A Re-branding

I’ve thought long and hard the last few days about where I want to take my photography business. I thought for about a day about just not doing it anymore, but my heart broke a little at the thought of not capturing moments for people anymore. And not being behind my camera would just be tragic.

So, I’m doing some re-branding! I will be closing my “studio”. It’s hard to take photographs in your home, especially the home we are in. It gets too hot, I’m always having to apologize for the dogs (even though they are kenneled), and I always have to kick my family out of the house. So I’ll be selling all my backdrops and focusing on another area of photography, one that makes my heart super happy: documentary/lifestyle photography.

What does that mean? It means all “sessions” will be done while I follow you around. I don’t want your family session to be somewhere we just find “pretty”. I want it to be at your favorite family hang out, doing the things that you love to do. Whether that’s at the park swinging your kids, at the lake fishing, or in your home making cookies. The possibilities are endless! And we will capture REAL LIFE moments, not moments where we can stack your kids in perfect size order and get everyone to smile their little smiles for the camera. I want you to put my photographs on a wall, and I want your wall to be filled with actual emotion.

Don’t get me wrong, we will still be getting some posed photographs, but they’ll be after the fun, after the kids have ran around and gotten a little more energy out. And I guarantee you, it will be a lot better than you would think. They’ll have real smiles and rosy little cheeks. They’ll have a glow in their eyes, instead of the bored, dull look of “just sit there and smile for Miss Katie!”

I’m not trying to dog on portrait photography. It’s been my focus for a year, and I took some amazing photographs for some amazing families. But in looking back at my sessions, my favorite photographs are the ones that I captured in between the poses, and that’s what I want to focus on going forward.

Can we still do mini-sessions? Absolutely. Want your St. Patrick Day themed session? Let’s do it! Let’s make shamrocks in your home, with the family all around the table crafting. I promise you’ll get more genuine photographs that way, then just bringing your kids over to sit in front of a shamrock background, forcing a smile because it’s hot and they’d rather be playing.

With this kind of photography, it will take longer than just the normal 30-40 minute sessions. It may take only an hour, it may take two. That will never be a problem for me, because I will only be doing one session a day. No more 3-4 sessions, that tends to wear me out! You’ll still get your photographs back in 24 hours, and you’ll probably get way more photos this way!

Pricing will also change; it will be based on time now instead of session.

I will also require a contract (a simple one, no crazy stuff here at Katie Jean Photography!)

The session fee will be low, because you will be required to print your photographs from my website (super easy to use!) I will walk all new clients through the process. You can print any size photograph, and have the ability to print canvases. My print lab, Bay Studios, in California, does an amazing job printing. They use professional, top of the line equipment, and you will not be disappointed. All of the canvases I have printed in the last year have been simply stunning, and I’ve not had one client be disappointed. Again, I will walk you through this process, and you are always more than welcome to see the canvases I’ve printed out and have hanging in my home!

I hope this doesn’t scare anyone off; it is not intended to be super expensive or time-consuming. But I think you’ll enjoy this type of photography more than you would first think, and I’m so, so excited about this new adventure! Below are some “documentary/lifestyle” photographs I have taken for clients in the last year! Please feel free to contact me with questions.


Getting Over “The Hump”

We retire from the military in a little over four months.

To say I’m having a small “midlife” crisis, would be an understatement.

The military has provided so many things for us: job security, places to live, experiences, amazing friends, etc. But I cannot lie and tell you that I don’t feel like a complete and utter failure.

I spent eight years serving, and I got out for the right reason; to take care of the children. Both my husband and I had high-deploying jobs. We both were TDY and neither one of us worked 9-5. Sometimes we’d get home at 4, sometimes we’d get home at 8. Sometimes he would get called to work at odd times during the evening/night. It wasn’t stable for our children. So it made the most sense for me to “get out”. I didn’t have as long in as he did, I wasn’t as high ranking. But, I have had days were I regretted getting out. I was GOOD at what I did. I could have make it a high-ranking career. But, I sacrificed my career for my kids, like so many other mothers. And it hasn’t really hit me until now.

