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Five ‘hit-me-over-the-head’ lessons I learnt last year.

So, here’s the thing. I know it’s February…. I know, technically, yearly reviews should be done at the end of the year or at least at the very beginning of the next *slaps own wrists*.

The truth is – I find January really difficult. Yes, there’s the hangover from all the festive fun, there’s the greyness, there’s all the new year resolutions bouncing around… we all struggle with this. But, as a portrait photographer, January…. well, January isn’t great. It’s too cold/wet/generally miserable to do much actual taking of gorgeous portraits. Plus I always have the dreaded Tax-Return-of-Doom to get sorted. Eugh.

But January is now OVER! I’m doing a little happy-February-dance now. (Really, I am. With loud music blaring.) And I’m fired up with new, exciting plans and thinking about what I learnt last year and how it will effect this year’s plans.

So, instead of a little segway of my favourite photos from last year, here are 5 photos that have taught me business AND life lessons in 2013. Sounds deep but really it’s simple. I am always learning…  about photography, about running my own business and about myself. And I’m ready for the next set of lessons 2014 is going to bring me – in fact I am blowing a party-popper in the face of 2014! BRING IT ON.

Creative Photography Workshops for Parents in Surrey

Lesson 1: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new
I can teach! And I really enjoy it AND, according to my feedback, I’m pretty good at it too! Last year saw me pushing myself out of my comfort zone and launching Photography Workshops for Parents. I’ve now run lots of them and I love it! I get a real buzz out of helping people to learn and capture better photos.

Charity head-shave photoLesson 2: People are amazing. I can capture this through my photography.
I get to meet the most amazing people through my work. Sometimes, its amazing on a big scale, like Ellie, who shaved off all her hair to raise money for charity. Sometimes it’s just the simple stuff: families and the love they have, or women who are terrified of having their photo taken but are doing it anyway. I capture this through portraits. So, the lesson is, I don’t just ‘take photos’ –  I capture amazing big and little stories and I get to show it back to people.

Photo of HRH Countess of WessexLesson 3: I need to have faith in myself and my creative ability.
It’s taken me a few years to have the confidence to say this. When you are in a creative profession, it’s far too easy to compare yourself and criticise yourself. Last year saw me take on a really scary commission: to photograph a Princess! But I did it, and I did it well and the charity I did this for were thrilled. They had faith in me from the start.Commerical photography for businesses Lesson 4: I am really good at making people feel at ease.
In 2013, I met a group of ladies who were on a retreat to help them move forwards with taking control of their body, fitness and eating habits. And they let me take photos of them in this process. Which makes them super-brave. And I learnt that it makes me a person who is good at working with even the most camera-shy people and making them feel relaxed and ultimately putting their trust in me.

Beautiful, natural children's photography in Surrey Lesson 5: It’s not just a saying – children really do just grow up so quickly
Last year saw my eldest daughter turn 10. The realisation hit me with a jolt that she really isn’t a little girl anymore. I look at this photo and I see a glimpse of the young adult she is going to become. It honestly does not feel 10 years ago that I first held her in my arms. I feel simultaneously proud, terrified and sad. You cannot turn back time, you can only embrace it, capture it so that you remember it, and be thankful you have more of it to look forward to.



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