First time.

If I told you that, as I drove to it, I had my gym playlist blasting out in the car, would that give you an idea of my adrenalin/nerve levels?! I was on my way to my first photography session as a photographer, money was going to exchange hands. This was real!

People talking whilst standing at the bar. First photography session as a photographer.

On Saturday 7th April 2018, Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography photographed a 40th birthday party, at a venue in Bedfordshire.

It was the weekend before the last two days of a six month course with Training byLumiere and in all honesty I was still uncertain of the type photographer I wanted to be. On top of that, Kate and Brent Kirkman, who run Training byLumiere, were guests at the party so there wasn’t just a desire to do a good job, there was a need to make them proud too!

Women embracing at a party. First photography session as a photographer.

A little side note here, when I first started my course I had zero technical ability. If you asked me how I got the shots I did, I honestly couldn’t answer you with anything other than, ‘it just felt right’!

Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed, I truly didn’t have the foggiest what that was about. People, I could work with people. I love people! Relationships, body language, all of it. That has always been a passion. Exposure triangles, it wasn’t a triangle to me, it was a black hole!

Back to the event, a 1920’s theme evening party at a venue, with a flower wall set up in one room. As my course tutors were guests, they had set up a Nikon D4S, with 50mm lens, with 2 X Elinchrom Quadra Rangers with umbrellas for the flower wall.

They went to get changed and we left it that we’d do a run through before the party started.

The party started pretty much as soon as they left to get changed in that people came into the room, saw me, saw the camera gear, the fancy dress props and they wanted to start. So we did! Yes, there was a moment where I also looked around the room for the photographer … and then remembered that it was me!

In all honesty it was the best thing that could have happened. Yes, there was hand holding initially however I then had to do the job and do it by myself. The flower wall was easy as it was essentially a studio set up – the only work there was directing the guests.

Walking amongst the guests and snapping away. I was officially working.

As soon as there was a lull, I picked up my now third child, my Nikon D500, 50mm lens, with a Nikon SB5000 (that I hadn’t even used yet!) and the MagMod MagBounce modifier and I was off.

Ladies talking at a 1920s themed party. First photography session as a photographer.

The party was spread out across three rooms, a bar area, a room that had both the flower wall and the food in it and then the main function room. In here the band was set up (with all of their lights, that was fun!), the dance floor and also the dining area. Three different rooms, constantly changing lights, lots of people moving. It was a cracking deep end to have jumped into

Was it a success? Yes, the client was happy. Did I learn from it? Yes, and I am still learning from it now when I look back at some of the photos and study the exposure and composition. Am I glad that I did it? Oh yes, it marked the beginning of Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography and it was perfect balance of adrenalin, nerves, excitement, technical floundering and enjoyment!

Couple laughing.
First photography session as a photographer.

I can’t thank Kate enough for the incredible photos from my 40th party. I knew I wanted special photos to cherish, but never imagined they would be so wonderful. Kate was that dream photographer you want at your event – in the background, capturing moments without you realising. Discreet, professional and patient – also obliging all the excited and slightly tipsy guests asking for pictures with different groups of friends. Everyone LOVES the images and many have used them as their profile pictures on social media. Highly recommended! Thank you Kate, you were fabulous. XX

Choose wisely peoples…

Soppy Saturday alert! So, this time six years ago was my wedding day to this man, Tom. What a day that was! 

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Aside from the fact that he is the love of my life, capable of making my heart burst with both love and anger (that’s what happens when you love hard!), an epic daddy and my pal … today also marks the anniversary of the day I chose a wedding photographer and I naively put my trust into someone assuming that they would run the show of our photographic memories of that incredibly special day.

Photographic memories, yes we have them. Are they what I wanted and what I was sold, no they are not. Are there basic technical faults in some of them, yes there are (believe me, being photographed getting ready with a lense that should be taking photographs of buildings does NOT a blushing bride make!). Stress on the day when the photographer called to say that he was sending someone else to take the getting ready shots and that he would meet us at the chapel, oh that was huge. 

…. I could go on, the list is endless. I won’t bore you though! Suffice to say, it is not ok. In an unregulated industry you must beware of cowboys for there are way too many of them out there. Talk to your photographer – their role is a creative one. Think about the time that you dedicate to choosing the menu or amount of trips to check on the dress you  do and then compare it to the time you take researching photographers, getting to know the one that you choose, speaking to people who have used them before.

