A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME
A North Yorkshire Photographer
Lovely photo by Boho Wedding Photography, thanks Catherine!
ARE YOU WONDERING WHY I CALLED MY BUSINESS ANOIF PHOTOGRAPHY?
I preferred the sound of Anoif Photography to Fiona Photography, Anoif is Fiona spelt backwards. Loads of people ask me this question.
You’ve probably already realised that I photograph Weddings, Families, Animals and small businesses, to be honest, I'll photograph whatever people decide to throw my way. I like to think I’m pretty versatile and flexible, I believe this is a strength in my personality. I love a new challenge and enjoy trying to see things in different more interesting ways where possible, the obvious it not always the best! Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb doing what everyone else was doing after all.
I love meeting new people, which is rather fortunate given that's a MASSIVE chunk of my job. I enjoy exploring new places and getting lost, I do this ALOT, my favourite homemade bake is carrot cake, which is perfect accompanied by a strong, black coffee. I've been with my husband since I was 16, we were set up on a blind date by some of my friends. We have two teenaged children, a dog called Steve and April my pony. To unwind I like spending time outdoors, cooking for friends and family along with making cocktails (I can't decide if I prefer Espresso Martinis or Gin Mules though) and watching crime dramas on the box.
I've always had a passion for photography, a photo can hold a 100 stories and so many memories, they evoke a whole host emotions. Don't you think that for a slip of paper this is pretty incredible! Sometimes Richard and I will come across old photos either the real thing or on old memory cards and we'll sit down just the two of us, or sometimes with the kids and well just remember. Remembering is the best feeling, looking back on good times together, the history of our lives.
Getting lost in the Welsh hill together, during our 2020 "staycation"
EVERYBODY ASKS WHEN I STARTED MY BUSINESS
It all began back in 2016 when our good friends told us they were getting married... The kids were becoming more independent and I was starting to think about what I would do with the rest of my life and which career path to start looking at.
I was currently working as a teaching assistant at the local primary school, where had recently qualified as a HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) and was leading Art within the school. I was doing a lot of class cover whilst teachers were having their planning time and during this time I was teaching art; honestly, I absolutely loved it! I worked mainly with key stage two children, but did the odd bit with the younger ones too. The only problem with being a teaching assistant is the wage isn't great and as I didn't necessarily need to be working term time for too much longer, I needed to start thinking about what next. I had studied photography and graphics at college, I've always had a love for the activity, but after discovering I was pregnant in the final year of my course back in 2005 I never believed I could have started my own business, so with my baby in my arms we went about life and I worked around Lewis and then Natalie- it was important to me that I put them first and I didn't want to miss anything as they grew up. I did jobs to fit around them and I initially decided to be a teaching assistant, so I could understand how to help my children properly, I wanted the best for them and I faced a lot of stigma during my pregnancy about being a "Teenaged Mum."
Anyway let's get back to how it began, back to 2015, I'd watched my friend's sister set up her own business in photography and couldn't believe how successful she'd been, wedding photography was no longer your standard formal shots, it now had an organic edge to it: Photographers were telling stories through imagery and I loved it! It was lifestyle photography I loved anyway, so seeing this opened my eyes. In April 2016 Shelley ran a course which I attended, she talked about setting up her business and her path to success, it seemed doable and I felt I could now reach out and grab it with both hands.
After this, Richard bought me my first full framed camera, just in time for Mel and Shaun's wedding in the June of 2016. Originally, I'd asked if I could follow their photographer around to gather some photos for my portfolio and do you know what, they asked if I'd be happy to do the whole thing. I couldn't believe it. I agreed instantly and practised like crazy, dragging the kids around for photoshoots, doing projects, asking friends if I could do their family portraits for free and just generally trying to get myself ready for this really important job.
My friends put their trust in me letting me capture their day back in 2016.
It was 100% nerve-racking doing Mel and Shaun's wedding, I'd never done any second shooting with another photographer, I'd never done any work experience with one either, I literally took what I learnt at Shelley's course and the bit of experience I'd managed to gather over the few months before and I rolled with it. Some might say this was crazy and inconsiderate, but looking back I'm pleased I did it this way, I've succeeded from my own ideas and ways of dealing with people on the day, I'm pleased I wasn't trying to fit another person's mould. I am what I am and I am who I am and my clients seem to like this.. Mel and Shaun were really pleased with the result and the photos from their day, as was I. I'd love every minute!
