1. Joined a photographic society
One of the biggest differences of this year was joining The Societies of Wedding and Portrait photographers and I have been making great use of all their benefits. I have submitted to their monthly competitions and even won a highly commended award! I also won a highly commended award for two further images with the National Photographic Society (NPS). I also use their mentor program, which has been a game changer for me.
2. 1-1 Training
The training day I had with Gary Hill (The Art of the Portrait) made me completely revaluate all my previous work! I feel like I can see much more clearly what I need to improve on and how to achieve what I want to before a session. I can plan effectively with lighting and posing and can focus more on connection with subjects during a shoot. Below are two portraits I captured during the training session.
3. Upgraded to Strobe Lighting
One of the first steps to improving my photography this year was to upgrade my current lighting system from continuous to strobe lighting. I did a lot of research into this and decided to go with 'Elinchrome's D-Light RX 4's. They have been amazing and honestly have taken my photography to the next level.
4. Upgraded Backdrops
I also decided to switch from my vinyl backdrops (which are still great as wipe-clean options for cake-smash photoshoots) to fleece backdrops, from Kate Backdrop. I initially bought them as they were able to ship quickly and I wanted a more painterly look. They look so beautiful in the final images and so I have ordered more of them since! The texture is beautiful and they look very painterly. They are also much bigger backdrops, so I can fit many more full length people in family photoshoots than before, and still have room around the edges!
5. Lightroom to Photoshop
For the majority of my work, I have previously been using lightroom. I kept photoshop for making big changes to an image such as swapping faces or newborn composites. I am now moving my whole editing process over to photoshop as, although it is more time consuming, I truly believe I am able to offer a much more refined image through the extra tools on there. I am easily able to enlarge and reframe each image, rather than only being able to crop smaller. Textures, brushes and colour adjustment are also a lot more effective. I could spend a long time explaining more, but instead, I have shown the difference below - yes, they are the same image; I have used parts of other images in photoshop to make the family's pose flow better.
6. Won three awards!!
I felt very nervous to enter competitions this year for the first time! I was really encouraged by the process and that I actually won three highly commended awards this year (two below and one was at the top of this blog)!
I was absolutely thrilled to have my work published in Child Couture Magazine in their December 'Wonderland' Issue.
I submitted some of my images to be featured for the first time this year. I was very proud for my images to be selected and featured by Gallery of Refined Art (on facebook) and Rise International Photography Awards (on instagram).
9. NICU Project
I am still offering completely free NICU photoshoot sessions to parents with babies at St Michael's and Southmead NICUs. I am planning to continue this as long as possible despite things becoming more busy in studio! I love this project as it has helped me make a difference to many parents in such a difficult situation and provided something 'normal' in a circumstance that is far from it! My work there was featured on BBC Radio Bristol (on facebook) and I was also interviewed on their breakfast show.