For Photographers: 5 Tips for Working with Your Spouse

It takes a special breed right? Dan and I have been working together one way or another since the day we met in 2006. First we were co-leaders at a Parks and Recreation adventure camp, taking teenagers all over the state and teaching adventure sports. Yes… we worked for Parks and Rec and we LOVED it! The next jobs we had were working together at Target and at the Santa and Easter Bunny sets at the mall. I am dead serious. Next we worked at a paddlesports company in Boston, both being outdoorsy and all. Finally we were able to both become full-time here at Bethany and Dan Photography and we are literally sitting beside each other right now, (he’s working on our contract with our lawyer and I am typing this blog post smiling about how this was and is my dream). So, to say we have a little experience working together is an understatement. This is some of how we make it work.

Us in the Outer Banks of NC in 2006!!!

Us in the Outer Banks of NC in 2006!!!

1. Keep the same morning routine.

Every single morning, Dan gets up and starts the coffee and walks Hattie on the beach. I convince myself that getting up would be more fun than staying in bed all day and am standing up about the time Dan gets back from the walk. We either eat yogurt and granola, (mine Icelandic, Dan’s Greek) OR we have bacon and eggs. We head to the living room and drink our coffee together and plan our day. It may sound simple but it really does help me have a good starting place for each and every day. We are able to check in with each other about how we are feeling, what we want from the day, and also just to say, “Hey, I like you.”

2. Be nice.

If I’m being honest, which I like to think that I always am, I have to admit this is actually a hard one. When you are with someone 24 hours a day, sometimes  a lot of the time you can let small things get under your skin. I often have to remind myself that this little thing that is driving me bananas is actually not even close to as big a deal as how much I adore him. His “bad traits” are so small and nit-picky compared to the huge and unlearnable “good traits” he has. When you work with a spouse it because dangerous to let yourself be much less kind to them as you would a co-worker that is not your spouse. Try to keep that in mind. Its a career…. not your marriage.

3. Take time that is most definitely not work time.

I am working on figuring out how I feel about work life balance and the distinction between the two things. That being said, I do know that we were in love and had a blast before we even had the idea of opening a business together. Go on dates. Read books. Leave your phones in the car when you go to dinner. Try to steer the conversation away from work. Go on walks. Plan a vacation that is NOT a vacation that you took because you were hired to shoot in that destination. Dream… and not just about your business. Talk about how you fell in love. Be a husband and wife and not just co-workers.

4. Do what you do best.

There are some things that Dan is just WAY better at than I am, and vice versa. In our “office” Dan always does the logistics, the time lines, the tax and legal emails with our accountant and lawyer, and wedding submissions. I do the culling, editing, social media, blogging more personal emails. There are things we both do but it helps to know that those parts are taken care of and we each have our role in the office.

5. Check and re-check your priorities.

Dan and I have sat down and talked (every single year actually) and written out our values and what we hold dear. We base our goals off of those priorities and do our best throughout the year to work towards and uphold all of those. One of the values that we always put at the top is US! Our relationship and the way we love one another is WAY more important to us than our business. We are always checking in to make sure that we are not letting our careers eclipse that as a priority. Its a slippery slope and we have to keep that in mind. Do what you need to do to keep what it most important where it needs to be, no matter the cost.

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Hey there!

This is a photo of me in a burger bar in Stockholm Sweden. I am about to drink the best beer I have ever had. It's a pretty important photo of me. I just remember feeling filled with joy and so so glad to be alive. That's a good place to start on getting to know me.


I like to travel.

I like beer.

I like the person who was across the table from me. Any guesses who?

where we hang


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