Equine and Country Lifestyle Blogger I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #lifestyleblogger #photography #countrylife

Happy New Year!

Wow! What a year it’s been. And where did it go?

2017 has felt like such a long time coming for me; It was set to be a year of milestones and celebrations, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

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In my personal life, it doesn’t get much bigger than 2017. I got married to my boyfriend and best friend of fourteen years and turned 30, spending it with all of my favourite people, all within the space of four months, so it’ll definitely be a year that I won’t forget in a hurry.

In terms of my career, it’s been a year of change and new challenges.

I picked up the pace with my blogging and vlogging and made the scary decision to branch out with that side of my business, resulting in it becoming an entity all of it’s own, rather than just a tool to promote my photography.

I wanted to the end the year as a country lifestyle blogger, as well as a photographer. Rather than a photographer who does a bit of blogging. And I feel like I’ve achieved that.

 

Equine and Country Lifestyle Blogger I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #lifestyleblogger #photography #countrylife
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The Best Bits…

The big moments, for me, were kicking off the year by being invited to be a brand ambassador for the amazing Hiho Silver, and then becoming a magazine columnist for Absolute Horse, a magazine I have been reading since I was a child. Being invited by Badminton Horse Trials to commentate on Radio Badminton, as well as guest-blog about the experience, for their website was a massive win for me. And I was then invited to work with Burghley, on their style-spotter competition, which was super exciting and definitely one of those ‘pinch me’ moments.

And the icing on the already very tasty cake was being personally invited by Horse of the Year Show, to be one of their first ever hand-picked bloggers to attend the event with a press pass. An absolute honour and something that just felt like a dream come true. (And if getting a Christmas card from the team at HOYS didn’t make me feel just a little bit special. Lol!)

I’ve also worked with some other amazing brands, including Fairfax & Favor, Ariat, Mackenzie & George, to name just a few.

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In terms of photography, I’ve had some really incredible clients this year, with beautiful horses, stunning locations and who have really put the effort into their shoots. I couldn’t possibly ask for more than that. It’s absolutely the best job in the world.

I’ve worked with a lot more commercial clients this year, creating images to strengthen branding and online presence, as well as photographs that have stood pride of place on trade stand banners and marketing literature. I’ve worked on everything from saddles, to stallions, to books, to cushions, to wrapping paper! And every new project has been thoroughly enjoyable and presented me with a new, inspiring challenge.

I’ve intentionally travelled less and done far more local shoots, which I absolutely love. Although I do enjoy travelling on the odd occasion, and I’m incredibly honoured that people want me to travel across the country to work with them, I was just finding myself on the road far too often and wanted to intentionally cut down my long distance road-trips for this year.

Equine and Country Lifestyle Blogger I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #lifestyleblogger #photography #countrylife
The Not So Best Bits…

However, I didn’t exactly achieve everything that I set out to…

Looking back over last year’s goals, I’d say I reached about half of them. And I’m ok with that.

I did limit the amount of shoots I did. I did have an incredible wedding and honeymoon. I did vlog weekly. And I did stick to a better blogging schedule, give or take the odd mishap.

But, in the interest of a realistic and honest review, I didn’t buy a horse. (Boo!) I didn’t reach my social media target, but to be honest, I do think it was a little ambitious. And I lived a healthier lifestyle some of the time, but can definitely make improvements.

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So, what’s in store for 2018?

One thing I always say, as you will see in this post that I wrote last year, is that I’m not a fan of making resolutions.

Resolutions are made to be broken and they feel unattainable and idealistic. Goals are what we should be focusing our energy on. Goals give us purpose and direction and feel so much more achievable.

Here are my goals for 2018…

  1. Be in more photos (with clients’ horses, at events, for blog posts)
  2. Blog more
  3. Work with more brands I love
  4. Shoot more horses ‘at liberty’
  5. Bring out more prints and artwork
  6. Earn money from my blog
  7. Reach 10k on Instagram
  8. Reach 20k on Facebook
  9. Reach 1k on Youtube

And then there are a couple of goals that I unfortunately can’t share with you just yet. But I promise to let you know as soon as I can.

Equine and Country Lifestyle Blogger I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #lifestyleblogger #photography #countrylife

So those are a few of the things I want to be mindful of in 2018.

Being on Camera

I want to be in more photographs because I know how precious images are to the people who love you, and I don’t want to spend my life photographing everybody else and have nothing to show my children/grandchildren when I’m old and wrinkly.

I want to produce a lot more country fashion content, as I know that’s something a lot of you have expressed an interest in, so being on camera is going to be a huge part of that. Weirdly, whilst vlogging doesn’t bother me now, being photographed is still something that makes me nervous. Perhaps because I’m not in control of it. But I’m hoping the more I do it, the more confident I’ll get with it and I’ve even heard other bloggers say that producing outfit posts has improved their sense of self esteem, which would be a lovely bonus!

I also feel that if I’m asking everybody else to get in front of the camera, it would probably make me a better photographer to experience being the subject myself a little more.

 

On the Blog

I will be increasing the number of blog posts I publish each week. My new schedule will look something like this, so you know when to pop by and have a read…

Monday – Lifestyle Post
Tuesday – Weekly Vlog
Wednesday – Photoshoot Write Up
Thursday – Lifestyle Post
Friday – Photoshoot Write Up
Saturday – Small Business Saturday
Sunday – Day Off

So the only changes, really, are one extra ‘lifestyle post’ and we’re moving my Friday business post to a Saturday. Of course, there will still be plenty of images and write ups from all of my shoots, over on my social media pages, but only two per week on here, just to keep it nice and tidy. 🙂

 

Prints

And then lastly, I’m planning to expand my print range. I released ‘This Princess Wears Boots’ this Christmas, on a whim and it’s proven so popular that it’s definitely convinced me to do more of this kind of thing.

I love the idea that those of you have followed and supported me for so long, but may not be in a position to commission a shoot of your own (whether that’s because you don’t have a horse of your own or because you’re halfway across the world) can still have my artwork hanging on your walls to enjoy. And this will be something I will focus on more in the new year.

 

Equine and Country Lifestyle Blogger I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #lifestyleblogger #photography #countrylife

And that’s just about everything, I think.

These old year/new year, reflection/planning posts are always some of my favourites to write. Even just as a personal exercise for me to be able to look back on, I find them like a kind of therapy.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed looking back over the past year and ahead to the new one, with me, today. I can’t wait to see what the next twelve months bring and, as always, I literally get butterflies when I think about meeting my new clients and their horses.

2018, I’m ready for you!

Specialist UK equine portrait photographer and country lifestyle blogger & vlogger.

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