About a year ago I took some time to stand back and look at my business. To review where I was and also to think about where I wanted to be
I think it's natural that as a wedding photographer your style will evolve over time as you refine your craft and grow in confidence. It's also vital to invest in yourself, to recharge your creative batteries to ensure that you keep on moving forwards. So I've made sure to attend workshops and seminars on a regular basis to get inspired by some of the leading photographers in the country
It can be quite a solitary existence as although on a wedding day you're surrounded by many many people, this is transient and the next day you're back at your desk, editing, blogging, marketing, bean counting and trying not to get too distracted by Candy Crush (just me?!)
So you need a lot of determination and self belief if you want to put your head above the proverbial parapet and say 'Look at me. This is what I do. I hope you like it'
There are various competitions to enter, blogs where you can submit images and other ways of having your work judged and reviewed. The benefits of these sort of activities are many. It can give you constructive feedback, recognition, self belief and publicity
But, there's also a fear about putting yourself out there. What if you get shot down in flames? What if everything you submit is rejected? Do you end up feel worse than if you'd done nothing at all?
At the start of this year, during the quieter months for us wedding photographers, I decided that I needed to be brave, to ignore the risk of rejection and start to push my work out there
So I've been submitting to a few blogs, some image collections and some venue websites.
But the one that I was most nervous about is an international association of wedding photographers called Fearless Photographers
I think, without exception, all of the photographers whose work I most admire and respect are members. It describes itself as being 'a showcase of the best wedding photographers in the world' so it's selective about who can join.
If you do apply to join your work is reviewed to ensure it matches the ideals and philosophy of the organisation and if you're rejected then you have to wait six months to try again
So I thought long and hard before submitting an application. It's absolutely an organisation that I want to be a member of, but what if they'd said no?!?!
About a week ago I bit the bullet and filled in the membership application and, with some trepidation, hit the submit button. Then came the wait
A couple of days later my phone went 'ping' to tell me I'd had an email, I looked at the screen, it was from Fearless. Argghhg!!
Nervously, I opened the email and, of course, tried to find the bit that I wanted to read as quickly as possible. There it was
'Congratulations! We would love to have you join our community of Fearless Photographers serving couples who truly love photography'.
WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP!!!!
To say that I'm chuffed is typical British understatement!
I'm made up, over the moon, happy as Larry and any other cliche you care to mention
With a fantastic year of weddings in 2017 it's a huge vote of confidence in my photography and inspires me to push myself to be the best that I can be.
Every wedding is different, each couple is unique and I love, love, love being given the opportunity to photograph them, fearlessly of course!!!