Scrolling through Instagram last night for inspo on what this could be I found a cringe post from January which stated “This is my year!” Less than 2 months after that, we were in full national lockdown, I had two weeks of notice left to work at the day job, wasn’t eligible for any sort of financial support from the government and EVERY SINGLE THING that was in my diary was cancelled or postponed. I was well and truly on the Coronacoaster. And if I’m honest, I still am. I’m not sure that 2021 will be the “busier than ever year” that we all thought it would be either and I think it’s going to be a challenge.
BUT….it turned out in things I have learnt about myself this year, there ain’t nothing quite like a global pandemic and economic crisis to kick me up the butt!
Here are my top 20 photos of 2020 – not because I think they are my best work, but because of what they MEAN to me. (And narrowing them from the tens of thousands of photos I took this year was a tough task!)
1. Wayne, Jana & Alvin.
Ahh the calm before the storm. This was my first photoshoot of 2020 and I was pleased with how it went. This is the type of photograph I want to take – natural, in the moment, not looking at the camera.
2. Mont Blanc.
Hubby and I managed to get away for four glorious nights over the Valentines weekend. Didn’t realise quite how lucky we were at the time. Obviously, I took my camera as I’m a fan of the occasional landscape – but not a fan of sitting still for hours on end waiting for the perfect conditions. Thankfully, I didn’t need to wait for this one. Whilst we were there I learnt of Caroline Flack’s suicide and felt totally shocked and saddened for her. And then we were all telling each other to BE KIND!
3. Carly & Dan.
I’d quit my day job for the busy wedding season of 2020….and this was the day before the national lockdown began. A beautiful day, with lots of hand sanitizer everywhere, and one I drove home from in floods of tears as I knew it would be my last for a long time.
It was tough for everyone, but a real double whammy for parents as we had little people who had just had their worlds turned upside down too to soothe, entertain and home-school, whilst also trying to hold down jobs and save our livelihoods. We did a lot of baking. And the weather was good, so we did a lot of playing. I did a lot of playing with my camera too as I didn’t know when I’d next shoot for a client, so I spent the time learning and honing my craft.
5. The Mclean Family.
By April everyone in my house was sick of me and my camera, so I decided to see if any of the school Mums locally fancied a doorstep shoot. This was to ease my boredom and to give them a little memory. I was overwhelmed with the response and suddenly found myself getting on my bike and cycling all over the place taking a grand total of 273 doorstep photos. These saved my business and my sanity, I met lots of new people, and accidentally got myself in front of some of my ideal clients. This pic is one of my absolute faves as it is pure love, joy and expression.
6. Emily & Toby.
On what should have been their wedding day. Still smiling, still waiting patiently to get married after the second lockdown thwarted attempt number 2. I absolutely cannot wait to photograph these two when they finally get down that aisle for real.
7. My Mum & Bob.
I don’t really need to expand on why this photo is important to me. But I missed them. Lots. And going into their garden to “do my job” was a way to see them.
8. Connie & Reuben.
This was my first proper shoot after lockdown had begun. I was still trotting round Wetherby doing doorsteps, but the twins had arrived and I was able to do work in people’s gardens by then, and what a privilege it was!
Again, didn’t quite realise how lucky this was, but we got up to Northumberland for a week in July and it was just what we all needed. Quite literally, a breath of fresh air. Of course, holidaying in the UK brought mixed weather, but we couldn’t have been happier with this glorious day at Embleton Bay.
10. Golden Hour.
I’ve always dreamt of photographing a couple on their wedding day looking out across a cornfield during a sunset. And in August, I got my chance. Except it wasn’t a real wedding, it was one of a series of styled wedding shoots I created for myself to keep my wedding photography skills sharp in the absence of weddings.
11. The Rimmer family.
These are my extremely camera-shy friends. “You’ve got your work cut out with us!” they confidently assured me. They did not think their shoot had gone well. Well…...I love surprising people with photographic evidence that things had indeed gone well.
12. The Ross family.
After lockdown rules started to ease in the summer, I was allowed back in my clients’ homes, and for a few months business was going great guns. I was really busy on newborn and family shoots both indoor and outdoor. I was meeting wonderful clients and really honing my style.
I also did some brand photography for some amazing businesses. I haven’t pushed this too much in the past as I wasn’t sure it could be reflective of my style. Turns out, it can.
14. Gemma & Al.
I couldn’t do their original wedding date in May as I was already booked. But then that all got cancelled and I could do their new one at the end of October. This was my first covid wedding, and it was still really beautiful and full of emotion and expression, despite all the face masks.
15. William & Joseph.
These two cheeky chappies belong to one of my best friends and we had a secret mission to Otley Chevin in October to get some photos to be dished out for Christmas presents. Obviously, it means a lot when friends ask me to photograph their kids, but this year it has been even more special as it’s been one of the only ways I’ve been able to spend any time with them.
16. The unexpected shots are the best.
Taken right after I’d thrust the camera at my husband and requested a “natural” (haha) photo of me and the kids. I’d walked away and noticed them chatting and laughing away to each other so spun round and snapped this little moment. 2020 with young kids has not been easy, they’ve squabbled A LOT, but then you get the moments like this to remind you why you had two kids in close succession and to make you truly thankful that you did.
17. Let the Adventure Begin!
This was a last-minute photoshoot I picked up from one of the wedding groups I’m in. Loads of other photographers put their hand in for it too, so naturally I assumed I wouldn’t get the gig. But I did, and what that led to was meeting one of my business bestie’s and planning loads of exciting collaborations for 2021 and beyond. This was a reminder to myself to always say YES to the opportunities as you never know where they might lead.
18. A festive doorstep smooch.
Once again, the rug was pulled from under my feet with a November lockdown and still no financial support, as I hadn’t qualified for it the first time. I wrote to my MP explaining that I had now been in business for 3 years….and I was offered the wonderful opportunity to take a loan out. So, I turned that down and did what I do best, got my camera out and took another 68 doorstep photos – with a festive twist. And they really warmed my cockles and cheered me right up.
19. Twinkle Twinkle….
This is MY little star, gusset on show, shoes on the wrong feet and completely perfect to me, at her school nativity. Which went ahead with no audience and I was lucky enough to photograph it, raising £187 of much needed funds for the school. This year was tough beyond belief for this little lady, she had nowhere to go when big bro returned to year 1 for those 6 weeks back in June, and she missed her friends and interaction with others to the point she became a little bit scared of other people. Getting started at school has done her the world of good and is much needed, in my opinion.
20. A happy ending to 2020 and one of the greatest love stories.
Martin & Juliette met as teens and were each other’s first loves. Life and university took them in different directions. And 30 years later, during the first lockdown Juliette decided to look Martin up, assuming he’d be all settled with a wife and a family. Turns out he’d never quite found “the one” and he’s been thinking about her all this time too. So, they married on a crisp December day, and I was the lucky one who got to photograph it.
And that my friends was 2020. As we go into 2021 in a state of further uncertainty and in our new tiers, let’s just remember to be kind. Yesterday I witnessed two people I know, who I’m fairly sure shared the “BE KIND” message, being anything BUT kind online to people not from their area. Blaming others is not going to stop this virus. Hunkering down, doing what we need to do, and taking the vaccine when it’s available, is.
Peace, love and hopes for a better 2021.xx