In the spirit of growth and self-improvement, it’s time for me to give myself a bit of a kick in the pants!

©2009 Sarah Hoppes. Special Thanks to model Dan Glaser.

I recently read this article in the Wall Street Journal by Laura Vanderkam, and the following passage really struck a chord:

Change your language. Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

I work a full-time job at a photo studio, my fiance and I run  Dark Ink Pictures, our production company, and I’m working to transition from my 9-5 job to full-time freelance photography.  It’s really easy to say that I “don’t have time” for plenty of things.  When I switch up my language, it’s not so easy.  “I’m not going outside to shoot because growing my personal portfolio is not a priority.”  “I have to stay up all night to work on this business plan/call sheet/production schedule/etc. because sleep is not a priority.”  “Posting on a blog is time-consuming!  Keeping an open dialogue about my photography is not a priority.”  Ouch.

I have  long-term plans for Dark Ink Pictures, and Sarah Hoppes Photography, both of which involve enormous growth and their becoming sustainable businesses that I can use to support myself and my newly formed family.  The only way to meet those goals is to decide what is a priority, what’s a nice treat, and what’s a downright distraction.

A few things I’ve decided are my absolute priorities for 2012:

  1. Shooting for myself on a regular basis
  2. Keeping in steady communication with my photography clients, other photographers and assistants, and Dark Ink vendors
  3. Building an online presence and creating an open dialogue for my photography and for Dark Ink
  4. Managing the business end of both companies. When it comes to record keeping, bookkeeping, contracts, and digital asset management, little details are very big deals.
  5. Pushing myself to learn new technology and techniques in photography, and learning how to use my photography skills to shoot video.
  6. Taking care of myself!  This means getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and not forgetting to make time for friends and family.

Starting this blog is just one step of many in really managing these priorities.  I expect to post on a bi-weekly to weekly basis with archived photographs I’d like to showcase, new work, and my thoughts on managing two small, but growing, businesses.

Check back soon for more content!  If you’d like to request a post on a specific topic, I’m all ears!  Just leave a comment or send me an email at


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