See, I went to college, but I couldn’t for the life of me pin down what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a librarian, I wanted to work at a hospital, I wanted, I wanted, I wanted. So I settled for an Associate’s in Business. I couldn’t even get a Bachelor’s, because I just couldn’t commit. Then I started my businesses; I started Katie Jean Photography and LuLaRoe Katie Guthmiller. And while I’ve had a BLAST running these businesses, I still feel…not enough. I’m not bringing in the income equivalent to my potential. So today, today I feel not good enough. While my husband was serving his country, “bringing home the bacon”, I’ve been taking care of the house. I’ve been taking pictures and selling some clothes, but never at the height where I could call these things a “career”.

And I feel like a shit. Like a true, true, shit. WHAT HAVE I DONE? Feels like NOTHING. What do I have for the last 12 years? My husband has a resume that is rock solid. It’s amazing. His accomplishments–astonishing. Mine, meh. This is a HARD pill to swallow.

Let’s get something straight–I work my tush off. I have some health issues that have been recently holding me back, but I am still hustling as much as I can. But I always thought when I was 33 that I’d be farther than I am today. That I’d be successful. And I am successful–I successfully do the laundry, and get the kids to school, and clean the house. But that’s about it. I’m a good photographer–but there’s thousands of us. I’m a good LuLaRoe consultant–but there’s thousands of us.

So where do I go from here? I have NO FREAKING CLUE. And that scares the ever-living crap out of me.

Who the hell am I? I’ve never felt so…..little. I’ve never felt so…useless.

My biggest fear is that I’m not good enough. I have this voice in my head that I’ve been battling for years that says, ‘You’re not really talented enough. You don’t really deserve this.’ Rachel Platten

Monday Morning Thoughts

I’ve been a LuLaRoe retailer for a little over a year. It has literally changed my life. Being a retailer has given me the wings I didn’t know I had. I was able to quit a job I disliked, I’ve met so many women who have become sisters. I am able to provide for my family while also staying at home; picking up the kids from school, not worrying what to do when one is sick. I get to work as much (or little) as I want. And, to boot, I get to wear comfortable clothing that makes me look and feel amazing. And I get to bring that comfort and style to other women. Women who have told me time and time again that they haven’t felt comfortable in clothing in YEARS, and they are so glad they found LuLaRoe.

It’s been quite the weekend, though. I had a lot of feelings going through me. Do I like the decision made between NDSS and LLR? No, I don’t. But I stand behind the decision anyway. Why? Because I wasn’t privy to it. I have no clue what went on behind closed doors. And neither do the individuals spreading rumors and hate all over the internet. I do not know Mark and DeAnne personally (although I hope one day to meet them!), but I can’t imagine the pain they felt when they woke up to this storm. But they have an amazing team of family members behind them, and I do not believe for one second they made this decision based on money. So yes, I will stand behind them and continue to be a retailer.

But don’t take that as an “I don’t care about what happened”. Oh, I care deeply. No one should ever have to be discriminated against. No one should ever have to feel “less than”. But this is 2018, and we are so, so quick to judge. And thanks to the internet, our mistakes and missteps are out there instantly.

Take this for what it’s worth…that retailer has had death threats against him. DEATH THREATS. How is that acceptable? How are people threatening to kill someone because of an error in judgement? I just can’t fathom it. I can’t wrap my head around it. The whole situation makes me sad. It makes me angry.

But here’s the thing. Be mad, be angry. Be hurt. And then move on. You cannot live your life mad at something someone else did. Feel your feelings, and then move on to grace and forgiveness.

I’m choosing to continue my journey with LLR because I have never, in all my life, felt comfortable in my clothing. Even when I was “skinny”. I found a company that makes clothing that is so versatile and conforming, and I will not stop wearing it. I will not throw out all my hard work and sweat because of one person.

