2017 The Year Past | January to June
2017 has been an amazing year for me. I have worked so hard and I have loved it! There has also been stress, tears, victories and disappointments – like in any business I guess? Above all, I have worked with and for some amazing people – couples, families, wedding professionals… They are all too many to count and detail here below, but I wanted to put together a few of my highlights this year – from the weddings, the engagements, the editorials, the travels and the families I have had the pleasure to photograph.
2017 kicked off in style with a shoot for Scenes and Stories prop and styling company at Asylum in Peckham. I met couples, caught up with friends and worked on my tax return (yippee!), but also managed to squeeze in some workshops and London couple sessions in the wintery weather – even a surprise proposal!
As always in low season, it is a time to reflect on what I wanted to achieve in the year. Throughout the winter months I had read, written, mulled over and sketched around my new branding – I wanted to inject some energy and personality in my online presence. At the end of the month, I posted on Instagram:
By January 24th, the new website was live: cecelinaphotography.com
In February I passionately did yoga three times a week to prepare myself for the wedding season ahead. It always helps being strong when the body and mind works hard – and during the summer months, I prioritise sleep instead of working out when I can! This month I went to Sweden for an engagement session in the snowy capital.
The rest of the month, I spent house hunting as we had decided this was the year when we bought our first house. It was certainly an emotional roller coaster, deciding when, where and what we wanted. But also for me to focus on my finances and make a proper projection of the years to come – I never thought I’d be able to by a house in this country, which made me incredibly proud of myself and what I had achieved.
This month I returned to The Asylum to shoot an editorial for dress designer Rita Colson, working with Miriam Faith Flowers and Joyce Connor Make Up. The same week I shot twice for Tower Bridge, one of my regular corporate clients in London. Right about now I also knew I wanted to do a big personal trip and shoot in Italy and contacted Sundari from The Wedding Stylist to ask if she wanted to come onboard. She said yes with a shout and a dance and we started getting suppliers together whilst booking flights and hotel rooms.
1st of March would end up being a very special date for us as I went out to Kent to view what would be mine and Louis’ very first home together, and the first house I ever bought. We knew we wanted a dooer-upper and as soon as I stepped across the threshold, I knew this was the one. I desperately wanted us to live here. The Victorian terrace was built in 1867 and the front window made me dream about evenings together in that room we could make so beautiful. I called Louis at once and said: This is it. We bid on it and on the train home I got a call from the estate agent – they had accepted our offer.
I was booked by Miriam Faith and The New Wonderful to shoot this branding and imagery editorial, which was featured on Bridal Musings in May the same year. I felt this was a type of work I thoroughly enjoyed and reworked my website to show more of this line of shoots. This month I had more features lined up, with a Dutch inspiration editorial on Burnett’s Boards and a wedding cocktail inspiration by Vanilla Rose Weddings featured on Bloved. I also shot engagement sessions, corporate work, one branding session for a yoga studio plus Rita Colson’s launch event of her new collection. It started to feel like the busy season was coming and my energy levels were high with tension and excitement!
April was a whirlwind which I wish I could do all again. Engagements, family sessions and corporate shoots mixed with booking travels for summer weddings, meeting couples and finishing up editing from the previous month. In the second week of April, me and Sundari headed to Tuscany for a week of shooting and exploring the country – networking and creating imagery. This editorial at Villa Montanare was publish first on Style Me Pretty and then on Rock My Wedding.
We drove for hours, sang in the car flying through the Italian countryside, got to know each other over red wine and pasta and felt the excitement and pressure of pulling it all together. It was one of my most stressful and favourite weeks of the year. We visited many beautiful venues and I fell in love with Italy yet again. I didn’t know that I would return another two times in the next few months!
Whilst in the middle of shooting this editorial, someone on set hastily whispered to me that it had been a terrorist attack in Stockholm. Living in London, I am used to the resilient nature of the Brits yet the pounding heart whenever anything happens. Will one of mine be in the line of fire this time? But having my peaceful and idyllic home town struck was a bit too much. It is supposed to be my safe place and I am ok with being at risk as long as my family is safe. I ran off into the olive grove and desperately tried to get signal. As soon as it connected a text came through from Louis. He had already checked – all my friends and family were safe. I pulled myself back together and shot the rest of the editorial in the setting light – I had to deal with the emotions later.
In Rome, we met Rebecca and Lorenzo, who were getting married later that year and in the gardens of Villa Borgese, we shot their engagement session. Rebecca wore on of my favourite wedding dresses of all time, by Katya Katya London, with flowers by Nina E I Fiori. This engagement session was later featured in Dear Grey Magazine.
After returning to London I spent a week with my mum, who came from Sweden to visit and then a week later I myself flew to Sweden to shoot my first wedding of the year. Being able to travel back home is such a privilege, spending time with my family in between work. I adore the Swedish summers and particularly summer weddings.
The first day of May started with a feature in Bridal Musings of Harriet and Tim’s Ireland wedding. I had just returned from Sweden and prepared for my Life In The UK test. After Brexit, many feelings of worry presided and I decided to do whatever I could to secure my life in this country – which has been my home for nine years. I photographed a fabulous London wedding which was published in December on Rock My Wedding. I was featured in Fiona Humberstone’s book Brand Brilliance and shot six family and engagement sessions – including one in beautiful Windsor. I went on a hen do in Cornwall (first time there!) and finalised my tax return for the year that had just finished (incredibly organised this year!).
Four couple sessions in two days, this is what the month looked like to me. I spent all available time in front of my computer, editing, preparing invoices, planning travel, replying to emails, paying bills and talking to couples. The date when we were supposed to move in to our new house was again and again pushed, mounting to so much frustration. At the same time, I was distracted by work, which probably saved many fraught nerves during this time. I met some truly wonderful couples during this time – photographing them in central London and about the country. The hashtag #londonwithcece on Instagram has some of my faves!
I shot this beyond amazing wedding in the south of France at Cap-Ferrat (due to be published on Style Me Pretty in 2018) and spent the following week travel around the country with Louis. We drove around the French alps in our tiny white Nissan Micra and stayed with various families along the way – picking up wine and antiques as we went along. We were still waiting to exchange on our house, but distracted ourselves with shopping for furniture and planning all the decorating. I knew I had a few very busy month’s ahead, so the sun and the relaxing definitely did me good.
The first six months of the year flew by in a haste and all of a sudden I was in the middle of wedding season, traveling to Somerset and Edinburgh in between family sessions for old wedding couples. I knew already this would be one of my best years in business, and I was just getting started.
See next post for the second half of 2017, my year in review!