Recap of my 2020 – A strange wedding season, struggles and a new mission

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Obviously this year has been anything but ordinary, for any one. A global pandemic followed by state restrictions no one thought possible. To many it has brought fear, loneliness and depression. To others 2020 was a year of successes and highlights. And for some, it was both.

I thought it might be fun to show you my year in photos and to tell you about how I experienced these last few months. Enjoy this peek into my life and let me know what you think!

 

My year started in the beautiful South-German city of Munich. I worked for a visual effects company from November ’19 – February ’20. During the week I worked, and in the weekends I tried to see as much of the city as possible. I visited musea, enjoyed the Christmas markets (check out those crowds, obviously pre-Covid haha), drank Glühwein and tried the delicious Bavarian food.

Munich is located at the edge of the Bavarian Alps, so I went almost every weekend for a trip to these beautiful mountains. Sometimes with a group of colleagues, but often just on my own. When you’re on your own you get to meet so many fellow travellers.

Staying in this beautiful area couldn’t go without photographing some amazing couples. <3

At the beginning of March I took the train back to the Netherlands, just a few days before the world went crazy. Everything went according to plan – I had to get back because I had to finish some courses of law school – but it felt strange knowing that staying in Munich wasn’t even an option anymore.

Anyway, we went into lockdown and I was back home with Joost, the bunnies and my plants. Though I was glad to be home during these strange times, I went through some ups and downs. I struggled with online lectures and all the wedding cancellations (it would’ve been the best year for my business so far). Some weeks I couldn’t get out of bed, and other weeks I had all the energy of the world to get my business thriving.

 Fortunately the hubby and the bunnies were there to cheer me up. At some point our neighbours had baby goats, so I spent some time photographing those cute little faces. I studied and gradually redecorated our home. I also tried taking some self-portraits for my website, but well.. they turned out a bit dark haha.

I had to get myself together, so during my good weeks I devoted all my energy to my law study and photography. I organised portfolio shoots, worked on my website, spent a lot of time growing my social media following, learned a lot about my mindset and met so many great people!

I also decided to implement sustainability into my business. It plays such a huge part in my personal life, it felt only logical to devote my business to the planet. You can read more about it here.

Despite all the cancellations, some couples decided to get married anyway and I’m so happy I was there to capture it!

In July I attended a portfolio building workshop with the goal to play and be more creative than usual. I also organised mini shoots in the fields close to my home and organised a styled shoot with some fellow creatives and an awesome couple.

This year I spent a lot of time on Instagram, trying to build my following. In a few months I gained more than a thousand new followers. It’s useless to fixate on the numbers, but I noticed a growth in bookings and it helped me better understanding my business. But above all, it brought me so many great conversations, connections, and even friends.

For instance, I had the honour of photographing Jennie (from Jennie from the blog) and her dog Cody. I also met up with Anouk, a friend I met through Instagram, and she took this amazing photo of me in which I truly feel beautiful.

www.anoukstrijbos.nl - edit by me

During summer me and Joost often went for long hikes in the nearby forests. In August I had a lot of work finishing all my editing, but I’m happy we also found some time to pack our tent and camp for a few days in a beautiful Dutch national park.

And then there was a wedding season!

This year brought sooo many uncertainties for my sweet couples. Imagine planning a wedding and you have to postpone it. I felt so sorry for them. This is why I was double excited for all the new plans that were formed during the year. Creativity, resilience and flexibility, that’s what this year’s wedding season was about. I am so honoured to have captured these special moments. All of them so intimate and personal. I loved every moment of it.

Autumn came and editing season came with it. I spent my time editing, picked up another few courses in law school and did some amazing autumn sessions before we all went into lockdown again. At the moment I’m studying, designing photo albums and taking a lot of time to get out of the house and be in nature, which is something I didn’t do enough throughout the year.

Time to reflect.

The pandemic made me aware of all the positive changes going on in the world. In the wedding industry we’re slowly growing towards a broader perception of ‘weddings’ and with 2020’s flexible/creative wedding season this movement is only accelerating. More and more couples are eloping or getting married in a way they want to, and there is a increasing desire for meaning and sustainability.

At the same time there’s a shift in small businesses going on: quality over quantity. We want to be better for ourselves and more meaningful to the world around us. All of this together gave me a new perspective on my own business: I want to support this movement! My new ‘why’ was born this year: capturing the connection between people and nature, to set an example and restore a balance, showing that we need both the planet and each other. 

 

 I see 2020 as a year of ups and downs.

My ups: my new mission, growing a social following, stepping out of my comfort zone, meeting new people, having the best clients ever, accepting my own sustainability journey and expanding it by implementing it into my business. I feel privileged for growing my business and all the possibilities despite Covid. I am thankful for my physical health in times where that’s not an obvious thing.

My downs: struggles with perfectionism and letting go – partially amplified by Covid. I also noticed that, on my bad days, I don’t spend enough time outside, while the outdoors may just be the answer to all my struggles. A lesson I’m taking with me into 2021. Nature is always the answer!

What has this year taught you?

 

I hope you liked this little peek into my life and business. Let me know what you think in an IG message or in the comments.

Love, Nanda

  • Freestyling in the great outdoors with Anouk

    A few weeks ago I met up with Anouk again for a hike and chat, to take some photos, be creative and explore the outdoors together. The beautiful nature area where we agreed to meet is situated on the Veluwe and we both love to spend time here.

    It was a cold and early morning. We had hoped for some fog, but instead nature surprised us with a beautiful morning sky, followed by some gentle sun rays. We hiked through the heather, accompanied by a herd of sheep, until we reached this little pool.

    After a good chat and a nice cup of tea we continued. The powerful sunbeams through these trees felt like a gift of nature. We couldn’t stop taking pictures. It was so much fun playing around with this light.

    Thanks Anouk, for being the beautiful woman you are. <3

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