I've just moved all the birthdays and anniversaries from my 2016 diary to a birthday book (so now I can stop that yearly totally unnecessary ritual). Looking back through 2016 prompted a whole lot of procrastination going through the year's galleries and although I did it for myself to take stock and get ready for the year ahead, I thought I'd put out a little digital, visual version of those Christmas letters we used to get from our mum's buddies. You know the ones that tell everyone what GCSE's their grandchildren had passed and what holiday mishaps and minor ailments they'd had during the year.
First; here are my favourite portraits. People have had them taken for all sorts of reasons and it's been really lovely to meet all of these.. now I'm noticing.. mostly women.. There's been kids photo sessions, baby sessions, quite a few people who just needed a decent picture for their website bios/linked in etc. or to show relatives abroad who hadn't seen them for a while. I did my first maternity session which I was a bit scared of because of the cheesiness but in the end I loved it!
These are my favourites from times when someone's had a product or a service they've needed visuals of, or an event for their charity or business. Lots of others couldn't be shared because of clients wanting them to be kept private for various reasons. I've felt really lucky to be invited to these events and even luckier that I've been there doing my job which I love. I also really appreciate that people have put so much time and energy into their businesses and they've trusted me with how the public will view their hard work.
I started the year with a wedding I had photographed a few months earlier being featured in 'Rock 'n Roll Bride. I've looked at that blog for wedding photography and business inspiration for a long time so I was out of control excited about it. Over the year I've taken lots of photos for 'The Line' magazine which is made by 'Make it Ealing', it's really community spirited and shows the people of Ealing and what's going on around where I live. The edition I was most proud to have photos featured in was the Spring one where I shot the cover and lots of portraits of Ealing residents, including a doll with a monobrow and a mole that matches mine! In the Summer I was asked to explain the story behind my favourite carnival picture for Time Out magazine and it was put in their '50 years of Notting Hill Carnival' feature.
No two of the weddings that I've photographed have been the same but that couldn't have been truer this year. There have been church weddings in Hedge End, Ealing and Rome, Town Hall Weddings in Ealing and Chelsea, a pre-wedding ceremony and just the portraits at a very bejewelled wedding in Wembley. I get asked if I've got bored of weddings yet and I can safely say I can't imagine that happening. They're such fast paced, happy, emotional days, I'd be physically exhausted if I did them every day but I was just as excited about the last one I photographed as the first, but a lot less nervous! I still have one wedding left for 2016 but that'll have to have a blogpost of it's own.
I photographed this beautiful wedding in October but before I'd put any pictures on my website, I found out it would be featured in London Bride Magazine so I held the pictures back so I could show them all at the same time. London Bride only gets printed and published once a year so it was such an honour to have my photos featured and really great to have them in a magazine that's so specific to the city where I live. The pictures wouldn't have been featured without the cooperation of the people in them and all the wonderful details they organised for their wedding so thank you so much (if you've got this far in my rambling!). Bridebook is a company that I follow on Instagram because they show lovely wedding pictures. They're hosting wedding awards in the new year and I've been nominated. I was a little wary because I thought it would be more of a judge of how many people you can get to click on the link than your skills as photographer but it's not completely vote based. Initially the nominees need votes, then the ones with the most votes will have their work assessed by judges. Their site doesn't ask for your email address or name when you vote, so if you'd like to, all you do is click here, scroll down to the 'give vote' button and click on it. I'd really appreciate it.
I've taken lots of personal pictures this year too that I haven't put in here. There's been outings, bigger trips, dancing around but also a whole lot of sitting at my computer in tracksuit bottoms.
I also went to my brothers wedding. I wasn't the photographer; I helped him and his fiancee find a photographer they loved so I could be fully present on the day. I was so happy to be a bridesmaid. I wanted to spend the day with my friends and family and see my brother getting married and throw confetti, laugh, cry, eat and dance. I know that personally, if I had been taking pictures, I would have had a moody resting face and a camera between me and all the lovely things happening. It would have been a completely different experience. I got a tiny little camera that fit in a clutch bag. I banned myself from taking any photos during the ceremonies or key moments where there might be the slightest chance of me missing out or affecting the photographer's photos e.g. confetti throwing, speeches, group photos, bride and groom portraits, cutting the cake and the first dance. This was REALLY hard for me and I practically had to sit on my hands but my brother wasn't expecting me to take those pictures and I didn't 'need' them for myself. I took casual pictures outside of those times and they won't win any competitions or anything but that wasn't why I was there.
I think that was a bit of a defining moment for me this year because as a photographer I feel like I should always be taking photos. It was a bit of a relief accepting that everyone needs a day off every now and then.
So, I hope that this Christmas you can schedule in some proper days off too, enjoy yourself and get ready for a wonderful 2017!
All the best, Maria.