A year ago ...

Was it really a year ago that I had the most amazing 4 days in the Lake District with Aspire??? Where has the time gone!

I did share the story of how I was fortunate enough to win a place on the course (and of course a few images!) in one of my first blog posts - however looking back through my year ago archives today, I couldn't help but decide to share a few more! 

First up is the beautiful Bex - who put up with our posing requests with a huge amount of patience! - then we had the lovely Nicola and her gorgeous family making the most of the snow we had - particularly William who seemed to end up in most of my shots! - and finally the fab Ailish and Troy - who were more than happy to get a little bit romantic the day before Valentine's!

As well as having the chance to photograph these lovely people, the course was jam-packed full of information - my head was completely buzzing when I left - I'd thoroughly recommend it to any photographers out there! 

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Sun!

Well after a rather extended period of rain, rain and more rain (and yet more rain!) I felt a little sunshine and laughter was the perfect antidote to remind us that the sun really does shine in this country!

And we had so much fun shooting this last summer!

Taking advantage of a girlie weekend away, the dad of the family especially commissioned a family portrait session so that on her birthday (and a rather special one at that!), the mum received some fabulous wall art of her gorgeous family. What a thoughtful man!

We shot a few portraits at their home and then headed out to play with some helium balloons -  and the wind certainly provided us with lots of adventures!

Perhaps a few more images than I normally include in a blog post - however it was hard enough whittling them down to these ones! They're quite simply a lovely family and it was a complete pleasure to spend the time with them - I even got hugs at the end!

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Exciting Journey!

Well this week has seen the launch of my lovely new website with my new name and branding - and it's just so exciting hearing people's reactions to it! 

It's been an incredible journey over the last 6 months to get to this point, so I thought it'd be fun to write a blog about it and, perhaps most importantly, thank all the lovely people that have helped me along the way.

As we entered 2013 I did have it at the back of my mind it was about time to update my website - it really hadn't changed much since first starting the business and did need a bit of refresh! However it was a slightly intangible thought and I'd no real plans to do anything specific. That then all changed when I entered a competition run by Photo Professional Magazine and won tickets to the week long Societies Convention down in London each January. What an amazing experience! Plus the other bonus* element to the prize was the opportunity to present to "The Dragons Den" for the chance to win further prizes. 
 (* Bonus as in if you can get over the nerves of talking and presenting a selection of your images to the Dragons and in front of an audience!!!)

Catherine Connor, Jon Cohen, Terry Hope, Damian McGillicuddy, Juliet Jones

They weren't nearly as scary as some of them look ;-)  and I was thrilled to not only win a fab Fuji XF1 from Jon Cohn from Fuji (2nd from the left) but also a place on the incredible four day A-Z of Photography and Business run by Aspire Photography Training headed up by the fabulous Catherine Connor (1st on the left). Even better there were spaces on the next course running in February!

And what a fabulous four days I had! - in such a beautifully inspiring location in the Lake District too. 

collage of images from Aspire Photography Training course

And whilst we did have the opportunity to photograph several lovely people ...

collage of baby, toddler and young adult portraits

... the business training really did make me sit up and think. That was when I began to make more serious plans to look at a full rebrand.

With the help of the wonderful Sarah, I began to put some structure behind the jumble of thoughts running through my head and then, quite unexpectedly, found the most perfect agency to work with. The moment I came across Flourish I just knew they'd do an incredible job for me. This was then probably cemented by the fact that not only are they a great team but that their dogs go to work too! Always a winner with me!

the team at Flourish Design Studios

Based down in Guildford they're right on the river ... 

collage of Flourish Studio images from outside

And like Aspire have a very creative and inspiring space to work in. 

collage of images from inside Flourish Design Studios

Flourish blogged the full story of the brand identity earlier on this month which you can read here, however as expected they completely and utterly delivered! Even down to creating this of Bill from one of my images of him! Don't you just love him! 

Bill dog the border terrier

I made the decision to build the website myself, however I had the ace help of Vicki Gray from BluMango to suggest ways I could use my new branding and to provide general advice and suggestions about the overall design.

Then I used the simply wonderful Nikki de Villiers from The Word Well to weave magic with my words! She's a magician for sure!

And last, but my no means least, a special mention has to go to the two amazing local business women that I'm thrilled to work with in a mentoring trio - Vikki mentioned above and the gorgeous Sophie - thank you ladies - for everything!

Thanks again to everyone that's helped and supported me over the last few months - you've all been ace and I hope you like the end result as much as I do!