Kathy Tiernan - Headshots, Author Interview

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Hi Kathy, Can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to live and work in Northumberland?
I’ve always been fascinated by history. I grew up in Northumberland with the past on my doorstep – a fourteenth century pele tower next to our house!  My favourite book as a kid was ‘Sword of Northumbria’ by Philip Woodruff. It’s long out of print, but his stories of medieval Northumbria fired my imagination.  Now, so many years later, I’ve moved back to Northumberland and am writing my own stories about its history. Although I’ve spent a lot of my working life in the south I feel I’ve come back home.

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Which part of your job do you enjoy most?
When I’m in the zone and completely absorbed in what I’m writing about.

What tips would you give to someone starting out as a writer?
It’s important to learn your trade, but even more to write about things that really engage you.

What is the best feedback you have ever had?
When I was twelve my English teacher gave me top marks for a story called ‘The Storm’.
Underneath it she wrote, ‘I wonder if you will become a writer one day?’

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Who do you admire most in the world and why?
I love Thomas Hardy. For me, he is the great writer about the English countryside and about the rural communities of his time.

Do you have a favourite quote that you turn to for inspiration?
‘Show don’t tell.’ It gets drummed into your head on creative writing courses till you’re sick of it, but it is the single piece of advice I return to most often.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an author?
There are two challenges for an author. One is to have the stamina to complete a novel, with all the revisions and re-writings involved. The second is to convince a publisher that you have produced a masterpiece that the world is waiting for.

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How will you use your headshots and how do you feel they will benefit your business?
One of the headshots will be used on the dust-cover of my forthcoming novel, ‘Cuthbert; The
Making of a Saint’, to be published by Sacristy Press. I’m also planning to use the photos to create my author website.

What does a typical workday look like for you?
I write in the mornings, with a break for coffee. Depending on what else I have on, I sometimes work for another hour or two in the early evening. I try not to think about writing later in the day or the mind is still plotting at 2a/m!

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Thank you Kathy, I'm really looking forward to your book coming out.   I must say we had an eventful shoot, from the thick 'pea soup' fog on the wild and windy causeway of Lindisfarne to the sun beating down on us inland while we walked uphill to St Cuthbert's Cave, then on the way down you saved me from stepping on an adder snake!  Such a fun and memorable! day, good luck with the book launch, Sarah :)

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Head Shots and Interview with Vicki Owen, Psychotherapist and Counsellor

Hi Vicki, Can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to work in Northumberland?

I'm a psychotherapist and counsellor working in private practice in Wooler. I've recently moved to Northumberland from Nottingham, having visited here on holiday for many years. I love being outdoors walking and cycling and Northumberland is perfect because you can easily reach both wild hills and beautiful coastline.

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Which part of your job do you feel most passionate about?

I am hugely privileged to do my job. It takes courage to decide to come for therapy and it takes effort and persistence to stay and do the work. I have such admiration for the work my clients do with me and it's wonderful to see them start to feel more whole, connected and alive as a result.

What tips would you give to someone starting out in your industry? 

Do the best training you can afford, have personal therapy, and do as much CPD as you can. If you carry on learning and developing, you will be able to offer to help a wider range of the difficulties that clients bring to therapy.

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Who do you admire most in the world and why?

In the therapy world, Alice Miller was a tireless advocate for abused and neglected children, and the adults they grew in to. She died a few years ago but she has left inspiring books. More currently, Bessel van der Kolk is driving forward advancements in effective therapy for people who have been traumatised by painful experiences. One of his quotes I like is “Being able to feel safe with other people is probably he single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.” 

How will you use your head shots or how do you feel they have benefited your business?

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My headshots go on my website and on the professional registers I'm a member of (UKCP and BACP). They give people a chance to get a sense of me by seeing what I look like before deciding whether to meet me in person.

What are your future plans?

To continue offering therapy in beautiful Wooler! I'm planning to run some groups and workshops too. Individual therapy is expensive so I'd like to offer more affordable options for people. I have ideas about topics for workshops such as relaxation and mindfulness, listening and communication skills, and I'd like to run groups for women affected by sexual violence.

Restoring Treasured Memories..

Last week Susan came into the studio to ask if we could do anything with a treasured photograph of her children from when they were little, she had had the portrait taken of them and at the time had only been able to afford to purchase one framed print which had had to go to her in-laws where it had hung in pride of place on the wall for over 30 years. 

Susan had at last got the photograph back to hang up in her home but unfortunately the grandparents were smokers and over time the image, which was not under glass had become stained yellow and was also badly marked.  

