Life Happens, Photographers….

We’ve had an interesting past few months……

Life is strange…. things happen so oddly around here.

The newest chain of events —-

Within one week’s time, Dean and I both wrecked our vehicles.  We were upset with ourselves, but I just had to point out – hey, we just have this ridiculous connection that if one of us does something, the other has to join in so we always experience “life” together….

I won’t go into all the sordid details, but 2015 is proving to be quite trying.  Seven weeks ago, Dean asked me to meet him at one of our favorite places to have an after-work drink.  He dropped a bombshell.  He lost his job.  Just like that.

Upon my Soapbox

This, my photography friends, is the reason I have spent so many years preaching to run your business as a business and stop saying “I don’t need the money, my husband takes care of me.”  This is why I always got so bent out of shape on all the online forums when so many photographers would sit back with this arrogant attitude of “it will never happen to me.  I’m set in life.”

Oh really?

You would not believe how many photographers have confided that they have been blindsided with husbands asking for divorces or that their husbands have lost their jobs.  Bankruptcy, welfare, unemployment, moving back in with parents, homeless shelters….. these are words that I never thought I would hear from fellow photographers yet I have heard them loud and clear.   This is exactly why I have tried so hard to help other photographers and to point out that if you don’t price for profit, you may find yourself in a situation one day that you cannot fix once you have been known as the cheap or free photographer.  By the way – pricing for profit does not mean pricing so you can buy a new lens or some new Etsy props….. pricing for profit means to price so that you can get a real salary…. an actual salary that could support you if something should ever happen to that money tree of yours.   While you may think that you “don’t need the money”, when you do need it, guess what? it’s no longer going to be there because the photography industry has been destroyed.

DANDELION MACROStepping back off the Soapbox

Dean has always been our rock.  I’ve owned businesses for 18 years, so it was always feast or famine.  There were months of feast, months of famine… even years of feast…. but dang that famine around the corner….

Dean, however, has had a very stable career of nearly 30 years.   We counted on him no matter what because of the guaranteed stability.  He was always a highly desired employee because of his specialty.  However, in typical American fashion, his position was terminated in order for the business owners to find a cheaper option.

Welcome to America.

Displaced employees left and right having to take pay cuts so the corporate owners can profit more than the year before because staying the same will never do.  This is reality, my friends……. and yet you just wanted to give your photography away for free.

*sigh*

I didn’t think it would happen to us.  I really didn’t.  Having the “seniority” Dean had…..  He’s also a serious worker… he is well known in his field.  The outpouring of shock from everyone that has worked with Dean was mind blowing – the calls, the texts, the emails….. No one thought Dean would be laid off.  This is impossible, right?  How could this be?

Life can change in a second.

Oh, for those who don’t know what being laid off is all about.  This was all eye opening for me.  I have been married to Dean for almost 20 years and he had never been laid off during that time.   You don’t get a severance or a pay out of your weeks of vacation you stored away.   No.  What you get is, “You have 30 minutes to pack your stuff up and go.  Nothing personal.”  What you cling to is that at least you were laid off and not fired so you can still collect unemployment which, by the way, maxes out at only a fraction of what his salary was – the salary that we depended upon.  No matter that he spent 30 years paying into unemployment, unemployment will not pay your mortgage and groceries (in Maryland).

I am happy to report that he was able to get back to what he does with another company.  That was a long six weeks.   I learned a few things….

Education is Important.    I’m so very very thankful that I am educating myself in a stable field – a degree that is not empty.  I am so thankful for my stable day job.  I’m glad that for the past two years I did not sit back and do nothing by putting my head in the sand and saying along with the masses – “Oh, there are enough photography customers for everyone!”  That’s the biggest lie circulating out there.   I cannot stress this enough to all of you, especially photographer ladies out there – make sure that you are financially stable if something were to happen to your spouse.  I know everyone thinks it will never happen to them or that’s just icky to think about – stop being so negative!   No… not negative.  This is called reality.   While my blogging about this leaves me vulnerable, I believe more in helping others by example – learn from what I have experienced…..I’m here to prove it very well can happen to you.  Thirty years of stability for my husband’s career and it was gone in a split second.  Not many photographers are speaking up about what has happened to them in the past few years…. and it’s unfortunate.

MACRO PHOTOGRAPHYWe are in This Together Forever.   No matter what happens in life, Dean and I have each other’s back.  I love this man with all my heart.   No matter what happens, we have each other.  Sure, we have our kids too, but we don’t believe in smothering our kids.  They will sprout and grow and have their own independent lives – they will always be a part of us….. but ultimately, at the core of everything, it all comes back to – Dean and Jodie….and our commitment to each other.  That, above all, is what is most important.

We spent those miserable six weeks getting our hopes up… then getting them crushed…. considered moving across the country…. what a roller coaster!

For now… we are back on track.  Yet another chapter in this book I’m writing.  Sometimes I marvel at how two people had this chance meeting, made a commitment to each other, and have pretty much hit so many obstacles, more obstacles than are in most nightmares, and we’re still holding on… still pushing forward…. stubborn and still gaining strength in this connection with each other…..

 

And now………. be prepared…. We have Pixie’s birthday to celebrate….. and….. and………  wait til you see the newest orphans we are caring for…. here we go again!

KITTEN

 

 

 

About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.