About now bloggers like to write about the past year in hindsight. For me it isn’t just a reflection but recognising how much has changed over the last 12 months. I followed my heart, quit my full time job, taught abroad, got engaged & travelled across 10 of the United States of America for starters. Now here I am at the start of a new year with so many hopes for the future.I cannot wait to see what 2012 will bring.
In 2011 I worked with so many great people: couples, families & children, muscians and models. I tried to push myself with every opportunity and get out of my comfort zone by trying different approaches to portrait photography as well as different types of photography altogether. All good things come from a place of courage.
April brought the chance to work both with models & stylists and I was overwhelmed  by how great an experience collaborating can be. Definitely want to do more collaboration in 2012 & already planning to work with some of the same people.
In May I shot behind the scenes on a bridal fashion shoot with photographer Kerrie Mitchell. It was amazing to see what can happen when a team of creatives come together. Also in May, I shot behind the scenes on a music video for an amazing band called ‘A Lily’ which was another great experience. I used one of the photos I took on the set of this lovely real life couple in the Aspire photography competition and came 2nd. So close!
Soon I was leaving on a jet plane bound for Island Lake Sports & Arts camp in Pennsylvania to teach photography all day everyday for the summer. Both a challenge & a pleasure, I got share my passion with the kids and they let me into their imaginations.  Fascinating! The kids & staff in departments ranging from pioneering to circus to horseriding were all seriously talented. It was such an inspiring summer & I will try to share more about them in later posts.
When camp finished in August my new fiance & I wanted to see as much of America as possible. Starting in New Jersey, we then had a week in New York, went by train to North Carolina with a pitstop in DC, flew on to San Francisco for a week & lastly went to Austin, Texas before coming home. We were chased by extreme weather leaving DC mid Earthquake! Our plans were then nearly halted again by Hurricane Irene. We made it out of Carolina to later be greeted by wildfires in Texas. Despite the freak weather we weren’t used to we went to so many fantastic places & stayed with some truly lovely & hospitable people. It is so hard to choose my favourites from thousands of photos from travelling that I’ve decided to do a separate post on that later…stay tuned!
We came home mid September & recovered from our post travel blues by going the other side of the camera for once, taking part in an engagement shoot experiment with art director Thaoski & photographer Darren Wong that you can see here. What a special experience! Amazing to watch a great creative duo & such a pleasure to meet the other couple on the shoot Claire & Dan who are getting married in July.
October brought some fantastic Autumn shoots in the woods which were some of my favourites to date! November was crazy busy working with harpist Alexander Thomas & photographing lots of newborn babies in preparation for offering baby photography packages in 2012. I went to London to photograph some events & I also enjoyed photographing a fab 50th birthday & superb magician Luke Tickel.
At the start of December I took part in a bridal fashion shoot in London organized by the ever inspiring Claudia Carter. It was an eye opening experience to work alongside many other photographers & a pleasure to get to know some of them. I couldn’t mention December without talking about the birth of my second nephew just after Christmas. He is a pure bundle of joy & a reminder of how sacred life is. I can’t wait to watch him learn & grow & become an amazing little boy like his older brother.
So here is to 2011, all the lessons, the ups & downs, the highs & lows, the failures & successes, all an equally important part of the journey. I think what I took most from the last year is the importance of following your heart. After all we only have one life, a life which is short so we really shouldn’t let anything stop us from going after our dreams & being the best version of ourselves. No one can really say it better than the genius that was Steve Jobs who we lost to cancer in 2011, so it is with his wise words I’ll begin 2012:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Wishing you all that you wish for yourselves in 2012 !
Lauren xxx