In January 2020 I officially gave up the day job and took Aldcroft Photography full time. I had wedding bookings and was looking forward to meeting lots of families for outdoor shoots, especially the bluebells in spring, and getting cuddles with newborn babies. A new year, a new decade – this was my time to pursue a career I really really loved (and in many ways isn’t really ‘work’ at all) and still be around for my two boys as they grew up (without commuting to London whilst trying to do the school run). Cue coronavirus and lockdown. Like everyone, life stood still, indefinitely. My eldest stopped going to school and I tried to fit in a bit of home schooling when my 15 month old went for his nap. Our daily walk saved my sanity! Thankfully, my husband was able to work from home and helped when he could, but was never furloughed.
Looking back now, 8 months on, I can of course reflect with slightly rose tinted glasses (though I still recall a couple of very tricky days which ended in tears for me and my 4 year old when exhausted Mummy became shouty Mummy). Anyway, the POSITIVES… I had a bit of a back catalogue of photos to keep posting on my social media and I started taking way more photos of my boys on our walks – my youngest now a confident walker, it was perfect timing, though not always easy lugging him around in a backpack and carrying a bulky camera! I also started to follow more local businesses on social media as word spread of where we could get hold of various items like pasta and flour and who had started doing local food deliveries. The take away repertoire also grew!
A month into lockdown I started to see photographers taking doorstep portraits and thought it was a great idea. I’ve always been interested in history and using my photography to document life (even as a kid I would write on the back of all my photos, dates and names, inspired by my Archaeologist Grandfather who would write insane amounts of detail on the back of his photos including the time of day!). Now, I was a part of history and I could do something positive, for me as well as for the community. I started just photographing friends in Aston Clinton where I live, and then, encouraged by a friend I set up a Just Giving page for Refuge and starting spreading the word more widely in the village and ended up photographing over 50 families and raising over £800.
It wasn’t without its challenges of course. My photo shoots are usually an hour long, but I had just a short 10 minute window to make a connection with families and get the best out of them. There were also other challenges I wasn't expecting that were thrown my way, such as how the lighting was out of my control depending on the direction of the doorstep in question and the time of day. However, I always made sure that I found time to properly edit the photos I had taken and pass on gallery information once completed. I found the whole experience was so rewarding, especially as I got some time to do something for me that wasn’t child or house related, and I got to meet amazing friendly local families rocking it through lockdown! I LOVED it! Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed so generously.
So my photography journey this year has not been what I expected, but it hasn't been as disappointing as I expected back in March. It has led to doorstep families booking proper family photo shoots with me. I have discovered new photography locations through our walks, and I’ve taken some photographs of the local landscape which are now up for sale in our newly refurbished village café, Coffee at 108. I’ve taken photos of families for a local pre-school and have more pre-school settings planned for 2021. The icing on the cake and the biggest compliment has probably been one of my doorstep families asking me to be their wedding photographer in 2022. I am SO excited about this one! The future is looking positive so watch this space...