In such a visual world, photography has never been more important. Photos capture the moment, create stories and inspire lifestyles. This month, we’ve asked one of our favourite local photographers, Emma Croman (formerly Gutteridge) – who has been commissioned by the likes of Madeleine Shaw, Fatto a Mano and The Simple Things Magazine – to share her story so far.
Hi Emma! When and why did you set up your photography business?
I registered the business back in around 2010 [under maiden name, Emma Gutteridge].
I was at a real crossroads with my work, I’d been made redundant as a picture editor and had graduated from a nutritional therapy course with the CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) but I wasn’t feeling inspired to market myself for that. I’d been photographing the odd gig here and there and of course photographing friends and members of the family – it was actually my brother in law who inspired me to go for it and register it – he started a Facebook group to get people to convince me it was my calling in life!
How did you get into photography?
I was employed when I was about 19 as a picture editor and remained so for about 10 years so I always worked closely with photographers and imagery. It wasn’t until about 2008 that I learned to use a camera for myself on an evening course but I did have a point and shoot camera prior to that that I would just take myself off with for hours – I guess it’s always been in me. I do remember my older sister doing a photography GCSE and I was fascinated!
How would you describe your style?
It’s funny because when I speak to people they say I have a very definite style but for me it’s just what comes to me when I think about a framing a photograph. I would definitely say in my photography I observe moments – I’m less interested in grand epic final shots and have more of a tendency towards quiet moments that might otherwise have been overlooked.
You’ve worked with so many brands – from one girl bands to huge glossy mags, do you have any fave projects?
I think the stand out project for me has been the Deezer commission – we’ve travelled various cities in Europe and met people in the street of whom we took street portraits of while they listened to music.
Music and people are a big passion of mine so to combine that and travel with it was a dream come true and the Deezer team are incredibly supportive of any creative vision. But honestly, for every job I do from a portrait session for a business woman to a huge campaign, I have to pinch myself that I do this for a living.
I love working with all my clients, I’m very lucky to have such amazing ones!
I think shooting the last Madeleine Shaw book [A Year of Beautiful Eating] was a milestone – I had been a huge fan of her books beforehand and I had always thought how amazing it would be to be involved in a project like that. When the commission came in I couldn’t believe that email had just landed in my inbox! It was a joy to work with the Orion team and Madeleine and, while I don’t practice it as a career, nutrition is a subject I’m incredibly passionate about and I love her approach to it.
What have you been up to lately? Anything exciting?
I’ve just finished up on a few really exciting projects including another cookbook and a lifestyle campaign with Zizzi but I might have a travel commission coming up which is super exciting – it’s definitely a string I’d like to add to my bow! But if any readers have any exciting projects they want to chat over with me…!
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d known before starting a biz?
To be realistic about your rates and how much work you need to take on to stay on top of your game – if you’re spreading yourself too thinly you are compromising the quality of your work.
And finally, when you’re not busy working, what do you like doing in Brighton?
I moved to Lewes last year and I spend a lot of my time walking the surrounding countryside with my labrador Monty. I am very emotionally connected to the countryside and walking through it resets my eyes and allows me to stay inspired! But I love being so close to city life too – Brighton has so many great restaurants and cafes and I love sitting watching the world go by. I’m a big people watcher which also inspires my portrait work!
See more from Emma at https://emmacroman.com.