A Portrait Commission in 5 Steps.

You wouldn’t buy a wedding dress from the Pound Shop or “guess your size and hope is really is silk”  online. You would look for a shop or designer whose style you love and ask them to tailor one just for you. It would fit like a glove and be unique! A portrait as a private commission works the same way.

Step one:  Look for a style that moves you. Does my work speak to your heart? Do you want  idealised images or aim for authenticity? Now ask for a quote and tell me what you want – a large framed print, canvas, book or digital images.

Step two: Time to meet up to chat. You need to look at my work, choose some you like and talk together and share ideas. I will make time to get to know you and work out what you value.

Step three: Having agreed a plan I begin work looking for the right location, do some test shots and check the light. This could take a lot of time! I may also need to get permission to shoot in that location, lots happens behind the scenes. You may also want styling, hair, make-up arranging.

Step four: The shoot will take at least half a day – longer if you need to. This includes set up time for me – you will not be in front of the camera for four hours! It will then be edited and re-touched before you view the images to select one.

Step five: I will handle the printing at a specialist lab and you only receive the finished goods. If you wanted it framing that is my job too. You will not be charged extra as it was all agreed at the beginning.


Fear

On being an independent woman and taking risks. To all the strong women out there who are trapped in work they no longer love. Follow your dream.

Am I scared? You bet. Yesterday I resigned from my teaching job. It’s final and there is no going back. I’ve been on sabbatical. So is my photography diary full? No. I’m not financially secure, I have taken a leap of faith – in myself. You see all of the awards listed below? I bet you think I am confident and successful, convinced my business will be easy and that paid work will flood in? Not at all – bookings can pour in, then it goes quiet and I feel queasy. I had a faculty family, now I am a lone wolf. So why did I give up a safe pay check and structured work and free fall? I will tell you the truth.

I had a dream when I was 14 years old, I fought to take my GSCE (O’ level) Art, then I fought to sneak AS Art into my life and they said, “Give up and focus on academic subjects.” So I went behind their backs and went to Art college on a Saturday morning. To be honest academic subjects made sense, I had a very abusive childhood, I am lucky to be alive and I needed to become well qualified and to earn my own living, to be safe. I needed enough money to get out. Simone De Beauvoir said, “Independence begins in the purse.” She had a point.

Photography was too risky. So I ended up teaching media in colleges and until I had my daughter it was creative and it sustained me. Then I got post natal depression and demoted. I thought just having a job and being a mum was enough, and I was exhausted anyway. I longed for my dream and feared it was not realistic.

When my daughter was a teenager ( I know I waited that long! But this is a real story), I went to night school to study photography. I invested in me and it was knackering. And brilliant. To fill myself up instead of wringing me out. I plotted my exit. I exhibited at The Getty in London in May 2017 and a few days later I decided to leave my job! The shot hanging on the wall was about a road journey mixed with a “Thelma and Louise” fantasy because I wanted the accelerator pedal and an open road, to take a trip before I am too old. So my gut screamed in place of the tyres.

College were lovely and suggested a safety net ( I think I may have appeared rash, and well Thelma and Louise drove off a cliff) they called it a sabbatical. When I resigned yesterday my boss hugged me. My friends hugged me, the Principal hugged me, because I refuse to give up on my dream. I want this adventure and I bet they do too.

So many of my friends are trapped in their lives. Plot your escape.



Portrait of Britain

I joined a photography club when I was 16 years old and I went to Art School on Saturdays whilst studying for my A Levels. I taught in a college, sensibly paying the bills until my daughter was a teenager. I went full time freelance last year. Some dreams must finally be lived. So what did it mean to be short listed for a national award in my first year? 

A boost to the self belief. The urge to reach higher. To ask my mentor to help me to develop more meaningful work. To thank my models and ask them to continue offering me so much of their authentic selves to shoot. But also the shock of it. If you know me you will see that I come from a very abusive childhood and never dreamed I would survive to adulthood, evidence that I am flourishing can be hard to deal with. It goes against what I was conditioned to expect. So ‘a win” has humbled me. It is a win too, in my first real year of work I got short listed out of 8000 entries and hanged at the Getty. So I am just going to push on.

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