Weddings Engagements Portraits Events Personal News Other Photography Photography Stuff Design Stuff Randoms!
My Website JSP Faqs World sunrise/ sunset times Time Zone converter World Clock Day/ Night world map

A big hi and hello to all of you out there! Thank you for stopping by Jenny Sun Photography's blog! This is my brand new blog space! So please make yourself at home, and have a good browse around. There is plenty more to come so check back often :) Just in case any of you are wondering who on earth I am, my name is Jenny Sun. I own a photography company that spans across Australia and Malaysia, particularly in the Sydney and Kuala Lumpur regions respectively. Though I'm not restricted to those areas! :) I love photographing just about anything under the sun, but my particular passion is for weddings and portraits - I seriously LOVE people, their stories, the beautiful relationships formed, and the tales that are told when that shutter goes off!

This blog is my personal and visual journey along this path of photography. Please hop on board the ride, comment along the way (I shamelessly love comments!), and lets see where the wind takes us :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stealing time, and personal thoughts

This will not be a popular post. I know it. But I felt it was important to share what has been on my mind because it matters, as it doesn't just affect my work, but who I am to the very core.

Stealing time. That is what it has felt like of late. Like I have had to steal time... time to sleep. time to eat regular meals. time to spend with my family. time to be with my husband. And in those instances, I was never far away from being plagued by a sense of guilt. Like I was not allowed to have that time. In my head, there lurked an evil voice that kept whispering to me "you should be sitting at that computer, editing away, replying every email, and looking at all those photos!" and it would come again, and again, and again. I would see families hanging out in parks, laughing and enjoying life together when I would be working, and tiny seeds of envy would grow.

Deep down, I felt it should not have to be this way. Really. I can be the most organized and hard working and right on top of my game, and I honestly do have the best team of people working for me, but at the end of the day, it doesn't change the hard fact that I am working in an industry that does not give allowances for things that are so important - like regular family and rest times when everyone else is resting and having fun together, or attending my friends' weddings, or birthday parties, enjoying long weekend BBQs together, going on spontaneous last minute dates or holidays, grieving time if someone I know has died, celebration time if someone close to me has given birth, being there if someone I know is really unwell or needs my help, or when I get really really sick. We photographers are expected to pick everything up, suck it in, and carry on because our time is never our own.

Still, I love my job and what I do. I don't think that will every change, however over the last year, I have felt like I have lost little pieces of who I am along the way because I have had to sacrifice so much that mattered to me...and I didn't realize just how much so until the last couple of months where several things shook my world down to the ground, and left me shattered. As a result, they have acted as a megaphone to what I have always felt wasn't quite right. And so, it is the reason why I have been so quiet lately. 2010 as amazing as it was on a professional front, the year really left me spent and sitting on the fence looking at the greener grass on the other side.

So I spent much of the end of the year and beginning of the year doing what normal people do, on a daily and regular basis. While the time was never my own, I allowed myself to borrow it back for the time being. And it felt good. I remembered what it felt like to have time with the people that matter in my life, time to prioritize them and show them they mattered, and not just say it with my lips. And it felt very good. Because I knew this was the way things should be... I should not have to feel guilty for sleeping at 1030pm, or being able to sit with my family all night after dinner and just hang out, or spending the weekend enjoying life over some beer and wine, or being able to sit and watch an entire run of 30 rock is what everyone else gets to do and most take it for granted. Me? I cherished it...every last fibre of it.... no one will ever ever ever fully or truly understand the gravity of that, but know that it meant the WORLD to me.

To those photographers out there who are snickering and think I am weak, go ahead and scorn. I know I am being the stronger person here by choosing to say no, or choosing my family and friends over my work when it calls for it.

And don't worry... I am not leaving the industry, or quitting. Far from it.

What it does mean though, is that I am re-prioritizing....because I have always been a firm believer that a happy and enriched person will always make a better photographer... and that means that I need clients who understand that....who grasp that deeply. Who care. Because I need them to understand that when I shoot - I give ALL of my self and more because I care and love my clients THAT much. It is about so much more than just delivering the photos when I am working with a client....And I have realized when I work with clients who 'get' that, the images naturally, and organically turn out better because of that unspoken but magical affinity we share. Because these clients give me what I need to be the best person I can be, what results is that I can be the best photographer I can be :) At the end of 2010, I realized these are the people I want to work for.

