Working With Your Spouse | Newlywed Post

We aren’t really experts and wouldn’t claim to be, but from what we can tell, working with your spouse isn’t for everyone. In the wedding photography biz, we know of many his-and-her, his-and-his, and her-and-her teams. Surely each couple works together a bit differently, and the dynamic is not the same for everyone. We have had a lot of clients tell us they would go nuts working together…and yeah, that makes some sense.

We are coming up on our busiest summer yet (exciting!) and we are lucky enough to be wrapping up this season with some great engagement sessions and special projects. Once summer time rolls around, we will be working together even more frequently while juggling travel, shooting for long days, editing a heavy load, shipping/packaging materials, and so on. Here are the challenges as we’ve seen them, when it comes to working with your spouse, and our top 10 suggestions for overcoming them.

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1. Enjoy your “work time” together. The reason we have a business together is because it’s a passion we both share. We work well together, especially when we are shooting. I know Josh has my back, and I have his. We have full confidence in each other’s abilities. There’s something pretty great about spending time together doing something you enjoy, especially when it translates into your job and how you make money. Besides, most of life is spent at work, so why not spend it with the person you love most? Shared passions in a marriage are important and we want this to continue being one of them.

2. Create a separate work zone. We have a home based business, which means we don’t come home as a respite from the office (because our home IS the office). Defining “home” and “business” time can be a bit of a challenge, and even more so because we are both so wrapped up in making our business successful. We both gravitate toward the computer. We will wake up early in the morning to find the other person has already been drawn to the magnetic light of the Mac, or late at night we will have to drag each other away from editing. It’s important to have a work-free zone and a clear work zone.

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3. Get away. Sometimes, it’s not enough to have an “office”. It helps to set weekly date nights, leave the house for a quick coffee, and just decompress. We both have our ways of taking mini-breaks.We take our dog for walks. We watch shows we like together. We grab a bite to eat or go for a walk. Josh longboards, I bike. Etc. We have fun together and even take pictures with a point-and-shoot… shhh.

4. Be aware of communication. The way you talk to your spouse in your business is not the same way you talk to “work colleagues at the office”. At. All. We learned this quickly. Communication in a marriage is hugely important, obviously. Add the fact that you work together, just the two of you, all the time…and yes, that will add some complications. When we have disagreements, there are a few communication tools that are helpful. What not to say: “YOU did ___ .” Instead, try expressing your opinion and end it with “…what do you think?” Most of our arguments stemmed from basic disagreements and then feelings got hurt. We try to look at things objectively, never blame, and try instead to decide things together. Laugh things off!

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5. Pursue other goals. Do something fun together that does not involve your business at all. Or take a breather from each other for the day to do something fun. We are huge proponents of having your own interests in a marriage. When working with your spouse, you don’t come home with “work stories”. This limits dinner conversation. Pursuing other goals will leave you feeling refreshed and give you something of your own to share and discuss. We also try to do personal photo projects that are not work related, as well as documenting our own life.

6. Embrace the weird schedule, but make it work for you. We really do work a weird schedule. We are both artists. We are both night owls. Accepting that your daily schedule may not be “normal” really helps. It’s important to set some kind of schedule to stay on top of the work and still have a life, while also getting enough sleep. Our calendar is our best friend. I usually make us a big breakfast and we have coffee together. Mornings are “us” time. Usually we stay up pretty late editing. During summers, we can have friday-saturday-sunday work days that are up to 12 hours each. So… that said, our schedule is a bit weird and not “normal”, but we like it.

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7. Admire your spouse at work. I love watching Josh in action. It’s so much fun to see his ideas come to fruition, and it’s always funny when we both have the same idea at the same time. Seeing him pursue something he is passionate about, that I also enjoy doing, makes me happy. We have our own little inside jokes while we are shooting, and once a shoot is done we excitedly upload our photos and tell each other which ones are our favorites. We have friendly competitions, take turns taking “lead” on portrait sessions, and get to know our clients together as a couple. During all of this, it’s easy to take a moment to take pride in your spouse and check out their sweet bum (yeah. I just said that).

8. Hire an accountant. Money discussions can cause problems in marriages. We just got a new accountant and we are so excited about it. It’s a huge sigh of relief knowing that someone who understand numbers and has that whole left-side-of-the-brain thing going for them can worry about our finances and teach us good habits to ease stress down the line.

9. Keep up the Support + Romance. Running your own business is enormously stressful. You can’t just roll into work each day and receive a consistent paycheck every two weeks. Every choice we make has a huge impact on the health of our business and our lives. It’s not easy…in fact, it’s very hard. It’s important to support each other inside and outside of your work endeavors, and this is especially important when you work together running your own business. We do what we need to in order to make our dream happen, and we work hard to support each other in the process. We take pictures of love all day, which makes us pretty aware of our own relationship. We write each other little notes / blogs, Josh “brings flowers to my work”, and I surprised him with candle lit dinners at home.

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10. Set Goals together. Having your own business is great because it gives you flexibility in your business model, and in your life. We have a very clear goal: To live off of something that we love doing and making our clients happy. We are work to live people, which makes us a great match. As our lives change and evolve, our business will as well. Eventually, we would love to have the opposite of a teacher’s schedule (we work summers, so we would take part of winter off) to travel. We have tons of little goals and a picture in our mind of where our business will be in the next 5 years, as well as goals for our marriage and ourselves. These goals keep us motivated, keep us grounded, and make us proud of what we are trying to accomplish…together. //Ali

Posted in: Us Stuff

1 Response

One Comment

  1. Posted February 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Each blog I read get’s better and better:-) I am so proud of you & Josh!!

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