I can't quite believe I'm sitting here writing a blog at the start of yet another new year. 2016 couldn't have gone by quicker if it were the Millennium Falcon (apparently the Falcon has a top speed of 1,041.66 light-years per hour for any fellow Star Wars nerds out there).
And what a year its been - full of ups and downs. The ups have been great, I've met so many people, cuddled hundreds of new babies, got messy during dozens of first birthday cake smash sessions and been lucky enough to spend another year doing a job I absolutely adore. I know how Blessed I am to be able to say that, and I am grateful every single day for the opportunities I have been given.
I've continued along the never ending photography learning path which is so important - photography is an ever evolving art form and you really do need to keep up and try to stand out in an increasingly over saturated market. I've also continued to rabbit on about the importance of safety during newborn sessions to anyone who will listen and, in February 2016, I was thrilled to have an article on this very important subject picked up by Bokeh magazine, an international digital photography magazine based in California.
My 'newborn with dog' portraits have really taken off this year with more bookings than ever. (Really must find a snappier title than 'newborn with dog'). I just adore babies, children and dogs...so that's been a very welcome little route for my photography to take.
My friendships with local fellow photographers have strengthened, which is always so helpful in this line of work which can at times be very lonely. Its good to have friends in a similar position to lean on and talk shop with. I hate to admit it, but I've witnessed a fair bit of jealousy and nasty competitiveness out there in the photography world recently, it's such a shame and doesn't help anyone. I'm lucky to have become firm friends with some lovely ladies which is great, because I have people whose work I know and trust to refer clients to should I be unable to take a booking. These lovely friends helped out massively when I had to cancel jobs at short notice due to family illness a few months back; they stepped in and took the jobs on for me so my clients didn't miss out on their photos.
Yes, a lot of 2016's positives have come from my work, but of course there have also been many in my personal life too. My eldest daughter finally achieved her dream of getting a job in the Arts, something she has worked hard towards since graduating from University. Our youngest had the best school report ever and won awards for her work in french and computing and our son bought his first house with his lovely girlfriend. I also became a Great Aunt in November for the first time...still too young to be a Granny I think, but Great Aunt is lovely!
Unfortunately 2016 also presented a few challenges - the main one being when my darling hubby decided to collapse with a stroke just before my birthday in August, (how dare he!). This was completely unexpected and knocked the whole family for six. I can't put into words how strong my amazing children were at this time while I fell apart, I am so proud of them and the eldest two's partners, who were amazingly supportive. Thank God, and with the support of our fantastic family, our amazing NHS and friends, we got through it and hubby has now made a full recovery. I hope and Pray he will not do that to us again!
So - on to 2017! A milestone year for me as I turn the big 50. This New Year I'm so excited because I have plans to push myself further in photography and I can't wait to get the ball rolling!
I must finish as always by saying a huge thanks to my wonderful clients. To those of you who I've known for years who keep on coming back to see me, to all the new clients who have given me the honour of photographing your families in 2016. To everyone, especially the dads who were bullied into visiting me and really don't want to have their photo taken but grinned and did it anyway; to all the pet owners and everyone else. Thank you all so much for trusting me and for referring my little business to your friends and family. Your support is always appreciated.
Here's just a snapshot of some of my 2016 work. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!