Born out of love, fueled by passion, and sustained through perseverance — husband and wife photography teams can create amazing things together. But working with the person you love also has its challenges. Even though many couples imagine sharing a life, only a few dare to work with each other in business. We reached out to three couples to find out their secrets to working successfully with their partner, and here’s what they had to say.
Q: What Are The Pros & Cons Of Working With Your Love Partner In Business?
We asked some of our ShootDotEdit customers who are husband and wife photography teams to share with us the pros of working with your love partner in business. Dana and Nate Dorn of Lovers of Love shared “the pros to working together far outweigh the cons for us. The best part is that we…get to work together! We get to travel together, experience every wedding together, dream together, fail together, and grow together. We love being around each other, and the greatest perk is we get to live all of life together every day. We don’t have to leave our love to do what we love.”
They also emphasized the importance of clear work communication and how it comes easy for couples who are working together as a husband and wife photography team. They shared — “Our marriage is built on communication, and we can speak to each other with our eyes across a ceremony site without having to say a word. We know what the other one is thinking.”
We also heard from Jelger and Tanja, another husband and wife photography team. They highlighted how sharing a deep understanding works as a pro for them. “It’s fantastic to share a deep understanding with your partner when doing the same job. You both know all the ins and outs of the business, so you always feel understood. And of course, you share a lot of experiences too when out shooting!”
Another addition to these benefits came from Lovers of Love when the couple spoke about how working together works better when they keep to a schedule and continuously evolve. They added — “I’m better when I make focused time to be all the things I want to be. This used to feel unique to our job, but this year, with COVID forcing so many to work from home, I think many people are dealing with it. We have had time to grow into our schedule, and we often say to each other, “this isn’t working, let’s try this instead” as the kids grow, our tactics of how we do business at home evolve as well.”
Couples can uplift each other in many ways while working together as a team and these insights shared from our customers say it all.
While there are plenty of pros to working with your partner, there are also some challenges that you have to workaround. When you are living together and sharing a workspace, maintaining work-life boundaries can be tough. And slipping into the downward spiral of bringing work home – even if it is work conversations – becomes an easy pattern and, therefore, a difficult habit to break. Jelger and Tanja also weighed in here and told us that “the downside is that it’s too easy to always talk about work and to not have clear work-life boundaries.”
Initially, Lovers of Love shared how a disciplined schedule is beneficial to the business. But they also elaborated that always establishing that discipline can be a tough act to follow. That — “life requires discipline. To excel at being a photographer, parent, spouse, and human, we have to focus on those things specifically. When we try to be good at all of them at the same time, we end up not being good at any of them. We take shifts with office hours. Most days, this looks like one of us working while the other one is parenting. We both get quality time with the kids, but we have to be intentional at making time to all be together & also date days where we don’t just talk about business or use the time without kids to return emails.” Though this may not sound like a “con” to working together, Dana qualifies “I’m putting this as a con because it takes work & effort, and some weeks, we don’t get a perfect balance, but this discipline also makes our lives better when we get it right.”
Q: What Piece Of Advice Would You Give To Couples Who Work Together To Ensure Survival?
We also asked our husband and wife photography teams to share some advice they might impart to couples who work together to ensure survival because sustaining in the wedding photography business can be just as tough for couples as it is for solo photographers, even more so if not thought through. Here is what our customers said was needed to “get it right”.
1. Divide & Conquer
“Each of you has unique qualities that deserve a space to shine. For example, maybe one of you likes social media better than the other, maybe someone is better at admin work, etc. It is a great plan to divide and conquer instead of thinking you each have to do everything. And it goes without saying that you shouldn’t try to micro-manage each other’s tasks. You can set up weekly meetings to check-in.” — Jelger and Tanja
2. Set Clear Work-Life Boundaries
“Set clear work-life boundaries. Know that when you’re talking as business partners, that’s not the same as talking as life partners. Date nights and times to do something as a couple should be a deliberate work-free zone.” — Jelger and Tanja
3. Be at Peace With Each Other & Oneself
“If you’re going to work together, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing – you’re sharing this together. And so you want to be at peace with each other when you’re going to [photograph] a wedding. And you want to always be humble. If you say something wrong [to each other], you want to apologize and move forward because it’s important to be at peace and ready to give a wonderful experience to your client.” — Natalie and Brandon / Studio N Photography
4. Maintain a Separate Space at Work
“We live and work together in a small space in the city, a one-bedroom apartment. It has helped us tremendously to have our own little workspace instead of being in the same room 24/7. In our case, that means a tiny desk in the bedroom and one in the living room. This helps to not constantly talk to each other, interrupting each other’s workflow.” — Jelger and Tanja
5. Remember to Love
“Love never fails. Remember to love your husband or your wife more than anything. You can sometimes feel like you’re roommates if you don’t buy out that special time to remember why you fell in love and just chase after the good in your partner. And so that’s so important to me [in order] to keep that romance alive.” — Natalie and Brandon /of Studio N Photography
Suggested Read: 15 Gift Ideas For Photographer Couples On Valentine’s Day
6. If Your Partner’s Company Fuels You, Go For It
“We definitely wouldn’t recommend working together with your spouse if you don’t love being together all the time. We’re one of those weird couples that don’t feel we need breaks from each other. We don’t do the “girls night” or “guys nights” whenever those scenarios come up in our lives; we always wish we could bring each other and double the fun.” — Dana and Nate / Lovers of Love
Remember What Made You Start
The process of running a photography business with the person you love can be exhilarating but also exhausting. On the more difficult days, it helps to have faith in your partner, reconnect to your purpose, and remember the reasons that made you start a business together in the first place. Let your partnership be your driving force and the pillar you lean on. Be prepared to pivot, adapt, argue, and make up. And know that, with love in the lead, you will succeed.
Here at ShootDotEdit, we love featuring stories that are set to inspire. And so we would like to thank our customers – Dana and Nate of Lovers of Love, Natalie and Brandon of Studio N Photography, and Jelger and Tanja for taking the time out of their busy schedules to share their valuable insights on what working together as a husband and wife team mean to them. We are proud to have you as an inspiration for other couples who share the same journey.