The Learning Phase
Photography for me had always been a hobby, a passion, something to learn. I started my learning journey photographing landscapes, getting up in the dark and trekking off to some place of outstanding beauty. This was 10 years ago, when we lived in Spain, before we had children and when the weekend was your own.
My husband bought me my first proper DLSR, I enrolled in a film photography course where I lived in Spain, which doubled as a Spanish learning journey as well as working out the wheels and bolts of photography, a double challenge. I also subscribed to lots of UK Photography magazines and did every photography task going to put my skills to the test.
I created a make shift studio to practice macro photography, I took self portraits, I took my camera to parties and practiced my photography there and continued to get up at dawn or watch the sun go down to capture an amazing landscape, you name it I did it, all in the name of photography and learning.
Then I went on several fashion and conceptual photography workshops in London and my photography took a new lease of life. I started photographing models and thinking up styled shoots, on a social level whenever I took photos out and about it was always the photos of children that people commented most on – But up until this point, my photography was still just a hobby.
My husband often suggested I take it up professionally, I think to cover all the money I was spending on lenses and kit, but I couldn’t imagine walking around telling people what an amazing photographer I was and how they needed to hire me.
A change of focus
Children change everything. Before, during and after I had my little boy Hugo (now 5) I was working at the British Consulate in Malaga, and absolutely loved my job. What’s not to love, dealing with distressed British Nationals on a day to day basis and helping them in their time of need, or thinking of ways to prevent their distress. I worked with a great team, I was in my element. But having to put Hugo in nursery full time was heart breaking.
Then one day, I was with Hugo at a local soft play centre and got talking to the owner. She said she needed a photographer for children’s parties and events and could I do it.
Off the back of that I got other bookings for new born shoots, family portraits, events and then started taking on other projects for interior designers, restaurants as well as working with a local model agency.
However, I didn’t have the nerve to leave my day job at the Consulate, so as you can imagine, I was exhausted.
Finding my niche
After working with all types of clients and areas, yet working way more than I wanted to I decided to take a step back and go back to just photographing just for me and have a think about what I wanted to do. During that time, we also had our little girl Amelia, and moved back to the UK.
I had a think, and realised two things. 1. That I loved telling a story in a photo, planning them out in my mind and creating the photograph. I did this largely through my self portraits. 2. I also realised that I have a knack for photographing children. I’m a bit of a big kid myself, I love adventures, exploring, a spot of trespassing, and I decided that I would combine the two.
I decided I wanted to create photographs of children that wouldn’t be out of place in a story book or film. Feeding my imagination while working with people and giving them some amazing images that they will want to keep forever.
And what better place to do that than here, on the edge of the most amazing forest – Ashdown Forest in Hatfield, East Sussex, home to Winnie the Pooh no less! Everyday I can’t believe how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful area.
This part of my journey is still in its early stages and as a mum with young children I need to make sure that I am there for them too and not take on too much. But I am excited and looking forward to what’s round the corner.