Evaluation 2019

This year has been a bit of an emotional and professional rollercoaster! As most people have experienced, it doesn’t seem to matter how organised you are there will always be unexpected events that will challenge you along the way.

I have been running my Business – Perfect Moments Photography for 6 years now and giving it everything I could with the time that was available around attending University and looking after my family. There hasn’t been enough time to do all three very well and no doubt I have failed at one of them at each given time! With that in mind, I set myself what would hopefully be achievable objectives for this year and ones that would also improve my situation. These were to cut costs, save time and money, win an award and raise my profile. Working towards earning more money and using the knowledge I’ve gained over the years to turn myself from ‘The Trainee’ into ‘The Trainer’.

Amongst my achievable objectives, I had to tackle some personal problems that weren’t planned which included moving house and a kitchen fire, luckily no-one was hurt but it was a traumatic and financially expensive time. But to balance out the bad, there is always good, and I am so grateful that I managed to achieve two International Photography Awards for my newborn images and can now re-brand myself as an Award Winning Photographer. This along with my Photography Degree and Newborn Training experience will help to give me an edge and stand out amongst other photographers in my area.

During this time I moved to a new studio in the separate annexe we have at home, this has improved things immensely, saving so much time, money and I can provide a better service to my clients in that they can park right outside and have no stairs to walk up which was always a concern with new mums especially if they’ve had surgery.

As well as the newborn images that I created for the competitions I also worked with my daughter Sophie. These, unlike the newborn images, were composites and a continuation from last year using the compositing skills that I’ve learnt. The challenge I set myself which was different to last year where I photographed different elements all in the same lighting conditions, was that I wanted to use birds photographed outside and then composite those with Sophie in the studio and make them look as if they were photographed together.

Like every project which is always different, it was a learning curve and it took days of patiently sitting outside waiting for birds to land. The main technical issue was making sure that I was able to capture the birds sharply and preserve all the details so that I had more options later in post-production. This project took its own path, originally wanting to create a very technically perfect composite I ended up experimenting more with a painterly effect with lots of texture, warm tones, resembling an old masters painting. I was moved by the image of Sophie with the blackbird in a way that I’ve not felt before with any of my images and this intrigued me to delve more into the power of the gaze in portraiture. This is very strong in Paulina Duczman’s work, each image has careful consideration regarding the clothes, hair and accessories but overall it’s the eyes that are the focal point that draw you in to create such powerful images which literally take your breath away.

Over the past 4 years I’ve invested in training with some of the best photographers in the Industry. Newborn photography & posing with Jillian Greenhill from Dubai, Kelly Brown from Australia, Emma Jane from the UK, Fine Art Photography with Paulina Duczman and In-person Sales with Maggie Robinson. It has been a hugely costly but exciting journey and fundamental in my career as I’ve learnt so much from them.

I felt fully prepared for my final Degree Show apart from a last minute issue, on the day of the show I found a mark on one of my prints which luckily I managed to rectify the best I could with the help of some dark eye shadow and a steady hand!

The open night for our Show was brilliant, everyone put so much effort in to pull it together and we were so lucky to have the knowledge, support and encouragement from Karen Heald, she went to great lengths to make sure everyone’s final work was the best it could be and curated a hell of a show. The brown earthy colour palette that I am drawn to and have consistently used for both of my Degree Shows worked really well because the images compliment each other collectively. I feel like I have perhaps exhausted this style now and look forward to experimenting with new colour palettes in the future. I received amazing feedback for my newborn images, a few people have enquired how to book a session and I also met a couple of girls who were fans of my work which was very exciting. The large print of Sophie with the blackbird really affected some people, many were mesmerized by it and two people referred to it as haunting which momentarily disgruntled me, but I quickly accepted that as a compliment. The image created emotion and feelings, all different depending on the viewer and as someone once told me, if you manage to do that with your work then you have created a piece of Art.

Over the past 4 years I have grown so much as a Photographer, my only regret is that life has been so chaotic that I’ve not been able to reflect on the work I’ve done. It’s been a turbulent crossover of newborns, weddings, commercial client work with creative projects for university whilst juggling family life and financial struggles. It’s not a complaint because essentially I feel like I’ve achieved everything I set out to do and I’m really proud of that but I’m definitely looking forward to having the chance to reflect which will help form my future path and regain balance and harmony for my business and most of all my family.


Featured Image:

Suzanne Ross-Hughes

New Studio

The biggest challenge regarding the move to my new studio was being able to maximise the use of such a small space. With only 5 metres x 3 metres to work with it had to serve all these uses:

  • Photography Studio
  • Storage
  • Waiting room
  • Viewing room

(Pinterest links – end of page)

After lots of research into small studios and how other photographers maximised their space I was able to come up with a plan which would hopefully work for me. When I say hopefully it’s because lots of ideas can work in theory but until I was actually testing the space out with clients I wouldn’t know for sure.

