WHAT. A. YEAR.
2020 has been full of ups and downs (to say the least!) and I thought no better day than December 31st 2020, the last day of this bloody awful year, to sit down and look back through what I did this year. To be completely honest, before I began writing this blog I didn't really think that I did that much! Turns out, I actually did a lot more than I thought I did! I was blessed with 8 wonderful weddings - four of which were pre-COVID and four gorgeous micro-weddings! I also managed to photograph eight styled shoots, four lovely engagement sessions and three amazing family & newborn sessions. In a year that was set to be so unbelievably busy, I am so thankful and grateful to have had the work that I did, and I treasured every single moment that I was working and doing what I love.
This year marked my first year being fully full-time - last year I was finishing up my Uni degree and I was so ready to get into my first year being a fully qualified (yay) full-time wedding photographer! It has definitely been a very different year to what I was expecting, and I have definitely learnt a lot. It's been hard, stressful, emotional in every way possible and turned our whole worlds upside down. But, we're still here, we're still getting through it, even if we've accustomed to wearing our pyjamas every day of the week, eating Lunchables with a glass of something alcoholic in hand.
Looking back at these weddings seems like a lifetime ago. It feels so strange to be seeing such big groups of people hugging and partying, with not one face mask in sight! I am still so glad that I got to capture these beautiful weddings pre-pandemic and that my early 2020 couples could party the night away to their upmost content without a care in the world. Such gorgeous weddings and such a fantastic start to the year, with the wonderful Aimee and Callum's stunning January wedding at Polhawn Fort in Torpoint, Danielle and Adam's lovely Wiltshire wedding in February and Ben and Flic's intimate wedding at the beautiful Knightor Winery in Cornwall (back at Polhawn and Knightor again soon!).
I'm really wishing that weddings can go back to some kind of normality again soon. It's so hard to see so many postponements, cancellations and people not getting the day that they've planned for so long and put every inch of their heart into. I think if we knew that COVID was going to put us into several national lockdowns, we would have all partied longer and harder than we've ever partied before! These weddings were also the first weddings that I tried out my newer editing style - last year my photography was very bright and airy, and now it's much more vibrant and moodier! I feel like this style is much more me, and I'm so glad that everyone loves it so much!
2020 - the year of the micro-wedding!
This year, the wedding industry has been reshaped and turned completely upside down. Weddings are able to go ahead, no they're not, yes they are, no they're not, only in Tier 3 and under... it goes on and on. The wedding industry is such a passionate and loving industry - weddings are a celebration of love and partnership. My 2020 diary was pretty much fully booked - I had just over 50 lovely couples booked in with me and it was set to be my highest profiting year yet! Sadly, COVID said a big fat 'NO' and I was completely overwhelmed with postponements! It was so incredibly devastating (and still is) to see so many wonderful weddings having to be postponed to a later month, or even a later year. The majority of my lovely couples I was able to move across, but with the more postponements that I booked in, the more of my couples that I couldn't fit in, and also new enquiries that I had to turn away which was utterly heartbreaking.
Even though this year has been full of so much negativity, so many emotions and has been ultra stressful, the weddings that I had the pleasure of photographing post Lockdown 1.0 were INCREDIBLE. I truly admire those who still went ahead, who were determined to tie the knot, and make it as special as they could, and I of course also admire those who have made the tough decision to postpone so they can have the day that they have planned, with all of their friends and family with them to celebrate. It has been so amazing to see so many couples, venues and suppliers adapt to the new and forever changing restrictions, and still being able to give couples the most amazing wedding day. I really think that this year has changed how weddings will continue to go forward. Weddings have been completely stripped back to what they truly are - a celebration of your love, with your closest family and friends around you to celebrate and be together! And in the highlights that I have put together below, you can definitely see the intimacy and the love shining through each and every photo. In such a nightmare year, it has been so great to be able to give so many wonderful couples so many wonderful memories that they can cherish for a lifetime, and for the galleries to be a beacon of light in such a dark time.
2020 was not only the year of the micro-wedding, it was also the year of the engagement shoots! I started off the year wanting to do more engagement shoots for my portfolio and I can safely say that my engagement session portfolio is now bursting with lots of beautiful people in love! I met with so many lovely bride and grooms to be, and captured some wonderful moments with them during this nightmare year. When COVID hit, it was so amazing to work with some of my couples on an engagement session on their 'should-have-been-wedding date', and was so great to see people still trying to make the most out of their original wedding date. I loved being able to give them some photos to cherish and enjoy on their 'would-have-been' date, and was a great opportunity to have a well needed chat and hang out with my lovely couples!
Engagement shoots are never compulsory, but offer my couples a chance to work with me before the big day, and allows us to capture some really natural and candid photographs, and for my couples to get used to being in front of the camera. With weddings a bit on the quiet side this year, it was so amazing to be able to still work with these lovely people on some engagement sessions and be able to help them enjoy their 'would-have-been-wedding' date to the fullest.
·Family & Baby·
This year I had so much fun capturing so many teeny tiny hands and feet! Family and baby photography is where I started my business before weddings, and it has been so nice to fill up some days with meeting new families and capturing those early moments of parenthood - the newly furbished nursery, those wrinkly little fingers wrapped around their mothers' and those surprising smiles! Anyone else wish that they made the clothing that they do for newborns, for adults? I would love me a floral embroidered dungaree dress!
Each baby. child and family that I have had the pleasure of meeting this year have all been amazing, and I am so glad that I could give them all such wonderful memories to treasure and look back on in years to come. Below is just a selection of my favourites from each shoot - there were so many cute ones to choose from!
