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simply candid


Millenial Falls Wedding Utah

Once upon a time there were two photographers who had a son that got married. So of course, having only one person photograph the wedding wasn’t really an option. And why should it be!? Robert Lino brought his crew from Florida to do the hard (boring) part. I was asked to be in charge of the “candid/artistic” shots. Yes please! Because I’m missing the warmer weather we’ve been having (I know, I shouldn’t complain but I am) I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments and details from this lovely Fall (that felt like spring) wedding ceremony.

Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah
Millenial Falls Wedding Utah

The time I quit…multitasking


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Once upon a time a couple years ago I was awake it the middle of the night feeding baby Peirce. He fell right back asleep once he was full but I didn’t. I stayed awake miserable. There were so many things on my mind. I felt like there was never enough time in the day to accomplish everything I needed to get done. And I was tired. I really felt like I’d stripped down my life to the bare basics, those things that mattered most but I still couldn’t find peace or happiness. Every day I wore so many hats. I was a mess. It was in this moment of self despair/pitty that I felt like I received a personal revelation from God for me. Now you may or may not believe in God and that’s not the point here at all. Rather, my mind was lead to know what I needed (and yours can be too). And though it was specific to me, I feel like the principles I adopted could be helpful for some of you out there who might be feeling like I was a few years ago, so I’m going to share. Because sharing makes everyone happy right?!

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So the fact of the matter is, multi-tasking actually helps us accomplish less when it’s all said and done. Every day I was trying to juggle too many balls, so I never got any through the hoop. I just kept juggling and juggling not wanting to drop anything but also being helpless to lighten my load. My days just weren’t long enough. Enter my revelation. Why do I have to accomplish every thing every day? Why not live my life in weeks instead? Surely a week was enough time to get done what I needed to do. And it was. And it is.

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I analyzed my schedule and all of the things I was trying to do every day and split them up into daily focuses (keep in mind I had already cut out anything in my life that I didn’t really feel like was necessary or a good use of my time. If you’ve never done this, figuring out your priorities has to be your first step.) For example, the main things I needed to do were work, play with my kids, clean my house, and spend some time thinking/serving others. I divided those tasks into five days, M-F, leaving Saturdays open to either photograph weddings or spend time with my family doing whatever we wanted and then Sunday for me is devoted to church worship, family & rest.

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So here’s how the breakdown worked:

Two days a week I would work. On those two days I would focus on nothing else but work and keeping my kids alive. Turns out they have to be fed regularly, diapers changed, fights dissolved, etc. But I worried only about their essential needs on the day I worked. Yes. On work days they get to watch TV.

One day a week I cleaned. Nothing else had to happen that day except keeping the kids alive and cleaning as much as I could. This meant, that the other six days of the week, my house was not spotless. In fact, some days it was a crazy messy. But I had and still have little, little kids who are basically walking tornados so aside from spending my time all day everyday following them around to clean up behind them 24/7 having a messy house is inevitable. But I knew that once a week things would be deep cleaned so beneath the clutter there would be nothing growing or anything deeply disturbing ;)

One day a week I devoted to serving others. Sometimes the “others” were just my kids and husband but I’ve always felt like they are my top priority. If their needs were met I’d reach beyond my own home to my neighbors, my church, etc. to find things to do that weren’t about me.

And the final day I devoted to playing with my kids. No cleaning, no working, just playing. I often would schedule a play date where we’d go hang out with others, but sometimes we stayed home and were just together too. Playing is not my favorite thing. If given the choice to play or work I’ll opt to work. It’s just who I am. So dedicating a day to play was actually hard for me, but something that meant so much to my children. And yes, it’s probably healthy for me too. (These pictures were taken on Friday…it was a play day and I’m much happier when my camera joins us on these days…;)

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For over a year I kept to this schedule. It wasn’t set so every Monday I worked, every Tuesday I cleaned, etc. I didn’t want it to be that rigid. Rather every Sunday I would look at my calendar and decided which days would be what for that particular week which helped accommodate the other on goings in our life. (I live and die by my online Google calendar. It’s where I schedule everything, including what focus day of the week it is. It’s also linked to my husband’s calendar so I can make sure our schedules fit together well).

The weeks when I stuck to this routine I felt liberated. I no longer had to feel guilty if my house was messy because I knew there would be a day to clean. I didn’t feel guilty when I had to semi-ignore my kids while working because I knew their basic needs were being met and that there would be time to play. Scheduling my life by the week (and believing that that was really the best choice for me) was a game changer. Last year we went through so many major life changes that my schedule fell by the wayside. Last year felt like a year to just survive. But I’m happy to report that this year I’ve re-implemented my weekly focus days and I’m SO much happier again.

