What a crazy year it has been! I’m sure we all say this every year, but it really is only at the end that you realise all the amazing things you’ve done and achieved. Some years are more special than others, some years are just about growth and change. 2018 for me was both a special year and one of new chapters. This is one of the posts I enjoy doing the most in the year, I didn’t get round to doing it in 2017 (they do take forever to put together!!) which I regretted because it’s these posts you can look back on in the future and remember all the wonderful moments you had!
For those of you who don’t know what I do, I am a full-time freelance photographer specialising in fashion and travel photography. I shoot a number of fashion bloggers in London as well as travel and lifestyle brands. I also share my imagery and travel tips on my blog and finally sell my travel images on my print shop www.victorias-stories.com. I truly enjoy working on a variety of different platforms and feel that it keeps my work and mind both relevant and engaged! I hope you too enjoy the content I share and create, as I have plenty of exciting things coming your way in 2019!
PRINT SHOP // REBRAND
During the Christmas holidays of 2017 I had the idea of launching my print shop. I was actually looking back on all the incredible photographs I had and thinking how sad it was that they remained tied up as a digital file. Victoria’s Stories was born. I chose to rebrand my photo business to incorporate my print shop, travel blog and photography services. Victoria’s Stories is about sharing with the world the stories through my images. I spent much of January piecing this together, working on my new website and online shop and putting everything into place for my launch in April.
2018 was a crazy year of travel and February marked my first trip which was to Portugal. We headed over with the team from the Pinecliffs resort and visited the coast of the Algarve. It was my first time visiting Portugal but would be one of three trips I would make to the country in 2018! Though the Algarve was beautiful, the really amazing parts that I fell in love with were Porto and Lisbon, two cities I visited later in the year with my friend and blogger Haley. You can read more about my trip to the Pinecliff’s resort right here.
March was a very special month for me on a personal level. I got engaged to my sweet Italian stallion in Italy after doing a road trip with my boyfriend, which was truly, truly magical. He is from Milan and we always seem to visit Italy for short trips to see family and never get round to planning long holidays there. Anyway we finally organised this road trip, covering some of the most stunning parts of Italy. From the Ligurian coast, to the Cinqueterre, to the rolling hills of Tuscany. It was a whirlwind trip but there were a few key places we really wanted to cover. Little did I know that on the hilltops of Tuscany he would get down on one knee and pop the question…It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life – I wish I could go back to those special few days on cloud 9. Following the trip, I shared a road trip blogpost of the adventure for those of you planning trips to Tuscany and the Cinqueterre! Don’t miss out on the great tips 🙂
LAUNCHING MY PRINT SHOP
Another personal goal that I was super proud of achieving this year was the launch of my travel photo print shop. I couldn’t believe I had finally gotten the website live after months of hard work! I’m the kind of person who doesn’t often stop to appreciate the things I have achieved but rather keeps ploughing ahead, but this is something I’m very proud of. From curating and perfecting my collection of travel images from some of my favourite destinations, to working with my web designer in the hope of bringing it to life and finding the best company to process my prints from, there was so much that went into it. In 2018 I definitely desired the challenge of something new, working with products, a new way of thinking about my photography to take my imagery to a new level and out of the digital realm. You can check out my prints right here!
My photography work takes me on so many different adventures. From working with some fantastic brands such as Bicester Village to Oasis and to Peggy Porschen, I constantly find myself in a number of different shoot situations keeping me on my toes. Alongside fashion, one of my favourite areas to photograph would be travel. For the past three years I have been working and travelling with my close friend and US blogger, Haley Shepherd. We have the most incredible time discovering some of the most stunning corners of the world and capturing them as we go. I photograph Haley for her blog while we are out there and we also treat it as a “travel assignment” where we constantly research and try out restaurants, cafes, places of interest, instagrammable spots to share with our audiences. We work tirelessly on our trips to create amazing content to share of where we have been! 2018 marked a year of stunning destinations for us, the first being the Amalfi coast.
I was bursting with excitement of heading to Positano and the Amalfi coast. Ever since I saw that scene in “Under the Tuscan Sun” (I often wish I could move to Italy and live an idyllic dolce vita life too!!) I knew I would fall in love with it …..and I did! If there is one thing I can say about Positano is it’s one of those places which EXCEEDS expectations. It’s even more beautiful in real life than it is in photos.. a truly spectular corner of the world, perfect for a romantic getaway with your special person. Not only did we visit Positano, but we had a short trip to Capri, spent a day in Procida (which I absolutely adored and you must do too!) and visited Ravello. That entire region is absolutely magical and a must do, I’m so grateful to have been able to experience it with Haley who had been before and showed me some of the best corners!
I will be putting together a short guide to Positano in the next few months in time for those of you planning a trip there soon.
PORTO & LISBON
It was time for the second big trip with Haley of the year and this time our travels would take us to Portugal. We planned to go to two destinations, Lisbon and Porto. Our first port of call was Porto and it was incredible. A layered colourful city by the sea, bursting with culture, delicious food and wine, and more picture perfect corners than you could imagine. It really is the perfect city break destination for those of you in Europe.
Secondly we headed to Lisbon and I fell in love with the city! I adore hilly cities (though my legs do not) because the vantage points make for the most incredible views. You can find so many viewpoints to enjoy looking out at the layers and layers of the city, it makes the vista so interesting and beautiful to photograph. I also loved how foodie driven the city was – it doesn’t have the modern side to it like cities such as London but it is just simply a COOL city. From the trams to the hidden courtyards, from the sunsets to the colourful facades, Lisbon might be one of my favourite cities I’ve ever visited! More guides on both of those destinations coming to the blog in 2019 as well.