My session workflow had to change:

  • From using natural light/ Jinbei EF200 continuous light to a studio strobe
  • No longer able to set up multiple scenes. Pre-set up each scene before the shoot so I knew where everything was going to go and then clear it all away and set up each scene individually throughout the shoot.
  • One sofa, which would mean that I can only provide seating for 2 people.
  • No space for siblings to play during a newborn shoot so they would have to be brought along at the end of a session by a family member if they were to have photos with the baby.

My original plan was to lift the carpet and replace with wooden flooring but unfortunately my landlord didn’t agree to that so I had to think of another option. Having carpet with a paper backdrop wasn’t going to work because they soft surface would cause the paper to crumple and tear. So I looked at these options instead:

  • Laminate on top of the carpet
  • A raised floor on top of the carpet with lino on top (white seamless)
  • Moveable flooring mats

I chose to go with the flooring mats because the other 2 options risked damaging the carpet. It was the most expensive option unfortunately because I had to order them from America, they were the only company that had thick flooring mats that were wooden floor replicas. The also had many different styles so I bought an oak coloured one and a cream wood one so that I had options.

The next part was to work out a way to store all my props, accessories and backdrops. Luckily there is a secure roofed alleyway that leads to the studio so I was able to build shelving which can house all my large backdrops, large props and accessories in storage boxes. This left me with these to find a solution for inside the studio:

  • Beanbag fabric
  • Backdrops
  • Hats, headbands, outfits
  • Teddies & toys
  • Small blankets & accessories
  • Towels & Cake Smash items
  • Changing Table
  • Products, Samples, Office Items
  • Photography equipment

I also had to purchase new items because while I was sharing my previous studio with Kamila we split the cost of certain items so when it came to us separating we had to share out what we had co-bought.

  • New posing beanbag & accessories
  • Baby changing table
  • Dark wood backdrop
  • Props
  • Signs
  • Business Cards

The first stage was cleaning and then painting everywhere inside and out.


The garden was a massive job that took weeks and over 20 huge landscape gardening bags worth of foliage removed. It was completely overgrown, this is the before and after view from inside the glass doors –



Outside Alleyway Storage

Thankfully I didn’t need to buy anymore shelving, I used what I had in the old studio. These racks fill up one wall in the alleyway with enough room to come through with a pram still. I also hung some of my wall art and festoon lights to lead the way to my studio door.



When it came to the storage solutions inside I really had to keep the costs down because of how much I’d spent on everything else I needed so I made as much as I could.


I cut to size a white blind that I already had, it wasn’t quite long enough for the full door but it was enough to diffuse the light.


Backdrop Storage



Cupboard Storage

I made shelves by reusing one of the shelves I had in the old studio, I cut this down into 3 pieces and fit them inside the long cupboard to utilise the space better to store my beanbag blankets.

Inside the cupboard door I fixed in some dowling with little crocodile clips so that I could hang all my headbands inside.


There wasn’t anywhere else that I could have concealed storage so all the outfits & hats would have to be hung in view. This meant it needed to look pretty so I bought miniature wooden hangers and hung them on expanding curtain poles.

I had some floating shelves that we used in the old studio so I wanted to re-use those. They were too big for the alcove that the outfits and hats were in so I had to cut them down which meant the hidden fittings would no longer work. I bought steel shelf brackets to hold the shelves in place instead. I also made wire rings with crocodile clips attached to them which slide over the brackets so that I could hang the delicate headbands and hats from.



I needed to utilise the shower space somehow because I had no use for the shower itself so after much searching I managed to find a shelving unit that fit perfectly. I had to build it inside the shower otherwise it wouldn’t have fit through the door so that was a bit tricky but it was worth it.


There was no space for the standing changing table that I used in my old studio so I had to buy a wall mounted one.



I managed to fit a little fridge on the worktop, all my packaging, cleaning products and office supplies in the cupboards as well as my tea and coffee etc and flower basket underneath.



This was a huge moment for me, to finally hang my own name on the door! With sharing the last studio, the studio name was Kamisuze, a combined name of Kamila & Suze. So this was a great moment to be able to hang my name on the door.


Over the past 12 weeks since opening at the beginning of March 2019 I have done 2 Kookie Magazine Covers, 1 Kookie Magazine Article, 7 newborn Shoots, 3 Cake Smashes & 2 Portrait Shoots…. and every session went really well 🙂 I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to provide the same service that I did in the old studio but apart from being a little bit trickier to plan my shoot plan there has only been positives:

  • Saves time, I don’t need to set up the day before and clear everything away after each shoot.
  • Saves on heating, smaller space.
  • No fuel costs
  • No rent
  • Parking right outside for clients
  • Clients always comment on how nice a village it is and often go for lunch afterwards at the pub next door (huge perk! 😀 )


So I’m really pleased and excited for the year ahead, I’m booked up for the next 3 months and I look forward to finishing University to concentrate on my business 100% and aim to fill my diary 6 months ahead.


