Today marks one year since the launch of my business, which gives me an opportunity to think about my growth, my mistakes and my plans for the future. Knowing that I have successfully owned a business for one whole year fills me with great pride and pushes me to keep pushing myself, improving my craft and working my socks off to ensure many more years of being immersed in the world of photography. Here is a little personal evaluation of the last year and a rundown of my hopes and dreams for 2016, so grab a warm beverage and enjoy.
It would be easy to look back at some of my earlier work and lock it in a box, throw away the key, burn said box and pretend it never happened. I'm really glad that I haven't done that. Looking back at the first shoot I did as part of my photography business allows me to focus on my improvement, something that I think every creative struggles with. I can spend hours literally just staring at my work, analysing, criticising and picking it apart. I don't view that as a negative, it drives me to improve with every shoot and learn from my mistakes, but it is definitely good to see my latest shoot side by side with my oldest and to be able to give myself a pat on the back. When I think of myself, just a year ago, dragging my poor friends across freezing cold hills, fumbling with my settings with no creative vision whatsoever (shoutout to Abbie and Jake for being both patient and completely lovely about it all), compared to the flow I now find myself in fills me with confidence and a certain satisfaction. The great thing, though, is knowing I haven't, and never will, stopped learning. I want to be able to see the same improvement this time next year, and the year after. It drives me to keep pushing myself, keep analysing my work and keep spending as much time learning, growing and keeping a sharp focus on my goals. I also hope it shows anyone who is still at the fumbling stage how much you can achieve.
2015 also saw a change in direction with my brand. As my business grew and I started to discover not only my ideal client base but also myself as an artist, I started to see a change in the way I saw my business and, respectively, my brand. After road testing my new branding for a few months, I can now say I have a brand that really represents my corner of the industry strongly, something that I can be proud of rather than apologetic for and something that is truly me. You can read a more thorough rundown of why I changed my branding here.
Improvement - My main goal for the next year is simply to improve. I have very specific vision in mind about the direction I want my work to take with regards to style, composition and artistry which I really hope to achieve over the next year.
Education - Something I would LOVE to do is to begin to educate others when it comes to photography. I have a few opportunities in my path and some plans in the back of my mind which I hope will come to the forefront in 2015.
Film - Film is a format that has been constantly inspiring and drawing me in over the past year and I took my first step towards incorporating film into my workflow in the form of purchasing my EOS3. I plan to spend the next few months working towards my goal of shooting hybrid by the end of this year.
Fashion - Although my main focus is on documenting love, I have always been fascinated by the world of fashion photography. One of my aims for 2016 is to be braver with my work and take more risks, so I hope to do this in the form of entering the fashion industry in some form during the next year.
Travel - The tail end of 2015 saw us head to the far east to visit the beautiful Thailand and in doing so saw me discover I new found love of travel photography. We have so many travel plans for the next year and so incorporating travel photography to my portfolio should be something that comes naturally.
The Best Bits
This past year has truly been the best of my life for so many reasons. Building my own business and having a project that truly belongs to me has upscaled my happiness in so many more ways than I had thought was possible. I have met some incredible people, worked on some beautiful projects and seen my own progress as the months have passed by. Having my own business has forced me to work on my people skills, my organisation and my motivation, it has given my work value. There is not a shoot that goes by that I don't sit and scroll through my images, smiling to myself at the fact that this is my job. So I'll let those images do the talking for a moment, as I share some of my favourite photographs of the past year, both personal and proffesional.