When I look back at 2017, I have so many thoughts, feelings and memories that would take me years to write about. On January 1st I made a promise to myself to work hard and push my boundaries. I set goals and I knew exactly what I wanted to do and achieve, however I didn't take into consideration that these goals would be accompanied by some of the best and most memorable days of my life. I had no idea that my business would bring me so much fulfilment and make me smile every single day - that my clients would turn into my friends and that I would be connected with so many talented and wonderful people within my own industry and beyond. I managed to leave my part-time job and be self-employed full time for the first time ever. I travelled...ALOT. I learnt from some of the best all around Australia. I finally got my studio up & running and now have my own space to work in. I photographed some of my favourite bands. I became published for the first time. 2017 was the year that everything came together - and I am so excited to share some of my favourite moments with you. So without further adieu....I give you, 2017: The year of big dreams.
I started the year off doing 2 of my favourite things: taking pictures and hanging out with a puppy. I met Rueben, a charming, goofy Golden Retriever pup and his loving parents Holly & Nathan on January 2nd at a reserve in Adelaide. This was no ordinary photoshoot. Rueben not only posed up a storm for me by himself and with his parents, but he decided he wanted to play. I have never seen such an adorable bundle of energy in my life. He explored the area and so desperately wanted to bellyflop into the river, but he was on his best behaviour - even making friends with a sweet older Labrador. Since then I've kept myself updated on Rueben's growth, and he is a BIG boy now - I can't wait to see him again.
Once all the craziness from the New Years break was over, I started working each weekend with Diversity Entertainment at clubs across South Australia. From Port Augusta's WAVES on a Friday night, to Wallaroo's CC's Nightclub on a Saturday with the occasional night at The Eyre in Whyalla or Club Clippers in Port Pirie...no matter what, it was always a crazy night with the Diversity team. Not long after this I also started working with Scenestr. magazine, which gave me the opportunity to photograph some incredible names in the music industry. From Green Day to Little Mix to Hawthorne Heights, I almost never missed a show. Every single time I found my heart pounding and the nerves were so real I felt that I could almost pass out...but almost every single time I learnt something new about lighting, composition and movement and captured some pretty special moments.
March was the month that I caught the travel bug: big time. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my family and jetset off to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand for a month. I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved that city with my whole heart - it set my soul on fire. It's not your typical holiday experience along the beach, island hopping and relaxing...Chiang Mai is raw, real and full of life and adventure. I spent most of my time exploring the streets with my camera, capturing the city as authentically as I possibly could. All the little details - from the flower markets, to the street food (and the wonderful people serving it!), to the sweet cats and dogs that roam the streets seemingly waiting for somebody, ANYBODY to take their photo and feed them some chicken...I was home.
I volunteered for a week at Elephant Nature Park, taking part in their dog project. It was pretty gruelling work, and they were long days...but the animals made everything worth it. Everywhere you looked they were there. Elephants, buffalo, dogs & cats. I tried with all my might to bring one pup, North, home with me - however our laws here in Australia meant that it was just too long in quarantine for her. Fortunately she has since been adopted and heads off to the Netherlands very soon to her new home - but not before I go back this January to volunteer again!
Once I got home from Thailand, I was blessed enough to work with so many new people, whether it be for Mothers Day Mini's, cake smash sessions, newborns, weddings, pets and anything in between...however one of the absolute highlights of my year was photographing a birthday party for Manraj (5) and Abhiraj (1) in June. This was no ordinary birthday party...as soon as I entered the room my jaw almost dropped to the floor. I could not believe my eyes. There were so many beautiful outfits, decorations, even Mickey & Minnie Mouse came to celebrate. I smiled and laughed ear to ear all night long, as I captured everyone dancing, singing and celebrating the two boys' birthdays.
One of my favourite cake smashes of the year was with Jai, who was born into a family of Star Wars nuts. His beautiful mother Sally had been talking with me about it for months prior and when it all came together on the day, I couldn't have been prouder of what we'd come up with. Jai was playful, inquisitive and had the bluest eyes I've ever seen in my lifetime.
September truly inspired me to work more with landscape photography. The travel bug had bitten me again and I flew off to Europe to visit Switzerland and Italy. Despite the many hiccups along the way, I loved it and felt so alive once more - specifically in Grindelwald, Switzerland where I hiked in the Swiss Alps, spent the night in a 180 year old hotel with zero electricity and no water and made two new friends, Bella (Australia) & Jan (Russia). It was a photographer's paradise - snow capped mountains, beautiful still lakes and beautiful blue skies. Grindelwald was beyond my wildest dreams, honestly.
Getting straight back into work once I touched back down in Australia, I announced my first 'come & try' day for pets. One of the most common things I hear as a pet photographer is "oh, I'd love to have photos taken of my pet but you won't be able to get them to behave!"....CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. I decided to hold a fee-free day with no obligation, to show people that even with a cheeky or excitable dog, I can still work with them and get great photos. I did not have a single issue, and as the self-proclaimed dog-whisper I am, I smiled and laughed all day despite the fact my hands were almost black from dog chocolates by the end of it all. One of the craziest but best sessions from the day was with a family of 4...but not your usual family! 4 beautiful Golden Retrievers, Hunnie & Cooper with their beautiful kids. From the second they walked into my studio it was complete chaos - a perfect example of why I need 'come & try' days...but boy were they adorable!
Weddings in 2017 were truly incredible. I was blown away by the sheer amount of effort put into all of them. I can't pick a favourite, because every single wedding day I captured was magic. I can't even go into detail, because each wedding is jam-packed with so much love and care, but I am so very lucky to document these special days for so many adoring couples.
This year has been filled to the brim with collaborations, from dance teams to musicians to makeup artists...but I have to admit, I always have the most amazing results with the amazing team at The Cutting Concept. Victoria is forever coming up with crazy ideas for us to work with, and they ALWAYS work. Every single time. We've worked together to create absolute magic so many times I've lost count. If you need your hair done, Vic is your gal. I don't think there's much more I can say about this creative, talented girl-boss, other than THANK YOU.
If I had to sum up 2017 in one word….I couldn’t. Amazing. Inspiring. Magic. Creative. Versatile. Shocking….I could go on (but I won’t, I promise!). This year has showed me I can achieve anything, anywhere. It has given me countless opportunities and experiences. It has shown me that getting older each year is completely fascinating and fulfilling, and that the world has some incredible and surprising things right around the corner when you least expect it. So to everyone who has supported and encouraged me, to everyone who has hired me, or told their friends about my work…thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is because of you that I can continue to achieve and thrive doing what I love. I have no words to tell you how much that is appreciated.