to look at pretty pictures, sometimes I need to talk too.

So, here’s a post to say that, once again, I dropped the ball. Despite my best intentions (and my goals!), I am woefully behind on blogging. But still using words like woefully, because ya’ll, I’m a bookworm and a nerd. Not because I haven’t wanted to blog – I have so much to share – but because now that N is here, I don’t want to spend 12 hours a day working. I want to spend time with my kiddo and our family. So, while I love blogging, it’s not the highest thing on my priority list (that would be client emails and editing).

I thought about just jumping back into content – but instead, I wanted to say first that life is busy, life is hard, and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing in this world, there are always more things on your to do list than you have time for. And in this season of life, I’m prioritizing time with my kiddo and our family. So that means working crazy hours and long international flights to visit her great-grandparents. It means late nights, early mornings, and less blogging during the busy season. It means dreaming of a few things I just don’t have the bandwidth for right now.

So, if you’re struggling with balance. If your emails, laundry, friendships, trips to the gym, or whatever your to do list item is, are falling behind, I just want to say it’s okay. In the end, if the important things are getting done, then you are doing enough.

Family Photos in Munich // Emily Wenzel

A Little Redecorating // Behind the Scenes

A Little Redecorating // Behind the Scenes

It started off innocently enough. Last year, I launched a new look and website. I worked on them for months, and wanted to love them. But they were always a little bit…off. I’d try to fix things, but I couldn’t quite get things to work how I saw them in my head. A chat over lunch with an industry friend who I consider a great mentor lead me to really looking at my website and branding. And then resulted in my messing with an idea, checking in with some of you via Instagram Stories (thank you!!) and then I just…made the site. The site came together so easily, that I couldn’t believe how much I’ve struggled with the previous design(s). It is perfection. Well, almost.

I still need new head shots, but those are in the works, and I really need to catch up here, on the blog. I’m sure there are few wonky things around, so if you find something, please drop me a comment or email. In the meantime – THANK YOU.

This job is something I love with all my heart, and I am eternally grateful that I get to do this. I’ve got so many things to share, but if you don’t follow me on Instagram and Facebook, I do share there regularly, so please follow along and let me know you’re there. I made an announcement a few weeks back, and I want to talk about it more on here, but I’m offering up to $100 for referrals, because you – my friends and followers and biggest fans – are really better marketing than any website or bridal fair. Although, I like those too.

Spokane Wedding Photographer // Historic Davenport Hotel Emily Wenzel

Doing a Frivolous Job when the World is on Fire // Personal Post

Doing a Frivolous Job when the World is on Fire // Personal Post

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.
— Albus Dumbledore [JK Rowling]

This week, I’ve really been struggling with doing what I do. Don’t get me wrong — I love my job. I think I have one of the greatest jobs in the world. I spend my days capturing beautiful moments. But, in the currently world climate, I have wondered if what I do is a joke. I started this post a half dozen times, and wrote a zillion things, but it all came down to a few things.

I don’t save lives. I don’t help cure Cancer or West Nile Virus. I don’t work to change laws to make the world a better place. I simply photograph meaningful moments. My job is frivolous. It is unnecessary.

Church Wedding Photographer // Emily Wenzel Photography

 

After all, one does not need to have photographs – much less professional ones – to be married.

Yet, there is something to be said for the beautiful photograph. For that moment when you tear up as your partner promises to spend the rest of their life with you. For the moment when you see each other for the first time on your wedding day. Or the first day of your brand new baby’s life. Maybe it’s a simple moment at home, or as a family. Toddlers in all their glory and dogs and chaos and everyone grows so fast. It’s the last photo of you and your grandma, or maybe a photo of all your cousins together on your wedding day. Those college friends who flew in from all the corners of the world. It’s your dad dancing under the twinkle lights with your best friend from elementary school. Your mom embracing your new spouse. Those are the photos I strive to take.