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Being in my new home (and my husband no longer being in school) has changed things a little “focus” wise. I still have the same days, but now on my work days I’ve hired a woman who cares for my kids and does basic cleaning while I work (because Sienna and Peirce were so close in age, I was no longer able to do all that was needed to care for two babies and still get anything done work wise). So I shut myself in my office (which is separate from the rest of my house) and let her handle life. I emerge to give her a lunch break and me 30 minutes with the kids in the day time, but other than kissing occasional boo-boos I don’t see the kids on my work day. My nanny comes from 9:30-3:00 which gives me enough time in the mornings to get Ella off to school and everyone settled for the day, and then it allows me to finish up my work (most days) before Ella gets home so I can be a mom again who is there to hear how her day went and navigate the tricky hours of 4-5:30 when everyone is tired and ready for dinner and waiting for dad to get home. And the best part is, I’ve got my work done & my house isn’t a wreck like it used to be when I had to let the kids just do their thing while I worked. It’s a new expense that has been so worth it to me.

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SO this is what works for me in my life. I hope you can think about this and figure out what could work for you. I’ve set up my business to fit this schedule. I don’t overbook myself so two days a week of office work (this does not include the actual time spent shooting which I do in the evenings/weekends) is all I need to keep my clients happy. This year I’m only booking portrait sessions (including engagement & blacktie) on T, W & Th evenings. Monday nights are for my family. Friday nights are for my husband. Saturdays are for my family or weddings and Sundays are for God. This year I also adjusted my pricing so I was taking into account the cost of my nanny. I know my numbers, how much I need to average per wedding, and how many weddings I need to shoot this year to meet my financial goals. Knowing these numbers is powerful and another thing I suggest getting on top of. For every dollar you’re bringing in business wise, you must know how many pennies you’re actually keeping once all your business expenses & taxes are taken out. Sadly, many photographers are working for minimum wage or less and don’t even realize it. But I’m getting off topic…

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So multi-tasking…don’t do it! Your brain is so much more effective when it’s not constantly changing tasks. Even within my work days I try to focus on one task at a time. The internet makes this tricky because it’s hard to not jump into my inbox or social media when I’m waiting for Lightroom or Photoshop to process something, but the more I stay focused, the more I accomplish. Period.
Think of your to do list in terms of a week not a day. What do you need to get done this week. Assign a focus for each day and let the rest rest. Let go of the guilt you feel when you’re doing one task but worry you should be doing another. Be mindful when assigning your focus days that those focuses are what will make you happy in the long term. What matters to you in life? Focus on that. I’m constantly in my mind asking myself if this is the best use of my time or is it just a good use of time? Generally speaking none of us are out actively wasting time. But it’s easy to slip into habits that are only good and not better or best.

I challenge you this week to take some time to figure out your life. What are you really trying to accomplish with your endless to do list? (We all have one!) What matters most and where should your focus be? I believe there’s time to do everything we want IF we prioritize. When you put your priorities first, you find yourself with time to do things that maybe aren’t #1 on your list, but #27. Spending time on #27 is great IF you’ve already accomplished #1-#26. In fact, you can actually fully enjoy #27 guilt free because you know the things that really needed to get done have been checked off.

In reality, I rarely have time for much besides my top priorities. I don’t even have a #27 ;) But I recognize this is a temporary thing. Having little kids is time consuming, but I know they won’t be little forever so I do want to enjoy this time in my life as much as possible. A wise friend recently reminded me that even my business can wait so to speak. I can shoot the remainder of my life, so I don’t have to accomplish everything I want in my career tomorrow. My kids, however, will not always be here to enjoy, squish, kiss & cuddle.

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I feel so very, very lucky to have the life I do. I know I am blessed, but I also believe I’ve been a wise steward of the responsibilities I’ve been given. Own your life! Make it the best it can be. That’s within your power. And set yourself up to succeed by setting realistic parameters for your time. We can’t do it all at once so quit trying and you’ll be so much happier I promise!!

February 19, 2015 - 3:42 pm Marissa Argueta - At first I thought What?! but seriously good idea. The house is going to be messy (with 6 kids) unless I am cleaning 24/7. I don't want to miss their little years. The mess will always be there but they won't. I'm going to give your method a shot and pull out my camera and play with my kids. Thanks.

February 19, 2015 - 9:28 am Jamie The cool kid - You are wise beyond your years Elizabeth :) The end.

February 18, 2015 - 5:46 am Torrie - I really needed to read this--as I'm preparing to be a first-time mom in about two months, I needed to read something that felt do-able when it came to balancing (as much as is possible) the many hats I'll be wearing. Thanks for sharing :)

February 17, 2015 - 8:29 pm Sarah - Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing! Time management is so difficult with littles (I have 3 of them) and I too struggle with guilt sometimes. I love your approach!

February 17, 2015 - 7:47 pm Kathy Peterson - I was deeply touched by your post. Thank you. I follow your blog because your photography moves me and you drew out qualities in the bridal portrait of my niece that deeply touched my heart. Your personal observations of time bring light to the mindful art of living with purpose just as your artwork conveys the light you discover in your subjects. Thank you for sharing your mindful practice.

February 17, 2015 - 2:24 pm Camila binks - I love this!

February 17, 2015 - 1:49 pm Sarah Kohut - This is great. I find the focusing method works best for me as well. Thanks for sharing this, great thoughts.

#frandsenfour…


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I set a couple different goals for myself at the beginning of this year. One was to take a photograph of each of my children each week all year long. I have four kids so that adds up to a lot of photos. If you’re interested in following along that journey, I’ll be instagramming my favorites throughout the year. Join the conversation on Instagram @etfphotography or click HERE.