Columns » A Photo Life

Welcome to my photo life

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A family photograph of us when our kids were smaller. - COURTESY SEAN CAYTON
  • Courtesy Sean Cayton
  • A family photograph of us when our kids were smaller.
I’ve been a photographer my entire adult life. Needless to say, photography is my passion. I love taking pictures and I’m often asked how I do what I do.

I’ve never had a very good answer to that question. The fact of the matter is that it’s not easy to be a photographer — the hours are long and the rewards aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. But I do it because it speaks to me in a way nothing else does.

Whenever I try to explain that, words fail me and never seem to come out right. I’ve written a column here in the past and I want to take a crack at it again. This time I want to give some insight into what it means to be a photographer, how it enhances my life and how you can use the things I’ve learned over the years to practice your own photography and live for a moment it a photographer's world.

There are three parts to my photo life, and each enhances the other.
Self portrait with Harper when he was a baby. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Self portrait with Harper when he was a baby.

First, I’m a parent. With my wife Cathy’s help, we keep our kids, ages 12, 9, and 7, in a regular routine. We make sure they are prepared for the day ahead. When we can, we try to mold them into responsible, conscientious and intelligent human beings. It isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. It’s also very much a team effort. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my wife and business partner Cathy.

Cathy taking pictures of the kids. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Cathy taking pictures of the kids.

The second part of my photo life is the photography business I run with Cathy. We’re very small. Just the two of us and we photograph weddings at a handful of locations. I can proudly say we have a super-efficient, super-simple way to make our clients happy (over-the-moon kind of happy) and that’s huge. Most of our clients travel here to get married. It’s a beautiful place and we pinch ourselves every day to know we have such a scenic location to photograph in.

Photograph of my on the golf course with my iphone. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Photograph of my on the golf course with my iphone.

The third part is something other than husbandry or photography, it’s golf.

I get to work as a starter-marshall at one of the country’s premier golf courses. I work outside, which I love, and I get to know the golfers. It’s much-needed face time after a day in the office editing photographs. What's more, I don’t have to think about photography one iota, that is, unless I want to. I work a couple of days a week and have the privilege of playing at the golf course when I want.

It’s a crazy balancing act, but it works and that’s the point I wanted to make. We are in the incredibly lucky position of choosing our profession and choosing our lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be all photography, all of the time. And it shouldn’t be.

Small suggestion to all of you budding photographers: Find something to balance your photo life and make it un-photographic. Unless, that is, you really want to. For me, the better part of my adult life has been concentrated on photography and building a photography business. A couple of years ago I decided to stop focusing so much on photography and life is noticeably better.

It all about finding a balance.

Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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