Reflective post on family

A little bit of a different type of post today. Sometimes I love to reflect on business, life, photography etc… and love to share my thoughts with everyone. With a new year it’s always a great time to sit back and think about what’s important in your life.

I was talking with a new bride and groom awhile back, they were such a sweet young couple and really got me thinking about the important things in life. When I meet with a new bride and groom its more than just meeting to show them more of our work and the different albums that we offer. I have always felt that as artists we are to capture and tell the story of your wedding day by really knowing who you are. An image of a person can show so much more than what that person looks like at a given point in time, a great image will tell a story of that person and that’s what we set out to capture at weddings. So when we meet with a client for the first time its not really an interview on their part, we think of it more as a getting to know you time. We also want to make sure that we really mesh with the couple so we love to learn all about you… your style, how you met, your family, who you really are.

So I met a really sweet fun couple and after chatting with them for awhile I could tell that family was going to be a big part of their day. One thing that mattered most to them was their family, even though their family is very large they really value them. In their wedding planning it was important to have all of their close family there even though it would be a large guest count, they really understood that the people are what make the event not all of the other little details.

It really got me thinking about what really is the most important things in my life. Being raised in a family that is part Italian and part Swiss I was raised with a large emphasis on family. Gathering family around the dinner table was always a time of joy. It made me remember an short article I wrote for our Christmas newsletter one year about a trip I had to Switzerland and how important that was for me. I’ll repost this article here and reflect a little on it since things have changed so much in the last 3 years in my life:

Sometimes as a small business owner, I can get so caught up with my work. Days and weeks can all merge together and since I love what I do normally I end up working every day, all year long. It can be easy to get caught up with jobs and never take time off for yourself. Up until this summer I didn’t take a real vacation for the last 3 years. This summer with the nudging from my wonderful wife, we took 2 weeks off to visit some family in Switzerland. Spending time with these family members, and the focus they put on family over there really made me realize the importance of spending quality time together.

Some of the family members we met didn’t speak any English only Italian. I thought it would be very tough to communicate with them and some of the people were in their 60’s to 80’s so I didn’t think visiting with them would be much fun. We originally were going to start the trip in Biasca, Switzerland where my family is from, and stay there 2-3 days. The rest of our trip we planned to visit Italy and France, but once we met all of the family we stayed in Switzerland most of the trip. Once we arrived we were greeted by my Cousin Monica and her mother Sodonia with warm hugs and a dinner waiting for us at Monica’s house. Even though I have only met Monica once before about 10 years ago they treated us so well it felt like we had known each other our entire lives. Day after day a new set of relatives would meet us somewhere and take us out to dinner or have us over to their house for dinner, each and every person with a huge smile and hugs and kisses for us all. The closeness that they all had with their families and how well they treated us was very inspiring to me. Some of our relatives are very distant cousins to me, yet they treated us like we were their own sons and daughters.

This life we live can be very crazy sometimes and living in a fast paced area like Silicon Valley we can easily get caught up in our work. I myself tend to be very selfish with my time, since I spend so much time working if I ever do have a few extra hours I sometimes want to spend them by myself. My family has been pretty used to me just popping in for a few minutes and then just as quick as I got there it is time to leave. But this life on earth is temporary, we never know how much time we have or our family members have on this earth so it should always be spent wisely. We had such a wonderful trip ?lled with memories I could go on forever about it. But I just wanted to remind everyone how important your family really is, and how time with them can be priceless. Try to make it a point in this upcoming year to take a vacation with your family. Work will always be there when you get back.

After I had this amazing trip to Switzerland I was inspired to change my work habits and my focus to spend more quality time with my family. But like life can do sometimes, things got busy again and distracted my attention away from my family and back to work. After that trip I also said we have to take a 2 week vacation every year to explore this vast and wonderful Earth that we have, but in those 3 years since have just taken one quick 5 day vacation to Hawaii to unwind. As our business has grown (along with my family) over the years it has been increasingly hard to spend quality time with my family with how much I work. I am so passionate about my work that its hard to pass up a wedding and stop once I hit a certain goal, I have a habit of saying Yes to everything. Even the other day on Christmas eve I was trying to finish as much work as I could before spending the evening with my family, after awhile I just had to turn the computer off and say to myself “this can be finished another day” and call it quits.

Now that we have a baby and another on the way, my family time is so much more important than it ever was before. I want to spend as much quality time with my children as I can and really be the best father and role model to them. Thinking about this over the past few days I have decided to make some big changes in my business. Instead of shooting 35-50 weddings a year, 2010 I am only going to take on 30 weddings plus the work on this website (I plan on creating new articles at least 4 times a week so look out for some great content). My other photographer will still be booking weddings also for the studio so we will be busy, just not overly busy. We will also be bringing in some additional help in the studio so I don’t have to do everything and will be focusing just on what I love to do, photograph people and share my passion for photography.

2010 will be about balance for me and taking the time to focus on what really matters in this life. I hope to spend a lot more time with my family and friends who I have neglected over the years (and all my new bride and groom friends). This time we have on Earth is temporary, and really in the end what will matter most to you. For me it’s all of the fun memories of spending time with loved ones, not how much I worked, how much money I made, the car I drove or even the house I lived in. At the end of my life I don’t think those things will really matter, but the memories I will have and cherish is the time I spent just loving on people… and that’s what I am going to start doing. I encourage you all to think of what really matters to you and live each day to the fullest, get out and enjoy some fresh air today or have lunch with your dad or spouse. Spend some time living, not just existing, I am sure it will put a smile on your face

What matters most to you? Does your calendar really match up with that focus? Comments are always welcome!

– Mark

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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