The Most Important Thing Photographers Need To Schedule

As a wedding photographer I understand the difficulties of running a business, shooting weddings on weekends and editing photos during the week. It can really eat up a lot of time in the schedule and if you let it, it can take priority over your family life. That's why as creatives we have to set limits on ourselves and make sure we always put family first. One photographer that is the perfect example of how to put family first is Vancouver wedding photographer, Matt Kennedy

Matt and his wife Carissa have designated one day a week as "Family Day." It's a day when business takes a back seat and the focus is entirely on the family. Just think about it for a minute. How often do we go week to week without actually scheduling time in our calendar to spend with our own spouse and kids?

The Kennedy kids look forward to this "Family Day" each week and together they plan a fun activity. In fact, to keep themselves accountable they have a family bucket list where they have written one fun activity on a clothes pin and attached them to the side of the bucket. Each time they do one of the activites written on the clothes pin they drop it in the bucket. 

This last week they decided to do a music video together as a family. Fortunately they have a dad that is not only a great photographer, but also a talented singer and has a hookup with an amazing DJ that helped record and mix their song. They decided to take Taylor Swift's current hit "Shake It Off" and work it in with Matt's very dapper mustache that he's been growing for Movember to raise money for a great cause. The result is pure genius and very entertaining. 

Family is not an important thing. It's everything. - Michael J. Fox

While I realize that this something a little unusual for Fstoppers, after all the blog is typically full of useful tips and ultimate lists, I thought this was worth sharing as it's something I feel like is needed more in our industry. Since many creatives are self-employed they determine their own day to day schedule. Unfortunately many of us forget to schedule the most important thing into our calendar, family time. It's during these moments with our family that we create memories are kids will never forget and bonds that will last a lifetime. 

In 2013 the Kennedy family all dressed up as the Incredibles for Halloween. They ended up creating a one of a kind photo that went on their Christmas card.

I've often thought about the lyrics of the great song Cat's In The Cradle by Harry Chapin.

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you, Dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home, Dad
I don't know when, but we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today
I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

The song continues the story though this time after the son returns from college he no longer has time for his dad and finishes with these final lyrics. 

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

It is truly a great reminder to all of us that if we want to have the bond with our kids, our spouse, our family we need to be dedicating the time to loving and spending time with them. This time will never just pop up. We have to schedule it in our calendars otherwise we will surely get too busy. It might be a full day, or maybe just one evening, or even a couple hours here and there, but whatever you decide works be sure to schedule it!

To follow more of the Matt and Carissa's work and their family adventures you can find them on Facebook, their website or the blog. Lastly, be sure to toss a few dollars behind Matt's campaign to raise more money during Movember for men's health. Now if you haven't already I challenge you to pull out your calendar and schedule some family time.  


Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley ( was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

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Excellent Article as always Trevor! I couldn't agree more!

Take some you time when you can. I like to schedule massages after rough wedding weekends. We deserve it dammit!

This is one of the reasons I want to go self employed. With each of us working jobs and stressful ones at that I feel my wife and I are extremely busy and when we're not we are many times too exhausted to do anything meaningful as a family with our child.

So this article means a lot to me and since I have had a child I'm looking to work less...not more.

This will be about the third Thanksgiving that I have spent with friends and family. When I worked as a photojournalist for Newspapers, I can't remember one Thanksgiving in which was not interrupted by work in my 20 year career in newspapers.

My neighbors used to think I was a Narc because of the police scanner going off 24/7 and my comings and goings at all hours of the night. I nuked more than one relationship because my focus on work. ;)

Now as an independent contractor I can focus more on my personal life and relationships, but it was a hard lesson to learn.

As for lyrics I like these from May'n's song Lion (raion) Lyrics

I want to survive.
I am at a loss,
Gently withering away.
But until I show you my true self,
I will not sleep.

What were we born to do?
What are we here to do?

I want to survive.
This permanent scar.
I used to fear the light.
The lives seeking redemption were drawn to one another.

I want to stop prowling,
And settle down next to you bashfully.
Until I show you my true self,
I will not sleep.

I have now learned to put a limit on my work time. That means, really but sometimes, telling clients that I cannot schedule shoots at their desired time. I always try to accommodate, however, my home life is very important.