Welcome to my round up of 2017, in these end of year posts I go over what's happening in my business, a bit about the gear I use but mostly about the weddings and other assignments I've shot. Enjoy.
If you would like to see how things went down in previous years then just head over here:
This year I have shot 24 weddings.
Each and everyone has been a real pleasure to shoot and great fun to be involved in. I do really love my job and am thankful for all of the couples who have booked my services and allow me to do this for a living. Thank you.
I've been to some great venues this year and been back to some old venues which I love to shoot at.
Next year is starting to shape up nicely with 14 weddings on the books so far.
I've adopted a new method when it comes to setting goals and that is to have a target which, if I reach, means I'm financially comfortable till the end of the year. 14 weddings in 2018 is that goal, so to be there already is just great.
For me one of the best parts about being a wedding photographer is getting a very nice work/life balance, I'd rather make a little less money and have a little more time, than be editing for hours on end.
That being said I've got my average wedding edit [including culling] down to about 3-4 hours.
This comes from a combination of;
-Not over shooting
-Speeding up lightroom [A new SSD helped here]
-Applying my preset upon import
-Ruthless culling [if a picture is mediocre it doesn't go in]
All of this means I can blast through an edit in an afternoon and not spend ages behind a computer, this coupled with meeting people over Skype, doing contracts online and not doing things like engagement shoots means I have much more time to enjoy life.
This year brought about the biggest gear change of my wedding photographer journey so far, switching up to the Fuji XT2. this was done for a few reasons; Dual memory card slots, shooting video and an overall faster and more responsive system.
If you would like to find out more about my current setup then do click the image below:
This is what I've been using for most of the year, I did pick up the 18-55 'kit' lens which is great for video but for photos this setup is doing me incredibly well. I also got the battery grip, again for video, it's nice but not sure how much use it is really going to get. I do still have an XE2 as a backup camera but I'm gonna sell this as two cameras does me just fine.
I have recently purchased the 50-140 2.8 lens, which with the OIS would is a real dream for shooting video. I'll be getting review out about this in the new year, first impressions are that's it's a good long range all rounder but no replacement for the 56 1.2.
I'm also going to be buying the new XH-2 [or whatever it's going to be called] mainly for the in body image stabilisation, after which I'll sell all lenses bar the 16mm, 23mm & 56mm trinity and use that for shooting video.
Other than that I've been keen to re-buy the 35mm 1.4 as I do miss that lens but I'll probably go for the smart route and not spend the money.
One of my prime reasons for getting the XT-2 was to start shooting video, I've fancied adding this extra string to my bow for a while now, and now that I've got the kit it's starting to come together.
I've shot one wedding video so far, and this was helped my my good friend Che over at Che Birch Hayes Photography, who second shot for me so I could shoot a photo/video combination and a great couple who were keen to have a wedding video and had heard that I was looking to get into it.
The next step here is to shoot a solo wedding video without any photos, and of course setup a new website and get to work promoting that, as well as generally imporving my shooting and editing skills.
I'm still working my part time job at my friends restaurant, and this year they once again put on their Indie Food Festival, instead of shooting pictures I came down the with Fuji XT-2 + 18-55mm kit lens and shot video.
Below is what I came out with, it was a great learning experience and I'm super happy with the result.
As with most years I've picked up the odd bit of editorial work this year, which I really love as it usually involves me going to some wonderful or odd place to shoot photos then ends up with them being published - Best. Feeling. Ever.
This year I got to head to the east coast of England for a 4 day assignment with Ernest Journal, photographing abandoned World War Two weapons testing facilities and exploring lots of great places. The result of this work should be published soon and I can't wait to once again see my work in print.
A few days in Amsterdam. I only took my iPhone 5s as my camera and edited in VSCOcam, I'd love to go back to this weird and wonderful city for a couple of days of street photography as it would be just the best place for it.
A few days in Paris. This was early in the year when I still had my Fuji X100T it was a great camera but I had to sell it after having it repaired 3 times, I do miss it and can see myself going back to the X100 series at some point in the future.
TO SUM UP
It's been a great year for shooting all around. Improving the gear and getting into video has so far been a great challenge, it takes me back to when I was first learning how to shoot photos and having that desire to build my skills and shoot as much as possible.
Personally this year has been somewhat of a challenge, I moved back to Hereford, from Cardiff in September to start a new life, but decided to take the whole thing as a positive experience and I'm now very much enjoying being back in Hereford and close to my work.
As for 2018 I hope to get a few more weddings in the books and use the extra income to go traveling. I'm very keen to go back to Iceland and this will probably be very high up on my list.
I'm also starting to plan a monthly trip, whether overseas or not, just a few days each month to travel and explore.
Thanks for reading and checking out the blog, feel free to leave a comment or if you have any questions about my gear or the way I work then drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org [it may take me a while to answer but I will get back to you]