We had the good fortune of connecting with Heidi Eiffert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heidi, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance is a tricky concept. I do believe you can achieve perfect balance but it’s very difficult to sustain. Instead I think it’s best to prioritize your morals and values and do your best to make sure your home life and work life align. Reevaluate what’s your goals and priorities every so often to make sure your job and life are working together to support the best version of you. If something is clashing then pivot and work to fix the disruption. When we first started our career we worked 24/7. We were single, no kids, didn’t own a home yet. We were quite free and we could choose how to spend our time. We invested a large majority to our career. As the years went on and we got married, added kids and a home to the mix we realized our work-home balance had to shift. We had to work within daycare hours, then school hours. We had to pivot what type of work we accepted. For instance in our early career we photographed weddings all over the world. This required lots of travel and weekend hours. Now we’ve scaled way back on weddings and we not fill that income gap with a different product line: headshots and corporate business photograpy.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My husband and I own studioU photography in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We are a portrait studio that specializes in telling people’s stories. Our main income comes from creating portraits of high school senior photos, families & kids & weddings. We also create car inventory for a vintage & luxury car company, headshots & custom imagery for businesses and corporations that support their brands. We pride ourselves in technical excellence- from shoot to print our images have exceptional color, clarity, retouching. Our results are consistent. Our products are sourced from the best print labs in the USA. Something that sets us apart is our career history. We’ve both been in photography since high school, so 20+years and we’ve never had any other jobs. We started in the film days and got to learn B&W and color film and printing. This knowledge carried us forward into the digital world and helped our images stand out because we knew how to develop this images. Portrait Photography isn’t easy. There’s a lot of misconception about visual artists… like oh that’s a fun job. True, it is very fun! It’s also hard work, weird hours, seasonal fluctuation, etc. Your can’t forget, on top of the shooting and editing work we are also running a business. There’s marketing plans, production devepment, pricing, website management, etc. If there was one piece of advice to give to young artists I would say take a few business courses or find a partner with a strong business mind. This will set you up for success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If they came to visit Cedar Rapids? We would: Hit up all the good food & drink spots: Caucho, Cobble Hill, Lion Bridge, Brewhemia, Lightworks, St. Pio, Dash Go on a walk: either up Mt Trashmore to get a view of the city or hit a trail at Indian Creek Shop at Pretty Lane, Moss & Scout Relax around the Bonfire at night… if we could hit up live music we’d go to the Paramount or McGrath Ampheitheater (bonus of the Pork Tornados were playing)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many shout outs I could do right here. First off my parents and family for raising me with good morals and values and a midwest work ethic. Then my college photography instructors, especially Larry Erickson, for setting my technical foundation. Then the Professional Photographers of America and the Professional Photographers of Iowa. I met my husband, Troy Eiffert, at an event and the rest is history! The educational value and networking that has blossomed from these associations are too numerous to even name. I’m a big reader & podcast listener and love Jon Acuff, Bob Goff, Jen Hatmaker, Stephanie Gray -Your Longevity Blueprint, Gretchin Rubin. Also, big shout out to my girlfriends. I have a group of girls that I’ve had since childhood and have a daily text/snap chain. Couldn’t do life without them.
Headshot of Heidi image credit: Kim LaFauce