BLOGGER PHOTOGRAPHY // MY PRINT SHOP PARTY
July is always a super busy month for photography and influencer-related events in London. I feel so blessed with the amazing and inspiring bloggers, PRs and brands that I have the chance to work with and who appreciate my photography work. Not only do I get to shoot the latest fashion, experience some of the best new launches in London but I also have the chance to continuously push myself creatively. I spent July working hard shooting and wrapping up projects before the summer holidays hit, and worked on a very important project for my print shop journey: the launch party.
To say I was nervous about doing a launch party was an understatement. My dear friend Nathan was the one who encouraged me to do it, saying it would be the best thing I ever did and I can safely say it was! I worked most of the month of July to organise the prints, props, giveaways, locations, brands to work with etc – it was a mammoth task! Initally I was pretty stressed out because I had never organise such a big event in my life – respect goes to events planners, there is so so much to think about and do!!! When the day finally came I had the most amazing support from my boyfriend, from my friends Nathan (who helped with the entire process including the set up on the day!), Isabella (who put together all of the goodie bags) and my friend Roberta (who took the photos) – I’m so grateful for the time they took to help and support me with this, I couldn’t have done it without them!
The turnout was incredible and the launch event was a real success. I can’t express how touched I was with how many wonderful people came out to support me, from friends to fellow instagrammers and colleagues, to clients and press, it was such an amazing afternoon. The sun was shining and the champagne was flowing, what more could I have asked for?
SUMMER HOLIDAYS IN GREECE
August was a month spent catching up with the crazy past six months I had had. It was a time for reflection and my summer holidays! I headed to Greece for a much needed break with my boyfriend and family. As a creative, allowing your mind to relax and switch off is so important. I spend so much of my time behind the lens working on job after job, so having that time to recharge and be inspired all over again is extremely important! I visited the stunning island of Ios and shared much of my adventure on Instagram. If you love travel tips from London and all the places I visit, make sure to follow along on Instagram!
PHOTOGRAPHY WORK // BRIDES THE SHOW
September, as always, is time to get back to work after the summer break. I got back to shooting for some of my favourite brands such as Aquazurra, House of Spring, Nora Aytch, I also photographed bloggers during fashion week, carried on with my weekly blogger photography work and, was invited to speak on the panel at a really special event, Brides the Show! Jade and I had met a few times to discuss how Brides and I could work together in the lead up to my big day. I was so honoured when they invited me to the show, not only did they invite me to attend but also to speak on their panel of wedding experts. From wedding makeup and wedding dress designing to social media etiquette and photography on your big day. I was sat on the panel with some of the loveliest ladies and you can read more about my experience right here! I have a few more things in the pipeline with Brides this year as my wedding day gets closer, so stay tuned for that!
AUTUMN TRIP TO VERMONT, USA
It was time for my final trip of the year with Haley and this was set to be an incredible one. Since Haley often flies over to Europe for our trips, the previous year we had discussed the opportunity for me to come over State side and travel with her somewhere in the US. High on both our lists was shooting the autumn leaves of Vermont…. little did we know how lucky we would be! After a bumpy start getting to America (losing my suitcase and missing my connecting flight!) our road trip began. I am yet to write a blog post about the trip we took, but I can tell you it was simply incredible.
When we booked our flights we didn’t know if we would hit the leaves turning, since it’s similar to timing the spring blossom, you just don’t know what the weather will do. Lucky for us the leaves had changed mere DAYS before we arrived and we got to Vermont with autumn in its full glory. If you have Vermont and New England on your list to visit, try to do so during the fall… it is one of nature’s most beautiful phenomenons and not to be missed. Below you can get a taste of some of the images I shot during our trip!
TRIP TO TRIESTE
November was when the mad lead up to Christmas began. London donned out it’s finest festive attire and I went photo crazy. Before we were totally cloaked by sequins and Christmas baubles, I headed for a trip to Italy to visit a destination I’d never been to before: Trieste. We were hosted by the Star Collezione team at their stunning Savoia Excelsior Palace. More on that is heading your way this month as I’ll be sharing my Trieste guide very later in January to give you some winter city break inspo! I also spent some quality time with my friend Whitney and fellow travel blogger, who, along with Haley, is hoping to move back to London for good this year. I hope they get their visas and make it over soon!!
ENJOYING CHRISTMAS IN LONDON
It was finally time to crack open the mulled wine and mince pies as Christmas approached. This was one of the first Christmases I had spent in the UK in years (usually I fly home to Dubai but my parents left Dubai this year so no more Christmas sunshine for me!!) I have to say I adore being in the city at Christmas and absolutely love photographing this time of year with all the stunning decorations you find all over the city. It’s hard not to get in to the Christmas spirit and below are a few of my favourite Christmas spots in London. Nathan and I also shot a Christmas story of our perfect day out in London, which was featured on Pretty Little Trips, to inspire those visiting the city at Christmas time! You can read that right here in case you’re planning on heading to the capital to enjoy the festive season in 2019.
On that positive, festive note, it’s time for me to sign off and wish you all the happiest and healthiest of New Year’s! I hope all your dreams come true for 2019 – remember to shoot for the moon because you will land amongst the stars. Never let the fear of failure stop you from having a go, life is too short not to fulfil your dreams, so make 2019 the year you do so!