A tip, a quote and a book for March

 
I believe photography is a tool to express our positive assessment of the world. A tool to acquire ultimate happiness and belief.
Ansel Adams
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Hello creative people,

Here in the UK it is grey, cold and wet after an unusually glorious spell of the complete opposite. Hello Spring :)

I am thinking that a tip, a quote and a book is a good collection for a series of blog posts to kick start the new growing year here. Hope you enjoy them….

The image above is of a Crocus Giant Ruby and I have applied one of my own photoshop actions to give it that pared back, muted colour palette that resonates with me so readily. The image speaks of quiet beginnings in early Spring rather than a literal, documentary style that is not me. Hope you like.

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On slowing down.

Something I always share with my creative students and fledgeling photographers is simply to slow down! This actually helps you see better, by placing you in a better creative zone. Every little extra moment of slowing before you press the shutter will help.

Slowing down is like a tiny meditation of gratitude.

Slowing down, not only opens your eyes, but will also open your mind and your heart to discover the magic in the everyday.

I really do believe that by finding little pockets of you in the everyday, slowing down, is a path to creativity.

A simple pleasure in any event.

And finally a book - I feel that I want to recommend something that aligns nicely which my thoughts on slowing down. Something that will add to your photography through increased awareness of creativity. Enter The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard.

‘A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics take on enhanced and enchanted significances.’

…from the new forward in my copy, that has been read several times and is now full of underlines, annotations and asterisks! Thats a recommendation in itself. Do go and find yourself a copy to read, well worth the effort. Enjoy. Read slowly :)

sending lightness through this grey week.

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ps Thank you for all the lovely kind words on the Spring edition of my New Shoots magazine - much appreciated…



Looking back looking forwards

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The sun brings forth unlimited possibilities and the moon, reflection and deep gratitude for all that we have in life.
Satsuma Shibuya

as Winter becomes Spring…

Within my photography practice, overtime I have built in to my days a period of early morning brainstorming and list making. The evening will often see me reflecting on my day’s progress in readiness for the morning’s noting of possibilities…

I’ve noticed that this has become part of my week’s, my month’s and quarter’s practice to keep me aligned with my business plan. My creative side allows time for this too. Except instead of being a quarter, it is looking forwards to the next season and also reflecting what has happened in that season.

Cherish the season.

Here in the UK, this Winter will be remembered for extremes - for me snow and an iced over lane in front of my cottage kept me home for a week then only a couple of weeks later wandering in the sunshine and seeing people in shorts!

I adore evenings filled with log fires and candlelight and the foggy starts to winter days as I plot and plan the time ahead. But equally I enjoy the planning of my season’s cutting bed, list making of treasures to grow, dahlia tubers to order notes of narcissus varieties for Autumn orders and designing the colours capes that they will bring.

From minimal snowscapes to minimal waterscapes featuring a gorgeous cygnet enjoying the sunshine and record temperatures.

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My Winter has been a visual feast - from holly to snowdrops, then the fragrant delights of narcissi on the kitchen table and bowls of white hyacinth on my studio table ready for when people drop in for meetings. My own take on Shinrin-yoku - forest bathing involves taking my camera out into the countryside, purely pleasure - to experience total immersion in the moment.

My mind is already turning to food as I’m growing some peas on the kitchen windowsill for salad shoots.

My Colour Wheel for Winter 2019

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Adding to the visual feast, my research into Colour Psychology is, as always, continuing. I know there are a lot of readers out there that are really interested in this aspect of my work, so I thought I would share… I have been particularly aware of the neutral colours this Winter… taupes and soft warm greys. Fleeting promises of things to come but mainly muted subdued tones.

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Reading for the Season

Some recommendations for your Spring reading pile -

I am evangelical about pointing students - creatives and fledgeling photographers, to read about the works and ideas and theories of not only classic photographers, but those of other noteworthy creatives and artists. Inspiration for a new photography project can come from one nugget of an idea mentioned in a book by an artist.

