From photographing llamas to the potential Prime Minister!

Liz Truss and Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Back in 2005 when I started my business I could have never imagined one day I would be asked to photograph the next potential Prime Minister! My very first paid photo shoot in 2005 was taking shots of llamas and pigs, the llamas were extremely inquisitive and the pigs were a bit nibbly around my ankles! I made the grand sum of £25 and I was very happy to have my first commission!

My first photo shoot!

Many of my early commissions were on the modest end of the spectrum, such as photos of chocolate bars, a hairdresser’s salon and very small weddings. I also got my first lucky break into the corporate world within 3 weeks of starting my business! I was still temping at Capita Cirencester in the marketing department and they had a forthcoming conference, they were aware of my recently launched business and for a modest fee (relative to my experience at the time) I was asked to shoot this event. I was really excited to have my first corporate commission and it presented me with extra challenges such as very dark auditoriums with speakers at dimly lit podiums!

As a side note I still didn’t own a camera at this stage and was borrowing a family member’s Canon 10d! I was editing photos on a laptop with a hard disc space of 11GB! Each exported TIFF took ten minutes to load to view! I didn’t have a desk so I worked from bed, at times I would fall asleep waiting for the TIFFs to load. The early days of my career were extremely modest, however I had lots of people encouraging me in the background to build this new venture.

Fast forward to 2022 you’ll be glad to hear I have a desk! (Not that I use it and favour the sofa). My current laptop has a 4TB capacity and my RAW files take milliseconds to load (bliss). And yes… I do own a camera (or two)!

So August 2022 I had a very exciting call from one of my newer clients “Watermoor Point” they asked if I was free next Thursday, I said yes. I was then told the brief — to photograph the next potential Prime Minister Liz Truss at an event they were hosting! I was sworn to secrecy with regards to the location of the shoot due to security, this location wasn’t released to the public until 11am on the day of the event.

Watermoor Point

After 17 years it’s not often I get nervous about a shoot, but this one I was slightly yes. I made sure I was 45 mins early (even though it was only a seven minute drive away)! The members of the Conservative Party were all in The Atrium and non members in the main building in the business lounge. Liz was due to arrive 3.15pm ish however there was an event of national importance that cropped up that she had to deal with as Foreign Secretary first. She arrived around an hour later than anticipated and people were getting a little twitchy in the 31c heat. The event ran smoothly and Watermoor Point had organised everything very well. I dashed home 5pm to quickly edit a handful of pictures so that my client could pop them on social media that day… So that’s exactly when my lovely 4TB laptop decided to not turn on! After an hour of stressing trying to fix it in the heat, I admitted defeat and dragged out my eight year old dinosaur laptop. The old laptop allowed me to get the pictures across to the client in good time and they were really happy with the photos.

Liz Truss

So all politics aside (I’m sure many of you reading this may have some strong opinions about said candidate, I shall remain neutral in this article) I felt like this moment in my career needed some acknowledgement (from myself that is). It would be all too easy to roll onto the next shoot and not give it a second thought, but I mulled about the “2005 me” and how proud they’d be that I’d progressed to this calibre of work taking into account my modest beginnings in the industry.

I hope my career continues on this trajectory and if anyone knows the Queen I’d happily photograph her as my next model!

Read the post on Medium.

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