Christopher James Hall
Okay so let’s face it, 2020 hasn’t exactly been the year that we were expecting.
Looking at the film predictions for 2020, this year may have felt more like Edge of Tomorrow where the only way to get through is by repeating the same day over and over and over and over (I think you get the idea). For many of us life in lockdown felt that way until we saw a glimmer of hope earlier in the year. It is only now though that we are being thrown back into that nightmare of not knowing when this day will end.
2020 is a year that film makers thought that we would be sending manned missions to Mars (Mission to Mars & Stranded), that we would be waging war against giant monsters in our giant robots (Pacific Rim). The Trolls would have their World Tour (Trolls World Tour) and Iceland would win the Eurovision song contest (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga).
Although, these film predictions were wrong, there was one film that was almost right. One film that described how I, and many other self-employed people, have been feeling throughout the year. The film… The Invisible Man.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was to have so much spare time to watch Netflix (other film providers are available).
There were of course some films that almost got it right (Contagion), others may have come close if it wasn’t for the zombies walking around… or is that just us if we finally come out of lockdown?
Even after watching all the film predictions 2020 wasn’t what I was expecting (although seeing the Troll World Tour could have been fun). As we left 2019 I was feeling very optimistic about going into 2020. I had launched my wedding photography properly and had bookings in the diary that already matched my income for 2019. Even before we left 2019 this new year that was approaching was going to be my best year ever.
January started in the usual way… slowly. It’s nothing to panic about as January and February are always quiet. People are recovering after the Christmas spending spree and it won’t start to get busy until the clocks change.
This slow start is something that I prepare for and save through the busy periods to cover these slow months.
I hadn’t prepared though for what happened next. COVID-19 or coronavirus was announced. A global pandemic that began affecting everything. Then just as the money that I had saved for my quiet period began to dwindle the unexpected happened.
A week before the defining moment of the clocks changing the country went into lockdown.
The country in lockdown. It was something that many of us have not experienced before. It’s been tough for all of us and there are already a lot of articles to tell you what life has been like. That is if you want reminding.
The purpose of this article though is to look at what is ahead. If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that we don’t really know what will happen. We can however learn from what has happened to try and avoid the pitfalls that were thrown at us as a result of COVID-19.
For many of us we may be frightened to think about what is to come. For many it is in our nature to fear the unknown, especially after something bad has already happened.
If you know your Lord Of The Rings you may recognise this quote from Sam as he is leaving the Shire with Frodo. He is right it is a dangerous business when you step out of your comfort zone. It also the one thing that you need to do if you are going to get anything done.
Okay, so I think the first thing on my list for 2021 should be to watch less Netflix (although Star Trek Discovery is good).
As 2020 comes to a close, I have already resigned myself to the fact that I can’t do much more this year. What I can do though is prepare myself for what I will be doing next. Although 2020 was a rough year it was good in the way that it taught me a few lessons about what I need to do and would like to be doing as a photographer.
No, by diversity I don’t mean that I am going to become a street dancer and appear on Britain’s Got Talent.
As a photographer during 2020 one of the biggest things that hit me was the impact of weddings being cancelled or postponed. I quickly realised that I have to look at being able to provide other forms of photography.
I already provide headshot photography but what else could I also provide that I would be able to continue doing in the event of a lockdown happening again in the future?
Towards the end of 2020 I launched my commercial photography. This decision wasn’t only as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but also as a request from some of my clients.
Although, it is apparent that as a photographer I cannot rely on headshot photography or wedding photography and I do need to add something else to cover those times when client contact may not be allowed.
After almost a year of wondering where the next the next paycheque was going to come from I have realised one thing. The didn’t matter.
Okay so it would be rather silly of me to say it didn’t matter if I got paid or not. I wouldn’t be able to run my business without getting paid, let alone have money to feed myself. Not being able to go out to weddings or have clients in the studio did make me realise just how much I need to be behind the camera.
COVID-19 didn’t stop that earlier in the year when I made the difficult decision to give up my flat rather than the photography business I had built from scratch (you may want to have a look at this article if you want to know how I started).
I have lived through some hard times and had to go without on many occasions. One thing that has always brought me through though is my passion for photography. It’s the ability to pick up a box, put it in front of your face, and see the world in a different way.
It’s that moment of being creative that I want more of in 2021. It’s great being with my clients but I also crave for the creative. With clients I always have to work with the tried and tested and get the results. I need to try new things and find out how to get them to work. If they don’t that’s fine with me. I will just have to keep trying.
The sun rises… the sun sets. The tide comes in… the tide goes out.
These are things that we expect to happen. What though can you expect from me during 2021, and could you be involved?
Now that I have progressed with my studio and the headshot photography during the next year I will be looking to do more studio style portraits. At the moment though my studio is a bit small for the ideas that I have so during the early part of the year it will be a case of looking for spaces that I can use for the projects that I have in mind.
If you have space available in the Bedfordshire area I would be interested to hear from you about ways that we can work together.
I do like a good personal project to work on. Something just for me and my need for creativity.
During 2020 I had some ideas but with everything that was going on I must admit I lost the motivation to carry them out. 2021 though brings new hope so expect me to be working on more personal projects. I would also be interested in collaborating with others so if you have any ideas for a project please let me know.
Did you see that word above? Collaboration?
the action of working with someone to produce something.
Working on your own can be hard, especially through these trying times. My aim for 2021 is to find individuals that I can work with so that we can produce something together and help each other out.
As a photographer the obvious choices could be someone to do hair and makeup. It doesn’t have to stop there though. If you sell products they could be used for props or more. Space is a premium as they say so any unused space that you have could be used in different ways.
Whatever you do, if we can think of a way to collaborate (couldn’t resist using that word again) just get in touch.
Okay, so maybe not just to the streets.
In 2021 I would like to be out and about more with my camera in hand taking photos of the local area.
Wouldn’t it be great if by the end of 2021 I could produce a book of images from the Bedfordshire area?
Contemporary fine art is something that I have been thinking about for a while. I have not tried it before but it would be good to give it a go.
My aim here is to produce a range of images that can either be purchased or rented via an online gallery.
I have already got my qualified status with The Guild of Photographers (I even get to use letters and everything, Christopher James Hall QGPP), however, it would be great to be able to take it that one step further.
The qualification isn’t just for me though. To me a qualification gives my clients that confidence that they can trust me as their photographer.
As well as working towards my next qualification I will also be concentrating more on the competitions. During 2020 I was limited in the work that I could submit, it was hard to submit images of people when I wasn’t allowed to photographer people due to the lockdown.
2020 wasn’t all bad though with numerous Bronze and Silver awards. 2021 though I am hoping to get my first Gold.
Not only that I will also be aiming for the Photographer’s Bar. The Photographer’s Bar isn’t just awarded for a single image. The bar represents a continuous high level of images being entered and awards won.
…We will be millionaires.
Okay, to be honest unless I win the lottery I don’t think that I will become a millionaire next year, not financially anyway.
What I could be is happier.
One thing you never heard Del say was, “Come on Rodney, it’s time to give up”. You won’t be hearing me say that either.