David Hockney’s A Bigger Message

A record of a decade of private conversations with art critic Martin Gayford, through reflection, anecdote, passion and humour the fruits of his lifelong meditations on the problems and paradoxes of representing a three-dimensional world on a flat surface. Some of the diverse people he has encountered along the way – from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Billy Wilder – make entertaining entries into an entertaining read.

The evergreen, Ways of Seeing by John Burger

Ways of Seeing, a television series of 30-minute films by writer John Berger in the 70’s and adapted into a book of the same name and discusses the way art has become available for all people and how that has affected its meaning. A must for all Art, Design and photography Students.

Edmund Burkes Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful

An analysis of the relationship between emotion, beauty, and art form is now recognized as not only an important and influential work of aesthetic theory, but also one of the first major works in European literature on the Sublime, a subject that has fascinated thinkers from Kant and Coleridge to the philosophers and critics of today. Not an entry level read but a worthy one to provoke thought…

I do hope that this post has been of interest and fuelled you for an inspirational new season to get out doors with your camera and go off to mindfully find that magic in the moments. After all, it really is about the little pocket of joy that your camera can bring you.

Sending joy and magic your way,

love from

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This Still Life - a personal project

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Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.

Dalai Lama

Hello again you lovely folk,

Hoping this finds you well and with Spring in your step! Not long now here in the UK…

Early musings

For my new readers, let me tell you - I love to play with words and love to consider dictionary definitions. I take inspiration from those that aren’t first of th list - the less obvious get me thinking laterally. The phrase Still Life is a great example. I have been pushing ideas around in my head and trying to articulate my thoughts for ages - all this time, I have been shooting images that speak of this, for my personal exploration. My camera speaks readily.

Whether or not I have yet found the words, remains to be seen, but the stillness that I experience in This Still Life is central to my work and people regularly get in touch with me or mention in conversations about the sense of calm they experience when they consider certain of my images.

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A couple of definitions to ponder…

STILL

/stɪl/

noun

deep silence and calm; stillness.

  1. "the still of the night"

    synonyms: quietness, quiet, quietude, silence, stillness, hush, soundlessness, noiselessness;

 
 
 

QUIETUDE

/ˈkwʌɪɪtjuːd/

noun

  1. a state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or place.

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Flow and Memory

This very personal project explores this - together with flow a positive psychology phrase/theory that was first coined in the 1960’s by Martin Seligman meaning in the zone.

Basically when I am taking photographs, I am in the zone - I completely switch off from the outside world and all that is going on around me. Apparently I even stop speaking mid sentence! It is nothing to do with creating Still Life Tableaux to shoot - rather making note of little pockets of calm in our everyday world that is full of noise.

I am shooting both on film and digitally - who knows where this will take me, but that’s the beauty of personal projects, isn’t it?

Some of these little pockets of calm appear on commercial shoots, when likeminded people work together - whether on brief or props quietly gathered in the wings, they may appear as everyone else has left… it’s simply a question of quietly noting your surroundings.

Some of the images on these shoots evoke memories of the quiet found, the light or the odd unplanned moments. Memories. The power of a photograph.

Do hope you enjoy this ongoing project… you can find the gallery here.

Sending lots of light and quiet your way,

lots of love



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A little Art History - Scandi style.

 
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A low, almost monochromatic tonality unifies the otherwise disparate elements within each room.

Richard Dorment, reporting in the Telegraph on the Vilhelm Hammershøi Exhibition in the Tate in 2008.

Hello lovelies,

It is still rather cold out there, but the birds are singing and there are snowdrops and crocus flowering out and about… a great incentive to get outdoors after this long old Winter, here in the UK. I’m regularly asked where I get my inspiration from… that is one huge question, which is actually far too big to answer.

Through my studies and ongoing interest in Art History, I want to share how diverse my inspiration is - from the Silverware of Archibald Knox for its simplicity and use of shape, through the design philosophies of the Bauhaus to the colour inspiration gleaned from Scandinavian painters renowned for their held back colour palette and resulting light.

