Take care,

As I’m writing the majority of this post, I’m actually writing on my phone on a cardio machine at the gym, happy to be back after close to 2 weeks off. I never chose to stop coming, I just thought I was too busy or that the work I was doing, (that I also enjoyed btw) was more important, and that staying consistent with good habits of health was something I could do “later”. 

I bought into the (popular and common) misconception that if you enjoy doing something, it’s not really work. I was doing work I enjoyed, but not taking time for other things that were good and healthy for me, and as romantic as it would be to say that doing work you enjoy isn’t work, it’s just not true. 

I neglected things like going to the gym, or taking my dog on a long walk to the soundtrack of my favorite podcasts, or just watching a movie with my husband WITHOUT a laptop open to Lightroom on my lap so I could edit “on the side”. As many times as we all hear it online and in books and from doctors and even from a quiet voice inside ourselves, I’m here to beg you to believe the truth that setting boundaries and taking time for ourselves and our mental, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health is something we can’t afford not to do. And to do before you have to learn the hard way of being burnt out and stuck in bed feeling like your head is gonna explode (like I did!).

Do it because you love what you do so much that you choose to take a step back and recharge before you go at it again in full force. Don’t just run on the lie that motivation = feeling like it. And that if you feel like doing something, you’ll never get tired of it. We all need healthy habits and disciplines in our lives, no matter how quickly we want to progress and move forward.

You know how discipline never seems fun? How we all sort of get tired at the thought of getting into the discipline of certain things, like exercise, or reading a certain amount everyday, or eating healthily on a consistent basis? As backwards as it seems, I burnt myself out by not disciplining myself. By not taking the time my body needed me to take – working out at the gym, or listening to the wise advice and stories of people who have gone before me in the field of entrepreneurship, or simply indulging from time to time in things that give me rest and bring me a renewed sense of excitement and energy to pursue the things I’m already passionate about. 

I think a contributing factor to the rut I found myself in earlier this week (the rut being, feeling like crap and not even being able to sit up very long before dry heaving), was my lack of focus. Recently, my other side job of being a freelance makeup artist for a cosmetic company discontinued the position I held without much notice (and by *much* I mean *any*). However, because I had already been considering going full time into photography, even though it came as a shock, I saw it as a little bit of a blessing in disguise and I took it as a sign that it was time to go full steam ahead with my passion.

(This is a good time to bring up something I’ve recently found to be true: it’s never time to go full steam ahead, passion or not, if you don’t also have the fuel to do so.)

So I went full steam ahead. 

And I might have had the fuel in the beginning, but I ran out pretty quickly because as I took on more busyness, I didn’t keep up the habits that energized me at a matched rate. Although there was a voice in my head telling me to take time for things like quiet time, reading the Bible, working out, and simply abstaining from working on some facet of photography for more than like an hour of my waking moments, I silenced it with the very valid sounding excuse that I would do it “once things slowed down a little bit”. Simultaneously, I knew that I didn’t want things to slow down because I want to make a living from my passion and grow this business to be bigger, not smaller and slower. So secretly, I knew I had a problem, but it took being brought to my knees (on the bathroom floor, over the toilet, to be gross, but exact) to force me to come to the point I am trying to make now- that doing the things you know you need to do to take care of yourself, are important -vital even – to being able to stay on your feet long enough to reach success at all, let alone see your success last

The solution?

The solution, I believe, is really simple. It’s to be all there, wherever I am. 

It’s to have focus when I’m working, the discipline to stop at a certain time (no matter how much I enjoy what I do), be all there for the people and things that refuel and reenergize me, and then to start the process over again.

It’s setting some sort of plan for how I spend my time, and then giving myself permission to relax and let myself enjoy the moments and people that make life so rich, and the discipline to focus on whatever is in front of me at that time, whether it’s work, or fun (even though, often my work is fun and I’m very blessed that I get to do what I do and make a living from it). 

I’m so grateful that I’m usually pretty healthy, but I’m also glad for this unpleasant “nudge” of being sick that pushed me toward learning how to, and prioritizing, taking care of myself, sooner rather than later.

If you can relate to any part of my story, whether you’re trying to pursue your passion and build your own business too, or go full steam ahead toward anything, please take the time to make sure you have (and will have) the fuel to go the distance and make it all worth it. Sit down (as soon as you’re done reading this, if you can) and write out just a few things that you know make you feel truly alive and energized, and commit to making time for those things, no matter how busy you get, now and throughout life.  Deal?

We’re in this together. 

Much love,

Anna

FAQ + Answers

Since passing the one year mark of my photography business, I noticed that several questions kept coming up or that I repeatedly went over certain details with each client.  I decided to put together a collection of common questions and protocols to help my clients know what to expect and how to best plan ahead!  You will be able to find these frequently asked questions on their own page in the navigation menu of the site from now on as well (next to the ‘Booking’ tab).


