- advice for budding photographers -

This may seem like an odd post to many of you, but the thing is I get emails and DMs every week asking for advice on how to start a photography business, how to get into interiors, what kit to use, and I just don’t have time to answer them! I mean, I have a hard time just keeping on top of emails to clients! So I figured I’d write a post addressing the main questions and then I could send folks here!

How I got started

This seems like a logical place to start - since lots of people ask me how they can get into photography, I’ll explain my path first. 

I studied and got my degree in photography, probably not what a lot of folks want to hear since it’s common for people to come to photography as a second career. But for me photography is my one and only career - I got my first paid photography job when I was 20, taking photos in night clubs! Glamourous right? Nope. Whilst I don’t think it’s essential to get a degree in photography in order to pursue a career in it, I would say the advantages of studying are that it really gives you the time to decide if photography is for you or not, plus it gives you confidence in your skills and a sturdy base of knowledge to build on. I’m not saying you need to go and get a degree but I would recommend at least doing a few weekend classes to get you properly acquainted with your camera and to make sure that you do, indeed, love photography!

When I left university I got a job working with wedding photographer extraordinaire Lisa Devlin, I worked with her for a couple of years as a second shooter and retoucher/editor whilst also taking on the occasional freelance photography job (and waitressing!). I also assisted for a couple of fashion and portrait photographers. This is where I would say I learned the most about photography, shooting weddings got me used to shooting fast and in all sorts of light conditions and most of all - under pressure! The advantage of working with other photographers is you’ll also learn how to run a photography business - everyone does it differently but it will give you a real insight into what it takes behind the scenes. Working as an editor for Lisa gave me an even deeper insight into that side of things, since we would work side by side - while I was editing she was dealing with client emails, marketing and invoices, something you don’t get to see while you’re just in the field or studio during a shoot. If you don’t want to take a photography course then definitely spend time assisting other photographers - you’ll learn a lot and fast!
Me and Lisa in Vegas for a work trip.

Eventually I realized I didn’t want to be a wedding photographer - there’s a huge amount of pressure, the days are super long and working every weekend of the summer didn’t appeal to 23 year old me! The part of the job I loved the most was shooting the spaces and details and this rekindled a love of interiors I had had since I was in my early teens - I’d actually wanted to be an interior designer growing up! So I asked an interior designer friend of mine if I could shoot a project for her to build my portfolio - and it just went from there. Shooting interiors is very different to photographing people so getting lots of practice and experience was essential - I would recommend practicing in any way you can, start with your own home - shoot it from every angle and at intervals throughout the day, study every photo and decide what works and why. Show the photos to other people and see what they think! Fresh eyes are always helpful.


This is the question I get asked the most - what camera/lenses/lighting do you use? I may have mis-lead you here but I’m not going to list what I use, for a couple of reasons. Firstly - it’s taken me a long time, education and hard work to get my business to where it is, and as a result I am very protective of how I do things. Secondly - me telling you exactly what I use is not going to help you, you could get identical kit to me but your path in photography and experience is not the same as mine, so your results will be different. I will say this - I’ve been shooting with Canon cameras for 10 years now and I personally find there is great value in choosing a system and sticking to it - you should know your kit inside out! So if you don’t know where to start, rent a few different cameras and see what you like best. Same goes for lenses, if what you have isn’t working for you - rent a few different options, shoot the same composition with different lenses and compare the results. You’ll soon learn what looks best! Talk to the staff in camera stores too - they will know the advantages and disadvantages of all the equipment they carry.

*You will definitely need a camera with a full-frame sensor and wide angle lenses*


I feel similarly about editing software as I do about kit - you need to find what works for you and practice practice practice! Free trial versions mean you can try before you buy and by all means try them all - find what suits you best. There are endless online (and irl) classes and youtube tutorials should you get stuck. I’ve been using Photoshop for 14 years now and still have to look up how to do things sometimes, it’s an ever-evolving tool. I use a mixture of Lightroom and Photoshop but I know other photographers rave about Capture One so it’s definitely worth testing out all the options.

Licensing and contracts

It’s highly likely this is something you won’t even think about until you have to, so if I can impart anything at all via this post then let it be this - learn about licensing and always get your clients to sign a contract before the shoot. 
Alyssa Rosenheck wrote an excellent article about copyright - I strongly suggest you read it here.

Network and make genuine friendships

Actually, one step before that, use your friends! As I already mentioned, I had a friend who was an interior designer and shooting her work enabled me to build my portfolio as an interior photographer. Use the contacts you already have to get started! And then, build on it. Network (online and in real life) and make genuine friendships. By that I mean don’t just schmooze people you know will be useful - don’t look desperate! Make real friendships with people in the industry and not only will you grow a support network for yourself but you’ll also have a great set of friends connected to your industry who want to help you thrive!

Do you love it?

This may sound obvious but I really want to emphasize how important it is to love photography before you pursue it as a career. Creative careers like this can look super glamorous and appealing but remember you will be spending a huge amount of hours at a computer not only editing but answering emails, invoicing, business planning, writing contracts, the list goes on. This can be very disheartening and I’ll be honest here and say sometimes I wonder why I’m doing it when I have endless paperwork and editing to deal with, but I always come back to my love of photography and interiors (and working with awesome people) and it keeps me going through the difficult stuff. If you want to be good at shooting interiors, being passionate about design is also very important. Being engaged and excited by your subject matter will always lead to better photographs!

If you’re reading this then there’s a good chance you’ve sent me a message asking how to get started. I don’t want to discredit you for doing that, kudos to you - I never had the balls to email a photographer and ask them how they did it! But I will say this - there are no short-cuts to being a good photographer and running a successful business. It takes hard work and a lot of practice.

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