As you can see, there was quite a lot of colour work to do, removal of the staining and the marks and splatters, all in it took me about 4 hours to restore whilst retaining the detail, all the work was worth it to see the tears of happiness when she came to see the finished thing.  

As a mum, Susan's story really resonated with me and I enjoyed the challenge of doing something quite different from my usual work.

Sarah

 Before..

Before..

 After!

After!

Headshots for John Casken, Composer

I spent a lovely morning with John in the stunning Harthope Valley (Northumberland National Park) shooting some head shots and details to include on his new website. www.johncasken.com

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Before I went to meet John I spent some time listening to his work, 'Apollinaire's Bird', this was during the school run I must add, it definitely made the children go at a different pace with getting ready! 

Finding out about someones work and getting to know a bit more about their personality before a session always helps with how I choose to represent them in their photographs.  Talking with someone about their work can also inspire ideas on things to include/backgrounds to use/poses/props so a pre shoot consultation is always helpful if there is time.

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I found you very easy to get on with, totally understanding of what I was looking for, and had a very good eye for composition and texture. I found the whole experience stress-free, and was very pleased with the results.
— John Casken

Business Headshots for Madelaine of Pinny Princess

Madelaine contacted us with a very specific 'look' that she needed head shots on her new updated website PinnyPrincess (PP is an online brand which sells super cute personalised items to little princes and princesses and their mummies).  It's nice to do something different - I don't usually shoot in black and white for starters!  We used a Pintrest board to share ideas which was great.

If you are on Instagram you may have already heard of Pinny Princess, Maddie has an impressive 20k+ following, alongside working from her home workshop near Morpeth, she is also super mum to her two young boys and manages to effortlessly bring glamour and style to the farm.

Below I have asked a few questions about Madelaine's business and how she brings it all together.

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Hi Madelaine, can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to work in Northumberland?

I'm Madelaine from Pinny Princess, I was born & bread in Northumberland, I am greatly passionate about the area & love working here. I try my hardest to build a creative & flexibly environment in our rural home for my kids, as did my parents.  

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Okay, so which part of your job do you feel most passionate about?

I feel the most passionate about my loyal customer base, I still pinch myself everyday when someone from around the globe purchase a little piece of PP from little old North'land.

What tips would you give to someone starting out in your industry?

I would say focus on your ideal customer!

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What is the best feedback you have ever had? 

Great customer service - cringe!  but I pride my self as a small business to be as friendly as possible.

Who do you admire most in the world and why?

My mother, she has brought me up with the mind set that I can achieve anything I want, even with huge obstacles.

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Do you have a favourite quote that you turn to for inspiration?

"But that's not fair"

"Life's not fair"

lol this was what my dad said to me - it has stuck with me & always grounds me!

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What is the biggest challenge you face in 'business'?

Being dyslexic is always a challenge, I am great with numbers - BUT reading & spelling are difficult on a daily basis. 

How will you use your head shots or how do you feel they have benefited your business?

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I will be using them on my new website & social media platforms, I have never had them done before, so I am hoping they will create a professional look.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Chaos - printing / embroidery - emails & kids thrown in the mix :-)

Chloe and Martyn's Engagement / Pre Wedding Shoot

After taking a break from weddings over the last couple of years, here I was shooting a pre-wedding session for Chloe and Martyn on Saturday who are getting wed this year!

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I have been photographing Chloe, Martyn, and their 2 children for the last 5 years (starting with a lovely black and white maternity session if I recall correctly) so when they asked me to photograph their wedding I almost squealed with excitement - Chloe has the most amazing taste and the venue they have chosen together looks utterly gorgeous. https://www.cherrytrees-kelso.co.uk/

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I thought this would be a good session to blog about as it is quite 'typical' now for a pre wedding session to include the couples children and pets, including children allows them to get used to my being there and photographing them with a big camera ahead of the wedding day which means they wont find my unobtrusive approach at all unusual or unfamiliar at the wedding, making the big day much more relaxed for everyone involved.

 Today was also a special birthday for someone!  The balloons were a great idea until...

Today was also a special birthday for someone!  The balloons were a great idea until...

Ooops!  Well we did still manage to turn things around and get some lovely family shots on the beach..

We then left the kids with granny and grandpa and headed off, out of sight for a few couple photos in preparation of the big day!  I always think it is a good idea to book a session like this before a wedding, alongside creating a beautiful set of portraits to mark your engagement I can show you both how to look your very best together, Ill pose you in a way that looks as natural as possible.  

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Here we are on the way home minus a bunch of balloons but plus 2 penny floater balls, compliments of Granny and Grandpa who kindly came along to help with the Daphne the dog and also to give us some time without the children to practice the couple photography!

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