Hi there!  I'm Caiti and I am a wedding & portrait photographer living in Prince George, Virginia.  I am a music loving, doughtnut eating, coffee drinking, mama of 2.  This is the place where you can come to see my latest work with my beautiful clients and learn more about me, my husband, and our sweet babies.  Take a look around and enjoy! 

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March 23, 2017

Creating Community Within Your Business

Owning your own business is such a wonderful blessing!  It gives you so much freedom, joy, and pride!  I love being able to be home with kids all day, then go out and work with such great clients in the evenings (or on the weekends because…WEDDINGS).  But…let’s be honest…being a stay at home mom can lead to lonely days.  Owning your own business and being your only employee can also lead to many lonely days.  I spend a lot of time in front of my computer screen.  A lot of nights are spent at photo sessions and many Saturdays are spent at weddings instead of out with friends, at family birthday parties, or wherever else.  I don’t regret those things one bit, so please do not read that the wrong way, it is just the truth.  As with any job, you have to make some sacrifices.  I still make lots of time for my kids and family, but you get what I am saying, right?

The past couples years in this business, I have made little to no effort to interact or meet other creative entrepreneurs.  It was NOT intentional.  I didn’t sit here thinking, “I don’t want to have a relationship with any one else in the same industry as me!  No way!”  It just happened like that.  I am a full time mom to two precious kiddos so I let that take over my life when I wasn’t working.  Also, I didn’t see how it could help me or how I could help anyone else.  Basically, I made excuses…probably because I was scared.

Well…a few months ago I attended a workshop in Wilmington, held by the ladies from Magnolia Photography (click here for details).  I was so stinking nervous!  Within MINUTES of being there though, I realized what I had been missing.  That sense of “home”…of understanding…of support…of encouragement!  Those girls were talking about the same struggles I had been having, or got excited about the same things I did!!  Leaving that day, I felt so refreshed and now I have girls that I can talk to when I need advice or need to vent!  But…I wanted that locally, too!

Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography

This leads me to Taylor – the beautiful face behind Lauren Taylor Photography.  I can’t even remember what made me stumble on Taylor’s Instgram account but I am glad I did!  I remember that we started commenting on each other’s work and saw that we both were wanting that friendship within the business.  I came to find out that she had photographed one of my friend’s wedding’s and then, we had other mutual friends!  Crazy small world!  Meeting this beauty for coffee (our life source) one morning was the best decision!!  We spilled our hearts, our struggles, and our goals.  We cracked up at how alike we were and how so many things that we had probably never said out loud before but had wanted to, were the exact same!

Having friends within your business, other small business owners…other people who just get you, can encourage you when you are feeling stuck, or listen to you when you are just having a rough time..people who can tell you that you are doing the right things, or your work is truly great…YOU NEED THOSE PEOPLE!!  But you also need to be THAT PERSON for SOMEONE ELSE!  Take that in for a second!  YOU need to be there for others.  You can’t seclude yourself and keep it all in!  Community is SO important in all aspects of your life…even your work life!  ESPECIALLY your work life because your community helps it feel less like work and more like just doing what you love, which is how it should be.

Someone I look up to recently said, “What if it was not about how many “followers” you have, but about what kind of FRIEND you are in real life?  What if it wasn’t about the cool kids table but about making a longer table where there is room for everyone?” This right here is the TRUTH!
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
If you are a fellow creative entrepreneur, I encourage you to find community.  Check out one of my favorite organizations – The Rising Tide Society.  This was created by Natalie Franke and is focused on bringing together small business owners so they can have community together!  Their key phrase is “Community Over Competition” and I couldn’t agree more!  What kind of lonely world would it be if we didn’t support each other or work together…but all we did was view each other as competition?  The Rising Tide Society has organized something called Tuesdays Together where local creatives & entrepreneurs come together once  month over coffee, wine, or whatever and discuss ideas, goals, or anything else!  It’s sole purpose is to build a sense of community.  These groups meet all over the country and are SERIOUSLY a blessing!  There is an RVA group, if you are local to me and ever want to come (just message me and I can get you more info).  If you aren’t local to me, click here to see if there is a group near you.

So – all of that to say – Taylor is my soul sister in this business and I just love her!  She came in to my life & business at the perfect time and I am so grateful for her friendship!  We met up the other night for some girl time and to swap headshots.  It was so much fun and just what we both needed!  We were laughing hysterically at each other so I’m sure the people around us thought we were crazy!  (Ya know..just strolling around the neighborhood in our casual flowy dresses!)  Taylor is absolutely gorgeous which made this a piece of cake!  Check out her headshots and leave us some love in the comments!
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Good grief, Taylor!  You are stunning!!!
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography
Community Over Competition, Headshots, Business, Running A Business, Community in Business, Lauren Taylor Photography, Caiti Garter Photography

XOXO

Caiti

  1. Elizabeth Kehn

    March 23rd, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Beautifully written, and I completely relate! Also, wonderful photos of a stunning lady!

  2. Caiti Garter

    March 24th, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you so much, Elizabeth!!

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