Behind The Lens

Peeking into the life of a photographer is a real treat. Learning how one that is devoted to capturing some of the best moment's of other people's lives juggles their own life and that responsibility is fascinated. California-based natural light photographer Corey Villicana, invites us into her home and intimately shares her typical day and how she finds creativity as photographer and mother.

Corey: I’m a natural light photographer living just north of San Diego. I’m a wife and the mother to two young boys. We live in a tiny little house with a gigantic yard, which both serve as my creative space and outlet. My work at home is never done; I like it that way. I began my photography business nearly six years ago and consider myself extremely lucky to be able to photograph for others as well as support my maturing family, all while picking up and dropping off my boys from school, taking them to and from practice fields, and on and on. It’s a balancing act and we all play a part. No two work days for me are ever the same. I set my own schedule, plan client meetings and create imagery continually, although like most creatives I have to be inspired to evoke my very best from myself. Most days unfold like this:


I’m an early riser. I never used to be a morning person, but with age I’ve found this quiet time to be sacred to me. I love waking up to the silence of a brimming little house. I love sneaking out of our bedroom and down our hallway to the kitchen, where every morning I do the exact same thing. Draw the blinds, start the coffee and wait for my sweet cat Bella to saunter into the kitchen and greet me at my feet, weaving in and out of my legs and whispering a good morning. Up with the sun, that’s me.


After the coffee is brewed, I pour myself a cup and I head to my desk to check my inbox and calendar, preparing me for the day ahead. This is also my time to check out a few blogs and websites that serve as part of my daily inspiration.


This is another highlight of my day. On school mornings, I love waking my boys by cracking the blinds in their bedroom and allowing the sunlight to stream in. I open the window for a gush of fresh air and give them both a few good belly rubs while watching them come out of their deep slumber.


Breakfast is in full swing, lunches are being packed and the boys are prepping themselves for the day. We meet at the kitchen table, eat together and talk about the day ahead. The school bell rings at 8:42am and the elementary school is not far from our home, so we choose our mode of transport: foot, bike, car... and head off!

9:30am— Noon

Home from drop-off and back to my desk, I complete projects and prepare for new ones, make phone calls, etc. Also, if I have editing work to be done, this is the best time to do it. 


This is the window of time in my day where I can get out of my office and into the world. I love setting up excursions for myself and sometimes a friend or colleague. I draw inspiration from a multitude of things: gardening, baking, floral arrangement, photography, home decor... so if this portion of the day is spent wandering around our local nursery, so be it. I’ll be honest that this is also the time in my day to run any errands that need to be completed for our household, such as grocery shopping, post office, etc.


The boys are home from school and homework is in full swing. My younger son also meets with a reading tutor in our home twice a week, so these few hours are a bit hectic. Snacks are being eaten and friends usually come by, as well. I love a full house; our doors are always open and generally speaking, we always have visitors. This is also the window of time I shoot most of my client sessions, so any number of evenings a week I'll be running out to meet with a family and then returning home to my own.


Dinner, baths and bedtime stories. We wind down by spending our evenings together as a family. I treasure this time, as I know it is fleeting.  


The boys are in bed for the night and depending on my workload, I’ll either be back at my desk or on my couch. I used to savor the late night hours for editing work but can't seem to stay awake late enough anymore to make it worthwhile; still there are some nights that there is no option and the work just has to be done. I think this is the greatest and most challenging part about working for yourself from home while raising a family. I have to constantly make decisions that are not just best for myself, but for my children, household, husband and clients. A perfect example of this would be an opportunity to chaperone one of my children on a class field trip. Taking the time to do that would change my entire schedule for the day, but allow me that time with my son; the trade-off would be working at my desk late at night so that I--we--can continue to have the best of both worlds. 

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