They say a picture tells a thousand words, and Debs loved taking photographs so much, she decided to turn her passion into her own business.
This weeks She Means Business is with photography company Imogen Kate, based in Northumberland, England.
You were a late bloomer in business, starting your own at the age of 42. What made you make that career decision?
Well I always wanted to have my own business so I could be flexible around my family. To start with, I thought it would just be more like a hobby that I got paid for. I never envisaged that it would become my main job and play a crucial part of paying the bills when the part time job I had as a marketing assistant ended due to the climate we live in. But I’m a strong believer that things happen for a reason and so here I am with my hobby now being my living, which I simply love.
Did you do any training to become a photographer?
No I’ve taught myself through magazine, Internet and a few fellow photographers who I have learnt first hand from. One in particular whom without their help I couldn’t have grasped Photoshop! Saying all that I think you have to have a bit of an eye for a good photo to perhaps turn it into a successful business. Looking back I always loved taking photos. I remember my sister being born when I was 10 and taking photos of her as she grew up with the small point and shoot camera I had. I got such a buzz going to the chemist to pick up the developed roll of film. Thankfully, I improved my skill haha!
Where do you find your inspiration for photography?
Living in Northumberland with stunning landscapes gives me part of my inspiration as a lot of my photos are taken out on location with families who love the outdoors. But the inspiration that truly inspires me is the simple beauty of kids. I have two daughters and so taking photos of them is how it initially started. The name comes from Chloe IMOGEN and Lauren KATE I don’t think there is anything more valuable than capturing a smile or a mischievous glint in a child’s eye for a parent who will be able to treasure that memory forever and for the child to be able to look back on when they too are older.
What do you most enjoy taking photographs of?
I love taking all sorts of photos from landscapes to street photography but children, babies, parents and grandparents are my favourite. Generations photographed for a lifetime of enjoyment is very rewarding.
I find a lot of parents say that when they had their first child they would snap away capturing every move that their first child made but by the time they had child 2 or 3 the memories captured where far and few between. Sadly the busy lives we lead now it’s understandable so that’s when I play a part, by at least getting a series of memories caught for them. Taking them outdoors you get the true essences of their personalities. Having trees to climb or seeing them giggle as they have the attention of their parents deflects away from the camera being there. Saying that, there is nothing wrong with studio photos which are great for those who don’t like the outdoors or when the good old British weather prevents the photos being taken outside. When a client says to me that they have had a great fun couple of hours and they love the photos then that really does make me feel so proud.
Describe a typical day at work for you.
I never really have two days the same in this job which is what I love but taking just one day as an example, I awake at 7am to the alarm, once up and kids packed off to school I check through emails and social media messages as to any requests for photo sessions and book them into the diary. I try to break the day up so I’m not sitting constantly at the computer so between ordering photos and editing the last studio or location session I will perhaps be out visiting a client to give them their orders. I know I could post them but one of the things I strive to maintain is customer care. Over the past couple of years I have made some lovely friends from some of the customers I have photographed.
Once back from delivering orders I may then set aside some time to do some research on the many many different editing methods on Photoshop. I tend to try and keep the photos I take as natural as possible but love enhancing eyes of children. Once kids are home from school I tend to switch off from work and take them to their dancing class or help with homework. It’s not till they go to bed that I return to the computer if I have a deadline or get a babysitter if I’m taking photos of a party. For example I have a black tie 40th birthday party to attend to capture the evening for the customer coming up. Working till late just doesn’t feel like work when you love your job, as I’m sure others who work for themselves will agree too.
Working freelance must be hard to keep the balance with work, family and social life. How do you make sure you have equal time for all three?
I don’t think you can balance it all correctly in the first few years of setting up any business (well I know I haven’t).
But compared to when I first started out I have a better balance than I initially did. In the early days I was trying to edit photos and foolishly thought I could cook dinner at the same time. Haha I can tell you that theory soon went out the window and for everyone’s sanity as well as keeping out of hospital with food poisoning I had to discipline myself and work while the children were at school and then stop for a few hours till they then went to bed then restart. Phone calls that couldn’t wait were generally done with me locking myself in a room so the kids couldn’t disturb me.
Social life….? Remind me what that is again? Haha
Give us three tips for taking the perfect photo.
Three tips? Hmmm
I would say if it’s taking photos of kids then get down to their level. It changes the dimensions of what you see and how the photo looks for the better.
Tip 2 – when looking to see if it would look good as a picture imagine a frame round it. Have you got the most interesting part within the frame? If not then move a couple of steps one way or another and see if that improves the shot.
And lastly I personally love to take close ups. Sometimes not taking the full picture can leave some imagination to the person viewing it making it more intriguing.
What has been your most enjoyable shoot so far and why?
I have honestly loved all the shoots I have done. But the ones taken of children are my favorites.
If I had to choose one then it would be a photo session I did in Heaton Park where I think the album of shots just encapsulated the personality of the little girl and the love for her mum in the summer sun. It was a gorgeous Summer’s evening and I think the photo shown shows exactly that.
And the other photo shows indoor shoots can be just as lovely and cute (especially when I comes to babies).
When you set up your business, what did you hope to achieve?
When I set up my business I didn’t have any huge expectations I just wanted to help others who wanted some great professional photos of their family but perhaps couldn’t afford some of the steep prices some companies charge and I think I’ve achieved that to a certain extent for so many families so far and many more to come hopefully.
Oh and when you asked me for a photo of myself I suddenly realised I have very few as I’m always behind the camera. Think I need some professional ones… Ha
To find out more or to book a photo shoot check out www.imogenkate.co.uk