I remember when Starbucks did something I didn’t like. I don’t even remember what it was, to be honest. But I remember that my initial reaction was to boycott them; never buy another cup of coffee again. But I stopped, and did my research. I felt the way I felt, let it simmer, and then realized that that hate I held for the company was only hurting ME. I found out it was all a rumor, and to this day I buy Starbucks. I learned not to let a knee jerk reaction to something decide how I would continue my life.

So if you love LLR as much as I do, and oh my I know there are a lot of you out there that do, don’t let your feelings right now dictate how you are going to move on to tomorrow. I am NOT excusing any behavior by anyone in the company. But I also know that people make stupid mistakes everyday, and who are we to throw stones? Have you never said something in the heat of the moment and instantly regretted it? Have you never done something you wish you could take back? Have you never filled an awkward silence with something you should have just kept to yourself? I urge you to remember back to a time when you did these things. I urge you to remember we are all human, even people who run companies. And unless you were privy to all the information leading up to the decision that was made, I urge you to stop spreading around all the hate. There’s really no need for it.

A few quotes I found this weekend while sorting through my own feelings:

Never make negative comments or spread rumors about anyone. It depreciates their reputation and yours. Brian Koslow
We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways. People relinquish all responsibility, demanding that society cater to their feelings and sensibilities. People hold on to arbitrary certainties and try to enforce them on others, often violently, in the name of some made-up righteous cause. People, high on a sense of false superiority, fall into inaction and lethargy for fear of trying something worthwhile and failing at it. Mark Manson

And best of all:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just please, go forward with love, not hate. Try to live your life being a little less judgmental. I know I have to learn that lesson too. The only way we can get through this, is to learn from the mistakes we see. No amount of boycotting and hate filled rants will fix anything. You MUST educate, research, love, and hope. Because without that, we are still going to be stuck in this cycle. The only way out of it, is through it.

Why Do We Always Start Things On Monday?

So yesterday I decided I was going to start being the Mom I thought I’d always be.

But seriously, why do we always start things on a Monday? Why don’t we just DO things we want to do RIGHT NOW? I seriously said to myself, “Tomorrow is Monday, I’m going to start doing this, and this, and this”. Why couldn’t I start yesterday?

Because yesterday was Sunday, and no one starts things on Sunday!

But I digress. The mom I thought I’d be….at least the mom I thought I’d be once I left the Military, was a mom who did a ton of things for her kids, with her kids. She’s the kind of person that makes a home-cooked meal every night and spends more time with her kids and does a craft with them daily! Ha! Who has time for this? Really. Seriously. This is how it went….

I got a chore chart made (for the millionth time). Audrie threw a fit. Lincoln threw a fit (and even erased his chore on Friday….something about how they go to the library on Friday’s and that’s a chore in and of itself hmmmm). I threw a fit.

But it got done!

Then I told them I wanted to make silly puddy with them, you know, so we could bond. I found the recipe on Pinterest (https://www.smartschoolhouse.com/diy-crafts/yogurt-silly-putty#_a5y_p=5122577). I had expired yogurt in the fridge…because, you know, healthy and shit. Never got around to using it, so it was perfect! I even had an entire can of Corn Starch! Thought I was the bees knees here. Turns out, no matter how much damn corn starch and yogurt we mixed together, we just made a mess and never had any silly puddy.

But you know what my kids said?

“Hey mom, look! If I put the corn starch in my hair I look like a little old man (or woman)!”

“Hey mom, can I add more corn starch, I ate some” (ew).

“Hey mom, thanks for letting me make a mess!”.

It literally was 10 minutes of our day. It took me longer to clean it all up. But as you can see, we had a blast (ok, they did….but that’s what counts).

