The busiest months for my business have historically been January to March. However, June has arrived and I’m in need of a break (I’ve not only neglected this blog but myself, which I need to rectify). I’m in charge of my diary, so I’ve blocked a number of weeks when I intend to focus entirely on ‘me’ time – something we should all do in this fast-paced world within which we reside. It can make us more productive in our businesses and daily lives. I admit to finding it difficult to concentrate on a lengthy novel, to sit with my feet up in the garden with a magazine (watching our hens scratch and dust bathe) and a number of other pastimes which I found it easy to lose myself in. These days I start to fidget after thirty minutes and feel the need to complete a task. I’ve been trying to analyse why? I wonder if it’s the speed with which our world rotates, communicates, continually demands our attention and endlessly bombards us with information which has ruined my once halcyon days of peaceful relaxation! Sometimes we just need to be told it’s okay to say no and to take time out, it really can make us more productive.
Moving swiftly on, I thought I’d feature just a few of the highlights of the past months, so here’s my top ten list of general photographiness I’ve been honoured to have been involved with. In no particular order:
1. Benjamin Britten Music Academy Achievement Awards Evening
Having worked at Benjamin Britten Academy for almost a decade, it’s a great feeling to be commissioned to photograph their annual Yr10 and Yr11 Awards. Standing in the wings stage-left at The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft and capturing this proud moment for each student, each year makes me smile. Going forward, I’ve offered to sponsor the photography award, as this subject is now available in the curriculum. We all need to support our young people wherever we can and provide opportunities when possible.
2. Design and furnish of a new home studio
My love of photographing people has brought me to designing and furnishing a brick-built home studio. The decision to focus solely on business photography and close my studio in Earsham Hall, although the right one, has made me realise just how much I miss it! Business photography will remain my mainstay, however, I aim is to dedicate one or two days a month to provide family portraits (this includes pets too – I can’t wait to photograph my hens) and use the space for creative personal projects too – I am incredibly excited about this. It’s also part of my ‘me-time’ project! An added bonus is that I’ll be able to offer business portrait days for sole-traders and clients who work from home but want their portrait taken in a studio setting.
3. Arts Award
Thank you to WexPhotoVideo sponsoring this training to enable me to assist delivery and moderate awards for their under 18s camera club. The Art’s Award is rather special as it ‘inspires young people to grow their arts and leadership talents: it’s creative, valuable and accessible. Arts Award can be achieved at five levels, four qualifications and an introductory award and is available to young people up to the age of 25, completion can also accrue UCAS points’.
4. Fiona Harrison, Vintage Singer, Entertainer and Costume Artist
I really look forward to Fiona’s annual commissions, we’ve been documenting her vast costume collection in a variety of beautiful locations for a number of years. This lady is a true professional in everything she attempts and her attention to detail during a commission is an absolute joy. This session we focused on the Victorian and Edwardian era in the beautiful location of Shuttleworth House in Biggleswade. Fiona brought along fellow entertainer Paul Marsden who was happy to assist her and take part too.
5. Profoto Silver-Level Training Day
Having been a fan of Profoto lighting for a number of years, it was interesting to visit their UK base in Hemel Hempstead for a training day. We were given the opportunity to use lighting kit and get creative. My colleague Callum agreed to model whilst we trialled new lighting and modifiers. A good day was had by all, which culminated in a test. I’m happy to say I passed and was awarded a coveted Profoto jacket.
6. Brown & Co corporate business portraits
The thrill of taking business portraits is that a large number of people don’t actually want to have their picture taken and many have never had a picture taken of themselves they actually like. Why is this thrilling? Because I know I will be able to capture a photograph they’ll be happy with. That may sound a rather boastful statement, but there is a reason why my clients return year on year to have their corporate photographs taken. I’ve trained and honed my skill to produce quality pictures within a restricted time frame and control all aspects of the session, from lighting to styling and pose.
7. Lunch with my Editor Mike McNamee of Imagemaker
I live in the east and Mike lives in the west! We only get to meet once a year at The Societies Convention, the rest of the time we chat on the phone or communicate via email, so it was lovely to lunch with Mike in a local Norfolk pub on the Broads.
8. Continual Professional Development – MMoS with Damian McGillicuddy
Always strive to be the best you can be and never stop moving forward in your business. Talk to any small business owner and they’ll tell you how they have to continually evolve to meet client demands and what the economic climate throws at them. Failure to do so can toll a death knell to any business, it’s diversify or die. With this in mind, I implement CPD and visit my mentor every other month – travelling 5-7 hours depending on the traffic. It’s become rather like a pilgrimage, one which keeps me moving forward and improving both my business and photography.
10. Behind the scenes work for Societies members, mentoring and judging
Giving back to our industry and assisting others to move forward and be the best they can be, is something which has always been very close to my heart. Providing this service through The Societies has been an honour and a humbling experience too. It’s a real feel-good experience, to help a fellow photographer on their personal photographic journey.
Coming full circle, just a quick reminder to take time out for yourself, time to smell the roses or whatever it is that helps you rediscover the lost art of relaxation. Thank you for reading… Is it really June?