2011 has come to an end. It makes me a bit sad, a bit happy, and super excited for what the future brings.

I love to travel and travel I did this year. In 2010, my photography brought me to Haiti, and in 2011 I was fortunate enough to head to Dominican Republic, England and Spain for different projects. Although Haiti was volunteer work, I had a moment to myself on the plane to the Dominican when it sunk in that I was getting paid to be there. It’s one of those moments when you realize that all the hard work was starting to pay off. Not too many people know the struggles I’ve had to go through to get here, but that’s for another day and another blog post.

One of my most memorable shoots to date, was in June when we shot an ad for Go Transit that was used for the Toronto International Film Festival. They rented us an entire train car for the day and I couldn’t of asked for a better team to work with. Because of this photo I was able to attend a TIFF premiere, which was an experience in itself. Never before did I think I would be wearing a suit to watch a movie, but it felt great. The ad got such great reviews with TIFF and to be judged by a field that deals with creatives from all over the world was an unreal feelings.

I started a couple personal projects this year that haven’t been made public just yet. I am super excited to release these as soon as possible. I’m hoping for a spring 2012 release for the first one. It’s been a lot of hard work and long hours but I’m very happy with the outcome and will be using the next month or so to tie up all the loose ends.

Out of all the amazing experiences I’ve had this year with photography, the most meaningful moment came as a team. In November I wanted to sponsor a family for Christmas and opened it up to my friends as well. I was blown away by the generosity of everyone. We ended up sponsoring two families and the story can be seen in a video blog here: CHRISTMAS SPONSORSHIP BLOG

Tomorrow is a new year, and it’s time for some new goals.

Goals for 2012:

1) 2012 – The Year of Personal Work

2012 will be the year where I pump out more personal work than I ever have. I strongly believe that it’s your personal work that will not only get you hired for commercial work, but it’s what will leave your legacy as a photographer.

2) Write Everything Down

I use to think I was like Jay Z and didn’t have to write anything down. Over the past two months I have experimented with the idea of recording every idea, every goal, and anything worth noting, and I’ve noticed a considerable change in my productivity. I recommend this to everyone. It really does help. I now carry a book and pen wherever I go.

3) Work More With Video

2012 will see me directing and shooting my first two music videos. I can’t say which bands just yet, but I’m way too excited to start these projects. I really see the trend in the industry going towards moving images (video), so when the time comes that it’s the standard, I want to be fully prepared. Along with the music videos, I have just finished the storyboarding for a short doc that I will going to Montreal in the spring time to film.

4) Meet Some of these Twitter Names

Over the past year, I have come to get to know some of you well…… on Twitter. My hope is that we can all meet someday and just chat. Doesn’t even have to be about photography. I believe that real life social interaction needs to be stronger in everyones life.

There have been way too many incredible experiences this year to write about it all in one blog but I just wanted to sum up a few. I wish everyone great success in the new year.

If you know me personally, you know I love to hear about others success stories. It gets me stoked to see people succeeding. I want to leave you with a goal for the new year. You will hear people say “2012 is going to be my year” a million times. Well I want to present the challenge to you: Don’t say it, Show me! I want to hear about how 2012 is your year. Email me, or tweet me your success stories all throughout next year.

Here are some of my favourite photos that I took in 2011.

Next Stop: The Red Carpet. This is the ad we did for Go Transit used at the Toronto International Film Festival

Two creatives we worked on focusing on the hair and hair pieces. (Hair by Katie Gentile)

Shooting Every Time I Die drummer Ryan ‘LEG$’ Leger for a magazine spread. It was a fun shoot but it got so hilarious/amazing when he put his daughter on a mini drum kit in front of him. So good!

Another creative with Katie

One of the most emotional pieces I’ve ever shot. I did a feature on my grandfather and his time in the way. I took his portrait as well as did a video on his war experiences which can be seen by clicking HERE.

A couple photos I shot of Beaux Mondes co-founder Stephanie. Beaux Mondes is an amazing blog out of Hamilton and I highly recommend checking it out as these girls are doing unreal things.

Here are three images from some weddings I shot this year. The first is a small church in Burlington and the rest are from a wedding I shot in the Dominican

A creative with Alycia

A photo we did for an American hair colouring company. I absolutely love how the hair came out.

An idea I had for a fun creative. A different spin on wedding photos. Pre a long long time ago and a bit scary. Love it!

And here’s a cool spin we did for a nightclub ad. Most DJs spin directly from their lap tops, but it all comes from the days of vinyl.

To all the make up artists, hair stylists, creative directors, graphic designers, stylists, accounting departments, and anyone else I forgot… THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you so much for being such a pleasure to work with this year. I’m looking so forward to 2012 and working with all of you again.

Have a safe, happy AND productive new year. All the best in 2012. See you all soon.

– Jay Perry