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  • Sarah Harley

SO SARAH, TELL ME MORE...



WHY ARE YOU ENROLLED ON THIS COURSE?


I’ve always been an observer, someone who is visually orientated. Words and images have always excited me way more than numbers and science. I first had access to an SLR camera when I was around 12. Sadly, I never learnt to use it properly and so got disheartened. I then did more photography during my Media Studies GCSE, but again, never got the confidence to take it further.


Words and other creative activities took over and I ended up working in PR for many years. I’ve also worked in marketing, interior design, graphics, creative design, copywriting, property development, have run my own businesses and project management. It was always the visual element of all of these jobs though that excited me more.


I finally purchased a new DSLR around 14 years ago and fell in love with being able to turn what I could see in my eye into a photo. But again, I never expanded my skills to have the confidence to switch off auto mode.


Personal life changes over the last few years meant I took a long hard look at myself and somehow I found the confidence to realise taking photos was something I had always loved and still loved. I took a leap of faith, upgraded my camera and applied to get on the course as I wanted to make it a career and learn how to make my photos the best they can be. It’s definitely with a view to it forming a career, but before I took the step into it being my job, I needed to feel confident that I can offer my services to a client with the backing of a recognised qualification.



what have you achieved previously with photography and what do you hope to achieve in the future?


To date my work has been primarily sourced from simply taking my camera and shooting what I see…often just for me. Therefore, the achievements have mainly been personal in terms of being happy with what I’ve captured.


I’ve undertaken some shoots at events for a music business that have been used on websites and social media, and I took lots of images whilst working in a school that were used for their website, social media and in publications. I also undertook a nursery graduation shoot with the images printed and given to parents. I’ve also been paid to shoot a wedding.


I had an EyeEm account before starting on the course and several of my images were taken by Getty Images and offered for sale on their platform, but I’ve not updated this account for some time.


In the future, I would hope to become a well-established freelance photographer working mainly in the commercial/editorial field. My dream would be to get commissions for jobs that would allow me to travel a little. If I were starting over again, I would be doing everything I could to become a National Geographic photographer, but I suspect that’s impossible! Just to be paid to do something I love would be enough right now.


what areas of photography are you interested in?


I like making the everyday look beautiful. My boys laugh at how often I say…”look at that, look at this, look how that would make a great picture, I wish I had my camera”. Their eyes roll but I can’t help seeing the little details and the bigger picture in everything.

It’s probably easier to say what I think I don’t want to photograph at the moment as it’s hard to define at the moment what area I want to specialise in – although I seem to lean towards commercial and editorial.


I don’t want to photograph newborns and weddings are something that I would do if asked, but, I would never promote myself as a wedding photographer. I think they require a certain talent, skill and confidence with people that I don’t necessarily have.


I would say it’s the smaller details that I always look for, that to me make beautiful images. I enjoy the styling element of product and food photography and I’m better with things than with people. When I shoot people, I want to catch them when they are off-guard. Candid, un-posed photography. Asking people to take their picture is something that I often avoid. But practise will help to remove that lack of confidence.


Commercial and editorial work for businesses and brands is probably where I will look to focus.


DO YOU WANT TO SPECIALISE IN A SINGLE ASPECT, OR DO YOU THINK YOU COULD COMNBINE GENRES OF PHOTOGRAPHY TO FORM A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS?


I am conscious that I need to narrow down my specialisms, but I think that it is possible to combine genres of photography. Plus, if commercial and editorial becomes my focus, then I think it’s important to be able to shoot different genres as it will give an alternative approach and viewpoint to briefs that clients will give.


ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED ARE RELEVANT AND GOOD PHOTOGRAPHS. IF YOU ARE FOCUSING UPON A SINGLE ASPECT OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY, HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN RELEVANT IMAGES?


The easiest way at the moment to build a portfolio will be shoot as often as possible. In addition to setting up a variety of my own shoots in the studio or on location, then contacting people and businesses to offer shoots for free will allow me to develop a credible portfolio.


WHAT PREVIOUS PIECES OF WORK ARE YOU GOING TO UTILISE WITHIN YOUR GALLERIES ON YOUR WEBSITE AND WHY?


If I continue to focus on editorial/commercially led work then I will use the studio work I’ve done for Natural Raw Pets (food & dogs), plus look at some of the shoots we have done such as the pumpkin farm, the Porsche showroom, events I have photographed and perhaps some detailed architectural and location photography to create spreads to show how my work can be combined and used in publications or on websites.


I’d then like to create a ‘MORE’ gallery where I can showcase some of my other work so that potential clients can see that I have the ability to capture a wide range of images. I will also include the wedding photos as at the end of the day, bills need paying and if the odd wedding shoot helps with that then I would never say no!




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