Q: How soon can I expect to receive my photos?

A: This depends on the type of session I photographed for you.  For Seniors, Engagements, and Business sessions, the turnaround time is no more than 3 weeks.  For Weddings and other full day/documentary style photography, the turnaround time will be no more than 6 weeks in order for me to be able to give attention and time to each photo you will be receiving!

Q: When is my full balance due?

A: It varies. For Weddings, your full balance is due one week before your wedding day. You are welcome to pay anytime and in any amounts you wish in the months leading up to your wedding, but please note that any payments made will not be refundable so feel free to wait until the due date to pay your full balance.

For Senior Sessions, the full balance is due at the beginning of your session (before I start taking photos). For lifestyle & Business photography, your full balance is due on the date of the Photo Shoot, and this will be listed on your invoice.

Q: Do you have an assistant or second shooter that you bring with you for weddings?

A: YEP!  I always have a second shooter at least for the wedding ceremony.  Usually they come a while before the ceremony and stay with me into the reception.  If you’d like the second shooter to come for more time on the wedding day (for an extra fee), please let me know at least two months before your wedding date.

Q: Do you have any vendors you recommend?

A: Yes! I would be happy to give you suggestions on any vendor needs you might have, both in Fort Wayne and worldwide as I have a network of wedding industry vendors that I am in communication with!

Q: How early should I start getting ready in order to give you time to capture the “getting ready” shots?

A: It depends on whether or not you are planning to do a first look.  If you do plan to do a first look before the ceremony, I would recommend getting started around 4 1/2 hours before the ceremony. If you are NOT planning to do a first look, I recommend starting to get ready around 3 1/2 hours ahead of time.

Q: How late into the reception will you be there?

A: This depends on how long before the ceremony I will be getting there.  My most typical wedding photography package includes 8 hours of wedding day coverage, so if I come (at the most) 4 1/2 hours before the ceremony, I’m usually at the reception for about 1 or 2 hours.  This is usually plenty of time to capture special first dances, cake cutting, and some free dancing.  If it isn’t, you can always have me stay an extra hour or two for an extra fee (this is billed to you after the wedding and is due before I deliver your finished photos, so you don’t have to worry about it at all during the wedding itself!)  If you have a special send-off planned (sparklers, fireworks, etc) we can adjust my arrival time or add more hours onto your package accordingly.

Q: How much is an engagement session by itself?

A: An engagement session by itself is $250, however, most of my wedding photography packages include a complimentary engagement session.  If you choose to book me for your wedding after paying for your engagement session, your payment will be deducted from your wedding photography balance!

Q: How do you ensure that the images won’t be accidentally erased or destroyed?

A: Great question!  My camera is WIFI enabled, so as I shoot photos (no matter where I am), they are sent directly from my camera to my computer which is also hooked up to a hard drive so your photos are instantly backed up 3X!

Q: Are you willing to travel?

A: YES, YES, and YES. I absolutely love to travel and I offer really great travel rates and packages for destination weddings and shoots in large cities! For distances from 50-250 miles of my home, I charge $0.50 per mile. For distances longer than this, I have a very affordable travel reimbursement system set up for my clients.


If you have any questions that are not covered above, please don’t hesitate to email me at

[hello [at] annabarkerphotography.com]

or send me a private message on Facebook or Instagram (links below).

I will do my best to respond within 24 hours.

much love,

Shaunda + Nate | Fort Wayne Botanical Garden Engagement Session

Shaunda and Nate’s downtown Botanical Garden session was unlike any engagement session I’ve done before and it was such a blast!  Since they knew they wanted to get their engagement photos done fairly quickly so that they could use the photos for their invitations, but it was still fairly cold and bleak in Indiana, they asked if I would be up for doing the session at the Botanical Gardens, to which I happily agreed!

If you’ve never been to the Botanical Gardens, (then first of all, you’re missing out, but) the landscape inside is divided into three sections.  The first is a classic garden with more of the typical plants you might see growing in Indiana during the summertime, the second is a tropical oasis (complete with waterfalls, which you’ll see in these pictures) and the third is a very hot and dry desert (complete with cactus plants and succulents, which you’ll also see!).  I’m very grateful for a venue like the Botanical Gardens in Fort Wayne where it’s possible to capture some colorful and lively photos, even in the dead of winter!  I’m also grateful for couples like Shaunda and Nate that are so flexible and willing to work with the surroundings in order to get some really fun and candid photos!  I hope you enjoy some of my favorites from this session!

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Shaunda & Nate,

It was so much fun capturing your engagement photos at the Botanical Gardens!  I’m so excited for your wedding and to be able to photograph it as well!

much love,