Two of my favourite painters are Carl Vilhelm Holsøe (1863 to 1935) and Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916). They regularly inspire my choice of colour. I naturally gravitate towards these two painters - their use of colour speaks to me - of the quiet, considered tints that result in the gentle light that is synonymous with Scandinavian painters of that era.

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How the colour palette works

A quick snippet of Colour Theory for those of you who are interested… my pastel colours are called tints - these are made up from a pure colour that has been mixed with white. For me there is a clarity in these mixes as opposed to shades where blacks have been added to the same pure colour. I could go an awful lot deeper into this and start chatting about Colour Psychology and colours collected throughout the seasons, but instead I will send you here

If you visit the link, you will find Joen Wolfrom’s Colour and Design tools - aimed at people who use colour in their work - Artists and Crafters, Graphic Designers, Illustrators and Interior Designers. For the lovely people who book one of my private creative workshops, I always like to give them a copy of Joen’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool and a Studio Color Wheel Poster…

Simply chose a set of two complimentary tints or three triadic tints of equal strengths, then you will not go far wrong.

I hope that I have given you just enough information to encourage you to dip you toe into the world of colour. Do go and look at the Colour and Design tools - they are really worth the investment - and no, this is not an ad!

Sending lots of delicate tints and sublime light to inspire you…

 
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taking care...

When you breathe out… the planet breathes in.

Michael Townsend Williams co-founder of
BreatheSync and Author of Do Breathe

You can download Michael’s app here.

Hello lovely people,

Hope you are all well and full of creativity…

It’s a funny thing isn’t it, but how often are the obvious things right in from of you and you don’t even notice?

There is much talk on Instagram about algorithms and how fragile some people’s futures are as they are completely dependent on it for their income. Some have thousands and hundreds of thousands of followers and drop more followers that I have overnight! I personally find social media too noisy and hard work as you have to watch it all the time. I prefer to travel a path less trodden in that and most things in life. Are you the same? Recently I was brought to a halt when a highly successful (and quiet soul) online designer wrote about her tiny foot print on social media and her success from and care for her blog and newsletters.

This is me! I have always been precious over my both - both with content of posts but also the design side. Ditto my newsletters.

This made me consider the feedback I receive from my blog. I have had a lot of feedback about my look back on the last season as we start a new one. This has made me want to do more posts for you like this… Can I commit to one such post every month? I certainly want to give it a try. So, from the end of the month - maybe it will settle at every other month, I’m certainly going to give it a go… I should have lots to write about, living my seasonal life emerged in nature, as well as my photographic world existing in the same universe.

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A gift

In the meantime, can I leave you with this? A gift from me… if you would like to download this image to enjoy as wallpaper, then simply click on the image. It is 2400px wide. Please respect my © and do not use it elsewhere without my permission… simply contact me. A photograph from possibly my favourite woodland in the world. It is a twenty minute walk from the nearest road and if you stop and listen, there is absolutely no manmade sound at all. A place that I have visited regularly for over a decade. At certain times of the year, the sound of the birds can be deafening. I visit this special place frequently to just be… I will take my dogs and a flask of tea so that I can sit a while and take even more of it in.

If you are interested in reading more about the Japanese way- the practice of walking slowly through the woods, in no hurry, for a morning, an afternoon or a day, then pop here, published last March, you may find it interesting.

The image at the top of this post is from a shoot I did with Fiona Perry Flowers in an entirely different wood.

If you would like to receive more gifts from me - from wallpapers for your monitors to calendar pages and some discount codes in the future, then simply sign up to my New Shoots Magazine in the right hand margin here → I love to share.

Wishing you good health and relaxation,

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I know a place...

let me take you there…

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The London coffeehouses of the 17th & 18th centuries were the engines of creation that helped drive the Enlightenment - the European intellectual movement of the time that emphasised reason and individualism rather than tradition.

