I began photographing professionally shortly after I got married. My main focus was on weddings and then family portraits. Being newly married myself, I felt that I knew what engaged couples where looking for in a wedding photographer, I fit their age demographic, I enjoyed it, and I could make a decent living doing it. I had a small store front studio, and on and off, a staff of two. This was a great arrangement and for a long time this space worked out very well.
Eventually though, life in its usual way, stepped in and changed a few things. My wife and I had recently bought a new house – one that was large enough to accommodate our growing family. We had one son and with another one on the way, our old house would have been too small. But along with the new, larger house, came a new larger mortgage. And along with the new baby came new responsibilities of making sure that he (yes, we had a second boy) was well looked after.
So we tried the nanny thing. When that did not work out, we tried again, then again, and the again one more time. Clearly the nanny thing was not going to work out so another plan was needed. After some discussion with my wife (btw – we are still married some 37 years later), we decided that it was best if I could see if I could run my studio from home.
The thinking was that because I was a wedding and family photographer, most of my shooting time was on weekends and on location. The times that I actually needed a camera room was minimal, so when I did need one, I could rent the space for a day. This meant that my wife could continue to grow her career, I could continue to grow mine as a photographer, I would be available for the boys, and bonus, the rent that was formerly being spent on the store front studio could now be applied to the house mortgage.
So that was it. I closed the doors to the old studio and moved it home.
Monday morning after the move came around. I had taken my oldest son to school and I was sitting on the couch in the living room with my youngest son who was about 18 months old at the time. I was surrounded by all the gear from the old studio, a mountain of file boxes, some client work that still needed doing, and the knowledge that I would need to significantly change the way that I ran my life.
This was in the early 1990’s. What I did not realize at the time, but came to be of significant importance to me, was that I had just become one of the first stay at home dads.