Most days I pinch myself that we are living out the life we are right now. While we are not insanely wealthy (or wealthy at all, by any stretch)… We don’t own a home or a fancy car (a far too dirty used VW Golf is our car of choice! haha)… We are, however, able to pay our bills, put food on the table (something I take for granted far too often), and more importantly spend our life together, side-by-side, day in and day out. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this life (and this business) is not about money for us… at all. It is about living a life where we are happy, doing what we love, and spending time with people we love! It is about affecting people’s lives in positive ways. It is about making people feel good about themselves, and putting smiles on their faces. It is about documenting memories for our clients to remember always, so even in some of life’s darkest days they can look back on their photos and warm their hearts.
James and I feel blessed that we are able to live our dream of running our own photography business together. While we certainly don’t have a ton of money to be throwing around – we have always wanted to give back somehow. For a long time that was only in the form of giving our time (giving away sessions to raffles for charities we love, doing pay it forward sessions, and shooting events for other awesome organizations), since last year the money definitely wasn’t there to be passing out…. but time… time we could give (and so can you)!
Recently we’ve been dreaming big dreams, talking about where we’d like this business to be down the road, and been talking about how we can use our business to better the lives of others (other than just spreading positivity and love to our clients and those we touch with our photographs). So, given our obvious love for man’s best friends, and since we adopted our crazy Chloe pup from PAWS in Chicago… we have decided to donate $50 from every wedding we book from now on to PAWS (a no-kill shelter in Chicago). We feel so passionately that these sweet creatures deserve our help and love, since they so freely give it to us!!
In the future we hope to add more charities to this list, and eventually would love to take a trip somewhere to help more directly with causes we are passionate about. For now we are just trying to make decisions within our business that have a broader reach (no matter how small they may seem). Things that we would do anyway – like buy bottled water to drink at all the weddings we’re shooting – but instead of stopping at a gas station on the road and buying whatever is on sale – we’re stocking up on cases of People Water so that however much water we’re drinking that day – someone in need is getting the same amount of clean water elsewhere!
I realize these are small things we’re doing (we hope to do bigger things when we have more resources to help), but we feel it’s important to pay it forward, because no matter how small our actions seem – I’m certain that any action is better than no action.
There are so many wonderful organizations out there doing amazing things to help people and creatures in need – that I know we’ve only scratched the surface. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite charities are so we can check them out too! And we’ll try to keep you posted on our progress and keep you ‘in the know’ about other charities we’re working with that we think you should look into as well! I’m so excited to start giving back in a more tangible way than we have in the past, and grateful that we are blessed enough to share some of the little resources we have with those who need them more than we do.
And in the words of the great Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
(A photo at PAWS right after we officially adopted Chloe and were about to take her home! Look at how teeny she was!)