I love to play with language and with that comes my love of writing. Lately, in designing my new online world, I have been pushing words around in my head so that I can visualise the whole thing. How lovely to stand back and look at your own world once in a while.

In doing this I have realised that I have my virtual workplace firmly embedded in my head, so I thought I would introduce it to you and walk you round… I have obviously been influenced by In Praise of Shadows without realising it until now. Read the book club post here.

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Do come in

It’s like a little house - just as a child would draw. The whole place is very light and airy, painted in white to draw the light in for my photography. Let me start with the upstairs - first up is my studio - this has a dark end and a light end. Next to that is my darkroom, a place where I do all my online editing from digital files. It is in these two rooms that house my new eCourses - on photography, styling and editing and more…

Downstairs, there just HAS to be a library… lined with eBooks and zines and visuals. There is a comfy chair and a table to encourage you to stay a while. There is a section for my Inspiration Library - this is available only to the band of lovely people who subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine along with the Supplements that come along. When you sign up to my New Shoots Magazine you get a key to this space. The area is new and has empty shelves all ready for a collection of eBooks that I will publish and release especially for my subscribers. This is where the free inspirational desktop wallpapers live and you will find a monthly calendar to download too - all of these are for your desktop so that you computer will become a place of serenity and zen.

Next door to the library is the zen den and tea/coffee house. Two areas for calm and contemplation.

And there, my little tour has come to an end.

Sign up

Have you signed up to my Newshoots Magazine yet? If not, simply pop over to the margin on the right and pop in your email address.

Sending peace and light this January day,

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Well hello 2019

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A blank book is actually full of promise: the promise of becoming lively with your recorded experiences and emotions.
Gwen Diehn

Well hello 2019 - is it too late to wish you all a very happy, healthy and positive New Year? Never!

New Home

New Studio

New Year

There has never been so much neatly aligned for me. I hope that I can embrace the opportunities given to me through all this during 2019. I thought this time is a good opportunity to guide your through how my photographic world is already shaping up for this next year both in my real and online world …

Face to face

Already in 2019, I have a couple of guest workshops booked in and I’m looking forwards to some Question Time Sessions that are booked. I am now offering Product Photography via Courier covering the whole of the UK - from down the road to the furthest point! I am now accepting bookings for a few commissioned projects for the year. If this is you then please contact me in the usual way.

Listen…

Over time, I have discovered the art of listening to all the lovely feedback that my work gives - from clients and through the internet. Not only the thank you and direct compliments about a set of images, but, most of all I have learned to stop. Listen…. to the deeper comments that I would have otherwise not considered. To listen to how my work makes people feel.

Now I am here, at this stage, it is all very obvious.

In my new year, my new home and my new studio, full of all the inspiring comments, I am going to follow a path that needs looking at. One that will take me online and that will fuel my loves - of sharing, of design, of learning new skills and exploring photography through research through my love of reading around the subject - from my beloved Colour Psychology, through what I now know as Positive Psychology and through dipping my toes in to the world of Philosophy. All this will give me greater control of my time! A valuable commodity these days - I shall value this hugely - being able to go and meet friends, connect with my family more and being able to be spontaneous.

Deep breath

Please world, what is another name for newsletter? I really don’t like that…

Anyhooooo, through all the lovely feedback from my complimentary 7 day mini course and my New Shoots Magazine, I have been really grateful and inspired to take all this further… I plan to add (in the true spirit of a Magazine) the occasional supplement to my Magazine that will be called Letters from the Studio. I just want to be able to reach all my subscribers between issues if needed. I won’t be bombarding your inbox, trust me :)

Here is what else I have in store for you during 2019…

First of all, I have designed a virtual library for you all to dip in to. I have called the collection of eBooks PhotoBites. Designed to be an easy read and full of wisdom - knowledge built from experience - they will be available as one offs or as series. The first is a series called Zero to Manual and will be available in three separate volumes or as a set. I am currently working on the first volume which I hope to have ready for publishing before our Spring here in the UK. The other two will follow on soon afterwards.