I never wanted to be the “perfect” mom, but I always wanted to make memories, and lately, I’ve been letting them do whatever they want to do, so that I can work. But I keep forgetting the beauty of being a WAHM. I can MAKE MY OWN HOURS. I can STOP working whenever I want. I can waste an entire bottle of corn starch and expired yogurt just to see my kids smile and have fun.

So yeah, there’s going to be more of this. I think tomorrow we will make shaving cream rain clouds!

Dinner: http://myblessedlife.net/2012/01/taco-soup.html

Lincoln is getting into that, “I hate this….(place any kind of food besides butter noodles here)” stage. Hopefully we can get him out of it. That boy is too skinny to be picky about food (but give him pickled fish and he’ll eat the entire jar EWWWW).

New Year {Maybe Not A New Me}

This one is gonna be hard to write.

I am scared of 2018. I don’t want to be, and I’ve been trying really, really hard to hide my feelings about it. My husband retires, I leave one of the best friends I’ve ever had (besides the one I’ve kept for over 20 years). My kids leave even more great friends. I leave a community of girls I didn’t know I needed. My crazy, crazy girls. Their kids I’ve grown to love.

I celebrated New Year with said best friend and her family. I grabbed my camera for a few pictures, but wanted to focus more on spending time with them, because I know the next 6 months are going to go too fast. You can kind of tell my mood in the pictures. They are darker than I normally take, not as focused, more grainy. I wanted them that way. It helps me, as a photographer, remember how I felt when I took them.

We played Settlers of Catan (which I am still trying to figure out), we talked. We ate good food (Brent’s amazing chicken not pictured!), we laughed, we partied until 8pm (hehe, we old). These are people I am going to be absolutely heartbroken to leave. Being a military family, we get used to leaving. To saying goodbye. But this is the end for us, and it’s really hard for me. When I separated from the military in 2012 to take care of the kids, 2018 was was so far away. And now it’s here. Like a freaking brick in my stomach, it came up too fast. I need more years, more bases. More military communities. June is too close. A new, big, scary adventure, is too soon going to happen. And I am so not ready.

If I’m being completely honest with myself, this is probably the source of my crippling anxiety. I mean, I’ve always been anxious, but it’s never really been this bad. Yes, I run two businesses and am always busy, but right now, in this moment, I’m having a real hard time getting a grip on my anxiety. I’m writing myself 40 lists a day, leaving them thrown in the trash because I just don’t have the time to finish them. Thinking of downsizing and organizing and cleaning out things to get ready for June is literally bringing me to tears every day. Thinking of reaching the goals I set for myself this month in my businesses is making my heart beat out of whack (again, literally).

Will I be ok? Yes, I know I will. Damn it, I will get through this period of life. But lately, the walls are closing in on me. So I went to the doctor today. I got on anxiety medicine. I found out my thyroid is enlarged and will need an ultrasound for that. I found that my heart murmur needs an echo cardiogram. I got a brace for my wrist pain. I got nicotine gum to quit smoking again (which, when I quit smoking, will make my anxiety decrease, just like it did when I quit over 4 years ago).

We all have issues. We all have fears and anxieties. But I’ve never known this fear. I shrug it off when my husband talks about jobs after the military, when he talks about where we are going to live. I pretend it doesn’t bother me. But oh lord, it bothers the hell out of me.

I’m afraid the Zoloft will make me lose….me. I probably won’t take it. I really, really don’t want to be a zombie (C, if you read this, I love you and I hope you support whatever decision I make with this). And while this season is bad, I know in my heart it will get better. I know I will keep pushing my businesses, and loving on my children. The house will get clean, things will get cleared out and donated or sold. I’ve done this at least five times before. I just have to believe that I can do it again. What other choice is there, really?

And for the love of everything holy, I will get on a gym schedule. I was never anxious when I was spending an hour each day pounding pavement or lifting weights. Why I strayed from it, I’ll never know. I’ve controlled my fears and anxieties before with a good diet and exercise. With a set cleaning schedule (although my kids are getting older and not picking up after themselves! HA). I don’t know what tomorrow holds. And I’m scared shitless of the future. But I will find a way to manage my anxiety again (with or without medicine)…I will quit smoking, I will lose the 50 lbs I’ve gained.

