2020 has been a very odd year. I have only been able to work for just over 6 months in the whole year and it was one of the most stressful and uncertain years I have had in the last 6 years of photographing beautiful babies, cake smashes and families.
The Guild of Photographer's Image of the Month competition runs from January to October with final results in November. The results get published on the 21st of each competition month and it is usually a day I throw my toys out of the pram :D I get frustrated if my images don't score as well as I was hoping for them. I get frustrated with myself for missing details that could have lost me points. I get frustrated easily. It is not hard to understand why as I pour my heart into creating the images and my competition entries would have had even more attention that regular gallery edits. I crawl over the images on 200% zoom to see if I have not missed any little dust marks, if things that need to be sharp are sharp. Making sure there are no highlights that are over the number judges check for and that no details are lost in the shadows. Trying out different crops, turning images upside down and squinting at them :) (very scientific way of finding out the brightest spot of the image).
My goal was to get a Silver award for newborn images, same as last year. But same as last year I did not manage to achieve that. Under normal circumstances I may have been disappointed but 2020's unprecedented Covid pandemic has made a huge difference to the competition this year. There were months where I wanted to give up and not bother entering. I was not working, I was crying, worrying about the future of my business, trying to plan how to make sure my studio was as Covid secure as possible once we got the green light to work again. I spent a lot of time learning and attending webinars put on by the Guild of Photographers which were absolutely fantastic and boosted my morale quite a bit.
I didn't give up though. I trawled my archive, found images that I was happy to enter and kept going. I entered newborn images every one of the 10 competition months. And the results were actually really good. Out of 30 images I entered I achieved 23 Bronze Awards. 11 out of those were awarded a High Bronze status, a distinction meaning that the image was only a few points (or even a point!!) away from a Silver.
I achieved enough points for a Photographer's Bar in the Newborn category for the 4th year in a row!! This is really exciting as it shows just how consistent my work is and that I deliver work of high quality over and over again :)
So onwards and upwards, a new lockdown and time to start all over again. And maybe, only maybe, I might even get the Silver I would love to achieve in 2021 :)