I’ve always loved picking up a camera and freezing moments in time but didn’t have the technical know-how in order to get the most out of the various cameras I’ve had over the years. Although I always aspired to take better pictures, life and work got in the way and I ambled along…that is until my first child.
It quickly became apparent that taking a blurry picture inside wasn’t going to make it to pride of place on our walls at home. The frustration I felt at not being able to get those first images, in a way that I wanted to, made me take action!
I started looking at beginner photography courses in order to understand how to deal with low light and how to get the most out of my camera. I soon found one that seemed to cover what I wanted and so, in-between navigating being a new mother, my photography journey began! I had the perfect little model to practice on and, being a bit of geek generally, I quickly grasped the fundamentals and the technical aspects of photography. I soon realized that’s not all that’s needed however to really bring my images to life – the next step was editing! And wow – there’s so much to learn when it comes to editing! This is where you can really make your vision of what you want in a portrait, come to life and for me, it’s how I have truly evolved as a photographer.
This is one of my first ‘ah-ha’ moments in my photography. Taken with my entry level Nikon DSLR with a simple black and white conversion. It’s still part of our photo wall at home and one of my all-time favourites.
Taking pictures of the kids
Originally, I wasn’t looking into becoming a professional photographer. I was still working in my old job remotely, as we were living in Kenya, but the company I used to work for was based in the UK. Photography for me, at that time, was simply a way to take great pictures of my kids that I could proudly display in my family home.
More than a hobby?
My photography path started to change when friends started asking for copies of my photography – I’d often be found practicing during playdates and kids’ parties and I was more than happy to share.
I had someone ask me if they could pay to have me at their children’s party and I thought ‘what…am I actually good enough?!’. I actually refused payment at this point and asked if I could use the images taken to grow my portfolio as I felt I still needed more practice and couldn’t guarantee that I would get all the necessary shots due to lack of experience (and confidence) at this time!
It was then that I started to really consider whether I could actually start a photography business. I was still learning – taking more advanced courses and constantly practicing. At the point I felt confident enough that my photography was consistent, I decided to just do it! I booked in lots of portfolio sessions which helped me grow, not only in terms of the number of images I had, but also as a people person. Working with families and small children needs energy and skills to help connect and be able put people at ease so that I can capture family memories and moments that are genuine and full of emotion.
With a bank of new images, I then created my website, it was very basic but it helped me realise that I could truly take this to the next level, taking a passion and turning it into a business became a reality.
In-between having another 2 children I started to make a name for myself as a photographer in our ex-pat community. Family photo shoots became the norm for me (with some children’s parties and headshot photo sessions thrown in too).
Moving back to the UK
Moving to the UK after nearly 7 years, 6 of those in my photography journey, was tough! By this time we had 3 children and we were moving into a new area where I knew very little people. In Kenya most of my work was word of mouth so I didn’t have the first clue on how to get new clients. I’m slowly growing my client list and I’m absolutely loving the different seasons, along with learning new skills that come with this. Kenya ‘seasons’ are either hot and sunny or hot and raining! The sun rises and sets around the same time each day so most of my family sessions took place around 4pm which meant I had soft light and enabled me to get lots of gorgeous backlit portraits. The UK is slightly different in terms of differing daylight hours and unpredictable weather but learning to adapt is key, in any stages of life and business. The most wonderful aspect of photographing families in the UK (apart from the gorgeous seasonal colours) is the amazing countryside and wonderful locations available. We live in the picturesque county of Suffolk; near Bury St Edmunds and I also work in the nearby count of Norfolk too. The landscape and choice of locations is just amazing and varied which means a family session is more like a day out with the family.