These are designed for the absolute beginner or intermediate photographer who is disappointed with regularly producing less than ordinary photographs. They are the foundations on which I intend to build through my eCourses later on in the year. If you are not yet signed up, then pop over to the right hand margin, sign up and keep up to date by receiving my New Shoots Magazine and the occasional Supplement.

Sending you light and health for the year…

 
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On following my own 'golden thread'

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Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

I have always seen the path of my photography as a sort of golden thread that I follow… sometimes it’s path is straight and at other times, it may twist and turn. To follow this path allows me freedom, and not have to contort myself into a particular genre of say, portrait or still life, but simply follow my heart and work with what resonates with me at any one time. I am certain that doing this results in my very best work.

Listen.

Over the years I have had many comments about my photography - the most common being that people find my photographs calm, poetic, painterly, having a sense of calm.

I strive, not for perfection but for perpetual improvement and development.


My recent move has been full of thoughtful, intentional and considered decisions… My aim of my business is not to get rich quick, but to actually focus on the gift of my craft and grow my business in a way that is aligned with my values and my conscience - following that golden thread that feels completely honest and meaningful to both me and my customers/clients/students. I want to do this whilst continually striving for my own perpetual improvement and development. I don’t want to be at the forefront of social media, living my every breath out there. I want to be able to engage with the real world and share my love of process, the seasons and nature - to share all that it has to offer through my photography… I love the idea that we now live in a world where we no longer have to work 9 - 5 and are able to both connect and work with people on different sides of the world at a moment’s notice. I love the idea of the flexibility that all this brings - enabling us to spend our most important times how we want to whilst being able to schedule work releases ahead.

I have listened to your comments, I have listened to my creative heart and I have stood back and looked at my business and learned just how passionate I am about sharing the world of my photography. I want others to experience the deep happiness and contentment that I do, I want to build my business around that passion, whilst at the same time sustaining me with a good living. Only over Christmas I listened to a comment from someone about not being in control of his camera and therefore unable to think of the photograph that was before him. I want to fix that.

All that said, the time is now right for me to forge ahead with my eCourses and eBooks that have been on the back burner for quite some time now.

During 2019, I am going to closely follow my golden thread and fill the world with inspiring, accomplished photography - both film and digital - and share it with you all along the way. To spread the word. Why not subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine style newsletter to follow that golden thread with me?

Wishing you all the very best for 2019

love

 
 


In Praise Of Shadows

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In Praise Of Shadows Junichiro Tanizaki

This is a book that I have read numerous times. Short, quick but so very delightful. First published in 1933, I believe.

This truly evocative essay on Japanese Aesthetics - by one of the greatest Japanese novelists Junichiro Tanizaki - combines really focussed sense of space together with perfect descriptions that take you right there… a classic description of the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors meeting the light of the modern day.

There is a filtering of ordinary pleasures through tranquil half-light, that make it so gripping in my eyes - hints of everyday moments that reveal how light and shade are so very dependent on each other. Truly inspirational for me. This is why I have read it time and time again.

More like a poem than an essay

A delight to read
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Try it, buy it, borrow it,

enjoy…

 

My new look Magazine style newsletter

 

Have you signed up yet for my new look Magazine style newsletter?

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I’m all for unplugging to find some silence, room for inspiration and creativity to grow, but I took this to a whole new level recently and quite unintentionally! I was without internet for just over five weeks… I have now tidied up the chaos that followed in the wake of this.

During my downtime I very quickly decided that I would make this a beneficial time for me. I took to the old pencil and notebook. I wrote, wrote and wrote some more - germs of ideas, thoughts, inspirations and more.

One thing that rose from this was my new newsletter - it has now become more of a magazine style where you can look at the index and read the relevant articles. The ones that interest you most.


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My magazine style newsletter was born.

