This year has been incredible, when I think back to what I've achieved in just a year I feel incredibly proud whilst also trying to work out how a year can pass just so quickly.
It feels like it was only yesterday I launched my new website, along with new branding and a clear simple business plan, and this year has seen all aspects of my business grow in fantastic ways. The website gets about 1,500 visits a week of which my work with the Fujifilm X Series is the most popular, this alone has led to some great opportunities presenting themselves, as well as meeting new people and expanding my social media sphere I got my first feature in a magazine and my name seems to be getting out there, such a good feeling.
As for getting published it didn't stop at a feature about myself, I've now graced the pages of Ernest Journal more than once and this year saw me take a great trip to Scotland which landed me the cover of the magazine. This work has made me want to push my editorial and travel work and try to get more paying work, for me if I can go somewhere awesome and make enough money to cover the trip then that's me happy. This has led me to design launch a new website dedicated to just this work in an effort to drive it forward whilst keeping the wedding photography separate.
Wedding wise this year saw me cover 14 weddings, meet some really great people and be a part of something really special at each occasion. Next year is setting up to be a real storm of wedding work with more great venues to shoot at as well as already having a few months booked up, nothing more bittersweet than turning down 4 couples due to the date already being booked. I have also felt my style develop and fit in more with what I want to achieve, using the Fuji gear has become second nature to me and a real part of what I do, I still get people asking me if I'm shooting film.
One thing I've started to feel when photographing weddings and which is slowly changing my view on documentary photography is that a rough out of focus image can still be a great photo, this stems from my street photography work and also the realisation that my clients want images that tell stories, this overall is the goal.
My gear has developed a fair bit over this year, I started by ditching the Canon 5Dii early on in the year and going to an all fuji system of X-E1's with the 18, 35 & 60mm lenses. This has now been upgraded and evolved to the X-E2's and that beautiful 56mm lens. I've added various other bits such as the Elinchrom flash you can see below, this is used for then I have studio work which has been slowly goring this year with a few headshots and portraits, another great thing is my iPad, it is with me everyday and with the SD adapter I can edit on the move with VSCOcam, great for editing images after a day of street photography while enjoying a coffee.
Gear wise I'm in a very happy place right now, avoiding the lust is hard, especially with so much incredible technology coming out, but the statement of 'if i can't do it with this I can't do it' always comes up as well as looking back through images, most of the time you don't need it, but one things for sure and that's that Fuji is the only way forward for me.
Using the Fujifilm X series had helped me in many ways, most of all is the ability to be discreet and chilled out when shooting weddings, I've been likened to a ninja and always surprise people with how much I get without them knowing. It's helped build my social following with gear reviews and test shots as well as just talking about them and with others who use them. My goal for 2015 is to become a Fuji X photographer (an ambassador for Fujifilm), not to sure on how to do this but Fuji if you're reading, wink wink.
I've met some great, influential people this year, early on I started with the SWPP convention where a seminar by Kevin Mullins really got me going for the year, I also ran into Kevin at another convention in October which was great, got to pick his brains and have a play with the new X100T. I went to London for a talk by the great David Hobby and the always entertaining Zack Arais, this talk alone got me out on the streets the next day asking random people for portraits, something which scared the hell out of me but which has ultimately made me a better photographer. I've also befriended many people on social media which is great as most of these people are in far away lands, and it's great to have feedback and input from all over the world.
My good friend and wedding photographer Che has got his business going really well now and we are finding more and more that referring each other and helping one another out is great for both our businesses, pretty soon we will be starting landscape workshops, just another chapter in this adventure I call a job.
As mentioned I've been travelling a bit this year, Iceland was great once again, then Scotland and North Wales were breathtaking, next year I hope to get to more and more places, one aspect I'd love to push is combing the many aspects of my work, so any destination wedding photography or elopement wedding photography would be super high on my list to get involved in.
I'm also looking to develop my travel photography into an aspect of my job that allows me to travel, not as a money making endeavour but as a way for me to see incredible places and meet awesome people while sharing my photography with the people.
So that's it really my year review, it's been a great one and next year looks set to be even more of the same, as always each year I've now re-written my business plan and set myself a few goals for the coming year, the main ones are;
-Become a Fuji X Photographer
-Get wedding bookings up to 30 a year
-Launch a new travel/editorial/headshot website
-Improve all social media followings by 4 times what they are now
Goals are important, they help focus and keep you true to a set few aspects which are most important to you, some of these may be out of reach but this time last year I would of thought having my work published in several places and getting paid to travel would of been out of reach.
Check out below as I've made a sort of photo diary from this year, it's always nice going back through images to realise what I've done and what my job has allowed me to do.
All the best with your year, it's gonna be awesome.
[PS, give me a follow/like on the links below]
So yea... it's been an awesome year :)