I can't quite believe how quickly this year has gone. It seemed like only yesterday I opened the door to my newly revamped studio, sat at my desk overlooking the garden and began on the journey of Heidi Crundwell Photography. I am so pleased with how this year has gone and what I have achieved. I felt I was going in to a bit of the unknown, having never worked for myself, but although the learning has been steep I have come out the otherside feeling positive and wanting to move forward.
The year began with a look back at some of my previous work and a critical eye. I went through meticulously and began to critique my images in order to see areas that needed improvement not only technically but also artistically.
My darling Dad turned his hand to making card stands and display stands for me. I am always amazed the amount of different trades he can do, he is wonderful and I am so grateful for all his hard work and patience with me! So many times this year he has seen me walk up the drive to his workshop saying "Daddy, do you think you could make.......? He never complains!
I spent alot of January assisting on other shoots and learning new skills. This taught me so much. I am a practical learner so watching other photographers work was an eye opener and made me think about individual style and my own individuality as a photographer.
After meeting with dear friend and rural illustrator Rebecca Day (www.toadhallcompany.co.uk) who has been producing amazing art work and selling not only in the UK but also abroad, it was clear to me I had to have an exhibition to showcase my images and get my name out there. I began working towards a weekend event in March at my studio. I wanted people to see where I worked, why my home was so important to me and the reason I have grown up to love animals and nature.
After advertising online and posting flyers through letterboxes the weekend finally came. I was so nervous, would anyone come? Would they like my work?
I couldn't believe the response I got, I had so many visitors and so many lovely comments which was really encouraging.
I followed the exhibition weekend with a stand at a local farm who had a lambing day event and then at a point to point in Penshurst, Kent. This was great for me to display my work in an outdoor area. Discovering how to hang pictures in a gazebo with no hard surfaces was probably the biggest lesson of all! (Many adaptations to my display have happened since then, with the help of Dad!)
From these two events I began to get commissions for pet photography and families. This was daunting and exciting at the same time as most of my previous subjects had either been wild or were not able to receive direction. A huge challenge for me, but one that I have loved. Working with people's muched loved pets is such a joy. They are such an important part of any family and seeing owners enjoying images of their pets makes my day!
I have equally enjoyed the family photo shoots. I have always had a house full of pictures of my family so I believe it is important to record and keep special moments with them. I have learnt so much about getting the best out of people and creating images that they are happy with. Almost everyone that has booked a shoot with me has begun by saying "I'm not very photogenic" or " I never look good in photo's". This is never true. My approach is very relaxed, I've discovered that letting people do what comes naturally to them and not forcing particular posing gives the best results. I suppose working with animals, I have had to adapt to what the animal has wanted to do and get the best shot I can. It is largly the same for humans! (well with perhaps a bit more direction.)
The summer was made up largly of commissions, card orders and weddings. I have been so fortunate to have assisted the very talented Alan Harbord (www.alanharbordweddingphotography.com).
As well as an amazing learning experience it has been so wonderful being involved in such special and beautiful wedding days. I have enjoyed each and every one.
I also had a solo wedding of my own in August which was great fun!
In June I teamed up with Rebecca Day of the Toad Hall company for a joint exhibition at my studio. It was great to work with her over the weekend and lovely to see so many people visiting again. The sun stayed out most of the time!
The end of summer provided some time out with the camera, practising new techniques and fieldcraft.
I took a trip down to Rye in East Sussex which unexpectadly gave me my favourite image of the year, 'Starlings in flight'.
I really love how different this is to any of my other work. The black and white really emphasises the shape of the wings and how perfect they are. The bird with the insect in it's beak at the bottom right corner was an added bonus!
I'm pleased to say this image was shortlisted in the Farmers Weekly photographic competition. This is the second time in a row I have been featured in this magazine which is fantastic!
A trip down to Cornwall in October proved to be quite good too. I managed to get some behaviour shots which I was really aiming for.
I also made it down to the Cotswold Wildlife Park for some slightly different animal subjects.
I have had many successful mornings at Tonbridge Farmers Market which has been great. I love talking to people about photography and hearing their own achievments with it. Thank you to everyone who has visited me there this year.
I am really looking forward to next year. I am delighted to be working with the RSPB which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Talking about wildlife all day, what could be better?!
I am also looking forward to progressing with my photography, the learning never stops and I wouldn't want it to! I am planning to go on some trips to get different images for my portfolio and to share with all of you so keep checking my website and facebook page for new work!
I would just like to thank all of you for your support this year. It has been so greatly encouraging and inspiring.
I wish you the very best for a healthy and happy new year!
Here's to 2016!