We will move on from here, fear or no fear. I will leave Courtney and Ava and Jackson and Brent. It will hurt like HELL. I will leave the girls I’ve come to know like sisters. My “Friday Night Girls”. And that will hurt like hell too. But oh man, am I gonna love on them so hard for the next 6 months.

“Not to spoil the ending, but everything is going to be ok”. That sign is hanging in my office. Not sure why I can’t take a deep breath and believe it.

Becoming Katie {Again}

I lost myself about six months ago. I became a “yes girl”. I said yes to EVERYTHING.

And it destroyed me.

I’ll tell you why; I stopped taking care of myself, my home, my kids. The only thing I focused on was helping other people. I didn’t care if my house was a mess, if my kids didn’t brush their teeth or go to bed on time. I didn’t care about my appearance; I just cared that other people liked me. I had a hero complex. I wanted to be the one people turned to.

It’s no one’s fault but my own. But let me tell you what this did to me….it made me sick. I was so stressed out and confused about my life. There were days I wouldn’t eat, and days I would stuff everything into my face. I was drinking heavily every night. I forgot to take care of myself, or rather, I just didn’t give a shit about myself anymore. I lost it. I became pissed at the world, and I did it all to myself.

I realized I needed to become Katie again when I looked inside my pantry. It was as simple as that. It was a MESS. I don’t do messes. Not the real Katie. The real Katie is an organizer and a planner. A clean freak, if you will. She makes sure her own kids are taken care of, that her family comes first. I literally took charge this morning. I spent three hours cleaning my entire kitchen. Drawers, pantry, fridge (how long have those onions been in there??), floors. I scrubbed it all. And I intend to do one room a day. Top to bottom.

It’s absolutely amazing how eye opening a messy pantry can be.

I also intend to write, read, work my businesses, cook, bake. Be the woman I was a year ago, before I became a “yes girl”.

It’s time to be a “no girl”. A girl who wakes up in the morning and gets the kids to brush their teeth (the dentist tomorrow should be a real treat), who feeds them breakfast before they leave for school. Who stops yelling at them for making a mess in the living room instead of realizing and enjoying the fact that they are using their imaginations.

This Katie….this one feels good. This one can smile, because she’s no longer spending her days exhausted and worried and downright sick to her stomach. She no longer cares what people think of her…because the friends she has are freaking amazing (and have been telling her for the last 6 months that she needed to start saying no). She has an awesome husband, amazing kids, and a full life in front of her.

So here’s to new beginnings, of becoming Katie, again.

Thanks, Pantry, for the reminder.

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.George Washington

Fun In the Snow

So a few days ago I bought my kids some “snow markers”. I thought they were so cool, something fun to do outside in the snow besides building a snowman and throwing snowballs at each other. Lincoln was the only one that wanted to go out tonight, and a blast he had!

I got these at Target, pretty simple stuff. You put the powder in the bottle and fill it with water (yes, I know I could do this with food coloring). Then you shake shake shake (Lincoln’s favorite part). He ran outside and started spraying it EVERYWHERE. Like, on me, the house, the door, THE DOG. He said, “mom, Daisy is bleeding”…which I thought was real until I realize he used the red color. Stinker.

It lasted all of about 10 minutes, but he had a blast!

I’m so glad I have more time to do things like this with my kids. I’ve been spending too much time working at night, and not spending this time with them. It’s been weighing heavy on my heart, but I’m so glad things have rearranged themselves in my life and I can stop working so much at night and spending some much needed time with just them.

We aren’t going to get this time back, after all. Nothing else in the world matters but them. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out, and I’m so glad I did. I’m less exhausted, less stressed. I can run around and play with them instead of putting it off to tomorrow. Thank the lord for small little miracles!