OK. So 2020 may not have panned out the way that I thought it would. I started the year with a calendar full of beautiful weddings, excited about all the wonderful venues I would be visiting - some new, some very familiar. The busiest year I'd had for a while. All looked good.
And then the world threw a pandemic at us. So that was that.
The above is a wonderful expression often used by a fantastic photographer and friend of mine, Sanjay Jogia.
Google him. The guy is amazing. Sanjay's life mentality is just incredible. He has achieved so much in his career to become an ambassador for Canon among many other brands and I believe a lot of his success is down to how he approaches life. He's always positive. Always searching for the next opportunity, looking for the next big thing. When lockdown hit, I'll be honest I spent the first couple of days wandering around the house, filling time with mundane tasks, not really knowing what I was doing.
Then, I got to thinking that, to come out of this stronger, to still be doing what I love at the other end of this crazy time, I needed to evolve. I needed to get my act together, get motivated and not just sit by and watch while the whole world turned itself upside down.
So I can't shoot weddings this year. Or I can now, but only with 30 people. Or maybe 50. Or no hang on, 30 but they all have to wear masks. Unless they're in the pub. Outdoors is OK, but receptions are not. Unless they're in a pub.
It's literally laughable. And heartbreaking for so many suppliers and couples who have seen weddings postpone again and again.
But we have to play to our strengths and do what we love. We have to adapt, evolve, move forward.
Which is what brought me to pushing my portrait photography this summer. In previous years, I've never have time to do much of this. I've always worked part time alongside a full calendar of weddings which usually sees me reaching for a huge bottle of wine most nights to ease the stress and then falling asleep at my desk under a mountain of editing come the end of July! (I do love it though, honest!)
What I missed most about lockdown was people! I think we all did. But as a hugely sociable person, with a job based purely around people, I really struggled. To be back out photographing couples, families, horses, pets...I'm absolutely loving it!
I'm currently in the middle of 12 sessions at the Confetti Fields in Pershore. SUCH a beautiful place and one that only opens to the public for 10 days each summer. I've booked in a range of engagement shoots, couple sessions and family sessions over three separate days and it's just the most fun ever! A lot of the families I am working with are couples whose weddings I photographed a few years back and I'm now getting to meet their children - amazing!
I'm also doing a lot of work with horses, both as commissioned portrait sessions and at events. This is another passion of mine both as a hobby and in a photography sense, and one I've been able to embrace so much more this year than ever before.
I guess we just have to look for the opportunities among the disappointments this year, and find the silver linings around all of the clouds. I've certainly felt 100% better since getting out there more and falling in love with my job again. It's become a passion again as well as work, which was a balance I was beginning to find difficult with such a heavy and monotonous workload. As rubbish as it has been, 2020 - lockdown, pandemic, cancellations galore - has taught me a lot about myself, my strengths and weaknesses, and where I want to be at the end of it.
And for that I'm actually really thankful.