DANIELLE DOBSON - LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER - MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
2023. The year of feeling content.
If you’ve been following my journey for a while (and taken the time to read my blogs – hi mum!), you’d know I end each year with a lil post listing all the things I’m grateful for. Some years it’s easy, some not so much (I’m looking at you 2020 and 2021!) 2023 however? It’s been a LOT easier to get behind, and I am ESPECIALLY grateful for that. 2020 + 2021 were poopy, 2022 was chock full of adventures and life changes. So a slow and steady 2023 was just what the doctor ordered.
Here are all the things I’m grateful for in 2023…
…learning. When starting out as a photographer you absorb all the learning and knowledge and wisdom you can in the early years. There is SO MUCH to learn! But after a time of growth and success, it’s easy to overlook the need to continue to push yourself beyond what you already know. I had been following Sophie Lea for a couple of years, watching her success as a photographer and business owner, and just KNEW she could teach me so much more. I was fortunate to attend one of her Melbourne workshops and drank it aalllllll in, she was incredible! I then WON a spot at the first Unfiltered Retreat in August, which was MAGIC. Three days of conversations (both personal and professional) with fellow photographers was exactly what I needed. And a bit of a wake up call too! I came home from the retreat encouraged, fully motivated and ready to enhance all aspects of my business and photography.
…my new studio. EEP! I still feel SO proud when I mention it! One of the things I was looking for when searching for our new home last year was the ability to add on or convert a space into a photo studio. It was never a ‘must-have’ for us, but a bonus. And bonus we got!!! Our new place had a hair salon that was the PERFECT solution. We spent a few weeks renovating it with new floors, a new door, a fresh coat of paint and all the furnishings to create a comfy, airy studio space. Six months after completion (time flies when you’re having fun!) and I’ve welcomed loads of families in for newborn, motherhood and even a three-generation session! It has been truly wonderful to have another offering available to my clients. TRULY!
…our new home. Now that we’ve been here for a little over a year, I can honestly say we are settled and just oh-so-happy in our new home. Life is slower on the peninsula, which (aside from all the work around the property, LOL!) we have wholly embraced. Wines at sunset, picnic dinners at the beach and spontaneous catchups with the family. And listening to aaalllll the birds – it’s wonderful! The kids also started at a new school. It was a rough few months (change is HARD!), but they have now both settled in and I could not be more proud of them.
…mowing. I bet you weren’t expecting this one! Neither was I! Living on 1.5 acres means a whooooole lotta mowing. I had never mowed before but with a ride-on mower I just had to give it a go! Turns out it’s my new FAVE pastime. I get to sit, listen to whatever I like AND be productive at the same time – it’s the BEST!
…books. What do I do while mowing? Listen to audiobooks! And this year I levelled up in the world of reading, moving on from autobiographies and self-help type books to discover fantasy. I thought Twilight was good, but fantasy novels these days are wayyyy better! I highly recommend Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros if you’re keen! Total escapism and I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT.
…ocean swims. Truth be told, I was hoping for more of these and didn’t get as many in as I’d like, but I HAD to mention our epic family swim with the dolphins!!! Completely unplanned, we headed down for a sunset swim one arvo and were SURROUNDED by a pod of dolphins! At one point, they were all within arms reach. I still can’t believe it! It was MAGICAL and I will remember it forever.
…each and every family who I have met and photographed this year. None of this would be possible without you! Your support means the world to me, and I was SO delighted that this year was another year of returning clients – many, many gorgeous families I’d photographed once, even twice, before (including one family booking me for their EIGTH session, and another family taking me to Cactus Country – eep!!!) Thank you, thank you, thank you.
…my wonderful tog family! Walking side by side with incredible women who support each other through the highs and lows of not only this industry, but life too. You are the BEST!
…of course, I can’t forget every single like, comment, DM, post share, and story view on my socials! Whether on Instagram or Facebook, it’s just completely mind blowing to me (still!) that anyone would want to keep up with what I’m doing. Especially every time you pop over here and read one of my blogs (again, hiiii mum!). It all helps, believe me! Thank you for being here.
…my support network. To my family – Matt, Cruz and Milly – who are my BIGGEST supporters. Especially this year with the launch of my studio, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.
…lastly, I’m grateful for another amazing year ahead that I am just SO DAMN excited for! The highs and lows, the lessons we’ll learn, the people we’ll meet. (And more ocean swims, obviously!!) Bring. It. ON!
And so, I’ve ended the year on the word “content”. It seems to sum up everything I’m feeling – peaceful. Happy. At ease. But equally fulfilled and motivated to give 2024 a real good crack. Here’s to more contentment next year and beyond!
Happy New Year friends, may it be our best yet!