Courtney of Small Beginnings Photography {Guest Post}


I am so excited to introduce you to the girl behind the lens of some of my most treasured 3 Little Birds Boutique photos! Courtney of Small Beginnings Photography is the talent behind many of my product photos, I cherish her work. Here is one of my most recent favorites.

This is my favorite photo taken by Madeline James Photography of Courtney and her adorable family!

I just adore her talent but the best thing about Courtney is her kind & giving heart! Over time Courtney and I have become more than business acquaintances and really in truth, more than even friends. Courtney has become like a sister to me & is one of the most supportive cheerleaders you will ever meet! It’s no surprise she is first & foremost an amazing wife & mother, making her someone I adore even more. When Courtney let me know the topic she wanted to share with all of you, I knew it would be good because it is something I constantly struggle with. It is something I think all families struggle with. What I didn’t know was that I would be in tears at the end of her beautiful post because it would strike such a chord with me. Learning to say no when it is important for my little family is one of my biggest struggles but also one I am improving on lately. 

Thank you Courtney for your words of wisdom, love & greatness! You are pure inspiration!

xoxo, Kristen

I’m not quite sure where to begin. When I was asked if I wanted to be featured, my first thought was who, me?  Although I’ve never met Kristen in person, I feel we have grown together, both starting our businesses around the same time and have become dear friends in the process.  We share many similar feelings about what it is to own your own business while raising a family and how difficult it is to balance the two.  Initially I had no idea what I was going to write about and then, it hit me.  I should write about the one thing I’ve struggled with the most as my business has taken off, balance.  Unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a few ideas that might help you get started.

 For those of you who aren’t familiar with me or Small Beginnings Photography, let me give you a quick bio.  I am a happily married stay-at-home mom of three young boys, ages 6-1/2, 4-1/2 and 2.  My husband has a demanding job with an unpredictable schedule and recently I gave up my job in the medical field so that I could be home with the kids and enjoy my ever-growing passion for photography.  I made the decision to jump head first into the business world just over a year ago, after much prompting by my peers.  I wasn’t convinced new clients would seek me out to take their photos, but I was happy photographing the same people I had been for years.  Little did I know my business would grow leaps and bounds over the coming months.  Oh yeah, did I mention I homeschool?  We just started our second year.  So how on earth do I have time to run a business?  This is a question I am asked frequently…usually preceded by “you are super woman” or something to that effect.  Super woman, I am not, although I have been known to fly around my house in a cape chasing after the boys.

 For me, creating a schedule is probably the most important piece to this puzzle.  During the summer, it’s like a free-for-all in our house, flying by the seat of our pants.  When fall rolls around, we get back to the grind.  Every Sunday, I lay out lesson plans for the week for our oldest.  We have a schedule we follow each day and I try not to deviate from it if possible.  I am, however, only human and there are times when the schedule falls to the wayside.  Having a routine at home when you have children is key when running your own business, in my opinion.  I need to know what lies ahead so I’m not scrambling to get everything finished before bedtime.  My “work” time takes place for an hour or two while the kids nap and again in the evening once the kids go to bed. Despite the awful amount of hours my husband works, when he is here; he knows just what to do to help me out when I need it.

 Set boundaries.  I will be honest, up until a couple of months ago, my business consumed every ounce of my time and energy.  I stayed up until at least 1 or 2 in the morning every night editing photos, answering emails, packaging up orders, etc.  I double-booked myself, scheduled last-minute sessions and completed sessions in 2-3 days.  As the bags under my eyes grew and family time began to suffer, I quickly realized I could not continue to go on this way.  One of my biggest weaknesses through this experience thus far has been confidence.  I feared saying no, and sticking to timelines would disappoint my clients and cause them to go elsewhere.  What I was really doing is putting little to no value on my time.  My time is valuable and so is the time I spend with my family.  So how do I fix it?

 I started planning ahead, updating my calendar at least a month or two in advance, setting a more reasonable “shut-off” time each night so I could actually function as a mother, and booking only one shoot per weekend in addition to weekday shoots so as not to impede on quality time with my husband and boys.  The end result?  A steady, workable, balanced schedule that works for me and my family.   

 Everyone has different goals for their business, no matter what field you’re in.  I never dreamed my hobby would turn into such a blossoming business but I’m sure enjoying the ride.  If you take anything away from this post, I hope it is value.  Your time is valuable to your family and it is valuable to your clients/customers.  Don’t be afraid to say no and set the bar high.  The last thing you want to do is sell yourself short.  If you are able to find the delicate balance that best suits you, the time you do focus on your business will be much richer and you will deliver a quality, more positive experience to your clients.

Isn’t she fabulous!! You can view more of Courtney’s photography on her blog and follow all of her awesomeness on facebook!

About Kristen

Hi! I’m Kristen, the designer, owner and dreamer behind 3 Little Birds Boutique. I create an ever-expanding line of handcrafted jewelry inspired by and made to reflect my clients…you. Each creation contains a piece of my heart & soul and my hope is that those feelings are conveyed each time it is worn. I look forward to creating your perfect piece, handcrafted & wrapped with love, from my hands to your heart. xoxo, Kristen


  1. 1

    What a great post, Kristen! Balance is so hard to find when you’re a mom working from home. Courtney, you are so right! We need to recognize that our time is valuable and distribute it appropriately. Thanks for sharing your experience and insight! :)

  2. 3
    Tara says:

    Great post! So true! So true. So true.

  3. 5
    Jamie says:

    Thanks for inviting her to share her heart. I feel as though she is living my life in a year from now. I’m a stay at home mom, of 3 boys (7,2 & 1), who is married to a husband that works 5-7 days a week, and who also just turned my passion for capturing the moment into a small photography business. Her words of wisdom are perfect timing for me to make sure I set reasonable limits as I start this venture. Thanks Courtney!

  4. 6

    Hi Jamie! Thanks so much for sharing! It means the world to me to hear her guest post meant a lot to you as well!!! Lots of luck & love in your new venture!!! xoxoxo

  5. 7
    Cindy Meisch says:

    Thank you! Sometimes I feel like all these other Photographers seem to have it all together. Glad I am not alone! I am going to be making a more detailed schedule and sticking to a “shut-off” time.

    • 8

      Hi Cindy! I agree, it is so nice to learn we are not alone in our struggles! Thanks so much for reading the post & for your comment! I’m going to be working on a “shut-off” time too…it’s currently 11:54 pm here, hee hee!

  6. 9
    Midwife Sara says:

    Thank you to Courtney and Kristen — I loved reading your post, Court – in addition to all the amazing things you are (Mama, wife, teacher, awesome friend, photog,) you have a gift for writing! … and the story of how you two found each other and have become friends is just So COOL! XXOO Sara

    • 10
      Courtney says:

      Sara! My goodness, you just made my day. Thank you for your kind words but you, my friend, are an inspiration to me. You are an amazing mother, midwife and friend and I’m grateful for our friendship.

      (I’m not sure if my reply will go to you but hopefully you’ll see it somehow)

      <3 Court

    • 12

      Sara, thank you for being so sweet & loving! I am so happy you visited the blog and read Courtney’s post and I am even more thrilled to learn you have each other as friends! Such a blessing!! xoxoxo <3

  7. 13
    Amy says:

    I just found you through whippy cake. I love your designs, especially the Robyn and mama bird. Courtney that is an amazing thing that you are doing for your family. They will remember the time they shared with you later. What an inspiration you are and will be to many moms.

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