2020, what even was that? For many of us, it was a standstill, it was a time to think of each other even more than before, it was a time to re-think our wedding plans and consider a ‘covid wedding’, and for me, it was back to teaching but this time at home. Whatever it was for you, it was no doubt a strange one. A year that for many of us will never forget. It started with hope and promise, as every year does, and soon took a sharp turn where we all hobbled together trying to navigate and create a sense of normality amongst the panic – all the while staying at home. It certainly was not the worst year of my life and in fact, a lot of positive things happened to me and my business amongst the chaos. I also feel that we all got to know each other a lot better, albeit at a distance. Many of you who follow me on social media certainly got to know me a lot better, my values and even political standing. It was unavoidable to not talk about it during 2020. There was so much going on involving humanity and all of us were at home to take a long and closer look at it and ourselves. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of my social media followers and fans were of a very similar mindset. I began to find solace that I had actually been very lucky to find ‘my people’ online! I also welcomed the opportunity to really explore huge issues such as racism, climate change and politics with my young children as up until this point, we just pottered along and never really looked at who we were as individuals and as a unit. Pretty interesting times! So what was 2020? Well, all that above and all of this…let’s have a review of my 2020.

January – March: This is my year! 

I had high hopes for 2020. My diary was fully booked with weddings of amazing couples. Amazing couples who totally vibed with me and I with them – couples who had the same ethos as me as to what a perfect wedding was. For them, a wedding was not about perfection and pose but, real genuine moments between family and friends. They wanted unique weddings where traditions were only included if it made sense to them. I was looking forward to the weddings that would be across the East Midlands, London and also to my destination wedding in Barcelona!

January was quiet, which is how I like it if I am honest. It’s a bit cold to be out and about with a camera and it’s the time of year I like to have a break and refresh. I started the year with a business branding shoot and got to meet the gorgeous puppy, Whitby. February was a busy month! I ventured into the Peak District with two couples before continuing to Sheffield where I explored how I could get more creative with my wedding photography. Later that month I was left mouth agape and buzzing when I found out I was a finalist in a ‘Love in London’ photography competition and was informed that one of my entries was featured in the London Evening Standard on Valentine’s day. Later that month I second shot a wedding in Stamford, Nottingham and another back in Sheffield, before lockdown began in March.

March & even more March 

Well, we are all too familiar with this month which truly felt like it lasted forever. I started the month by attending a styled shoot in Thorpe Estate. It was a great day which was beautifully styled and my images were published by my favourite wedding blog Whimsical wonderland weddings. Soon after, Covid hit the UK with force and lockdown started, eventually. Schools were shut and parents began homeschooling. It was tough. I embraced it with rigour and pulled out all my old teaching resources and sharpened my pencils. However, this enthusiasm didn’t last long! Teaching your own kids formally is very different from teaching a class of 30 others. This, whilst trying to keep my business afloat started to become challenging.

The UK was unsure how long it would last, restrictions were placed on weddings and couples across the UK feared losing their day. The wheels of postponement began turning and wedding suppliers across the country started to fling open diaries and move weddings. The message of ‘postpone don’t cancel’ rang clear and we all worked hard to be able to find a date that would work for all. Whilst juggling this and my children, I also tinkered on my website, writing blogs on how best to help couples during this time, as well as with general wedding planning. These blogs are some of my most popular on the website. It was important to still provide and show real weddings as inspiration so as I refreshed the website I added more of the weddings I photographed in 2019. One of them was also printed in the Rutland Pride magazine. I created an area on my website with all my info on how to order prints and albums and FINALLY sorted my family photography page (yes I offer that too!) It all paid off as I managed to sell several albums, prints and family shoots! Lockdown was not all that bad I suppose and I believe I used my time wisely, scrolling through Tik Tok, ignoring banana bread recipes, shouting at the kids and photographing a ‘covid wedding’ made entirely out of lego. I missed using my camera and being creative, a LOT. I did a few photoshoots over Zoom and a lot of self-portraits. I got to find out where the light is best in my house and that I really should make an effort with wearing makeup.

Here are the links to the blogs that went down a storm:

Documentary wedding photography – How do I plan my formal wedding group photos?

