COVID-19, business, and life-lately

November 17, 2020

I just went back and checked my recent blog posts and, NOPE! I never announced that we have MOVED from Utah to Arizona! I'll go ahead and announce that now...


Where in Arizona?

In the East Valley practically on the boarder of Mesa and Gilbert.


On March 18th (a day or two after the random Earthquake in Utah and the day after I shot my first home birth!) we packed up our truck, with the help of our loving neighbors, and the next morning at 4:00 AM, we began the trek from Syracuse, Utah to Mesa, Arizona and our new home. We were greeted by MORE loving neighbors and my Uncle Mike, Aunt Debbie, cousins Zach, Annie, and Eliza and the truck was unloaded in 30 minutes. You read that right. 30. Minutes. I blame COVID and quarantine. Everyone was feeling pretty eager for any excuse to get out of their homes.


Last year around this time, I asked Andrew if he thought we'd spend the rest of our lives in Utah. He said he wasn't sure and that there were always job opportunities elsewhere. Shortly thereafter (a matter of days), Andrew was offered his boss's position as she was retiring. I told him we'd pray about it and think on it, then decide. God answered us in the form of a massive blizzard over Thanksgiving. I called Andrew as I was driving to Target on Black Friday and said, "Why don't you go ahead and ask me, RIGHT NOW, if I want to move to Arizona. Go ahead. Ask me." Andrew was in it for the job opportunity, and I was in it for the weather. Gloomy weather has always had an unhappy effect on me.

How have you been liking it?

Despite this summer being the hottest summer since who knows when, I have absolutely loved it. My family has some really cool history here in the Valley. My Grandpa Vance was a farmer in Tempe where he and my Grandma raised my mom. Before them, it was My Grandpa Leonard and Grandma Josephine, and before them it was Grandpa John and Grandma Sarah Indiaetta Young Vance, the woman who delivered over 1,500 babies as a midwife and never lost a mother or a child. I feel incredibly close to them here and love that connection.


How's your house?

It's an almost 20-year-old house and needs some updates here and there (we had to completely replace both AC units which was... fun), but I love it. I really, really do.

How's your neighborhood?

Amazing. The kids have been able to make some good friends up the street and around the neighborhood which is a huge blessing. I have also been able to find some friends in my neighborhood as well as in the birth community.

Speaking of birth, are you still doing birth photography?

YES. I will not lie to you, it has been really, really, difficult to rebuild my business here and to be perfectly honest, I have not been to one birth since Utah. I count my financial blessings that Jordan had her baby right before I moved because without her session, I could not have afforded to stay afloat. I have done a few newborn sessions, a styled shoot, a couple of weddings (what?!), and some family sessions. I am, however, OFFICIALLY booked for my first home birth session in the next few weeks! I need to give my wonderful friend, Carey Lauren a huge s/o for being so encouraging and helpful in my journey. It's so tempting to have a competitive spirit with others in your same field/market, but Carey has done the exact opposite. I am incredibly grateful for her friendship.

What's something you love about Arizona?

There are so many things I love about Arizona. I love the warmth, the cactus, the pools, the occasional heavy downpours, the mountains and accompanying hiking, the sunsets, and the SKY. The sky here is incredible.

How are your kids doing?

They miss Utah. Especially during the hot months, they mentioned how much they missed snow. Of course, now with it getting colder - especially in the mornings - they complain about how cold they are! Silly kids. But during the summer, we always visited my Uncle Mike's pool one or two times per week and that's what got us through.

Anyway, the older girls are in school now and doing really well! Chelsea has made two really wonderful friends and one of those friends have younger siblings just Alexa and Barrett's age! They all get along wonderfully and it is a joy to have them all at my house. Truly.

Elise doesn't have much of an opinion on Utah vs. Arizona but seems to like it here. She doesn't really have any friends that she plays with, but she does haaaave... A DOG!

A dog?

Yes, it's true. I conceded and we got a dog. His name is Tor. He's a Doberman and is so incredibly good with our children. They love him, but to be honest, I go back and forth... usually when I'm about to start my period... yeahhhhhh...

Anyway, we got him as a puppy and he was so cute and tiny! He's still a puppy, but he's not quite as cute or nearly as tiny. He should end up being around 80-100 pounds, so he will not be a little guy, which is good because we got him largely for security. Ne're-do-wellers, be warned...

Do you miss Utah?

I miss the people that I love in Utah. Miss Mariasha, McKenzie, Pam, Sabrina, Ashley, Rachel, Kim, Liz, my Stake Center Fitness Friends, and my family, but the seasons? Nah. You can keep 'em. I've never been a huge fan of fall or winter.


How can I help spread the word about your business in Arizona?

How thoughtful of you to ask! ;) Referrals are my number one method of bookings so I really, truly appreciate all the sharing that you do. If you weren't aware, I have launched a new website for my business and have renamed it to Susan Joy Film + Photo. You can share my website with your friends, my Facebook page, or my Instagram. Anything helps!

Any other news?

Well, yes! Just one other thing. I am THIS close to becoming a certified doula! This means that my support will go beyond handling the creative captures and will also allow me to attend hospital births again! I am so excited to be able to serve the moms who feel shafted by COVID-19.

Thanks for stopping by today! To anyone new, welcome, and to everyone "old," thank you so much for all of your love and appreciation through the years. We are grateful for you.


Susan is a birth photographer and videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities in the East Valley including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

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