This year has been a bit of an emotional and professional rollercoaster! As most people have experienced, it doesn’t seem to matter how organised you are there will always be unexpected events that will challenge you along the way.
I have been running my Business – Perfect Moments Photography for 6 years now and giving it everything I could with the time that was available around attending University and looking after my family. There hasn’t been enough time to do all three very well and no doubt I have failed at one of them at each given time! With that in mind, I set myself what would hopefully be achievable objectives for this year and ones that would also improve my situation. These were to cut costs, save time and money, win an award and raise my profile. Working towards earning more money and using the knowledge I’ve gained over the years to turn myself from ‘The Trainee’ into ‘The Trainer’.
Amongst my achievable objectives, I had to tackle some personal problems that weren’t planned which included moving house and a kitchen fire, luckily no-one was hurt but it was a traumatic and financially expensive time. But to balance out the bad, there is always good, and I am so grateful that I managed to achieve two International Photography Awards for my newborn images and can now re-brand myself as an Award Winning Photographer. This along with my Photography Degree and Newborn Training experience will help to give me an edge and stand out amongst other photographers in my area.
During this time I moved to a new studio in the separate annexe we have at home, this has improved things immensely, saving so much time, money and I can provide a better service to my clients in that they can park right outside and have no stairs to walk up which was always a concern with new mums especially if they’ve had surgery.
As well as the newborn images that I created for the competitions I also worked with my daughter Sophie. These, unlike the newborn images, were composites and a continuation from last year using the compositing skills that I’ve learnt. The challenge I set myself which was different to last year where I photographed different elements all in the same lighting conditions, was that I wanted to use birds photographed outside and then composite those with Sophie in the studio and make them look as if they were photographed together.
Like every project which is always different, it was a learning curve and it took days of patiently sitting outside waiting for birds to land. The main technical issue was making sure that I was able to capture the birds sharply and preserve all the details so that I had more options later in post-production. This project took its own path, originally wanting to create a very technically perfect composite I ended up experimenting more with a painterly effect with lots of texture, warm tones, resembling an old masters painting. I was moved by the image of Sophie with the blackbird in a way that I’ve not felt before with any of my images and this intrigued me to delve more into the power of the gaze in portraiture. This is very strong in Paulina Duczman’s work, each image has careful consideration regarding the clothes, hair and accessories but overall it’s the eyes that are the focal point that draw you in to create such powerful images which literally take your breath away.
Over the past 4 years I’ve invested in training with some of the best photographers in the Industry. Newborn photography & posing with Jillian Greenhill from Dubai, Kelly Brown from Australia, Emma Jane from the UK, Fine Art Photography with Paulina Duczman and In-person Sales with Maggie Robinson. It has been a hugely costly but exciting journey and fundamental in my career as I’ve learnt so much from them.
I felt fully prepared for my final Degree Show apart from a last minute issue, on the day of the show I found a mark on one of my prints which luckily I managed to rectify the best I could with the help of some dark eye shadow and a steady hand!
The open night for our Show was brilliant, everyone put so much effort in to pull it together and we were so lucky to have the knowledge, support and encouragement from Karen Heald, she went to great lengths to make sure everyone’s final work was the best it could be and curated a hell of a show. The brown earthy colour palette that I am drawn to and have consistently used for both of my Degree Shows worked really well because the images compliment each other collectively. I feel like I have perhaps exhausted this style now and look forward to experimenting with new colour palettes in the future. I received amazing feedback for my newborn images, a few people have enquired how to book a session and I also met a couple of girls who were fans of my work which was very exciting. The large print of Sophie with the blackbird really affected some people, many were mesmerized by it and two people referred to it as haunting which momentarily disgruntled me, but I quickly accepted that as a compliment. The image created emotion and feelings, all different depending on the viewer and as someone once told me, if you manage to do that with your work then you have created a piece of Art.
Over the past 4 years I have grown so much as a Photographer, my only regret is that life has been so chaotic that I’ve not been able to reflect on the work I’ve done. It’s been a turbulent crossover of newborns, weddings, commercial client work with creative projects for university whilst juggling family life and financial struggles. It’s not a complaint because essentially I feel like I’ve achieved everything I set out to do and I’m really proud of that but I’m definitely looking forward to having the chance to reflect which will help form my future path and regain balance and harmony for my business and most of all my family.