Ok Michigan, you win…you can keep us.

TWINSIES! :) So many photos from our trip early this year have not even been seen! So I thought this would be a fun one to show before you start reading allllll these words. It’s wordy…I know. I can’t help it. I’ve never been known to get to the point well. :) I figured a fun picture might help this post be more interesting. :)

ANYWAYS….on to the news!

I’ve been trying to figure out the way to say a lot of things for a while now. We have changed our minds plenty of times and probably seem like flakey people, but really, we are just dreamers. We have a big view of life and want to experience all we can.

Ever since Ryan and I met, we have taken risks. Well, what probably seemed like a risk to the outside. We met and everything changed. We didn’t know each other all that well or for that long, but we knew it was right and got married right away. We knew we had something to give and jumped right into this business knowing nothing of how to run a business. We learned along the way, made mistakes but also accomplished some amazing things. We have pushed through, perservered, sacfrified and given our best to our business and clients every step of the way. It’s been hard, I won’t lie. We had no experience in running a business but our gifts in photography pushed us forward into success regardless of being clueless at business things for a while.

Now, here we are nearly 3 years later. We have built a successfull business that can, for the most part, sustain us. We are still trying to get it right, still trying to be better “business people” but we have come a long way. We have worked unrealonsable hours to build this business and the work that we have done has built up word of mouth and great clients here in michigan that we know will keep growing each year because we have built a ground to stand on.

So with all that said, this is about moving to Texas.

When we visited Austin, I just loved it. Out of all the places we visited, it just felt like we could have a life there. However, everything is exciting when you are out and thinking of the future. Everything gets more real when you come home and start thining about the reality of things which means starting everything over.

By starting over we will have to go through a lot again to build the business up. It just has come to the point where we can’t sacrifice life or business for moving. The pro’s for moving just no longer outweight the con’s…for now.

We made that big announcement and it was official. Since that time, I’ve had this pain just growing within me. The stress of moving, starting over, sacrificing our connections here, finding a place to live, ect. It just became too much. More stress is not what we need. We need to settle down and to work on having a normal life. It may sound very glamourous and exiting from the outside, all the traveling and interesting things we have done since we got married. But at the same time, there isn’t any time to get excited when it’s always go go go.

With me (holly), I am well, a bit of a workaholic. When I start something I just have to finish it and I have to do it at the minimum the best I can and usually insist upon myself to do it better than before…which yes, I realize sounds rediculous. I am always curious about what can be done better and how to do it. This motivation and drive within me has been a big part of pushing our business forward. However, with anything that ends in “aholic” it hurts people too. I have neglected my life. I always plan to have all this time off as a break once I’m done but it’s hard to turn off my brain. It feels completely impossible not to do my best. So if you are a current or future client reading this, know that none of this affects the quality of work you will get. The only way to balance my need to do my best work with my need to have a normal life is simply to take less work which makes time for both. I know I’m certainly not perfect in work or in life, but I always give my best.

So needless to say, we will not be moving to Texas right now like we had planned. We simply don’t have the client base needed to move and don’t have enough money saved up to survive however long it will take to get GAUPERphoto up and moving again.

Thus, we are looking to rent a house in Kalamazoo. I have been looking online everyday for a couple weeks and man, it’s tough to find! So, if you know of a nice 3 bedroom house (with a basement preferably) for rent in Kalamazoo, please let me know!!

I think there are positive and exciting points about staying in michigan. First, kalamazoo is really a great place to live (grand rapids being my second choice if I can’t find anything in kzoo). Second, we are more known here and are getting clients who really want fun photographers and know what they are getting into, haha. Thats a huge deal to me. We have family here and by staying here it means we can get a kitty whenver we find a house to rent. Ryan REALLYYYY needs a kitty. We have friends there and could make a nice life for ourselves for the next few years. I still plan on trying to get some weddings in austin just to start building up some work there so in 5+ years if we decide its time, we will have built a ground to stand on and would probably be able to afford a house. No more apartment living, I just can’t do it. The thought of someone else doing something stupid that set their apartment on fire with then set the whole BUILDING that we all live in on fire terrifies me. If I’m going to burn my place down, It’s gonna be because I did something stupid, not someone else. :)

