I guess you could say my photography journey has been literal as well as metaphorical. I seem to suffer from an extreme case of wanderlust. I’ve traveled since I was young, and it was always on these travels that, even as a kid, I took the most photographs. I studied art in school and can see parallels between what I photographed, and what I drew or painted – they stretch way back into childhood and I still see the same stories running through my work even now.
It was the travel I did in my previous job as an environmental consultant that really developed my love of photography though. I got to travel all over Asia from my Hong Kong home and it was particularly the details that I captured as I went; the textures and the colours, that were the things that ignited my senses and helped me to see, and therefore tell the story of a place.
When a friend bought me a book and told me she knew I’d love it because the style was similar to my style of photography it shocked me. I had a style? That was recongisable to someone else? And I began to take it all more seriously, getting some of my travel pictures published and exhibited.
Of course, all that was before kids… as so many of us know, the real spark that makes our photography grow is the birth of our precious babies. And that was my next stage… capturing my kids as we continued to travel – telling our family stories. With this came a need to upgrade my camera and my skills level – these moving targets were a whole different ball game. I saw scenes in a different way to those details I was capturing previously. I started out with a Nikon D80 and a 50 1.4 lens – I photographed the heck out of that thing – thinking that the shallow depth of field made me super arty!!
And somewhere along the way, my new photography style started to develop. My eye for composition was already there because of my art background, but gosh, did I need some work on the lighting front!! Back then I’d shoot my kids as I found them – scared of missing the moment, particularly when we were away from home, and capturing it no matter what. I rarely moved round to make the light work better for me – so we had lots of squinting and panda eyes going on!!
It was around this time in late 2008 that I started my business. I was lucky to be the first person in my area who specialised in lifestyle photography and my business took off, and with it my love for that nifty fifty waned, thank goodness, as I realised it perhaps wasn’t as arty as I thought, and I wasn’t capturing all I needed. Soon after I upgraded to both a D700, and a 24-70 2.8 lens and that has been my go-to love combo ever since. That lens and camera result in 98% of my shots to this day.
I soaked up the business side of things, and luckily had experience of having run my own company before so was well aware of the value of my time, and my overheads, which all helped. And whilst I kept my lifestyle photos relatively consistent business wise, I experimented with my own kids behind the scenes… like wondering what it would be like if I had a studio…. And if I couldn’t have one… well there’s always Photoshop to make your backgrounds all white right???? (major cringe!!!!) And speaking of Photoshop… c’mon we’ve all played with every tool Photoshop throws at us right??? Thank goodness I took a course on that 😉
And speaking of courses, I found some wonderfully inspiring ladies, both as instructors and as fellow class participants, who I’m now lucky enough to have holding my hand and cheering me on along the way, and I truly believe you never stop learning….
My travels continued as my girls grew… I learned a new appreciation for how different the light is around the world, as we traveled around India, and the Middle East, and back to the UK and Ireland where my husband and I are from… and I developed my love for environmental photography, capturing the whole scene, so you could tell exactly where we were in the world… I love to see things through my daughters eyes, to capture the way they see the world. That results in lots of pictures of their backs as they explore and experience life (and temples, souks and rice paddies or over sand dunes). I don’t believe you need to see a face to be able to read the story of a picture!
I love to capture real, authentic moments, with genuine emotion and interest. I try not to pose, either my kids or my clients too much but to guide them to do what feels right to them. I see the world in colour, so most of my pictures are too – but every now and then I see a scene that needs the simplicity or drama of black and white.
But my love of details continues too and I adore capturing the little things that help tell a story, whether that be out in the big wide world, or for clients at home – I’m know my style will keep refining as my girls grow… as our travels progress… as I push myself beyond my own comfort zones, both travel and photography wise….. and that’s all part of the journey too…