I’m a bit late I know! I planned to post this review of the year at the end of December, but I was just too busy in the run up to Christmas, sorting out last minute orders and trying to get as many portrait sessions edited as possible. So it’s had to wait until after the Christmas holidays (which I’m still officially on for one more precious day!). 2011 was a brilliant year for me, and it started off with so much excitement and uncertainty. My business was in its very early stages, my appointments book was empty, and I had no idea if I’d be able to survive the year. Fast forward 12 months and I’ve photographed 16 newborns, 6 babies, 5 families, 4 engagement shoots, 2 models, 2 corporate headshots, 2 graduations, a conference and 7 solo weddings, not to mention second shooting 24 more weddings. I really couldn’t have asked for more from my first full year as a full-time professional photographer, and I can’t believe the difference 12 months can make. Here’s my year, in pictures : )
January – March 2011
I started 2011 with a trip to The Societies Photographic Convention in London, where I was lucky enough to sit in on seminars by some of the biggest names in photography today. On my return I was inspired to set up a model shoot with aspiring model Orlagh Flynn in Lady Dixon Park.
January can be a slow time for photographers, even more so for a photographer who’s just starting out, so I had plenty of time for strolling around parks, doing some personal photography and working on my “desktop backgrounds” folder!
Newborns Kieran and Erin were my first little baby clients of the year : )
In February, I shot my first ever wedding, the marriage of Emma & James at Larchfield Estate. I loved every minute of it and suddenly I was hooked on weddings. I knew that I had to accelerate the plans to build the wedding side of my business, my plans to build it slowly over 2-5 years went straight out the window! I was absolutely chuffed when this wedding was featured on the amazing blog Rock n Roll Bride.
April – May 2011
My first family photoshoot of 2011 was with the McLaughlin family at Inch Abbey. Beautiful Cara was one of my favourite little models of the year.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 was to undertake more training, so in April I hopped on the plane to Birmingham for a wedding photography course with wedding and music photographer Steve Gerrard. Walking round the back streets of Brum with two gorgeous models, we learned loads and got some fab shots. An added bonus was meeting and chatting to lots of other like-minded photographers at dinner – it was almost worth the trip just for the chats : )
Baby Jasmine was an absolute star in May.
Something a bit different with twitter friend and keen cyclist Lisa!
May also saw me start to regularly second shoot weddings for local wedding photographer Janine Walker. I feel so lucky that she chose me to be her assistant, I’ve learned so much and we’ve had loads of laughs. We started off with a wet one, the first of many this year! : )
By June the wedding season was in full swing. As well as second shooting, I had two weddings of my own this month. The first was the wedding of Wendy and James at the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, a fun day full of laughs.
Newborns Sadhbh and Sonny kept the cuteness factor of the blog high!
My next wedding was the marriage of Suzi and Fabien at Belfast City Hall and the Slieve Donard hotel. I absolutely loved the intimate feel of a wedding with just immediate family present. I’m certain I’ll remember this day fondly for a long time.
Connemara in Co Galway was my destination at the start of July, for the gorgeous wedding of Niamh & Franck. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful backdrop for wedding photos, even in the pouring rain – I’m a lucky photographer! I got even luckier when this wedding was featured on the amazing blog Rock My Wedding. Some of these photos also accompanied an article about my wedding competition, which appeared in my favourite magazine Photo Professional.
I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities, so when my old PhD supervisor asked me to be the official photographer for a physics conference that was being held at Queen’s University Belfast in July, I jumped at the chance. My role was basically to capture everything that happened in a relaxed and informal style, which suited me perfectly since that’s exactly the approach I take to my wedding photography. I definitely enjoyed the week-long challenge.
On the personal side, my good friend Clara and cousin Hollie both graduated this summer. I also attended the wedding of my friend Geraldine (as a guest for once!), and I couldn’t resist getting some shots of the first dance. You’ll also see a bit of a rarity below – a photo of me! The old cliché about photographers hating being on the other end of the lens is so true when it comes to me, so this photo of my boyfriend and me is a collector’s item : )
Baby Freya just had the best head of hair ever! And baby Carter was well looked after by his big brothers Cohen and Cooper.
In July I also finally got round to organising a shoot-up, where local photographers could get together to chat, share tips and photograph our model for the day, Debbie. It’s always great to try something a bit different in your spare time, keep the creativity flowing! I also took the opportunity to take some photos for fellow photographer Colin Tuff, whose wedding I would also shoot this year.
August started as July ended, taking photos of Colin! But this time he was joined by his lovely fiancée Cheryl for their engagement shoot in Lady Dixon Park. I love engagement shoots because it really gives me a chance to get to know couples, and it’s usually a good laugh too : )
I managed to take a few days off to visit family in August, and we went retro by visiting the seaside at Portrush – lots of childhood memories!
There were, of course, more babies on the blog, this time Mya and Jude were the stars. This photo of Mya would later appear in Photo Professional Magazine, in an article about the International Professional Photographers’ Network, of which I’m a proud member.
I absolutely loved photographing the Hughes family in my home town of Derry – though their dog Harvey did steal the show!
By now these two need no introduction – September saw Cheryl and Colin’s wedding at Ballygally Castle. Photographing a wedding photographer’s wedding was nerve-wracking to say the least, but a great honour at the same time, and it was a brilliant day.
September was all about the newborns! Two babies called Jack (here and here), a boy called Teddy and a little girl called Lacey-Eve – so much cuteness : )
On a rare day of sunshine, I got out and about in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens for Nicole and Adam’s engagement shoot.
As we rolled into October, I thought that thing might start to calm down a bit, but I found myself busier than ever. This month I did two of my favourite photoshoots ever, but unfortunately I’m not able to show the photos for privacy reasons – that makes me sad!! One set of photos that I can show were taken at a charity shoot for 3 year old Billy, whose mum is trying to raise money for an operation that will allow him to walk again.
Ben and Violet were the newborn stars of October…
… but I think Lillie stole the show with her cute pink tutu : )
Adele and Connor were married on 11.11.11, a date to remember! I’m sure they won’t forget the torrential rain in a hurry either, this was definitely my wettest wedding yet. They held their wedding reception at the Redcastle Hotel in Donegal
November saw lots more babies – newborns Freya and Olivia and older babies Sophie and Caleb.
I also had the pleasure of shooting family photos for Caleb’s older brothers Ethan and Aidan, as you can imagine photographing boys this age is hectic but fun! I also spent an afternoon at the Argory with another Ethan and his big sister Rebekah – lots of gorgeous late-autumn colours meant it was one of my favourite locations of the year.
December for me was all about getting as much editing done before Christmas as possible. A busy November meant a huge to-do list so I only took on one portrait shoot this month. I’m very glad it was with baby Harry, celebrating his first Christmas : )
The highlight of the month for me was definitely heading over to Glasgow to photograph Jo-anne and Fraser’s gorgeous winter wedding at the House for an Art Lover.
With such a busy summer, I didn’t have time for a holiday this year, so my boyfriend and I decided to go for a last minute trip to Paris just before Christmas. It was a much needed rest!
And I think that pretty much sums up my 2011, well done to anyone who made it to the end of this mammoth blog post! Thanks so much to everyone who I’ve met and photographed this year, it really has been brilliant and has exceeded all my expectations. I’m so excited about the weddings I’ve got coming up in 2012, and I’m sure there will be many more gorgeous babies and families on the blog too.
Happy New Year to all of my blog readers! : )