When I finished school I took a year off, and I had already decided that I wanted to study science, so I started my science degree in 2002 but I didn’t last long because there were so many people enrolled in the course that you would need to complete a PhD to have any chance of succeeding. So I took some more time off and worked in office admin and did a Business Admin certificate, before going back to Uni in 2004 to complete a Bachelor of Business which I did part time while working full time at the Dept of Treasury and Finance. I was actually pregnant with Sebastian when I graduated in 2008.
Photography was something I had always loved to do, and I also loved bush-walking, so I had a lot of camera gear for landscape work. And because I was at home with a new baby I started taking photographs of Sebastian, who is now 6 and my daughter Nina is 4. I have continued working with the Dept of Treasury and Finance – I have been there for 11 years, working three days a week since I have had kids, in Gaming and Liquor Licensing and Policy. I still work there Monday to Wednesday from 9am to 5pm, while Sebastian goes to school and Nina spends time with grandparents. My husband also switched to working part time, so he finishes early on the days I work.
I did take maternity leave for both Sebastian and Nina, and whilst on maternity leave with Nina my photographic business started to take off, with more and more people asking me to do work for them - so I decided to start charging them. And it all just grew from there. I realised that if I was doing something that was taking me away from family I needed to make sure I was charging people properly and that the arrangement was working for me. I registered my business name in 2012, and it all kept evolving and growing. My clientele is mainly families, I do family sessions with babies and newborns. However since I have had my studio in the CBD I have had a lot more commercial work – head shots, shooting events and award nights, and I suspect that is because I am much easier to access now. I am in the studio by appointment, often on a Thursday or Friday. I do have Nina with me on those days as she hasn’t started school yet, and she just plays in the other room while I work. Most families prefer the weekends because they work during the week, and my husband is fantastic with the kids when I have to work – he’s been taking care of the kids while I work since Nina was nine months old. It’s been brilliant for their bond and for him to understand how it all works.
I love having my own business because I can choose what I want to do – who I want to work with, what kind of shoots I want to do. I like being able to focus on what I love, and that I can work the hours that suit me – at night when they are in bed, or while they are at school or day care. Working part time, having a business and having two children has its challenges. Time is the big one. I squeeze a lot into the time that I have available, and I have to be really organised. I have lots of whiteboards with everything written on them that I have to do so when I sit down to work I’m not procrastinating or checking out Facebook. I focus on my work. I have been able to do what I do because of family support – I feel so grateful that I have them and my husband. You really have to want to achieve something and have goals in place to make it work. I really enjoy the balance of my life at the moment, and each facet of my life gives me pleasure. I enjoy my clients and I also enjoy my colleagues. I’m pretty happy cruising and seeing where things go, life just seems to fall into place.
Katinka Smith loves photographing the beauty in all people and the tenderness of bonds between families, friends and lovers. She wants your images to stand the test of time and be handed down to your children and generations to come.
Time Management is such a vital skill to master, and even more so if you have a family to take care of. Business Mamas helps you put priorities in place and plan your time effectively, so you can achieve a work life balance.
Copy: Melanie Quirk Photography: SomedaySomehowStudios
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