When is burnout just burnout, and when is it a wake-up call? When is burnout telling us to take a break and when is it telling us to move on?
For me, burnout was a sign that I needed to move on, but I didn’t realize it until Covid-19 hit. Being able to take that year away from wedding photography seemed like a good way to breathe and find clarity in how I would market my wedding photography business. Ben built me a new site, I culled my portfolio to show only the wedding work I loved, I built a profile for my ideal client so that I could learn how to attract him or her.
Part of the way through lockdown, I realized something. The break wasn’t making me want to go back. It wasn’t making me wish I was shooting weddings. I love weddings, I really do, but there was so much I wasn’t finding in myself as a wedding photographer.
And what I found was that I was studying portraiture, art history books, fashion. I was scruitinizing films, and flipping through books of Olympic portraits and honest photos of women. I was missing dance photography, being one-on-one with a portrait client in the studio or out in the city, or beautiful environments. I was dreaming of a career outside of the wedding industry. It’s something I had told Ben over and over, but before the year off, I didn’t have the courage to say it outloud.
But when I finally got the courage to admit that I wanted to pivot, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. And that, is not burnout, my friends. That is realization.