So I’ve just spent the most incredible 4 days away with London Wedding Breakfast Club for Brunchfest 2019. (see some of last year here!) It was full of great food, laughter, friendships and inspiration. Whilst I didn’t actually photograph a lot this year when I did I definitely pushed myself to be more creative and approach things differently. I did a few headshots and I photographed some food which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I had my photos taken by fellow photographers and also did a lot of reflecting on myself as a person and as a business.
Now, just being as transparent and open here - I have depression and anxiety, so self reflection is something that I seem to do a lot! But I’ve started to be more open, talk a lot more about how I feel, and try and change the way I perceive things. I definitely feel I've grown and matured not only as a person but as a business owner over the past few years and I 100% think that it’s down to accepting my ‘flaws’ and being open about my mental health, in a way it makes it easier to compartmentalise things, accept them and move on.
So anyway, let’s get to the point of this shall we? I’m not one for really setting goals - I’ll set micro things to work towards, but I think having too many goals that we may not necessarily achieve then provides something negative to look at. I prefer to look back, I know some would say you shouldn’t and should just look forward, but looking back gives you an opportunity to recognise and give your self a huge fucking pat on the back for what you HAVE already done!
Let’s rewind to February 2017 - I was working part time as a visual merchandiser, which I did actually love doing, but also trying to pursue photography which I had been doing for the past couple of years, 2016 had been an awesome one in terms of weddings photographed, but I was working so much between the two that I had burnt out and massively took my foot off the marketing and therefore booked just 4 weddings. I was really frustrated and at a bit of a crossroads, do I take the easy route, put away my cameras and focus on dressing mannequins and window, or do I hand in my notice and some how just wing my way through the year and make it work… Hopefully it’s clear which route I took!
I second shot my way through the whole of 2017 and said yes to absolutely every opportunity that came my way, I fought hard with imposter syndrome, constantly feeling like someone was going to out me for the lack of jobs I had booked. But it never happened. Instead I made friends and connections, most through London Wedding Breakfast Club - I did styled shoots, experimented with different styles and ways to shoot and pushed myself when it came to marketing and social media. I put myself out there and the enquiries started to come in. With everyone I did a happy dance ( I still do, even more so when people book!) and I started to believe in myself. The more I believed and felt positive about what I was doing, I think the more others could see and feel that too. In the wise words of Ru Paul “If you can’t love yourself how the hell you gonna love someone else” works a bit here, in the sense that you need to be confident about yourself and your abilities and others will gravitate towards that too.
2018 was awesome, I shot some mega, mega weddings, for amazing couples that wanted what I was offering! They wanted my personality, my style, my laid back approach. Some were featured on blogs and magazines but above all each couple loved their photos which is the best feeling in the world. I learnt from my mistakes and continued to market myself throughout the year, I did the opposite of 2017 and said no to things (which is bloody scary!) but I didn’t need to do all of the shoots, I didn’t need all of the second shooting jobs, I needed to make sure I took time out for me and had a break so that I didn’t get lost and burn out again.
So fast forward to now, I had an ideal number of weddings I wanted to book and I achieved it. I have 20 epic weddings to photograph this year and I can’t wait! I have space for 5 more but am also happy if I don’t fill those spaces. I don’t want to overshoot and take on 40/50 weddings a year. I want to know those 20-25 couples I’m photographing, I want to spend time getting to know them, following their journeys on Instagram, taking the time not only on the day but after the day to edit their photos and design their albums. For me, any more than that number and I know that I would be compromising on my health and running the risk of not paying anyone enough attention. 2020 enquiries are coming in and i’m starting to fill my diary up.
It’s scary to post something like this, when I write, it comes from my mind straight to the keyboard. I don’t really edit what I write, I could go back and mask things, fluff things up, but I think it’s important to be honest and share the bad with the good. It’s hard to know how people will read into things too. You don’t want to scare future clients by admitting your mental health (there’s still such a stigma with it, but it doesn’t affect my ability to work, in fact it drives me more so, and I love what I do) but there’s also the worry that it’ll come across like bragging, which again I don’t want to, just for me I’ve got to the stage where I need to praise myself every once in a while and highlight the journey I’ve been on.
So here’s to 2019 and beyond! I didn’t realise what a long post this would be, so if you got this far I owe you a drink some time!
All photos are by my mega awesome friend and brunchfest roomie Kirsty Mackenzie