I can’t quite believe how quickly this year has gone by, it’s crazy, isn’t it?!
I started the year having only been in business for just over 12 months. I had a lot of training booked in already, and I started thinking about whether it was time to start looking at studios. I was really in two minds because I hadn’t been going very long, I worried about the financial commitment of a studio but also knew I was ready for the next step and to get my house back to a home again.
The first training day that I went on this year was in Manchester in February. It was all about Fine Art Lighting with one of the best Portrait Photographers in the UK. I stayed overnight the night before and then hopped on a train home straight after. My friends were all having a gathering in Cornwall and I’d already said I couldn’t make it...but then during the train journey home I decided to make a late appearance! We were dancing in my friend’s kitchen until 3am...oops! That was a long day! Anyway, it was this training that really spurred me on to start looking for a studio. The training was held in a lovely large studio with plenty of space and I really wanted a bit of that! I’d been shooting at home since 2017 and while I was lucky enough to be able to fit a large backdrop in my kitchen / diner, space was still often an issue and I knew that having a bigger environment would be so much better. I was also using my bedrooms for Boudoir Shoots and my cellar to store everything, so whilst my partner was very understanding and supportive, I pretty much took over the entire house with my business!
The following week I started making enquiries, it was quite disheartening to start with as everything that was available was just a big rectangular room for a significant amount of money each month. Then the estate agent showed me two rooms in a roof of an old school at The Millfields, it was perfect! I waited impatiently while he liaised with the owner, who was (inconveniently) on holiday at the time, only to be told in the end that another school wanted to take over the whole building. So back to square one we went. He said ‘I’ve got a shop, you need to see it’ I thought it was going to be too small but I went along to view it anyway. It was even more perfect! A large area for the studio portraits, two bedrooms for the boudoir sessions and a room just for makeovers! It needed A LOT of work. And I mean A LOT. I finally got the keys in March and then spent the next 7 weeks clearing and painting every inch of the place. I had a builder with me for a month and lots of help from friends and family that I am so very grateful for! I started shooting there in May and it was absolutely wonderful! The light in the bedrooms is spot on and there is plenty of space for everything else, including my large collection of dresses & lingerie. It was amazing to put the finishing touches to all the rooms and when my sign went up on the outside I almost cried! I couldn’t believe what a transformation had taken place after feeling so overwhelmed on day 1 when I realised just how much work was needed.
During this crazy time I also went back up to the Midlands for some refresher training in Maternity & Newborn Photography. I hadn’t been for almost 18 months so it was great to update my knowledge. I also attended an outdoor photography workshop on Dartmoor with one of the best photographers in the world. I couldn’t believe she was coming to Devon all the way from Canada! So despite the £1k price tag, it was too good to miss out on! In August I had a training day with a different newborn photographer, she taught me how to do the ‘froggy’ pose, a pose I’d never attempted before but felt confident to afterwards once I knew how to safely. It’s now my favourite pose and parents adore it!
This year, I’ve photographed 20 babies, 20 bumps, 30 families and over 100 boudoir sessions. There are so many favourites for lots of different reasons but here are a few…
January - Chloe is my cousin and suffers with anxiety, this shoot gave her such a confidence boost and it was amazing for me to be able to do that for her.
February - Charlotte is one of my beautiful Make Up Artists and it was just so lovely to photograph her with her gorgeous little boy, Levi.
March - Emilia had already had a maternity & newborn shoot with me, and was very conscious of how her gorgeous tummy had stretched during her 2nd pregnancy. She was working hard to try and firm it up in the lead up to her shoot but in the end decided instead to embrace it. She is the most adorable person I’ve ever met and I felt so privileged to do this with her.
April - Claire had already had a maternity & newborn shoot with me and booked a family shoot on Good Friday as that was the only time all her family were together. I was in the middle of decorating the new studio at this point so it was such a welcome change for me to head out in to the lovely sunshine for this shoot. And I just love this natural image with all the bluebells!
May - Ashleigh arrived in a fluster, worrying about whether my dresses would fit and partially regretting her decision to book a maternity session. I’ve fallen in love with this wonderful girl who has since had a newborn and boudoir shoot with me. She is raising two beautiful children with her amazing partner and also studying for a degree. Ashleigh, I’m one of your biggest fans!
June - Agniezca had planned her session for a long time. She wanted a boudoir shoot but also really wanted to wear this maternity dress. ‘Of course’ I said! She’s also one of my favourite ladies, she is still so kind with her words about me and my work and I am so very fond of her!
July - Jo and her family were just so beautiful to photograph together, she is raising three amazing little people!
August - Oh Hannah :) She won’t mind me saying that she was one of the most demanding ladies I’ve ever worked with. She knew exactly what she wanted and was over the moon with her images and so kind about my work. Hannah, you know you’re one of my favourites!
September - Sophie wanted a bridal themed boudoir session as a gift for her soon to be groom. She also wanted to create an image that showed her disability didn’t limit her. I absolutely love this image! Sophie, you are beautiful!
October - Carla’s little lady Orla. This was one of my first attempts at froggy and I was so pleased with it. But other than that, Carla and Nick are just two of the loveliest people I’ve ever met and were so grateful for their images that it brought me to tears. Thank you so much you two, for your kind words when I needed it the most!
November - Tamsyn & Jorjia. These two best friends had a maternity shoot together, it was so special! Tamsyn is also a photographer so I felt so flattered that she chose me to do this with her. These girls were like oil paintings!
December - A little Christmas bundle just for me to celebrate how much I’ve come on this year with my newborn work. Also little Theo’s parents were so very lovely, another family that I feel very lucky to have met.
As I come to the end of this blog post, after reflecting on my year, I must admit that I feel pretty warm and fuzzy inside. I left behind a full on job in a completely different sector and this lovely year that I’ve had has made me know even more than ever that it was entirely the right decision to make. I have amazing support from friends & family, I work with the most wonderful team of Make-Up Artists and have been extremely lucky to have welcomed the most loveliest people to my studio. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings! THANK YOU ALL
Merry Christmas everyone...and a Happy New Year, with lots of Ruby Light Love from me!