Well, who would have thought that 2020 would totally change our worlds? I would never have thought that we would be in lockdown and my business would shut down. As some of you may remember, I had an accident in 2019 which meant that I had to have eight weeks off work which was particularly scary from a financial perspective. Little did I know that the exact weekend the following year I wouldn’t be working again. This time though, I was not alone, as most of the country were staying at home too. At the end of 2020, my studio again has to shut due to Tier 4 restrictions.
I think for me, the first lockdown was really quite frightening. There seemed to be no end to it, and when I did finally get to open my studio back up, I felt so overwhelmed with anxiety. I had to find a new way of taking newborn photographs. I was gratefully reassured by my wonderful parents who had trusted me to take their newborn photographs. And I know that so many of my parents were gutted that during the first lockdown, their newborns missed out on having their magical photographs taken.
I asked Jessica’s mum Sarah what her thoughts were. “Jessica being born during lockdown has meant she has missed out on so much in an important stage of her life, like seeing her family, taking part in baby activities and her newborn photoshoot. All these things that we will have to explain to her when she’s older that she missed out on, but her big sister didn’t. Those precious photos of her first moments we will never have and will never get that chance. It has been such a different experience this time round, but luckily she has had her big sister, mummy and daddy to make different but unforgettable memories with her.”
So there’s no doubt, it’s definitely been a strange year. At first during lockdown, I was worried how my business would survive and whether I’d even be able to take baby photos ever again. I have been so grateful for the government’s help, especially with the business grant that enabled me to pay my monthly business premises rent. It was an amazing summer, and the weather gave me a great opportunity to take newborn photographs outside. The alcoves on the Cams building were just perfect for taking newborn photographs with parents posing their babies. Although I have to say that it was incredibly frustrating for me, as I just wanted to step in and pose the baby for them.
Opening back up on the 22nd June was very scary. I can remember crying with anxiety in front of the Cams Manager and she just wanted to give me a big hug but obviously couldn’t. I wanted to keep these little babies safe and had consulted with other photographers to make sure my studio was COVID-safe.
I can’t express how amazing it’s been in September and October. My studio was back to operating the same as before lockdown number one. And when the second lockdown happened, this time it felt different. I knew my business would bounce back. I wasn’t sure whether the second lockdown would be extended, but I now had the confidence that my mums wanted their newborn photographs taken, which really meant so much.
One thing I’ve noticed since we’ve been in lockdown, is that my parents really treasure their photographs and that many more have chosen to invest in their own album of their magical images. It’s truly a special heirloom album that they’ll keep and that they can pass down through their future generations.
Little. Benjamin was the last newborn baby to come to the studio this year just before lockdown number 3!
So, what has this year taught me?
1) That we need to value the things we love and that I should be grateful to have a job that I love; creating beautiful photographs that all of my lovely families will treasure.
2) When I couldn’t get to see my own parents, regular telephone calls were so important. I haven’t got to see my family this year, just one trip to Swindon on my dad’s 80th birthday in July. I will definitely be making lots of trips when it’s safe to do so.
3) I can look forward to 2021 with a greater understanding of what is important – not material things – and have money in the bank to face whatever comes along in the future.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and 2021 brings us all lots of happiness and joy.