Blood. Sweat. Tears.

What they won’t tell you when you start a business is that the blood, sweat, and tears thing is an everyday reality. Whomever they are will tell you that is what it takes to get started but they never elaborate that day in and day out you will experience all of those… activities.

Blood. Sweat. Tears.


With every session I get so jacked on adrenaline that I begin to sweat. It is so hot in the studio with a newborn that I, along with mom and dad, begin to sweat. It’s literally the hottest day of the year and I have 4 outdoor sessions. I’m drenched and drained; but I love every single minute of it.


There are days I cry because I am so happy to be making memories with my clients friends; vows, father/daughter dances, proposals, births, you name it; I get to be there. There are often days that I cry because I am so damn tired I can’t possibly imagine doing one more thing. I do it anyway. Unfortunately there are days I cry because I see a past client on my feed with another watermark. It happens. Sometimes it 10 pm and I’ve been mounting prints for hours and my shoulder hurts so bad from trimming mount board I can’t hold back the pain any longer.


Blood, this is the one that is hard for people to understand. Sure, I’m pretty clumsy, but that rarely causes bloodshed. Every print that leaves my studio has finishing touches applied by my tiny, dry, paper cut ridden hands. I laminate, mount, and trim each and every print to perfection. My knuckles end up with cuts, my palms have cuts from ensuring there are no raw edges, I’ve even dropped my utility knife because my hand cramped from not taking an adequate break. Don’t worry, I usually notice the blood before it gets on product ;).

If you’ve made it this far you’re likely either annoyed with my bitching or curious what the hell my point is. Regardless I am grateful you’re still with me; because that means that you are truly interested in what it takes to be in my shoes as a self employed professional photographer. I’m not spilling all of my pain and fear to make you feel bad or sorry for me; but to help you understand what it’s like.

Being a photographer is pouring your heart and soul; blood, sweat, and tears, into a business that oftentimes barely makes ends meet.

Continuing the struggle for the sheer love of art and relationships. I wouldn’t change what I do for the world; it brings me great joy making memories with families. I’m honored when I’m asked to be part of a special day. I only ask that next time you pick up your phone to text or email any one in the service industry remember that we’re people too. We have feelings and we’re doing the best we can.

We live in a society where we expect instantaneous results; two-day Prime shipping, automatic Kindle downloads, etc. I’m guilty of this as well, trust.

We have to remember that most often times a real life person is behind the business; trying to put food on the table, pay the mortgage, and most importantly trying to spend time with those they love.

So next time you’re reeling and ready to send that nasty email remember; never say something in an email you wouldn’t be willing to say directly to that person’s face.

*Post image by Molly MicGilvray

One response to “Blood. Sweat. Tears.”

  1. Melody Oglesby

    Emily you certainly captured a beautiful memory For our family. I still stop and think about the DAy you Captured my beautiful mom and cherrished granny! All of us have it hanging in our houses. She so loved her family and you can see it in her smile. It eas the last formal picture of her and i will always treasure it! Thank you grom the botTOm of my heart!

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