I am hoping 2011, will be the start of much more of that, and the start of taking back my life for myself.

I thank all my clients who do fathom and appreciate this about me - it sounds selfish, but you understand that it is a part of me that makes ME better. And as a result, it makes JSP BETTER. And because of that, it makes our photos SO MUCH BETTER. To me? that is a win-win :) Because you understand that, I want to give you nothing but my very very very best. You have been blessings from God because you have given me the allowance, grace, and time for me to really 'see' :)

With love,

EDIT: Since this post was published yesterday, in light of this entry, I received ALOT of messages afterwards telling me to hire people to look after my work and stop working alone. I have not been working alone since the first year I started full time, and I am very blessed to have the people that work for me, do what they do. They work very hard to add to JSP and service our clients, so we would appreciate if you could understand that this post is not so much about time management on a day to day basis (as the JSP team is fabulous and I love each member of our team), but more so about the kind of people we would love to work for long term - clients who understand that at times, things happen that are completely out of my control (I dont want them to happen - like, getting very sick, or someone passing away, or someone important to me giving birth, etc), but that if they do, to be generous enough to give us allowances to heal, or cope, and step away from the business for a little while - because in turn, we want to deliver the very best photos possible. Our goals are exactly the same. To those who understand this - thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those who have been scorning and seeing this as a weakness, I am also okay with that and respect our differences. I know where I stand, and I truly believe that I am doing the best thing here for myself and JSP, out of love :)


Kare said...

I can empathize with you, Jenny. I had a super busy 2010, skipping family occasions and time with my boyfriend. In December, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am taking several months off and am relaxing while I get healthy. When I go back to work, it will be on my terms. Just like you doing it on your terms. We can do it. Good luck to you!

Gilly! said...

You are amazing. Because you dare to put your reputation on the line by admitting that you are only human and need time for yourself. You are amazing. Just amazing :)

Jenny Sun said...

@ Kare, I am SO encouraged beyond words to hear that you are going back to work on your terms. I am sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, but I am firmly believing that you choosing life is the best thing you can ever do for youself. Will be praying for your healthy recovery, and that you will have clients who love YOU and give you the space you need, so you can in turn serve them better. Much love!! xoxo

@gilly: thank you sweetie :)

To any other photographers who have stories to share, I would love to hear them from you if you care to :)

Nazra said...

I totally understand what you are going through. Whatever it is, just remember that your photos inspire us to be better photographers. Thank you Jenny!

Bubblie Green Tammy said...

I really know how you feel, as from my previous work life in the hotel industry it had stripped all of my time with my family and also find a love partner. It took me 8 long years to see that work is important but family comes first.

Now with a change of job with only 5 working days and no more long hours / working on a holiday,I managed to be there for my parents.

Above all I also managed to find a love partner but a long distance relationship.

I believe Jenny, that you can tweak a little in your Passion for Work and Love in your Life this 2011. We learn along the way with God guiding us in our heart and soul.

Mark Leo said...

Planning to get a kid Jenny? ;)

Jenny Sun said...

@Mark: no, I need to learn to make time for the people already in my life first. One step at a time :)

John Poh said...

Jenny, be strong. I absolutely understand your dilemma as I am facing the same issue. All my favourite activities like watching TV after working hours, reading books, spending quality time with my wife and famile were gone since I became wedding photographer. Not to mention the challenges I have trying to play multiple roles in my life. Sometimes I just feel suffocated. I am trying to re-prioritize things now and hope things will turn better in 2012. Remember, job/career is replaceble but family is forever.

Sue Yee said...

Hey Jenny!

It's a decision well thought and made. I totally understand where you are coming from and I agree 100% with you that you give it your all. I feel that that living life and loving it is very important. So you have made a good choice. As a client, I am impressed with your enthusiasm and your passion and your professionalism that you show. You are definitely not selfish as you are not only a photographer but you are a person. Quality time with your loved ones is priceless.


eddielee said...

Me not so good with words Jen,but instead give you a Eddie Lee smiley face :) to show my support for you:)

PhotographyByNadean said...

