• Fiona Bielby (Anoif Photography)

Living the Dream...

Dreaming the dream, I have found, is very different to living the dream! 2019 was a funny year, not what I expected: there were highs and there were unexpected lows. Although there was the initial excitement, there was definitely an inward anxiety of real worry.

After spending four years building my business up to a place where I felt confident enough in myself to just go out there and be a full-time family/wedding photographer, I finally handed in my notice at the day job to leave at Christmas 2018. So from January last year, I was a photographer, no more hiding behind the day job: when people asked what I did, I had to say a photographer, which in itself felt really weird. I’m really not sure why. I'm pleased to say now it feels really normal; but losing a regular wage puts pressure on you. How many jobs I had booked in the diary never used to be an issue but it soon became my obsession.

During January, February, March and April I spent my time delving in to my website, revamping it by pulling it to pieces and totally restructuring it. I learnt so, so much about headings, titles and SEO. I gave it the ultimate makeover and I was super proud, I loved the way it worked and how it looked-I still do by all accounts. When all was done I launched it. I waited and waited; I stressed and stressed. Why weren’t the bookings coming flooding in like I’d expected them to? Self doubt - it’s the worst! Looking back now I realise things take time and finally, when wedding season began and my work was all over social media again, the bookings began to come in. Thank goodness! This is the power of sharing work in different places, it’s incredible. So thanks to you lovely couples and families for agreeing for me to do just that, you’re empowering a local girl’s business. You’re all amazing.

From January to December last year, I was lucky enough to have met and captured 18 couples’ love stories, each one of them moving, beautiful and perfect in their own way. I love people; they’re rather fascinating, so getting to do this as my full-time job has been extremely precious. Along with the weddings, I’ve been part of documenting families at each and every stage. From birth, all the way through childhood to the teen years and beyond - to being happily married for 50 years and more, with several generations alongside them. That’s special isn’t it! I’ve honestly loved every minute I spent with you all. I’m not sure how many photos I’ve taken altogether but I’ve know I’ve edited and presented around 20,000 images to couples, families and local businesses. I’ve also travelled too: from literally my doorstep (there’s so many beautiful places to capture people in my village) to the rolling, sun-dappled Tuscan hills, in Italy. It’s been quite a year.

Family portrait taken in Amotherby
Amotherby photo session
A walk through my village, Amotherby
This family were brought up in the village where I live, (Amotherby) so it made perfect sense to stay local to do their photos. We went back and explore childhood haunts, Caroline and Louise shared stories with their children as we wandered through the church yard, to visit their father's grave and then to see their old dens!

The day before the wedding, a trail run with the horses innTuscany.
The building in the background is the castle that Natalie and Nick tied-the-knot the following day. Castello di Montalto, Tuscany, Italy.

A wet wedding in Italy of all the places!
Enjoying a canter across the Tuscan stubble in Italy.
What a place! I'd never been to Tuscany before, it was a dream, see some more images below of Natalie and Nick's day.

I’d have to say my highlights of the year have definitely been watching two close friends become one with their partners. Along with a childhood friend too, I grew up with Richard, so when he and Katie asked me to capture their day I was so chuffed! I always say my favourite part of capturing any wedding is the part when the Bride walks down the aisle, linked by the arm, to the person they’ve chosen to give them away. It doesn’t matter how close you are to that Bride she always looks at you from that brief moment in time, with a nervous smile. Ah, I love that moment and it never tires!

Here’s some of those moments from their weddings. I know, I got a little carried away!

Katie getting ready to meet Richard in Allerthorpe Church.
Walking to church In Allerthorpe.
Here's Richard (2nd from the left) and his groomsmen walking to church, NERVES!!

First look at the alter, Allerthorpe Church
The moment they set eyes on each other, you can't beat it!

The Bridal party, Allerthorpe

Speech nerves!
The moment before the Best-men did their speech, I'm not sure what Richard was expecting...

Katie and Richard wandering through pine trees in Allerthorpe

The Brides, Bridesmaids and Flower girl all ready to go, in Tuscany.

The bride all ready, in Tuscany
The breeze captured Natalie's veil perfectly, it framed her beautiful smile.

Dad walking Natalie down the aisle of Olive trees, in Italy
Nick's first view of his wife to be, in Tuscany.
Natalie riding a beautiful black horse, in her wedding dress.
Riding through the olive groves as Mr and Mrs
Helping build the wedding cake!
The Greek/Italian conga...
It was raining and dark (but warm) yet Natalie (mainly) and Nick (a bit) still insisted on doing the conga around the fairy-lit tree; I'm so pleased they did!

Lydia, is sensible she chose flats and they were so cute!

Liam and his groomsmen having a whiskey before the ceremony. In Grassington

A cigar too, in Grassington
That first look! Grassington
This is the moment I'm talking about, a proud Dad, a Bride with a smile so pronounced and beautiful and the Groom, his reaction! Love, love, love!!

The helper, coming to help us with the couple shots! Grassingotn
Oh, my, days! This shot says it all, the Bridesmaids, supposedly coming to help...hmmm. This makes me chuckle.

Bride and Groom Grassingotn

Bride and Groom walking, Grassington

The bride with her friends, Grassington