Despite not having many weddings to photograph this year, I sure did fill up my time with styled shoots! It can be tricky sometimes as a wedding creative to find content to post and share, especially when all your work gets postponed! I am very active on my socials, particularly on Instagram, and I was so stressed at the beginning of the year as I still wanted to be posting regularly on Instagram and Facebook, and still be providing my audience and my couples with new and fresh content throughout 2020. Before COVID hit, I managed to already photograph two AMAZING styled shoots - one was 'Pastel Gothic' and one was 'Elegant Boho'. Both absolutely incredible shoots with the most amazing teams.
I bloody love a styled shoot - it's literally just being creative with a lovely team of people around you. Not only that, but it gives couples wedding inspiration, showcasing what you can do and hopefully find some suppliers that they love. When we were allowed to be outside again and get back to some kind of normality (not for long. ha) all of us wedding suppliers were just like 'TIME TO SHOOT EVERYTHING' and so we did. I ended up doing eight styled shoots this year, and I loved being a part of and photographing every single one of them. Some of the shoots even went into publications and blogs, which I'll be talking about a bit later on into the blog! It is always such an amazing feeling to get your team featured and being able to share your ideas and vision with the world.
·Lifestyle & Branding·
When we first went into Lockdown 1.0, I was really unsure of how I would fill up my time whilst I wasn't at work photographing weddings. I have always loved to be creative, and like to keep myself busy with planning new projects and shoots! But when all my work was pushed back for the next few months, I got a bit down about everything and I found myself in a bit of a rut with nothing to do and nothing sparking my interest.
I made the decision to get a few pieces in to make some flat-lays at home. I have always loved creating flat-lays at styled shoots, figuring out what looks best, finding the perfect objects and foliage to bring the whole image together, and so I decided to create a celestial flat-lay at home! I did it outside in my courtyard, and it was SO nice to be creative again, and by doing this little project, Aimee from Loved by One UK who I have had the pleasure of working with on a styled shoot in the past, asked me if I could take some pictures of her new jewellery and accessories collection which was amazing and felt great to have something to work on. Not only was it lovely to work with such gorgeous products, it was just so wonderful for me to get back to some sort of normality in my life, and to have something to focus on again. It honestly saved me in a way - sounds a bit dramatic but just being outside and working on a project for someone really gave me a sense of purpose again, and Aimee was just so over the moon with her new product photographs. I have worked with so many amazing businesses and people this year on photographing new collections, jewellery and beautiful people.
Another highlight of my year was meeting the beautiful Robyn who started up her own jewellery business during Lockdown 1.0. I got in contact with her earlier on in the year to work on some lifestyle photography for her business, and we are now the greatest of friends. We have worked together several times since then, and I honestly would have really struggled through 2020 without our shoots, coffee dates and FaceTime calls. I would love to do more lifestyle and product photography, and get more into different aspects of photography, but we will see what happens in the next few years!
2020 was full of so many ups and downs, and it is so easy to focus on the negatives, which is something that I certainly did throughout the year. However, there have been some big highlights for me, and there are some things that have happened this year that I'm really proud of and am really excited about. 2020 might have kicked our butts, but it's important to celebrate our achievements and be proud of ourselves of making it through this nightmare year and whatever we achieved in it.
At the beginning of 2020, I was selected by South West Wedding Awards as one of their finalists in the Bespoke Wedding Photography category! It was my first nomination or award for anything, and was such an amazing and strange feeling! I met so many wonderful suppliers that night who are now great friends, and it was definitely one of my top highlights from 2020.
To be in only my second year of being a full-time wedding photographer and to be chosen as a finalist in my category for a prestigious award ceremony was just the best feeling, and it's great to feel like people are seeing your hard work. I had so many amazing comments from my lovely couples, and it was so emotional and heart-warming reading through them, and hearing what my gorgeous couples thought of me.
Excitingly I've been entered into the 2021/22 awards too, which is something to look forward to! I'm excited to see how that goes, and is something to work towards during 2021.
During Lockdown 1.0, I really wanted to excel my business and take some courses - I found this amazing and insightful course by The Wedding Business School which taught me everything I needed to know and learn about becoming an LGBTQ+ inclusive business. I learnt so much terminology, and having so many friends that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I wanted to make sure that my business was a safe and welcoming space for everyone.
Since then, I've worked with some amazing LGBTQ+ couples on some mini-sessions, and taken part in an LGBTQ+ styled shoot which was incredible. I've also got a few LGBTQ+ weddings lined up this year and next year which I am so looking forward to, and I feel educated and ready to help give all of my couples the day of a lifetime.
And last but by no means least.. the cherry on the cake!
By far the biggest thing that I'm proud of this year. Still a a complete shock to the system and is just the most amazing thing that sits proudly on my desk! One of my ultimate life goals was for one of my photographs to be on the front cover of Wed Magazine, and 2020 did kind of redeem itself a little bit when I was tagged by Wed on Instagram when they uploaded the cover!
It was the most amazing feeling to find the magazine in the shops too, was just so surreal! So many people loved the magazine too, which is so great, and so much love from all of my lovely couples on my socials too. It is just the best feeling when a blog or magazine picks up one of your weddings or styled shoots, and means so many people will be able to enjoy your vision and the imagery.
Hopefully this won't be the last time I'll find one of my photographs on a magazine cover, but we will have to see what 2021 brings!
And so that brings our review of 2020 to a close! It's taken me such a long time to write this blog, to really think about everything that happened and choose my highlights. I really hope 2021 is a much bigger and brighter year for all of us, and we can all go back to some kind of normality very soon. I think everyone needs a wedding or two in their lives right about now, and many many hugs! Sending all of my love to each and every one of you, and wishing you all a happier and healthier 2021.