 

Commellini Estate Spokane Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

 

Telling that story matters. Remembering the good matters. My job – my industry – may be frivolous, but we cannot fight the terrible things in this world 24/7. We must take time to cherish the beautiful moments as well. I don’t know what the next year will bring. I hope it brings more peace and love. I know that I’m going to continue to work to bring good in this world. We cannot sit around and just hope for things to get better. We need to work for them. We need to find the light switch and turn on the lights. So, I want to keep photographing these beautiful moments of yours. I hope that my job, while not life saving, brings light into your life and into the lives of the people around you.

xoxo,
E.

Spokane Newborn Fresh 48 Session // Emily Wenzel Photography

The Myth of Having it All // Personal Post

The Myth of Having it All // Personal Post

Some days, I am a total boss lady. I make it to meetings early, I book my clients, and I nail everything on my to do list. My social media is scheduled (at peak hours – natch), my editing is ahead of schedule, and I am the queen of small business.

Some days, I am a totally awesome person. I cuddle my kitty and take my dog to the park, I meet friends for coffee, run all my errands, and hit my step goal. My house is clean and my laundry is folded. I read my books and return them to the library on time. I have dinner planned out and I make eat at a reasonable hour. I am a domestic diva.

These two things never happen on the same day. In fact, rarely am I a domestic diva and a small business queen in the same week. Usually, I’m struggling along, juggling all the things in life, and dropping those balls left and right. I never feel like I have it all, because I never feel like I can do it all at the same time.

And the guilt is enormous. Why do we put this much pressure on ourselves – as business owners, as women, as people – to be perfect? I can tell you that, when you add in a mostly DIY home renovation, my husband doesn’t feel like he has it all either. Every day, it’s a question of time. And there are not enough hours, and none of us have enough brain space to do it all – or have it all – at the same time. Do we work on that house project, or do I cross something of my never ending business to do list? Do I meet up with a friend for happy hour, or make it to the gym?

In the summer, I am a workaholic. My house is a disaster, and while I love spending time with friends, I spend every spare minute with my spouse or desperately catching up on sleep. In the winter, my work load slows down, but that means I finally have time to catch up on all the half finished house projects, and to do some of the things I want to do around my home. I read books and remember what it’s like to have free time. And when I travel, I simultaneously try to enjoy as much of my trip as possible while still working my butt off to run the business. True fact: unless I’m overseas or off the grid, I don’t set an out of office message, because I’m still working. On vacation! That probably means it’s not really much of a vacation, does it? :(

It’s easy to look at a social media feed and think someone has it all. After all, I’m not sharing my messy, doesn’t have walls, house photos. I’m sharing the ones where I’ve nailed it. You don’t know that I barely slept last night, because I was trying to get work done, just that my emails are answered. Today it’s Friday, and I’ve spent the whole week tackling my inbox, trying to get that under control. I’ve barely turned around from my desk, because I know my house is a disaster zone. But hey, my inbox is down to TWO emails….for the next five minutes. ;)

You’ve can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time. To paraphrase a popular entrepreneurial saying: family, friends, work, sleep, fitness, or home renovation — pick three. And when I throw a baby in there, I wonder to myself, how can I make it all work? I can’t. And I have to learn to show myself more grace with that. I have to realize that some days – or weeks – I’m going to pick sleep over my house or fitness or friends. And that’s okay. And some days, my business comes first. But other days, my family and my friends are first.

You can’t have it all at the same time, and I think it’s important for us to continue to say that. It may look otherwise on the internet, but I am here to say I don’t have it all. I drop the ball. I work late, and sometimes I don’t feel like I can do enough work to keep up. Some days I am a terrible spouse and friend. Other days, I do great at that, but feel like I have failed as a business owner. You don’t need to have it all, and you shouldn’t believe that it’s a good standard to work towards. Be honest, be real, and give yourself grace. I struggle with this every day, and I know it won’t get easier as my business and family grow.

Delos Archaeological Site Greek Island // Emily Wenzel Photography