The Dos and Don'ts of Working with your Family


We are Kariss and Joshua Farris, owners and the head photographers of Pharris Photography based out of Texas specializing in Houston and Dallas but also serving destination clients. Our background and love story has played a significant role in our success as a husband and wife duo. We met in college at Baylor University, fell in love, and now combine our creativity and our love into a marriage and a business. We have a sweet little girl named Ellie and another beautiful baby boy on the way. We love Houston, our home and our playground, and love everything about the wedding and party industry. With that being said, we have been blessed to expand our location to Dallas as well which has proven to us to be a great business move. We now can take part in more beautiful celebrations… what a dream come true! We have done 27 weddings and have been featured in Yahoo!, People, Paper City Magazine, The Knot, Essence, and tons of other publications. We have made so many new friends and love getting people to smile. But more importantly - we love being a husband-and-wife team. We’re powerful together and we love building each other up in our work. Work isn’t just our life though, we are Christians, parents, Texas fans, and adventurers. We have to know how to keep our lives separate and full of fun on both sides. It doesn’t mean that working with your spouse is always easy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


1. Make sure that you’re having fun at work. You’re with your best friend, so it should be fun! Especially in a creative field, you want to make sure that you’re feeding that creativity through energy, positivity, and collaboration! We make sure that we have fun with our clients and see their personality in the pictures, so we feel like we just make a ton of friends every day.

2. Have your responsibilities separate. Make sure you know whose part is whose, and communicate well with each other on tasks that may be shared. Nothing is worse than stepping on other people’s toes, especially your spouse’s. They appreciate the communication as much as we do.

Kariss Farris

3. Complement each other! You’re both in the field for a reason, and you’re both successful for a reason. Point out your spouse’s strengths and build their confidence, and they’ll probably do it right back to you. It keeps you both focused on each other instead of getting caught up in your own competition and confidence. Give each other a boost now and then in the professional world.

4. In that same respect, don’t be afraid to give each other constructive criticism when needed. There’s a respectful way to go about this but often times those that yo work closely with can see the opportunities for growth and improvement that you may not notice. Always push them to be their best. Many people say your spouse is your “toughest critic and biggest fan,” so make sure that both as a critic and as a fan you are encouraging and loving. You will see little things that other coworkers would never see because they aren’t the spouse, but that doesn’t always mean you have to bring up those little things. Push them to be their best, but don’t roll them over in critiques and direction. Having a balance of positivity and the will to continue to grow and do better is key!

5. Separate your work and home time. If you’re home having dinner with your family, make sure you’re home having dinner and not acting as an impromptu business meeting. Have specific times set apart for home and life conversations that don’t involve your clients or work. Keeping them separate will keep your family sane.

6. Get feedback. As you are business partners, getting feedback to ensure you are both on the same page is necessary. Whether that is on a daily basis or in weekly meetings, collaboration in all aspects will make sure you both see things the same way and have the same end goal in mind.


1. Try to outshine each other. Don’t make it competitive. Again, make sure that your roles and responsibilities are clear and your boundaries are consistent. No one likes to compete with those that we love. It’s not healthy for the business and it’s certainly not healthy for your personal relationship, so keep it even.

2. Overstep your boundaries. In the beginning, it is best to establish the roles and responsibilities so the lines don’t get blurry and cause confusion and frustration later down the road. Note, if you need assistance with a certain task, having a relationship and partnership where you can ask for added help is great but making it clear on both ends who is ultimately in charge of that business department is needed.

3. Put more on your plate than you can handle. This will only hurt the business and cause stress which can in return hurt your business working relationship with your spouse. A little stress is healthy as it gives you the push to stay focused but make sure you know how much you can handle. You don’t want to take on more than you can produce as it will interfere with your home life if you are working more hours than the other. Sometimes we need to put each other in check and re-evaluate the workload as we tend to both over extend but that it only natural when you are excited about your growing business.

6min read

What Sexual Abuse Survivors Want You to Know

In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.

For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.

Believe it or not, I am happy about that.

The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.

It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).

These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.

So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.

Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.

The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."

In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.