This person is going to document one of the most crazy days of your life. If you don’t feel like they get you, in any way at all, then something needs to change. A wedding day is such an event. From the logistics and operations of the day to the fact that it marks the beginning of the chapter of your life where you become two people … two people ready to take on the world. 

Get some bloody good photos of that day! Happy anniversary my darling husband, thank you as always, for your prodigious support in everything.

(Thank goodness mine screwed up (photographer, not husband! I wouldn’t be doing this today if he hadn’t! There’s always a positive!)

Getting out of the comfort zone, in so many ways.

This weekend I took some photographs for my in laws and for The National Garden Scheme, not something that was in the business plan three months ago! Of course I was happy to take photographs for the in laws however I truly thought that it would be in the ‘dutiful daughter in law’ capacity rather than the ‘aspiring portrait photographer’ one. Wow, I got that wrong!

I am still very much in setting up mode for Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography and have yet to form a definitive list of what it is that I photograph and specialise in. This weekend has made it’s way into the business plan, it showed me that it isn’t what I photograph, it is who it is for.

People are my passion and not because I want to photograph them, it is because I like them! Getting to know someone, finding out what makes them tick, occasionally getting it wrong … these are all wonderful life experiences that when combined they provide you with a sensory overload. I have always been a creative person, I trained at Ballymaloe Cookery School after completing my degree. I thoroughly enjoyed my degree, I just didn’t get the creative kick I needed from it and at the time that I was filling in my UCAS form the creative service industries weren’t ‘promoted’ in perhaps the same way as some other industries. I was a cook, I worked in both commercial kitchens (at which point I called myself a chef!) and then I worked in my own kitchen running a catering company. I met people, I listened to what they wanted and I created it.

Photography was always there and I have no idea why I never considered it as a career. Perhaps it is as simple as I viewed it as my hobby and wanted to continue enjoying it rather than feeling pressured by it. When I announced to those closest to me my plans to start a photography business (not before completing my six month course with Training byLumiere BIG difference between thinking you can take photographs and being taught by the pros!) I immediately felt pressured. I found myself leaving my camera behind at times when I would have taken it with me. The confidence and conviction I had in making the decision to do this was gone. Why? I felt, and still feel, like I have yet to earn my stripes in the photography world.

Every job that I now do, be it for family or clients is another stripe. It is another interaction with a human, also known as a person. It is listening and hearing to what the memory is, before it has happened. And what of the comfort zone? Well, I am out of that every single time that I take a photograph because I am putting myself into someone else’s. This weekend – the flowers, the gardens and the people; those are the comfort zone  of my in laws and they wanted a memory of the day that they welcomed over six hundred people into their gardens, for charity.

On top of that, this is my first foray back into work after having my children. Initially I felt like I had so much to prove. I hadn’t had a salary for over four years AND I was only just getting to know myself again after working my socks off at being a mummy. What better time to have a second career then when you haven’t had one for four years, chipper idea.

I will always be a mummy and I will always work my socks off. I’m enjoying escaping that comfort zone too from time to time however not as much as I am enjoying it when I hear the children ask me if I am going to work or telling someone that I am a photographer.

All of these moments, these experiences, they are me.  So, let me know what you want me to photograph! Me and my newfound comfort blanket (my Nikon D500) are great listeners and just at the beginning of what feels like a pretty good journey!

 

Building a business and shocking the world ….

It’s been said so many times, “softly softly catchee monkey” and right now it actually means something! There is now a depth to these words, so much so that they could be becoming a mantra!

Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography, my business, my world and my being and the first time in my life that I am truly taking things slowly and (hopefully) doing it properly. Why you ask?! At the ripe old age of 37 I found my career purpose, I found my tribe and now I fit. Cameras have always been by my side, I can’t tell you exactly why. Is it because I am from Yorkshire, the landscape of imagination? Or the fact that I grew up in the Middle East and Africa – have my senses been spoilt from day one? Perhaps the fact that I love people, people from all walks of life? Whatever the reason is, it is a truly wonderful feeling to now work with something that has always been with me and to share it with others.

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Just give me some time to juggle the branding, the website design, the marketing, the legality, the children’s packed lunches, the washing machine and my wonderful, supportive and patient husband without whom this would not be possible. Here’s to you my love.