When I saw the title of your post I stopped in my tracks.. I was stealing a minute away from my bbq which I was hosting to check my email, fbook, twitter all for work (photography) reasons.. and there was your post which is exactly what I'd been feeling guilty about for so so long. I'm always sneaking away, half listening to my loved ones because my mind is still chasing the light or the next project that is coming when i am totally missing out on the moment i am in.
It's funny because my whole reason for photography is celebrating life- capturing ones special moments but yet here i am missing out on my own because i am so wound up in my work.
It is refreshing to say the least to read what you have written Jenny and ever inspiring! I do admit when i left my iphone at home on a day out, even for those 7 hours i felt free and light. Yes i felt lighter than ever. Our industry is so competitive that we always feel that we have to keep working away and not missing a beat but by doing this we lose out on what is the most important thing in life- to love and be loved by our family and friends.
I too lost out on a lot this last 5 months ( my heart filled with many regrets) and i have now declined some bookings around next christmas and new year because of this guilt.
Life and love is too important. Dont get me wrong though- our industry is amazing - one which gives us so much satisfaction, joy and happiness but learning to say no is something we all must master. I often envy my fiance as when he leaves work he has left it in the mind as well- focusing on enjoying life. Now I just have to master that.. We should work to live not the opposite and when we love what we do then we are also very lucky too. I guess the key is balancing it all :) Best of luck Jenny and thank you for the reminder. Nadean xx
PS. I hope that made sense above pple- sorry- brain splurge ;)

hackedagain said...

It is great you are not lost in the fantasy of "trying to feel being occupied because you are a successful photographers".

You should observe your day of Sabbath too.

Have more rest, and your photos will be even more magnificent than now (your current photos are already a masterpiece).


natt said...

good on you jenny =) i don't think it sounds selfish at all...gotta live a balance life =)

Jamie said...

Hi Jenny!

I know how you feel. I've been working like mad since I got out of uni (8 years +) and all that long hours (from 9am - sometimes midnight and beyond) took a toll on me personally and more so on my health. It also came to a point where I was giving everything and my all to everyone else but myself. I used to cry at night when I was so stressed up.

So recently I reprioritised EVERYTHING including changing career paths (less bonus but more ME time) and made sure both hubby and I have a lot more time together to do the things we love. In the process, I rediscovered my love for photography again, something I never got to do in the past 8 years since I was too tired on weekends or just want to sleep. Least to say, I'm a lot happier now.

So, remember to take it slow and smell the roses once in a while and enjoy it like how i'm enjoying mine now :)

Take care and god bless!!

Anonymous said...

well said jenny. fully understand what you've been through and what you're going through. you're not alone in this!

Jenny said...

Jenny Sun-

Thank you so much for posting this!
You shouldn't worry about what other people may think about this blog-you are human and feelings are what make all of us real. Some people may think that photography is easy, when it really isn't. It's not a 9am-5pm job. We sacrifice a lot to do what we love, so you wanting to spend time with people you love and care about isn't selfish at all!
You are doing the right thing by standing up and doing what you need and want to do, and I am happy for you! :)

chylld said...

Read the book "E-myth" Jenny :)

Jenny Sun said...

@Chylld: all's good, I have read the book awhile ago and we do alot of the things in the book already. However, I think part of what I have written really encompasses just working for clients who understand that at times, things happen that are out of my control (I dont want them to happen - like, getting sick, or someone passing away, or someone important to me giving birth, etc), but that if they do, to be generous enough to give me allowances to heal, or cope :)

@Nadean: thank you so much sweetie for sharing what you wrote, and pointing out what an irony it is that we work so hard to give people memories, when we ourselves miss out so many of our own. It makes me really sad and I honestly cried a little when I thought about just how much I have missed the last 3 years. Thank you hun, for being so honest. I encourage you to really prioritize some real YOU + LOVED ONES time this year, and I hope you have many more of those lighter-free-er kind of days regularly :) xx

@everyone else: thank you so much for your encouragment. It means alot to know that I am not an idiot for voicing out what I know isn't a pleasant thing to say. I am praying now, that my words will become real actions, and that I will walk the talk :) Keep the stories coming - please know they don't just encourage me, but they encourage thousands of others who are reading here :)

Felix Alim said...

All the best Jenny :)

Agnes Sim said...

To be strong! I know u can do it! Just do anything you want n feel important in ur life! ;-) Cheers

Surie Aziz said...

I agree with you. At the end it will go back to people you care around you. Your writing touched my heart , I love your passion, your new vision and I wish you all the best that can ever be...