The next thing was to start my social media account and build my website. I always had a 5 year plan, where I'd hoped to build my business enough in them years to be able to do it full time, but after two years of running my own business and working at the school alongside I decided to bite the bullet and leave at Christmas 2018. My business had grown much quicker than I'd expected and I was becoming run off my feet, my mind was swimming with ideas that I had no time to implement. After a sad goodbye, as I bid farewell to school life once more, I was off, updating things, doing more photoshoots and weddings than I could believe, whilst dipping my toes in the commercial world too. It was and is amazing.
Anyone who has their own business will know, you're always thinking about where to go next and how to keep your work being seen and relevant, that's why I think it's important to stay passionate about what I do. I'll always be developing something in the background, booking courses and doing a project. Keep an eye on my work by following me on social media...
A Christmas Port, we don't mind if we do!
JUST FOR FUN, 10 FACTS ABOUT ME...
1. Growing up on a farm was the best experience ever; we had so much freedom, space and places to daydream. We'd spend our time playing with the animals, swinging from tress and making dens in the woods, if we didn't have a grazed knees or nettle strings we hadn't had enough fun. 😂
2. Nigella, Mary Berry, Jamie Oliver, Hugh from River Cottage are all firm favourites of mine when I'm in the kitchen, especially when I'm hosting dinner parties for special people or even just the four of us-we did this a lot during Lockdown. Experimenting with new food and ingredients is one of my favourite things to do, when I have time. I enjoy cooking both Vegan and Veggie meals; we do still eat meat, but it's a novel change and I feel like it's slightly better for the world, I'm converting my husband too.
3. There's nothing more satisfying than, using every last piece of fresh food up in the house before I do the weekly food shop; honestly, I can't stand wasting things. I love that I can now say it's because it's better for the planet 🌱🌍 and I sound eco friendly, I used to just get called tight. 🙈
4. I love a good series of crime/murder dramas! Who else was sat waiting for Line of Duty to come on?
5. After a childhood in the saddle, in 2018 I started riding again. My children were a little older, so there was actually a bit of time for me, Mum's old Morgan stallion, Harley got me hooked again, so in between the 2020 lockdowns I purchased my own pony. April's a Welsh D, she's my pride and joy, I bought her as a 2 year old, she was fresh off the hills of Wales and really wary of human contact. I've decided to look at backing her western style, because I love their relaxed way of riding, plus I might explore doing some barrel racing with her in the future. I learn every moment I'm with her. I also have taught my Natalie the beginnings of how to ride, so we can hack out and explore together, often with my Mum, which is lovely.
6. My husband and I like trying different Whiskey's, along with sharing a Sunday bottle of red in front of the fire, whilst watching Country File.
7. I was always the one in my circle of friends with the disposable camera, taking pictures of our crushes, each other and catching friends out whilst they were sleeping. Haha, I know, my poor friends! They used to get me back though and when I developed my films there’d be one of me in there too. We also used to do the most badly styled photo shoots; I love whipping the photos out when we’re together for a good laugh.
8. Gullible, I’m ridiculous! When I was 17 and planning a holiday in Cornwall with Richard (our first holiday) one of the regulars, in the pub I worked at decided to ask me if I’d got my Euros ready to go...I panicked totally, thinking I hadn't got them and we were going at 6am in following morning. They had me going the entire shift I even checked with everyone to see if we needed them when I got home. 🤦🏻♀️
9. Bold, colours and patterns are my favourite thing! Richard and I always have a decorating project on, we bought the home we're in now back in 2010 as a project. Guess what! We're still working on it now, it's a labour of love so I'm not sure we will ever be finished.
10. Steve; he’s our German Shorthaired Pointer and blooming huge! Richard wouldn't come with me to choose him because he said, I only get the one I wanted anyway... Because of this I decided he should name him, so he was involved in the process. I'd taken the cutest photo of this 5 week old, green eyed pup 🐶 laid in Natalie's arms to show him and asked him what he's like to call it and he said Steve!! I'm still waiting of some random bloke to ask me why I'm shouting their name when we're out and about. 🤷🏻♀️
So there we have it, a few things about me, I enjoy a simple life, I think. We do love a good holiday of course, but I think it's the stuff in between that holds us together and keeps us in that happy place, being content with what we have around us is so important. It can be easy to get wrapped up in what you want to do and always trying to be on to the next thing.
Here she is, my April.