Art, Opinion, Parenting, Photography

Mums vs Business

I belong to an online group for photographers, and recently the conversation turned to starting to charge . The comments were supportive and fun until somebody decided to butt in and tell us what he really thinks of people who suddenly decide to become a photographer while on maternity leave. He claimed that stay-at-home mums steal the clients from him (and the other ‘professionals’).Child using a toy camera

So what is so annoying about a woman deciding to change her career path and give her talents a chance, to bring in some extra money and to spend some time in the world outside nappies and projectile vomiting?

One of the arguments is that it’s not really possible to change career and skills overnight. I changed from teaching to photography, and it took long evenings of reading tons of tutorials, lots of patience, even more practice, expensive gear, and even more expensive computer programmes.

I would never claim I’m a photographer without all the preparation and confidence that I can provide my clients with the quality photos that they paid for. And all my preparation, learning and shooting takes place next to cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping,  and taking care of my 3.5 yr old daughter.

I’m not complaining about life and my responsibilities, I’m just stating the fact that being a Mum doesn’t mean women can’t achieve success on a new career path. When a mum goes back to her previous work after having a baby and continues to gain experience and climbs up the business ladder not many people will claim she is rubbish, purely because she is now a mother.

But when a stay-at-home mum starts a new career, making the effort to learn a new skill from scratch, devoting all her free time (there’s not much of it, trust me) on practice and spends some savings to get needed equipment, then this mum is considered a time-waster and unqualified person.

I’ve seen thousands of photos, thousands of photography related websites and designs, and it just so happens that the ones I liked the most were those of women who became photographers/digital designers alongside their maternity status.

One of the things I love the most about their work is the difference between their first photo they took of their baby and the one they took just 5 months later on someone’s wedding as a booked photographer. The transition and development is so outstanding in many cases that I don’t understand why there is any doubt about their skills.

Does it really matter how many years that person was in the business or how many degrees that person can flash in front of our eyes? When we pay for a service isn’t it the end product that we want? And if it happens to satisfy a group of clients, stands out from the crowd and is done by a mum, is that a problem?

We have to give mums more credit for trying to go out there and make a difference in their life. Most of us find our true talents, hobbies and business ideas during those long sleepless nights nursing our babies. Mums starting something new are not trying to take shortcuts and pretend they know stuff. They will put double amount of energy into everything they do. Because that’s what mothers do in life, whatever they do.

About vanillapiephotography

I'm a mum, wife, maternity&newborn photographer, friend and so much more. I love to travel, love french music&movies, and love boiling hot weather. My passion is photography and I'm lucky to be doing something that brings me fun and satisfaction. My motto is Carpe Diem, and my daughter reminds me about it every day. If you want to get in touch with me, book a session, please drop me a line on and visit my Facebook Fan Page on Vanilla Pie Photography. I'm also offering Photography Workshops in North London, so if you are interested please email me to book a space.


5 thoughts on “Mums vs Business

  1. HAha! sounds like he felt a little threatened, definitely coming from a place of fear which is NOT where the true art and inspiration lies.
    as a mum of eight a writer and an artist I say take that camera and find the sweetspot mumma!
    ignore the critics….its probably just your own hidden doubt reflected anyway..nothing to take seriously! 😉

    Posted by The Silver Poet | February 25, 2012, 8:41 pm
  2. that guy sounds a bit insecure. stealing his clients? surely the client goes to the best or the cheapest photographer? in which case he needs to get his own shit together before demeaning you. ignore him. talent will out, in whatever shape.

    Posted by neiljohnsonarts | February 26, 2012, 9:05 am
  3. Hear, hear – he sounded like he was just a bit pee-ed off he had more competition; if his product is worth the money he charges for it, then he’ll keep his customers surely? Everyone should be able to retrain to whatever they want to be; you, and others like you, have grafted hard to get where you are so you can provide a good service to your clients. More fool him that he feels threatened rather than viewing it as healthy competition to keep him on his toes!

    Posted by Helen Neale | March 7, 2012, 10:29 am
  4. That’s a little insulting for the buyer of stock photos also. I know what kind of photo I want/need, and wouldn’t change my mind just because a photographer is not a “professional” but, let’s say, a “stay-at-home mom”.

    Posted by Anita | March 21, 2012, 3:19 am


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