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Happy New Year!

 I am so excited to be at the start of a fresh new year. We had a wonderful Christmas here in the Doll House. Granny B came to stay with us again which always makes it feel even more special. I have to say that it was such a relief to leave the camera untouched somedays and just settle back into having a lovely relaxing time.

Of course some photos were taken over the holiday. They had to be! We have a new bright yellow sofa that I am excited about. I love how it looks in photos but it highlights that those brown blinds have got to go.

We had a lot of fun putting together a group family photo using my new interval timer. That thing is brilliant! I also made a lot of use of my flashgun but instead of faffing about with it off camera I just bounced it off the ceilings. It worked a treat.

Bear has a new "big girl bed". I love her canopy because it is exactly what I dreamed of having as a little girl. She is beyond delighted with her new bed but I have to admit that I am finding myself feeling painful pangs of nostalgia for times when the kids were babies and toddlers. That time has now officially gone forever and I do feel more than a little sad about that. 

Speaking of growing up, Roo got a mobile phone for Christmas. Needless to say he was over the moon. 

My crystal ball got an outing. 

We met up with my lovely sister in law and Baby E in the new year. She is growing up fast too! 

These photos were a little ... meh when they first came through editing, but then I loved how they popped when I put a preset on them. There is a time and a place for presets. 

One of the big advantages of Roo's phone is that he can now take his own photos, which he has shown a huge interest in. (Whoop).We decided to do a joint photo challenge where we each took 5 or so pictures of this beautiful glass house. He is what I got... 

And here is what he got... unedited. 

I love that he thought of taking a shot looking away from the building...

... and inside the building!

I never even noticed this stained glass.

This was a lot of fun and a really great way to start teaching him photography. 

 So, my photography goal for the Christmas break was to reflect back over the past 365 and decide what I want my next step to be. This was made easier by the fact that I made a year photo book for us. I was also asked to submit a summary of my favourite photos from the year in order to remain in my old 365 group. It was interesting that the photos I chose tended to contain movement, energy and bursts of light. Some examples were...

 Looking back at my goals for the last 365 was interesting too.

Beyond the basic getting better at taking photos goal, I hope to:
1. learn more about artificial lighting / off camera flash/ studio lighting
2. get closer to finding my own personal style
3. really get to grips with Lightroom and Photoshop
4. finally take part in some online courses
5. upgrade my camera

 I certainly did upgrade my camera and I'm pretty sure that I made at least some progress in the other areas. At least I hope I did. The issue of personal style still baffles me but perhaps I am getting closer to defining myself. The leanings towards movement, energy and light is clear in many of my images. I notice that I also tend to prefer darker deeper tones but I do throw the odd high key tone image in there too. Bright, colourful and vibrant and are not really me. I am feeling much more confident in Lightroom and Photoshop but there is still a way to go for sure. I still haven't done an online course. Time and money just didn't permit last year, but it is happening this year for definite. I really do need feedback on my work and the chance to ask a mentor specific questions.

My main goal for 2017 was to step back a little and focus on quality over quantity. I have already found myself using up my free time watching Creative Live lessons and getting into some new inspirational Facebook groups. I have been really getting my head around lighting and posing, which are areas that felt way beyond my comprehension last year. I want to take more doll photos and I absolutely have to try my hand at some composites.

So, my photography goals for 2017 are:
1. Shoot 5 days a week, but don't sweat it if I miss some
2. Take one doll picture a week
3. Aim to get at least 12 composites done by the end of the year
4. Do an online course
5. Nail lighting
6. Practice some family poses and fun ideas for sibling photos
7. Be more creative

 Let's get started!