Pinterest Images referenced:













Elsie | Independent Magazine

ELSIE Magazine

Founded in 2011

Les Jones – Freelance creative Director – Photographer – Writer


I went to the talk that Les gave about ELSIE magazine intrigued to find out more about it, I’d never actually heard of this Independent magazine before. Since working as the cover photographer for KOOKIE Magazine which is also an Independent Magazine except it’s for pre-teen girls and being involved with a few other projects around that I felt that this would be beneficial to me.

Les talked about how the magazine came to fruition and the journey that it’s taken him on. When he started to explain about the magazine , that it didn’t have an agenda, there was only one a year, it was never released on a specific date just when it was ready and that it was basically an outlet for him to have creative freedom to share his ideas and to enjoy himself. . . . I will admit that I was thinking ‘hmmmmm what on earth is this mag about!?’

Les quotes. . .

“ I have nothing to say and I’m saying it”

Robert Rauschenberg

He went on to tell us how he came up with the content and it was fascinating, photographing shop signs and handwriting that he finds on random pieces of paper to create the fonts that he uses in the magazine. He says you must DISRUPT YOUR THINKING and force yourself out of your normal way, away from your comfort zone because that’s when things happen. He put every country name into a hat, let his son pick one then printed off the map for that country and threw a dart at it to find the village where he was going to spend 5 whole days on his own was just genius. And what happened after that was an ongoing catalytic journey of discovery, meeting ‘fascinating’ people and learning about their weird and wonderful ways in all corners of the world.


Les Jones



I loved this talk and felt truly inspired at the end, not to create a magazine but just by Les’s journey, the way his unstructured journey of just following what interests him has led to the creation of this one man band magazine and the unknown discoveries that lie ahead. I will be subscribing as well as ordering the first edition which is still available on his website, there is only 1000 of each edition printed and each cover from the first edition is entirely bespoke and most definitely an important collectors item for all those who love people, art, illustrations & photography.

Reaching New Clients

I was a quite a late member of Instagram, joining in August 2016 and since then shared 117 images. My followers for the past year has fluctuated between 440-450. It’s definitely a platform that needs constant nurturing and interaction which is something I’ve not been able to devote any time to. I know lots of photographers that get bookings through it, I’ve never had any enquiries through it but that is down to me not building a connection with potential clients that use it.

There are lots of blogs and YouTube videos on how to grow your Instagram followers:



View this post on Instagram

A peek behind the scenes before this morning's Cake Smash ..

A post shared by Suzanne Ross-Hughes (@perfectmomentsphotographysrh) on



Here’s why you need to give up Newborn Photography. Right Now!

Keywords to boost online reach

Fine Art Photography 14,800
Family Portraits 14,800
Portrait Photography 40,500
Newborn Photography 40,500
Wedding Photography 60,500
Boudoir Photography 60,500

So whilst Newborn Photography doesn’t seem to be the most popular genre it still does well with 40,500 searches a month. That’s fab!

But wait. Put yourself into the mind of your client. Will they even be aware of the term “newborn photography”?

So what if we do a little bit more keyword research. Well after a little tinkering I found these two golden nuggets:-

Baby Photos – 110,000
Baby Pictures – 110,000

A 550% boost to your traffic levels

Competitions 2019


Baby Photo Awards is a website where professional photographers can share their best children and maternity photoshoots. The most creative photography artists from all over the world submit their works to contest with colleagues for the highest places in the rating list. We carefully choose the very best photographs and display them in our virtual collection. 

Only the authors of the most picturesque and unique photographs are honored with Baby Photo Awards. At the end of the year, people who won the biggest quantity of awards enter the annual list of TOP baby photographers in the world. 

I entered this competition in March and was selected as one of the Winners of their 36 Collection! So exciting to be selected from all the International Photographers that entered.

Three Little Bears-2


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The Societies’ monthly online competition is a ‘must’ for all our members. There are 27 categories that cover all aspects of photography and it is judged by some of the most esteemed Fellow, Master and Grand Master photographers in the UK and across the world. All entries which gain the coveted ‘Gold’ award are put forward to our annual judging and, if deemed to be the best, can gain their maker a prestigious ‘Photographer of the Year’ Award within its category at our annual Awards Dinner.

I entered this image into the monthly competition in April and I was blown away to receive a Gold Award!!

Woodland Twins-winner


Among the Gold Awards for the different categories in April was Paulina Ducman, she truly is one of my biggest inspirations so it was an honour to be amongst the winners with her.

Screenshot 2019-05-28 at 15.55.50

Since winning the awards I attended a Judging Class at The Newborn Photography Show, I wanted to learn what makes a winning image, to understand why mine won and use this knowledge in my future work as well as work towards one day becoming a judge myself.


Updated Social Media –


Screenshot 2019-05-28 at 15.36.17


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I set out to win an award this year so that I could re-brand myself as an ‘Award Winning Photographer’ and I have very excitedly just updated my website and social media sites with that title Yippeee!!

This year has definitely been the best of my Photography career so far, building up my profile, winning awards and getting myself recognised within the professionals that I have been inspired by to now be competing alongside.