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.

3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

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