i woke up this morning at 5 am freezing cold (farmer's a blanket steeler) thinking it was sunday. sweet sweet sunday. and you know how when you're half asleep you can pretty much talk yourself into anything?

i'll just sleep for five more minutes.
it's definitely sunday.
i'll only hit snooze once.
sh*t - i actually turned my alarm off.

that was me this morning. definitely thought it was sunday and i definitely wasn't going to get up to write this post. but then i remembered...monday mama! i had to get up to share another gal with you!

(as a quick reminder - i'm running this monday mama series because i was really curious as to how all these moms were doing it all and still looked to have their sh*t together. i wanted to learn from them...ask them questions. and that's how the series was born! i digress...)

today we have Laura of Laura Parker Photography - such talent! i mean, seriously - i have a super nice camera...and having a super nice camera does not a photographer make! girlfriend has an eye.

also, when i originally started this series i wanted to focus on moms who stayed at home with their kids, but then decided to start a business - moms in the same boat as me.

when laura contacted me she made me realize - there are moms out there who work outside the home but still need a creative outlet / something other than what they are doing.

i'm not sure why i never considered this possibility. i literally assumed women who went to a job instead of staying at home with their kids felt plenty fulfilled / got a break from their kids because they were at work. boy did i miss the mark on that one...how short-sighted of me!

KARLI | where did your idea for your small business come from?

LAURA | When I first had my daughter I really struggled with returning to work. It just wasn't in the cards for us - especially living in the San Francisco Bay Area - for me to stay home. My husband had bought me a camera for my 30th birthday but it wasn't until the birth of my daughter two years later that I started to really use and understand it. The more I captured on film, the more I realized just how much I loved photography. I purchased books, I watched tutorials online and just soaked up as much information as I could. That's the great thing about finding a passion in something you love - you never want to stop learning! Soon enough friends and family began asking me to take their photos and that's when the "ah ha" moment was formed. Can I get paid for this? So in December of 2015 I launched Laura Parker Photography and its been a whirlwind ever since! I am a mama, full time worker, blogger and now a small business owner. When I sit down and think about all I do it feels nutty, but photography has given me back so much of myself and I am truly grateful to be doing something I love. In fact it has opened so many doors for me that the chance to stay home with future babies is now a real possibility!

KARLI | who is your biggest support?

First and foremost is my husband, David. Not only did he purchase me my first pieces of equipment but he encouraged me to dream with it. He scouts all of my locations when he is running in the open space because that is my preferred shooting location - minus me doing all the running. He takes care of our daughter while I am out doing shoots and never complains about it. He has continually lifted me up in moments of funk and cheers me on in moments of accomplishment. The other support most assuredly comes from family and friends. My friends who initially have hired me helped me gain the vast majority of my clients, many who have become repeat customers and new friends. And my mom of course - well because she is my mom!

KARLI | what's been your biggest win?

LAURA | My biggest win is seeing how much I have improved over time - in skill and in confidence. From personal family photos to newborn client photos, I am really proud of how I have carved out my own space for myself in a very over saturated market. I like to think that people hire me because of the connections I am able to capture not only in the frame but with myself as well. It's always a goal of mine that everyone feel happy during their session - even if it means I have to be a little goofy! Pictures truly are moments captured in time and I hope that the final results are not only beautiful images but fond memories as well.

KARLI | any losses?

LAURA | My very first paid session was a d i s a s t e r. It really could not have gone any worse. It went so terribly I actually refused to be paid. I learned two great things from this moment however. The first was, don't devalue yourself - as chaotic as the scene was I should have still collected payment and if the images had really had turned out as awful as I had thought - offered a reshoot. Secondly, embrace the chaos (something I have gotten a lot better at with a 2.5 year old at home)! My first shoot I was trying to make everything so nice and posed and over time have realized that is not my style. I live for the moments where everyone is looking at one another - not at my lens. I learned so much from this session and while at the time it made me wince, I truly am better for it.

KARLI | any valuable lessons you've learned?

LAURA | I am constantly learning (let's hope that never stops!) My most valuable lesson learned is "community over competition". Like I said above, photography is a very over saturated market, and with that people have plenty of choices when choosing the person to capture their memories. Leaning on and learning from other photographers has been a huge support. The only competition I am in, is with myself, to always be better than I was yesterday.

KARLI | do you work outside the home?

LAURA | I do! I work full time in San Francisco for a real estate company. I have been here going on 8 years and while I loath the commute, I really enjoy my small team I work with. I always pictured myself as a stay at home mom but as you saw above that wasn't our reality. However I think had I never returned to work, I may have never opened my own business - funny how that all works out. My day job for the most part stays at my job (I don't even have work email on my phone!) and that absolutely is how I manage to balance that and everything else I am juggling. Plus my work is very flexible and accommodating to being a mother and for that I am so grateful!

KARLI | what would you say to someone who wants to start their own small business?

LAURA | I would 100% say go for it. It can be scary and intimidating but don't all the best things start off that way? Find your local support groups (Rising Tide Society is a great place for entrepreneurs to start with local chapters nearly everywhere!) If your dreams don't scare you, well they just aren't big enough!

KARLI | how do you balance your business and your babe?

LAURA | Because I work out of the home full time I have to be very practical with my session schedule. I still need the weekend to enjoy and hang out with my family. I will only take on two sessions a day max - a sunset shoot and a newborn shoot. Newborn shoots happen early in the day but take a significant amount of time due to babies schedule. When the sun doesn't set until later in the evening I can often squeeze in a shoot after work since almost all my sessions take place at sunset. All sessions aside from newborn, are 45 minutes long. So I never let myself feel guilt about being away for them - they are over so quickly and I am helping earn additional income for our family. When it comes to editing I do that in the evening after my daughter has gone to bed. Sometimes I will even take my Macbook into my office job to edit at lunch. I tend to do this only when I feel I am getting backed up. I also make sure to block out whole entire weekends every so often so that we can have a spontaneous trip. Work/Life balance is essential to not getting burned out and still loving what you do.

KARLI | where do you see Laura Parker Photography in the future?

LAURA | Be able to eventually become a full time photographer and burn all my old work clothes :) Honestly, my future plan is to be happy and continue to create something everyday. Oh and more babies...definitely more babies.

laura! you're so talented...i know you will eventually be taking this full time and you'll have a baby strapped to your front and one to your back. babies everywhere! :)

thank you so so much for being a part of monday mamas! so inspiring!


and hey! are you a mama or know of a mama who wants to be featured on Sept. Farm for the Monday Mama series? i'd absolutely love that. the only criteria is that you have to be a mama AND have started your own business...you know, so you can share your wealth of knowledge on how you're keeping your sh*t together while simultaneously tending your children throughout the day AND working. hello power-multi-tasker. just send me an e-mail at karli@sept-farm.com.