As is usual I do a review at the end of each year, this is a brief overview of my professional and personal photography work and a bit about what I did in the previous year.
I enjoy this exercise quite a bit, and it allows me to reflect on the year, and it’s nice to go back through the previous years and see what I’ve achieved.
Goals are not something I tend to set for each year, but instead a general sense of improving skills wise and moving forward is what I like to see at the years end, here I’ll go over what work I’ve been doing and what changes I’ve made to my gear and working practice.
This year I have shot 24 weddings.
In fact this is the exact same number as last year and is a really nice amount to shoot, I like to take on a variety of work and shooting just over 20 weddings per year allows me to do this. This year has been great for weddings, lots of great couples and locations.
So far there are 11 weddings on the books for 2019, alongside some other work, which is great, I tend to find I get most of my bookings in the first two months of that year.
I’ve been improving my video skills and shooting much more, my ideal year setup would be about shooting 20% of my weddings as a video, allowing me to improve my skills and being able to offer a range of services.
Shooting and editing wise I’m still sticking to my method of not over shooting and keeping my editing process refined, I’ve been doing more of my initial meetings over Skype then meeting couples at the venue about a month before the wedding, I feel this really saves time on both sides.
For next year’s weddings I’m going to change my editing process a little and do a combination of colour and black and white instead of one of each, I think this will result in a stronger final gallery for my couples.
Last year was a pretty big change; moving over to the Fuji X-T2 from my X-E2 setup, this year brought even bigger changes and saw me invest significantly in my gear, allowing me to tackle a range of tasks and improve my video offering.
The above is my main wedding setup, I’ll be happy doing a full day with just this gear, for video and other assignments it gets a little more complicated [see below] but here we have:
2 XH-1 Bodies - XH-1 Review. Fantastic, fast cameras, duel SD card slots is a must for me now, I'll shoot any event on two 64gb Lexar UHS-ii cards on backup mode and compressed RAW [which gets about 2400 frames]. Flip out screen is incredibly useful, focus is fast. IBIS is just incredible, for both video and low light stills, the grip makes holding the cameras all day much more comfortable and the leaf spring shutter is just a delight. I've moved to only using genuine Fuji batteries [NP-W126S] of which I have 9, this can get me through a full wedding but I also have a bunch of third party batteries as backup.
16mm 1.4 - 16mm 1.4 Review. Just a stunning lens, great out of focus backgrounds, wide enough for my needs. Weather sealing is great with the XH-1's and that clutch focus is fantastic. Good for busy receptions, also useful for busy dance floor shots.
23mm 1.4 - 23mm 1.4 Review. A solid all round lens, my go to focal length for most things. I'd be happy to shoot a full day on just this lens.
56mm 1.2 - 56mm 1.2 Review. When I do need a bit of reach this lens is just great, fantastic in low light, great subject separation, again an all round fantastic lens, sometimes a little slow to focus in low light, but then it's a massive bit of glass.
Nissin i40 Flash - Nissin i40 Flash Review. Small flash unit, great for me as I don't use flash much at all, only for dancing. It's nice and quick to cycle and the size/weight fits well with the fuji form factor. It would be nice if it didn't bend in half so it could slide into a pocket a bit easier, so I may upgrade to the Godox system in the future.
Spider Holster - Slight upgrade from the Black Widow Holster, this one clips to the belt without having to tread it through, and has a lock function so I can get the camera without having to hold the lever down. Great accessory for having two cameras. It's also metal and metal is better than plastic.
My old mac setup of 2012 mac mini was getting a little long in the tooth this year, having put it though it’s paces for video editing I went ahead and upgraded to a mid-range 27” iMac, upgraded to 40gb RAM, this machine is an editing beast!
Not only is it fast but the 5k screen looks stunning, any being able to get rid of all my old peripherals; monitor, speakers etc and combining it all into one slick unit frees up my desk space and makes using my office much more of a pleasurable experience.
Alongside the iMac is an iPad pro, this is a nice addition to have when mobile, allowing my to edit photos on the go as well and being an all round great second screen for writing blog posts and showing galleries.
This photo is most of the rest of my gear, lots of this is for video, audio gear and a stabiliser for example, I’ll be doing more about my whole video setup in a future post.
Apart from investing in video gear and upgrading to the Fuji X-H1’s I’ve also acquired the full Adobe suite and other various software and subscriptions for making my life easier, Artlist is a great music resource and Skillshare is a fantastic place for learning new programs and techniques.
I’ve been shooting a fair bit of video this year, mixing weddings with other projects and pushing and developing my skill set. The X-H1 upgrade has revolutionised my video setup. Here are a couple of projects Iv’e shot this year, all shot on the X-H1.
This year I’ve been doing a bit more work for Ernest Journal magazine, having been sent on a few trips to Snowdonia this year to shoot multiple articles and also the cover of issue 8 of the magazine. Working for these guys is always a treat and seeing my work in print is something that always excites me.
Alongside this I’ve been picking up other assignments for various clients, mixing my work up is always welcome, allowing me to try out new things and just grow as an overall photographer.
I’ve also taken on a small content creation job for a local group of restaurants, this comprises some video as well as photo work, mostly food and location shots this side job is a nice source of constant income and allows me to build my food photography skills.
This year I took my forth trip to Iceland, I’ve got a separate blog post with many more photos detailing what I got up to at this wonderful place, but here is some video I shot on a combination of the Fuji X-H1, GoPro Hero 5 and DJI Mavic Air drone. Enjoy!
To SUM UP:
It’s been another cracking year, work has been busy and varied, just how I like it. I’ve been trying to streamline even more and become more efficient in the way I work, as well as refine my gear and learn as many new skills as possible.
I’m aiming to spend 2019 working as much as possible and buying very little [hopefully none] gear upgrades, just rocking with what I have and growing each aspect of my business.
Stay tuned to the blog for what I’m up to and for a more up to date feed my Instagram is the place to be, thanks for reading, I hope you have a great 2019.