In keeping with my own visual style it is blocked out - divided into sections. Headline articles, sub headline articles and then a couple of feature articles. All with you, my lovely band of subscriber readers. I can now reach you all without bogging you down with lots of scrolling to find the pieces relevant to you.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber, then please do pop over to the bottom of this page and fill in the block.

In the future, there will be articles for everyone - from pieces on brand imaging for my creative entrepreneurs through to hints and tips and links for my students and guests who are on or planning to join one of my workshops or courses.

What I am hoping for is that each an every will offer something new and different and interesting.

Do please sign up and enjoy.

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Looking back as Autumn becomes Winter

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Oh what a glorious Autumn we had here in the UK - after the long hot Summer, we had an equally amazing Autumn, but this time it was the colours that took centre stage. As you will know I started Autumn off in my beautiful Cotswolds and ended it in Cheshire - getting to know it. Country lanes and the flat plains where you can see for ever and oh, those big skies!

What has struck me most about my shift in geography is the difference in tones! The greens are so different - lush, saturated, bright - compared with the gentle greens of the Wolds. The reason? Simply, it’s the rain.

I have been creating and settling in to my new studio… I still have the peach coloured vertical blinds to swap for white voile curtains so that the whole place becomes one giant soft box… slowly, steadily that is happening. I have sent my camera kit off for a much needed service too in the studio down time.

New friends and contacts are in the making, just as finding new locations and venues for workshops and 1:1 Mentoring sessions… as you will know, location matters hugely - as does the food. I want my guests and students to make my offerings a destination as well as offer quality content.


AUTUMN, SEASONAL, PHOTOGRAPHY

I have been quietly shooting in little corners - finding little pools of quality Autumn light and making my seasonal colour wheel - part of an ongoing personal project for my research into Colour Psychology… No russet tones here this year - instead a wheel fuelled with brights and gorgeous bedfellows - bright oranges and fuchsia pinks go so well… Mother Nature - ow I love you - the ultimate colourist.

 
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If you hear a voice within you say - you cannot paint - then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

Mentoring & Questiontime

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Mentoring.

Phew…

Now that I’m getting organised in my lovely new natural light studio, I thought I would chat about my Mentoring offerings

Only yesterday someone asked me about my genre of photography… my quick answer to that is that I don’t particularly restrict myself in this way, it’s more of a way of shooting, a signature style. I feel that this is because of my spending all my life with a camera in my hand - shooting film, digital, polaroid… the whole darn lot! Because of this I love to Mentor people and help them on their journey, wherever that is taking them.

I work with a broad range of people and situations - from those who simply want to become better in their hobby right through to people wanting to dip their toes into the professional world of photography - bloggers, editorial, fine art… or individual creative entrepreneurs who need to be spontaneous and take top quality images of their products, staff or other for their website, social media, blogs or for marketing purposes.

I see Mentoring as a creative trainer for creative entrepreneurs and those peeps who are simply keen to learn… just as you would have a personal trainer to get fit, then why not think about a Creative Mentor to hone your creative skills?

I would love to work with you…

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Questiontime.

I get quite a few people asking me questions about all sorts of diverse things within my Creative and Photography worlds… giving these questions the full attention that they deserve, they may now easily fit into a Mentoring framework. To fill this conundrum, I have now launched Questiontime. It is a one off virtual package consisting of one hour, dedicated just to you, where you get my undefined attention. It is your time and I want you to get the most from your session. Through being involved with photography all my life, I have a huge bank of knowledge that you can tap in to.

I’ve popped it up on my website under both the Learn and Work with me categories as I would love to reach out to both people who want to quiz me about their learning and also to those creative entrepreneurs that are thriving out there.

In other news…

I am working on a new format newsletter - I’m calling it New Shoots Magazine. I’m planning to send out every month or so - designed to inspire - it’s more of a read than a newsletter… full of thoughts to inspire, chatter about all sorts of things - processes, backstage thoughts for my workshops, books to read and more…

Sign up here if you want to join the list.

 




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The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. Dorothea Lange