2016: An end or a beginning
“Every day brings new choices.”
– Martha Beck
It’s a bit of a wedding photographer tradition where we look back over the year that’s just gone, share some of our favourite images and try to remember everything we’ve been up to. It’s always really interesting to look back and it helps me to realise just how much I’ve achieved in the last 12 months when I’m sitting here at the end of December, in that limbo between Christmas and New Year, full of cold, wondering just what in the hell I actually got up to.
To first look back in comparison to 2015, there are some stark differences. 2015 was the year I shot just one wedding and a handful of portrait shoots. It was the year I sunk down into new lows mentally and had to figure out how to bring myself up again. It was the year I seriously contemplated throwing in the towel once and for all with this photography “lark”, I really did.
But 2016 brought with it a whole new year of promise. 2016 – despite its overall cloud of negativity, what with things like Brexit, the horrendous acts going on in Syria, the unspeakable acts of violence in places like Berlin and Nice (amongst many, many others) and the negative repercussions of the US Elections – for me became the year I found myself again. Of course, I can’t deny the negativity hasn’t had an impact on me, because it certainly has. But the great thing about finding yourself and surrounding yourself with great friends, old and new, with a similar mindset and positive attitude, is that you start to look at how you can turn all that negativity around. It has taught me so much about the importance of my family, my friendships and, despite the fact I am only one person, my ability to make even the smallest differences where I can.
So, from a great year of change for me, here are some favourite images from all the amazing shoots, both professional and personal, that I have had the absolute pleasure of capturing this year…
The end of last year saw the introduction of this little fella to my close circle of friends – the ever-so-cute and ever-so-cheeky Jake. At the beginning of the year I was lucky enough to drop in to his family home and capture some gorgeous images for his parents, Kelly and Darren. Doing this shoot gave me a new-found delight for photographing little ones and I hope I get to do this a lot more as I head into 2017.
Oh February! The month that gave me two awesome couples to work and experiment with, first with this awesome engagement shoot in Rotherhithe with the truly gorgeous Michelle and Mrinal on a cold, blustery afternoon. I still bloody love looking through the images from this shoot. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to take a different look at the way I take photographs. This doorway, her red coat and those eyes, I loved every moment.
This shot, right here, still makes my heart flutter and it absolutely epitomises everything my business has become for me. I always knew family was the most important thing to me but capturing this family in the days following their new arrival really brought home to me just how important it is.
April was all about the love shoots! I captured four fantastic couples this month, all completely different with their unique personalities and amazing locations. From the sights of London, a walk with the dog in the park, wrapping up warm on a cold pre-spring afternoon and this cracking shoot at a stables. It’s so hard to choose just one image to show off from all these shoots but the peaceful look on this horse’s face still gives me shivers whenever I look at it.
May gave me this beauty of a shoot with this awesome couple. Kate and Steve knew how to challenge me, throwing me into a midday shoot on the beach in Southend, with outfit changes, a picnic and some brilliant backdrops. Being able to show something a little more wild and free really appealed to me and I’m immensely proud of this shoot.
June saw the twilight wedding of this awesome couple, Nikki and Kate, at Newland Hall in Chelmsford. The absolute simplicity of their day meant I got to concentrate on the people and relationships you find at a wedding day. I was bowled over by the amount of love there was at this wedding and Nikki’s Mum’s speech is still the absolute best speech I’ve ever had the opportunity to hear.
Two beautiful engagement shoots and one spectacular wedding and yet here I am sharing an image from what was probably one of the hardest weeks of the year for me – our family barge holiday on the River Avon to celebrate Mum’s 60th birthday. Don’t be fooled, the relaxing calmness of this photograph does not show any of the stresses and strains of the week. But showing this image reminds me that we survived the week and, thankfully, we can all look back and laugh about it now!
August, hot sweaty August. Full of meetings, admin and my first dabble into headshots with the gorgeous Jodi from Jodi Redhouse Photography. We met up at London’s Brick Lane and wandered through the colourful streets, capturing images of each other and getting to know a little bit about each other. I was both awed and flattered in equal measure to be in such a brilliant photographer’s company and Jodi taught me a couple of things about posing too.
Two more fantastic weddings full of heart and soul and another headshot shoot kept my September full and busy! I’m always a sucker for a confetti shot and this one is a real favourite. I love all those smiling faces, that glorious bouquet and Charlotte and Richard were such a stunning couple.
A family shoot, two weddings and a road trip round the East Coast USA – October was a crazy busy month. I’m not sure I’ve actually recovered from it yet! I’m still working my way through editing my holiday images as, obviously, the weddings and family shoot were my priority at the time but I can’t wait to show you more from our trip. This, for me, was the first trip to the USA where I knew what I was doing with my camera so I had a great time experimenting with shots like this one.
An Autumnal love shoot with these two cuties and a shooting commercial shoot filled my November days. I bloody love autumn so I was thrilled to be able to do this shoot just before the weather turned for good and we started to lose that beautiful autumn light in the days following meeting up with Annie and Andrew. Autumn love shoots really should just be a thing though, don’t you think?
And here we are, the end of the year! No photo shoots for December to share with you, but I was asked to film my work colleagues at Southend Ambulance Station for their mannequin challenge! Filming was an entirely new experience for me, something I’ve never done before and, literally, had to learn “on the job” so to speak! 10 minutes of Google and several takes later and here was the result! I’m pretty proud of it, even though it’s not perfect, and it’s great to shine a light on a great charity that needs lots of support.
And the rest…
2016 has really been a great year for creating and cultivating new and amazing friendships – I’m looking at you Carla, Chloe, Jodi and all my incredible couples who have been brave enough to step in front of my camera this year.
It’s been a year of personal growth – this year I’ve been learning how to journal, I discovered the amazingness that is the bullet journal (courtesy of Carla – thanks hon!) which has been incredibly freeing and I’m slowly learning about manifesting and all that brings.
I’ve watched 60 movies including, amongst many others, The Revenant, Dad’s Army, Deadpool, How to be Single, Star Trek Beyond and A Street Cat Named Bob. I’ve also read a book a month, a feat I’m really proud of as, this time last year I’d only managed to read just a couple of books all year. I’ve taken in excess of 40,000 images, discovered podcasts while editing (I can HIGHLY recommend My Dad Wrote A Porno!) and created 3 beautiful wedding albums.
And my biggest achievement this year has to be my business branding! I was so thrilled to be able to work with Louise at The Autumn Rabbit late in the year and she created an absolutely beautiful branding look for me and my business. I’ll share all my beautiful new stationery for you very soon, when I finally get round to taking some photographs of it all!
2016, it’s been one hell of a year. I can’t wait to see what the next year is going to bring!