Louise Downham,The Life of a Family Photographer

Louise shares with us her experience as a photographer and some useful tips
  1. Introduce yourself in a few words

I’m a professional family photographer, living in London. I’m 34, and have a gorgeous five year old daughter and a crazy cat.

  1. How did you discover photography ?

It’s a cliché but true – my grandfather let me use his camera one holiday, and I fell in love with photography immediately. He bought me a camera for my birthday, and that was that – I photographed everything and everyone!

  1. Did you go to photography school or did you learn by yourself ?

I did a Masters in Photography – it was wonderful to spend a year learning as much as I could about the subject. I don’t think that learning process ever ends though – I always discover something new, each time I take photographs.

  1. Why did you become a family photographer ?

I’d always wanted to be a photographer, but I didn’t really know if it’d be possible to make a living from it. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I couldn’t find a photographer offering the kind of maternity shots I wanted – so I took my own.
Friends saw them and started asking for photographs of their own bumps and babies, and I realised the time felt right to take the plunge and become a photographer. I’ve always loved children and photography, so it felt a natural step. And it was the best decision I ever made!

  1. How long did it take you to make a living from photography?

I became a full-time photographer in 2011 – it took about a year to make a living from photography. That said, most of the income I brought in in the first few years was re-invested in the business: on equipment, marketing and website developments. It took about four years to make a comfortable living.

  1. In your opinion, what’s the most important asset for a photographer to have?

Putting aside the obvious answer of having a good eye, I think the most important asset is to be able to build a good relationship quickly with your clients, and to have the ability to juggle different parts of the business (such as customer service, editing photographs, marketing, ordering prints and products, website and social media updates and book-keeping).

  1. If you had to work with only one camera for the rest of your life, which one would you  choose ?

I’m besotted with the Canon 5D mk iii! The mk iv is too heavy for my kind of work but the mk iii gives me the silent shutter and incredible focussing options – it’s a beautiful camera.

  1. What advice would you give to a young photographer?

Henri-Cartier Bresson said that “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” – I totally agree with this. Every time you take photographs, so long as you keep thinking critically, you’ll develop your eye for composition and capturing the moment.

You can discover Louise’s work on her website