What’s it like being a photographer – with Claire Storey’s Photography
If you have come across my blog because you follow my instagram page then you probably have a keen interest in photography, or at least an interest in images being created and captured on film that tell a story. Perhaps you have your own Instagram page or blog or DSLR and you are taking photos of your children to capture the everyday. Then imagine that you turned that hobby into a job – imagine if you actually became a photographer. That’s exactly what Claire from Claire Storey’s Photography did. She had a dream, she had absolutely no photography background and was able to teach herself to become an acclaimed newborn photographer. An enormous section of creative freelance work come from photography, from wedding photographers to food photographers, wildlife photographers to event photographers. There’s high end fashion photographers and low end paparazzi photographers. Photography is big business and with the world of social media such as Instagram and Pinterest who focus on beautiful aesthetics while telling a story I think the world of ‘photographers’ is about to get bigger.
As part of my freelancing series I wanted to show the different sides of creative freelancing. For so many people the idea that they could turn their hobby or passion into something that actually pays the bills, fits into their lives and gives them joy each day sounds like the dream. I don’t want to sound too Disney – because what it takes to make your ‘dreams come true’ is self belief and some big ol’ fashioned balls.
Claire from Claire Strorey’s photography has pretty big sparkly beautiful ones (she would want ones like that for sure!) and she made her hobby and passion into her real life job. It hasn’t been easy; she started her business 5 years ago when she was full time stay at home mother to her two boys, then 4 years ago she took the plunge and made the commitment of switching from location shooting of children and families to her studio set up. She has invested an incredable amount of time and money in her set up and equipment, favouring the Canon 5d Mark iii with the 50mm 1.2 lens – She worked through her entire third pregnancy and has been keeping her business flourishing while dealing with extra challenges that her daughters Spina Bifida has thrown at them as a family. So if you thought you had what it takes to become a photographer from scratch read Claire’s interview and be inspired, because she really did it! She made her dreams come true. Disney balls and all
- Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, your family?
I’m a very proud mumma of 3 children 2 beautiful boys and a very special princess. I’ve always felt I was born to be a mum but had to wait for the right love to make it happen.
- What was ‘job’ before you went freelance?
I was a nanny, I’ve always had that need to nurture and absolutely loved my nannying days. I’m a strong believer in you are who you are and you will be what you are.
- Can you describe your job now?
It’s funny because the word job makes me giggle. It makes me giggle because job to me means “chore” and I certainly do not want to do chores. I grew up wanting to do something I enjoyed, I never wanted a job that would bring me money, I just wanted to do something I enjoyed which was babies, I wanted to look after everyone’s babies. I am now a very proud owner of my own photography business Claire Storey’s photography, I specialise in newborn photography, I mean how lucky am I to do something I love for a job. What is it they say “do something you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life”
- How did you start doing what your doing? What were the first steps you made, how did you build up your business? It started with photographing the children I nannied for, I was always popping them in-front of a beautiful window, taking a pic and framing it for a mother’s day present. I then eventually had my own children and wanted beautiful pics. I would take them for a photo shoot and feel disappointed with the pictures, I wanted that “out of a magazine look” so I did it myself, it led me to taking pictures of friends children and eventually newborns, I wanted it all, I wanted a studio with props and I wanted to take everyone’s newborn pictures, those magical early days I wanted to capture it. So I found myself a beautiful barn and went from there.
- What pit falls and hurdles have you come across and briefly how did you manage to overcome them? If I’m honest I started with nothing, little knowledge and not even a professional camera, I self taught myself and worked my way up. I guess if I had a little bit more background it would have picked up sooner.
- What is the best thing about being freelance? Well the fact I started my own photography career was because of the love of my own children, I get to pick and choose when I work and I can put them first, having a daughter with special needs we have a lot more hospital appointments and I need to put her first.
- What equipment do you dream of having? I’m very lucky and have the lighting equipment and camera of my dreams but one day i’d love to have my studio from home, built to how i want it with large frost glass windows so i can do a bit of natural light photography
- And what is the worst/hardest? I’m not going to lie, I have to cover my rent costs. I need to work so much before I get paid, I need to keep it up to keep the establishment going, advertising and reaching out to social media to get the next job, you’re constantly working or thinking about it, even when your having “family time” but that’s me as a person, I’ve always liked to keep busy and needed something to occupy my creative mind.
- Would you have done anything differently if you started out now? I would love to say I’d have liked more knowledge on the photography side, equipment etc but I wouldn’t be who I am now or have the boost inside me to keep it going and up my game.
- What advice would you give somebody starting our in freelance work today? It depends what they want to do but as a newborn photographer I would recommend following what you like the look of, try not to copy, when you go out to buy your props choose what you like not what someone else has done, that way you will definitely find your style, I was so mix and match (little bit like my personal Instagram page) to start but once I went with what I liked the look of I found my style. I love a bit of colour and if you look through my gallery it’s definitely bright.
Also – if you would like to know more about her beautiful daughter Remi’s story, there is a heart felt and emotional blog post about living with Spina Bifida
AND if you would like to see more of her own family’s photography please check out her personal insta page photography_mumma_of_3 – you will not be disappointed