Relaxed wedding day timeline: The ultimate guide to help you plan a relaxed wedding day

Top tips for creating the BEST wedding playlist

How many hours of wedding photography do I need?

July – September: Covid Weddings are a thing

Lockdown was lifted and we started to begin to leave our cabins under restrictions. Weddings were allowed, but with conditions. And these changed a lot, and often, last minute. Suppliers and couples to be married were having to learn to be very flexible. The term ‘covid wedding’ and ‘micro weddings’ started to enter the wedding vocab. Covid wedding days meant fewer guests,  wearing masks and no longer having a dancefloor. Some chose to split their wedding day with a ceremony in 2020 with the reception to 2021. Thankfully, I did not lose a single couple booked with me. I kept in touch with my couples. I made my diary available and I had 10 postpone to dates when I was available. I will admit, I was nervous as I was already fully booked for 2021 and I did not know how I was going to do it, but thankfully we did! I feel the biggest thing that contributed to this success were because I worked with my couples and we kept in touch. We had phone calls, zoom calls and lots of email exchanges. It makes a huge difference when you keep in touch with your suppliers. Nearly always, something can be worked out and you can keep your wedding as planned with the people you had planned if you let your supplier know what you are planning to do before you do it. Some couples also decided to add more to their wedding day as now they had more time to save that little bit extra. I also managed to scoop up some last-minute bookings for those desperate to get married in 2020. I wrote another handy blog for couples on how to plan a wedding with restrictions which couples found helpful and allowed them to plan and have a 2020 wedding. For those weddings that did go ahead, they were gorgeous as you can see this London wedding I captured that went ahead in August and was featured in Rock My Wedding.  I will be sharing more on what a ‘covid wedding’ looked like in more detail in my next blog, so keep your eye’s peeled.

During this time I also networked with other wedding suppliers and created or was part of styled shoots. It was a lot of fun getting together with likeminded individuals to CREATE! A lot of the work we produced was well received by wedding directories and blogs and our shoots were featured in Magpie Weddings, Save the Date Magazine and Festival Brides. A HUGE thank you to ALL the suppliers I worked with and the models! I only ever work with real-life couples on styled shoots and one pair I photographed, tied the knot a few months after they modelled for me in a styled shoot. They booked me to photograph their real ‘covid wedding’, choosing to marry in December 2020. I like to think the faux wedding they were part of gave them a little nudge!! Styled shoots certainly do inspire!

October – December: Winter is coming

The final 2020 hurdle. We entered tier systems and lockdowns. When it was safe and legal, I photographed my families, collaborated on another styled shoot and used the time either getting a tattoo, a fringe or talking to you on Instagram. As you may know already, I pretty much live on there and in 2020 went from 1405 followers to 2500! I was pretty chuffed! I have also been working with graphic designer Kirsty Bubear of Bubuandmoon who has created a fab new logo which is SO much MORE me! I cannot wait to get re-designing my website with my new colours and logo. I ended the year with Jack & Joce’s covid wedding in London, just two days before London hit tier 4. Tier 4 would have meant, no wedding. By the skin of their teeth, they got their day. As I work behind the scenes on my business during winter, I shall be sharing this and many more of the 2020 weddings.

2020 has been pretty full-on. Juggling a lot and learning to keep sane has been the name of the game. I don’t doubt it’s been the same for you! I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of my couples who have invested in me, all the suppliers who have worked with me, my photography friends who have been there to support me in my business, to Maddy Shine who I call my business coach but more importantly a friend, my friends who have kept me sane with memes, tik toks and Whatsapp giggles, to my husband who has shared the workload at home and made the dinners, to my kids who are friggin diamonds and my cat Gandalf who has helped me keep the vet in business. I can only end on a slideshow of images of 2020. The original was 12 minutes long but alas even the devil on my shoulder thought it a tad excessive. So I cut it down to three minutes and you’ll just have to wait to see the images that didn’t make it shared on my portfolio or Instagram grid.

 

 

My 2022 and 2023 diary is now open so get in touch if my relaxed wedding photography is what you are looking for. I have some last-minute availability for 2021, short covid wedding days welcome!

 

 

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Leicestershire wedding photography based in Rutland, near Leicestershire.

 © 2019 Gina Fernandes Photography