So if you can help us find a place to rent, well, I’ll do something nice for you too but I don’t know what. Let’s just call is a fun mystery for now. :)

CHANGES IN OUR BUSINESS:

We will only be taking 8-10 weddings for 2011. My goal is 8 but for the right couples, I’ll extend to 10 but nothing past that. This year, I just really want to focus on doing really great work for the right people AND having a life. With 8 weddings, we will be able to financially survive and for now, thats just fine with me. I don’t need to be rich, I just need to survive and I need my business to survive because I really love what I do. There are so few days we have on this earth to do something great with our lives and there has to be available time for that, for life to just happen. I really believe that letting there be time for life will produce some of our greatest work since we will have more time to let our minds and creativity rest.

With all of the traveling for weddings this year on top of the big 3 month trip we took at the beginning of the year, I just recently realized we have not stopped hardly at all in 2 years since we didn’t take the winter off. Trust me, the 3 month trip wasn’t time off. It turned out to be WAY more work than I ever imagined. Everything just took it’s toll and just broke a little part of us both I think. I won’t give up on wedding photography just because we have done some things to ourselves that were not smart. I’ll fix the problems and come back better in the end. It’s just really hard right now. I’m finishing up the last of the work for this year and I can’t really tell you how excited I am to find a house in kalamazoo, move in and just settle down. To learn how to FORCE myself to work just a 9-5 day. To learn how to relax again.

In addition to those changes, Ryan and I will be having some new roles as well. I will be taking on all the business and marketing side along with the editing and designing I do now. So If your a current or future client, you’ll be chatting with me now. So hi. :)

Ryan is looking for a regular persons job for a little bit. Since we are headed into the off sesason and have been feeling really isolated, it’s just a nice opportunity to make some extra money and get out of the house. So if you know of a good place that is hiring, please let us know! Don’t worry though, Ryan and I will still be shooting everything together so the actual photography work will not be changed, just the behind the scenes stuff.

It’s hard to be bold and honest on a blog where I don’t know who most of you are that read this. But I feel its important. It’s important for our clients and even just fans to know who we are, what we go through, how much they mean to us and how much the work we do for them means. It’s important to know that we are human, we are flawed just like everyone else. Most importantly, to know that we are not on this earth to live in a sea of stress. Each day matters and has value. I simply refuse to look back 20 years from now and wish that I would have put a stop to the stress earlier and let God guide our business and actions. I already can look back 2 years and have regrets. No more wasted days only filled with work. Things may not be turning out the way we have planned but we will continue to endure the winter and make the best of the life we have.

So to end this very long post full of ups and downs…

Overall, we are really happy and excited to be staying in Kalamazoo for now. It may not be the most exciting idea, but thats just what we need right now. We need normal. Gosh, to me, normal just is like a breath of fresh air and the most exciting thing I’ve thought of in a while.

If your in michigan and getting married don’t count us out anymore since we will be here! Most of our work is currently in detroit even though we live in kalamazoo but we gladly travel all over michigan. We are also still taking on a limited number of traveling weddings as part of the 8-10 as well. So if you are interested, just drop me an email! holly@GAUPERphoto.com

ANNDDDD since this is the most wordy post EVER. I give you this super fun image from our New York wedding a few weeks ago.

November 30, 2010 - 7:38 pm

Christina McTeer - I am happy that you are staying in Michigan for now.

November 30, 2010 - 8:38 pm

Magan Blasig - Hi guys! I’ve been thinking about you guys and wondering when you would arrive in Austin. I’m sad to learn you won’t be moving here, but I’m so glad that I had the chance to meet you two. I love keeping up with your beautiful work. If/when you decide to move to Austin, there will certainly be a place here for you.

December 1, 2010 - 5:28 am

katie - hey holly! i think this is a good decision for you and ryan. you guys have worked so hard and grown so much. it’s time to settle into some normalcy and take some well-earned relaxation. trust me, boring-old normalcy is NOT overrated. love you guys and praying God will continue to give you wisdom and bless you.

December 1, 2010 - 5:56 am

Brian - In a way I’m glad because as a resident of Kalamazoo myself, I’d love to get to meet you two in person. Now with the Cummings on their way overseas, there’s no one to hold my hand.

Huge respect though for being so raw and honest in your post. I really admire your candidness.

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