The last 6 years have been quite a roller-coaster. In December 2011 my mum went to the doctors and was very quickly referred to hospital and diagnosed with bowel cancer. She had an operation to remove a part of the bowel and the operation was very successful, unfortunately during tests, the doctors also discovered mum had breast cancer, so a few months later she had a mastectomy, again that was successful. During this time, I couldn't do much work and whilst mum recovered well, mum never fully recovered to the extend that she had before and whilst I could go back to work it wasn't really full time.
In 2014, mum the doctors after a scan noticed that mum again had cancer, this time in the other breast and again she opted to have another mastectomy, which was successful, though she took more time to recover and the difference between before and after was more noticable.
By early 2016, I was rather worried about mum, whilst she was ok and could be left for short periods, I was finding I had to look after her much more and I really couldn't do much work and as the year went on things become harder.
In November 2016, whilst eating fish and chips and watching TV, she suddenly had a fit and had to be rushed to hospital. It turned out she had a benign brain tumour, this time it was something that couldn't be removed but mum still battled on.
I won't go into the details of what happened over the next year but it wasn't pleasant and on December 4th 2017, mum passed away.
Way before mum passed away, I realised that when she did go, I would have to get back to work. I also realised that I was in a rather shakey position, I didn't have many contacts and much of my equipment was out of date.
So during this time, I made plans and bought new equipment. Now I have to say, equipment on its own doesn't make a better photographer but a photographer who knows how to use that equipment can create a better image. Buying equipment was also my release, it was a very dark time and having nice shiny boxes with light, computers and lenses cheered me up a little.
I also thought about the kinds of photography I wanted to do. Over the last few years, I have really focused on corporate and performer photography but performer photography doesn't pay very well. So I knew that I would have to move into other areas and thought about what I liked.
My first thought, in fact one I had had for quite some time but had not acted upon, was dog photography. I was brought up around dogs and I worked with in a kennels when I was younger, so I have an understanding of dogs and generally they like me to. I feel happy around dogs and feel that I can create something a little different to most dog photographers around.
I have also thought about moving into doing more fashion/magazine photography and am currently building a team and hope to do some more shoots soon.
I hope to get back to teaching more, as I enjoy working with budding photographers and it gives me great pride to see them improve and flourish.
The other thing I am having to do is improve my portfolio. I am a much better photographer now, than I was 6 years ago. So my big thing is to do more photography. I have hardly done any photography over the last couple of years, and it doesn't matter how much I read or watch videos about photography, in the end I have to do more shoots with people and animals. My first shoot was actually a selfie shoot (see top), it was set up in less than an hour, at 9:15 in the evening, just because I felt the urge. It was quite simple shoot but the photos came out as I wanted, which is always a boost.
So last Sunday, I did my first head shot shoot for quite some time. I knew the person I was shooting, a lovely guy called Shawn Dixon, who has been in dozens of films and tv series. A I knew him I was able to experiment a little more (quite a bit at the end). The shoot went well and I took quite a few images, which he like a lot. Of course because I haven't been doing much photography, there were a few small mistakes (I thought I had turned a flash off, when I hadn't) which was creating images I knew were wrong but eventually I figured it out and fixed the issue.
So after wrapping up the shoot, I have edited several of the photos and the Shawn is very happy with them.
Next week, I have another shoot, this time also teaching, which should be good fun and hopefully I will have a few dog shoots coming up, which should be interesting. This will hopefully lead me to open up my dog photography page soon and is something I am extremely excited about.
Of course the shooting photos is only one part of the process. Photography is a business and the big thing am am going to work on is building my client base and improving the ways I run the business to be successful. I have to improve this website, maybe publish the posts I have written and not posted, sort out my business cards and organise attending network groups. I have a long way to go before I can call myself successful at the moment but the intent is there and given time and effort I will reach my goal, of being a highly successful photographer.