2013 Review

December 27th, 2013

It’s that time of year again where I get to look back and reflect on what was good, what was bad and what was really, really ugly. Truth be told, 2013 has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs. The first part of the year was quite difficult as I’d been struggling with my health, and although it was something I didn’t broadcast I was conscious that my business wasn’t moving as fast I wanted. I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and unfortunately two doctors had missed it, so for three years my symptoms had been growing to the point where I just couldn’t function. I never realised that left untreated it could cause so many problems. I’d got to the point where I just thought I was suffering from stress and also generally being a bit mardy! When I was finally diagnosed it was like a huge weight had been lifted – mainly because I realised I wasn’t being mardy AND it was treatable. High fives all round! By the middle of the year when my medication had kicked in I was finally starting to feel like myself again. This was also the point where I started to push my business in a whole new direction.

Not only did I start doing more interior photography, but back in July when Ian and I teamed up we also introduced videography. When a potential client asked me about property video, I thought ‘why the hell not?!’ We’d seen so many walkthroughs that all looked the same and we wanted to do something different. Luckily, Jennie – owner of Lushpads, a luxury apartment in the centre of Manchester also wanted something more unique, and so our first property video was born! It’s been a blast so far, and along with the current property video that we’re working on we also have another video project to release in the first part of next year. I’m really excited about this so watch this space!

Although 2013 has had its challenges, it’s also the year that I completed my first feature film! Yes, that’s right; Owen Parker is finally a wrap! I also worked on a Virgin Media Short that made it to the shortlist of the top 13 entries. Shooting unit stills is something that I started doing a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it. Although it’s not an easy area to get regular work from, this year I’ve been lucky enough to work on a number of projects. Aside from completing my first feature film, I’ve worked on a film trailer, a short film and some theatre productions. Unfortunately it’s also the year I learnt the hard way about shooting stills without a contract. For the past few months I’ve been in a less then desirable situation over some images I shot for a trailer and it’s really been getting me down. It’s the only shoot I’ve ever done where I’ve just wanted to turn around and say ‘Here, have your money back because it’s not worth the hassle’. If it was an option I would have jumped at the chance. I made a school boy error, and it’s one I’ll be sure not to make again, but I’m hoping the headache is finally over. On the flip side, when I felt completely lost and didn’t know which way to turn I got some industry advice from my favourite Hollywood stills photographer. For future shoots, it’s this advice that I’ll be following.

As each year goes by, I’m blown away by the people I meet and get to work with. This year has been no exception and I’ve shot and worked with some really lovely people. Whether it’s been on set, shooting headshots or being part of someone’s wedding day, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some really great people. This year I made the decision not to take on any weddings at all in 2014. I’ve got other projects that I want to work on, and I’m excited to be moving in new directions. It was a big decision, but as far as 2014 goes, it will be a wedding free year.

This is my third full year as a photographer and I feel like 2013 gave me the opportunity to grow into myself. I figured out which areas of photography I wanted to concentrate on and it became the year where I stopped saying yes to everything. Some shoots just don’t serve a purpose and you have to learn when to say no, otherwise you can end up putting a lot of time and energy into something that doesn’t feed you creatively. At one time I would have said yes to everything that came my way, but because I knew I was moving my business in a different direction, I had to ask myself what I would get out of each shoot. If I felt it didn’t serve a purpose, I didn’t do it, and it felt great.

Sometimes it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees, and when things aren’t going quite right it can be disheartening. But when things do go right, it feels amazing. Back in September Ian and I were shooting a video that meant we needed to go to the top of Mount Snowdon. As we stood at the top looking out above the clouds into the clear blue sky, it hit me that someone had paid us to come to the top of the world. I stood there for a second before throwing my head back and laughing out loud. It’s times like this that make me realise how lucky I am. Three years ago I took a leap. I stood on the edge my bridge and jumped into the unknown. It’s still scary, and it can be difficult at times but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

2013 has been a pretty turbulent year with many ups and downs but as the saying goes, ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’.

To everyone I’ve worked with this year, and every one of you who has taken the time to connect, comment, tweet, like, retweet and reach out, thank you. It means more than you will ever know.

Here’s to 2014. Bring it on!