6 Best Things About A Photographer's Hiatus

By now, I suspect you must know that I have begun a hiatus.  If you haven't heard - I've begun a hiatus.  

We're expecting baby #3 in ONE week.  Hooray!   You can read more about it in my announcement letter.

I have been so encouraged by the responses I've received from everyone.  Thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders!!  What a bittersweet thing - I'm glad I'll be missed, but I'd also love to say, "Never-mind!  I can do it all!"  I wish I could.  But there are moments in your life when you need to be intentional with your priorities.  This is one of those moments for me.  

Do you have a word for the year?  I've heard of people choosing one word that they want to focus on for an entire year.  I've tried it in the past, but it never really stuck.  It kind of ended up being more like a simplified New Year's resolution for me, one that was forgotten before we turned the calendar page.  This year is different, though.  I did choose a word for 2016 and surprisingly, it's still at the forefront of my mind.  I'm still making decisions based on this word.  My word for 2016 is : Intentional.  

It's funny to me how often I have heard this word in the past 2 months alone, ever since I chose it.  The first sermon of the year at our church was related to being intentional.  Our local radio station had an encouraging sound byte about being intentional.  I read an article online yesterday that said, "I have determined that, this year, I will be as 'intensely intentional' as I can possibly manage.  I am not just sharpening my focus to do things right, but intentionally sharpening my focus to do 'right things'.  The airways are so full of sounds, and the sounds are distracting, to say the least.  It is time we clear our slate and press in to recognize His voice" (Charismanews.com).  All I can think is I must be focusing on the right word for me!

Just because I won't be taking on any projects for awhile doesn't mean that I won't still be photographing, experimenting and growing.  My parents have always encouraged me to choose a career in life that I would love to do, even if I wasn't getting paid for it.  Photography is definitely that for me.  Even if I'm not being commissioned specifically, I love the craft.  I'm excited to use this time to learn and grow.

My hope is to share what's happening in the meantime here on my blog, expecting that you, too, can benefit from my hiatus.  I might share a technique I'm learning and mastering that you'd be interested in.  I might share something that would inspire you to document the lives of your family.  And so on.  

Here are six ways I'm hoping to use my hiatus and meanwhile, hopefully inspire you along the way.


1.  Focusing on Family

Obviously, this is a huge reason why I'm taking a hiatus.  It's like the carpenter who never gets around to building built-in bookshelves for his family's home.  That's what it's like for me sometimes.  I get home from shooting all day with no desire to photograph my own kids.  What a sad reality - if you could only see that the walls of my home are pretty bare!  I'd love to change that.  

2.  Focusing on documenting our lives & passing along inspiring ideas for you to document yours

I'm pretty excited about this.  Every year, it's my intention to create a family 'year book'.  I've been really good with following through when it comes to creating our vacation books, but I have yet to actually create that family 'year book'.  That is going to change this year!  I use a system called Project Life by an incredibly inspiring woman named Becky Higgins.  I can't wait to share the spreads I'm creating for this book.

3.  Focusing on learning new techniques

At one point in my photography journey, I developed a habit of choosing one thing to focus on for an entire month, with the ​intention of mastering it.  That's how I learned to nail things down like white balance, manual focus, better auto focus, etc.  I love it that there's always something new to learn.  And as I'm learning, I'm excited to share it with you.

4.  Finding inspiration from the works of others

I love going to art museums.  Rembrandt pieces are among my favorite.  There is so much inspiration to be found in some of those amazing pieces of art!  And not just in paintings.  My husband and I went to see a movie last weekend.  It cracks me up to think about our conversation after the movie.  He talked about the content of the movie and I talked about the lighting within the film.  Is it just me who does that?

5.  Creating more masterpieces

One of the pioneers of photography was Ansel Adams.  He made it his goal to create one new masterpiece a month.  I don't know if I have such aspirations, but I know when I get to the end of the year, there will be at least one or two images that will really stand out to me, ones that I will just love.  How fun to be able to get out there and shoot, intentionally looking for my next masterpiece.  Sometimes I see images you take of your kids on Facebook and I have found them to be so inspiring.  One of you had a black and white picture, apparently taken with your cell phone, of your daughter at the kitchen table with a glass fish bowl.  I love that picture.  The lighting was just beautiful.  And to this day, I think about that image with a smile.  See, you don't have to be a professional photographer to create a masterpiece, do you?

6.   Celebrating Life Intentionally

What a gift life is.  Life is meant to be remembered.  Not only am I excited to celebrate the new life entering my family next week, but how it just feels like something missed to not embrace and celebrate every moment that we're lucky to share together.  I can't wait to see how that manifests itself this year.  

I hope you come back to visit often this year and become inspired to intentionally celebrate life!  

Life.  It's meant to be remembered :D.


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Andrea Hartstein

Andrea photographs "Bellies, Births & Babies", specializing in birth photography in the Michiana area, on the border of Michigan and Indiana.  Join her as she recounts the stories of babies and their families in our area.
Learn more about her sessions and birth coverage at HartsteinPhotography.com



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