Some of you may know that this year has been my first actually trying to get my photography out there, it’s been a hobby for a good few years now but past sharing on a few sites like Flickr and 500px I hadn’t taken it any further.
A lot has changed in the last year so I thought it was worthy of a quick round up!
Towards the end of 2014 a few people made comments on my photos which gave me the confidence that they might be popular outside family & friends, so I made a New Year’s resolution to try and sell a print to someone I didn’t know.
My first job of the year working towards that was getting a website up, this is something I had a little experience in so put together a basic one by myself and found a print on demand service that would give me an integrated shop. I also mounted some prints of a few of my most popular photos and set up an Etsy store. I sold my first work in February when a canvas of this Loch Ness photo went to a buyer in the US.
I did feel that was nice validation that my photography was worth taking more seriously, but from then on realised goals focussed on things other than selling would actually be more rewarding to me.
Having had a few questions on technique and gear and inspired by a good response to posts about my macro modified Canon 35-80mm I also set myself the job of starting a blog and writing a few tutorials. Obviously the blog is here and I posted up guides on long exposure with ND filters, modifying a cheap Canon lens for macro, a walk through one of my edits, understanding exposure and moving on from auto, my set up for photography on a budget and shooting landscapes in portrait.
Writing is definitely a weak point of mine, but hopefully this is helping me improve. Some of these have had decent traffic, especially the one about macro with the Canon lens which brings me daily visitors and hopefully gives people a chance to try out macro without splashing out on an expensive lens straight away.
One of my other big targets I set for the year was to get some photography published, which I achieved first in July with a selection in the reader portfolio of Amateur Photographer magazine. From there I got a shot in a local Nottingham magazine, a photo in What Digital Camera and then to finish the year off a shortlisted entry for the Amateur Photographer Christmas cover competition which earned a small mockup. This is a lot more than I expected at the start of the year and has been very rewarding, snaps of all of these appearances are below.
In September the Nottingham Etsy Team set up a small art exhibition of local sellers in the cafe of a large business campus, which included three of my prints from the Lake District and Scotland. This was the first time any of my work had been shown in public, so another achievement I was very proud of.
Alongside all of these things I’ve been connecting with some great photographers through social media, especially Twitter where I love getting daily inspiration from people posting photos I can only wish I had taken, as well as getting advice from people far more advanced in this than I am. I’ve also built up a healthy following there, passing 1000 earlier in the year and running a couple of giveaways of cards and prints to celebrate and say thanks. Facebook and Instagram are a fair way behind but still growing.
I genuinely think I’ve met some great people through social media this year, and had a lot of support in my photography which I really appreciate. Every follow, favourite, retweet or comment helps push me to take this further and allows more people to see my photos.
Obviously the main focus as a photographer should be taking photos and this is probably the thing I’ve done the least of this year, one reason being the arrival of my daughter back in September, which is amazing and life changing. As you’d expect this brings a big change in my priorities and the time I can dedicate to photography, but also a beautiful girl to point my camera at and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Overall I’m extremely happy with how this year has gone and it by far surpassed the goals and expectations I had this time last year. I’ll be making some more New Year’s resolutions soon to try and take my photography further in 2016 and already think there’ll be some exciting things coming.
In the meantime, thanks again to anyone who’s supported me in any way in the past twelve months, thanks to all the other photographers I follow on Twitter for the inspiration and I’ll finish with one of my favourite photos of mine from the year.