When I first began my journey to becoming a photographer, I remember adding an album of photos I’d taken of my children. Little did I ever believe I’d one day enter the awards.
The title? ‘Practice makes perfect’
Fairly fitting, I’d say. I mean, you have to work hard to get something right.
On the album, there was a comment from someone I’d worked with from my model days. They wrote ‘Practice doesn’t make perfect’.
That little comment hit me, it did hurt. It was as if they didn’t believe that I could really do this, that’s how I felt anyway.
Not everyone wants you to do well, that’s a fact. Thankfully I had far more pushing me to go for it, than I did trying to bring me down.
That was 6 years ago. That was when I didn’t know my ISO from my Fstop, my Shutter speed from my white balance. It’s a mine field, and a constant journey.At the start, I had friends let me use their children as my models to practice and raise my game, this was so helpful, and grew my love for the industry. Never did I ever dream I could achieve the title I now hold, but I do and I am so excited every single time I say it. I’m that photographer!
I decided after seeing my friends win so much in 2018, that I was going to enter this photographer competition.
Their faces lighting up as they walk to the stage, their names on the huge screen alongside their incredible work. That was the dream. Can you imagine telling my children I had my name up there? Not even being a winner, but to see my work being recognised? WOW!
It took me a fair while to enter, I won’t lie. Being such an anxiety filled person, I doubted myself immensely.
January 2019, I attended SWPP. A photographers convention and awards ceremony. I went along to again root on my girls. And guess what? They won again!!
Gemma and I stood on the stage after a few drinks (well it was a child free evening) and I held the award that was embossed ‘Photographer of the year’. We all like to pretend, right? Just imagine!
For a giggle, we had a photo taken and I uploaded it to my Facebook. A friend commented ‘Wow I thought you had won that then, maybe one day!’. It got me thinking…
The after party, I spent time with Kelly Brown, an incredible photographer from Australia. World renowned, and also an SWPP judge.
Alongside Kelly was Gary Hill and Tracy Willis. We stood having a chat and I got a big kick up the bum to enter TNPS. (the newborn and portrait show).
I was told to stop putting other photographers on a pedestal, to stop thinking everyone is better than me. For that to come from someone as well known as Kelly Brown, it got me.
2 weeks before cut off, I began making sure my images and edits were perfect. I looked at my light, my posing, my shadows and for the meaning. But were they good enough?
1 week before the awards, I just didn’t know if I was good enough. Was I seriously entering such a huge competition against incredible photographers across Europe? Little old me, this small business Essex baby photographer?
Well, you don’t know until you try!
And so I entered. 2 in Print, 2 in digital.
4th May, I woke at 4am with horrendous pain in the right side of my face. Scrambling around in the dark, I decided to touch my face and see what was happening.
What was this?! My cheek was so swollen! I went downstairs, forced some fruit down me and had some pain killers.
I ca’t explain the pain. It was horrid. By the time I woke again, it had grown even further.
Emergency dentist time, and their reaction showed how bad an infection I had. I wasn’t surprised. A bunch of antibiotics and pain killers down me, I decided to go for a nap. (bare with me!)
I woke and as always, checked my emails.
Wait. I rubbed my eyes and re read.
You have been chosen as a finalist in this year’s online competition with the image below!’
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Me, a finalist out of all the photographers that entered? A dream, surely? I jumped up, ran to my husband and told him through my fat face the amazing news.
I ran downstairs, called Lauren and told her too! I was in such shock. My name… it’s going to be on that stage, that screen. I would have to do that walk. Oh my heart, imagine I came third. Seriously, imagine! Amazing!
At this point I didn’t think I had a chance in winning. I was in tears of happiness walking round and round in my kitchen.
I text Emma, she was so happy for me. I put it in the group chat, and asked if anyone else got in. Natasha had, brilliant news! Such an amazing group of friends I have, all in the same industry.
But… wait… my face? It’s huge! It’s the weekend before the awards now and I have a face like I’ve been smacked with a brick. How on earth will I go on stage with this face?
Thankfully, my antibiotics and further dental work enabled me to speak again and the swelling to go down.
Fast forward to the Awards evening. It was time. I had 1000 emotions. Anxiety, excitement, suspense, nerves, sadness being away from my children for so long (3 days is the longest ever).
When someone is up for such an award, they aren’t themselves until that moment happens. I certainly wasn’t. I was on edge and hated the thought of anyone ruining this moment.
It was time. ‘3rd place to Stacey Jade Lewis. 2nd place…. Beata Barron… ‘ There were 3 images left, mine included.
As Gemma filmed me, I remember feeling the nerves in my stomach, could it be me? No, behave! Wait, what if?
‘The judges said, this image shows a high level of professional practice that we should all be striving for each day. It’s subtle, understated, and timeless.
The crowd roared, my head went into my lap, I jumped up, spun around.
Other winners, do the gracious walk, the subtle walk across the floor up onto the stage.
Not me! Well, it wouldn’t be me if I just did the normal, right?
‘I DID IT!!’
You can see the moment here filmed my Gemma Sains <<
What in the world? I almost ran onto the stage, spinning, bowing, throwing my arms in the air. All on video of course haha!
I had done it. I had gained the title I have dreamed of.
Best Newborn Photographer in Europe 2019.
The winning image :
The judges words about my image being timeless. That means so much. Timeless is exactly what my aim is with all my portraits.
I also came third in Newborn print awards with twin girls and their Daddy.
A huge thank you to all my clients, without you, Id have not gotten this far. The trust you put in me to capture portraits of your precious children is the biggest part of my work. This lead to me entering the awards and mind blowingly won!
Simply click the links and email me over on my Contact page.