As I sit here on New Years Eve reflecting on the year just gone, I realise that in all my previous blog posts I have kept my language and my tone strictly photography and SEO driven and haven’t revealed much about the person behind the camera. I don’t make New Years resolutions, but I am going to make a pledge for 2020. I promise to write all of my blogs from the heart and not for Google. There, I’ve said it,
So, here goes…
Unlike 2018, 2019 has pretty much been a yin and yang year for me. I started off with huge enthusiasm for the year. I had some plans to diversify my photography business. I wanted to add floral photography to my portfolio as well as branding photography, but everytime something good has happened, something crappy has been hiding just around the corner.
I kicked off the year having a cookery lesson from Jean Christophe Nouvelle. An amazing 40th birthday gift from my amazing husband. I have to admit, even though I went away having learnt some fabulous new dishes I have yet to make them at home. I actually learnt how to make pasta. Easy, some might say. Yes, but only I managed to make a hash of it!
March was my first time attending the truly inspirational Elevate photography conference at the Curzon cinema in London. I felt so privileged to be learning new things from some photographers who considered to be top of their game. Rocio Vega and Gabe McLintock to name a couple.
Rocio’s style of photography takes my breath away. She has the boldness to get up close and personal which produces some seriously raw and emotional images. My style has always been to be discreet and ‘fly on the wall’, so I totally admire a photographer that has the audacity to be, literally, in a couple’s face with a camera.
Gabe is completely my ‘tog crush’. His work is just stunning. Again, an amazing photographer who likes to push the boundaries. His photographs show a pure connection between couples. I was so estactic when I got to go on a 2 day retreat and learn from the master himself. It has definitely forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and push myself creatively.
Oh, and I lost my train ticket on the way home from the conference and had to buy another one. Now to anyone else, that would be trivial, but I don’t lose things. I have never, once, lost my keys, purse or phone, so losing my train ticket is a BIG thing.
April was my first wedding of the year. Lauren and Ian are such lovely human beings and I was so glad I was the one they chose to photograph their wedding at Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire. I had actually met the couple back in 2017 when I photographed Lauren’s aunts wedding. In May I got to photograph Steph and Tom’s magnificant 1920’s themed wedding at Parklands Celebration in Nottingham. I loved the detail that went into their wedding. Again, Steph and Tom are a such a wonderful couple. Not only were they amazing on the day, looking after me and making sure I was ok – even though it was their wedding day, but also in regards to the events that followed later that year. I am so grateful to them for being such a caring and understanding couple.
For about a year leading up to May, my dad had been complaining that he wasn’t feeling well, he had started to lose a lot of weight and wasn’t eating well either. He had been to the doctors numerous times and finally, three days after I photographed Steph and Tom’s wedding my dad was sent to the hospital for further tests. For the next month, I was planning and curating an asian-fusion styled shoot at Dorney Court. It was probably more stressful than someone’s wedding day! Not knowing whether suppliers will turn up or drop out, having a vision on paper and trusting that everything will come together on the day. 16th June rolled around pretty quickly and the styled shoot came together seamlessly. We even had time to stop for lunch! The shoot was published in Bride Magazine and later picked up and published in Magpie Weddings.
The day after the shoot was the follow up appointment from all of my dad’s hospital tests. The news that my dad had cancer wasn’t really a suprise for me, if I’m honest. I had my suspicions. But, to find out that he is terminal with only six months to live was a complete shock. Not in a lifetime did I think that it would happen to one of my parents. It wasn’t just coming to terms with the news, but also to make matters worse the doctors don’t actually know what cancer he has which has made it really difficult to treat and never really knowing whether chemo will work or not.
The next few months were tough. Dad had started his chemo and the first round nearly finished him off. He was in hospital for a few weeks, meanwhile I still had Danielle and Luke’s wedding at Micklefield Hall, Eve and Alex’s wedding in France to get through, not to mention three second shooting jobs as well.
I love this job, but one thing I realised at this point is that in this situation you literally have to draw a line between you and your business. Everything about a wedding photography business is personal. My style is personal to me, your wedding photographs are personal and unique to you. This was one of those times where my personal stuff doesn’t even surface. The only clients that knew of my situation at this time were Steph and Tom, and only because I had to explain why their photos were going to be delivered a little later than expected. Thankfully, they were more than understanding and I would receive the loveliest texts from Steph to see how I was and how my dad was. I will be forever grateful for that.
The rest of the year was a little up and down. Dad was in and out of hospital, but I had great pleasure in shooting Gloria and Cliff’s wedding at The Shire in St Albans, Nessy and Tienye’s wedding at Brampton Grange and Melanie and Sid’s wedding at East Sussex National. But because I had taken a bit of a back seat on taking any more bookings for the year, my plans for the floral photography didn’t make it off the ground and neither did the branding photography. I also missed out on the Bridelux Symposium, which I had promised myself I would go to.
I did, however, get to have my own photoshoot with the lovely Lucy Tom’s, photographed an engagement party at The Boulestein in London and did my first year of school photographs. Those kids were a tough crowd!
I also learnt that I’m not actually too bad at doing my kids Halloween make up and that I can actually keep my shit together during those rocky moments.
So, how does 2019 end….?
You would think that the end of the year would end on high, but no, here comes those trouble makers, yin and yang again.
December is always busy for me with lots of Christmas meet ups. I had a long awaited Christmas meal with the lovely ladies from my Booked In 90 business coaching group. A couple of weeks before I purchased a beautiful print from the very talented Charlotte Argyrou. She brought it to our Christmas dinner for me to take home. I didn’t lose my ticket this time but I did leave the print on the train on the way home – no I wasn’t drunk, but I am starting to see a theme here…
My Dad has had all of his rounds of chemo and good news is that the cancer shrunk somewhat. Roll on Christmas and I host for 17 people, which all went fabulously. A couple of days later I am face down with flu (I hardly ever get sick, by the way!), Dad ends up in hospital again for a night and I get booked for a prime wedding date next year.
I won’t lie. It has taken me a week to even start to write this blog, trying to get through half term with three kids, whilst your head feels like it’s going explode and your face feels like sandpaper from all the times you’ve had to blow your nose is not fun. Oh and to top it off, the grey hairs have decided to make a come back all at once.
As I say goodbye 2019, I welcome 2020 and the opportunity to make new plans, set new goals, move forward and dye my hair.
I also must say a huge thank you to ALL of my outstanding couples and all of the people that have supported me throughout the year. I am so very grateful and lucky, not only to have had the honour of photographing your wedding, but to have met such beautiful souls. I am very much looking forward to working with my wedding couples of 2020.
I wish you all a very happy New Year!