CATHY EMPEY TALKS TIME MANAGEMENT
Cathy Empey is many things, lots of them wonderful, but mother of six and boudoir photographer are such a fun mix that we’ll focus on those. Enjoy her article about time management (which I suspect she knows a thing or two about…)
In my life, there are two things that I
can state with absolute certainty and strength of conviction. One: when you have six children, the
laundry will never really be finished.
Yes, you can do load after
load of it every single day in two wash machines that sit side by
side, groaning with the effort of the constant spin cycle. Yes, you
can fold it up and put it all away, but within a day 6 kids will have
blown through a combined total of a minimum of 12 outfits, and that
means you start all over again the next day, right back where you
The second thing I am absolutely sure
about? Time is fleeting. To me, time is more precious than money.
The passage of time is why I am a photographer, if only to capture,
even for a second, the very essence of a moment.
Time management is often something that
corporations talk about in staff meetings, drilling away at their
employees to put their noses to the grind stone, stop surfing the
internet, and get down to some real productivity. I think, as does
any other working mother, that time management is something uniquely
related to raising children. My ability to handle my own family,
laundry and all, and my growing photography client list have given me
a unique perspective on juggling all of the stuff related to growing
a business and growing a family.
Focus on your priorities.
all about priorities, good or bad. Finding out what can wait, even
for an hour, can make or break an entire day. Can you put something
off for a day or even until 10 pm when all of the kids are in bed?
Prioritize your day, even to the smallest task, so nothing is left to
sweep under the rug. I tend to keep lists, many, many lists, and I
leave nothing to chance. It eliminates the middle of the night panic
attacks when I realize that I have forgotten something, and helps me
make choices that can benefit my children as well as my photography
Finding an area of specialization for
your photography and honing in on that is key to organizing your
If you try to photograph all things, you’ll never attract
the right clients and you won’t ever grow as a photographer. When
searching for an area of specialization, find something you can be
passionate about. Connect with other photographers in your area and
work together to find referrals for each of your specialties. Not
unlike finding the right friends to complement your lifestyle,
finding the right photographers to represent your growing brand is
key to growing your business and moving it forward. If they don’t
help you grow a referral list you can be proud of and you can’t
imagine shooting a session with them, don’t choose them as part of
your inner group.
Social networking has become a
photographer’s best friend, and it is intrinsic to growing and
organizing my photography business. I’m a huge user of Twitter, and
I tend to retweet and comment on ideas that I find interesting or
that my followers will enjoy. I use Hootsuite to tweet from both of
my Twitter accounts, which eliminates the need to flip back and forth
between screens. I send love out to my followers and those I follow
in blog land, because this has become the new format for a chat and
coffee with a friend. I compliment other photographers often, because
the kind words I send out are often reciprocated with kind words
back, and in the middle of a difficult day, even a virtual hug or pat
on the back means the world.
Learning is everything. Always keep
learning. Photography is not static; it is a process that constantly
evolves. I have taken workshops and I swear for every workshop I have
attended I have learned something new and exciting that has propelled
my photography to new heights. Learning something new opens up the
floodgates of creativity. Apply that to your business and watch it
grow. Yes, taking workshops and putting yourself out there can be
scary, but change is good and so is occasionally being scared.
Any photographer knows that to take
fantastic photos, you have to do more than just click the shutter on
the camera. Good photos come from within the photographer. In that
light, I try to smile a lot. Smile through the rough patches, you
never know who may be watching you. Keep your sense of humor intact,
despite trial and tribulation. Take breaks and laugh as much as you
Exercise as much as you can, even in 10-minute blocks.
endorphins you release can also release creativity. You will feel
better about yourself, your mind can clear away the cobwebs, and your
heart will thank you. So will your family.
Time is fleeting, and it’s hard to
juggle everything that I need to juggle in one day while still
maintaining a great photography business and spending quality time
with my family. This is why it is so essential that photography, for
me, is about sending out good feelings and having them come back to
If you exude good feelings about your family and your business,
those good feelings will come back in one form or another.
Although most would know her as the smiling face behind the camera, Cathy is proudest of her role of a Mom to her six growing children. Based in Chilliwack, BC, she is an excellent juggler of both home and her growing boudoir photography business, as well as a defiant decorator with a love of white despite 12 hands that constantly need cleaning.