Meet the team

Meet the team!

Since launching my photography business in Newcastle in 2011 my studio has twisted and turned to adjust to external influences, customer trends and now more recently my own personal needs. So as a woman in my early 50’s working solo, a tricky cocktail of an autoimmune disease, neurodiversity struggles and perimenopausal symptoms have made me swallow my pride and ask for help!

This year I began thinking about the support that I needed by applying for government help through the Access to Work scheme and with support help from the This is Me agency after an ADHD diagnosis. The process was really analytical and I realised I needed organisational and physical support so that I could focus on the Photographer skills that I’m great at and love. So out with the tedious admin struggles and aching joints from heavy kit and in with the shiny new team!

Once I was in a position where my Newcastle team & I were settled into the new rhythm of Sarah Deane Photographic, the portrait photographer in me started saying it’s time for a meet the team shoot of my own! Not only do I specialise in portrait photography, I absolutely love taking headshots so it was such a full circle moment to do this with a team of my own. 

What may surprise you about me, is I hate having my photo taken and funnily enough so does the rest of my team! Even so we all went into the shoot excited and confident we would all walk away with some brilliant shots. On the day of the shoot we all met at my studio in the heart of Newcastle city centre and got busy shooting on the self timer and tripod. We also decided with the weather being glorious, which is a rarity in the North East, to take some photos outside Clavering House in the building’s car park of all places! 

The shoot felt really celebratory, it was a positive symbol of change and how far I’ve come as a Photographer. It was also one big laugh and I can confidently say despite being a tad reluctant we had a great time, even Bluebell my frenchie squeezed in for a picture!

Here’s my team, from left to right, Dan, Li, Lily and me.

Meet Li!

Li has been a receptionist at Clavering House for over 8 years but recently also became my Virtual Assistant outside of working hours. She works remotely, handles all my admin, keeps my studio diary running smoothly and has the fun part of supplying my image galleries to all my clients! Li is always smiling, supportive and has been amazing telling me to go home when I work too hard! She always goes above and beyond and I’m so grateful for all her help. 

Meet Lily!

Lily is my newest recruit as Digital Marketing Manager, she is full of fresh ideas, brings bags of creativity and has incredible knowledge of how to be visible and current. I first met Lily and her siblings in 2004 when I photographed them at Venture Portraits then again as teens at my studio. Lily gets it bang on with every piece of work she does for me, calming my busy mind and helping me focus on the content that matters. It’s an absolute joy to work with Lily nearly 20 years later as a vital member of my team, she is a breath of fresh air!

Meet Dan!

Dan is my Onsite Studio Assistant and worth his weight in gold, he first got in touch a year ago having newly graduated in Photography at Leeds Uni. He saves the day by being my ‘gofer’ and tech assistant, setting up my portrait studio on client premises, or hotel lobbies as we did the other day! He’s quick thinking, reliable and sorts the techy side whilst my brain works on the creative. He’s an all round great chap and we make a dream headshot duo.

As you can probably see from their portraits my team are a truly lovely bunch, all so keen to help and make my clients’ experience with me as smooth, successful and as happy as possible from behind the scenes. Deciding to expand my team was not an easy decision, but now all I can say is I wish I did it sooner! And if you are reading this, relating to how I felt earlier this year, I hope this is the push you needed to consider updating your work dynamic to something more beneficial to who you are today, not who you were when you started your business. 

Or if you are simply just admiring the lovely images of my team, do get in touch with any questions about team portraiture photography and how I can capture fun and relaxed portraits either at my studio, your office or out on site with my portable studio.

More headshot portrait work can be seen here shot out on location

Or studio portraits shot at my Newcastle studio & set up on client premises

If you are reading this article as a small business working solo, I also have booking page for individual portraits at my studio here

I hope to hear from you soon! 


Why Businesses Need Corporate Headshot Portraits

Why Businesses Need Corporate Headshot Portraits

In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a strong online presence. One of the best ways to do this is by investing in corporate portraits. My Newcastle Photography Studio offers exactly this!

Headshot portraits are professional photographs of your employees that can be used on your website, in marketing materials, and on social media. They can help you to:

  • Make a positive first impression
  • Build trust and credibility
  • Show the human side of your business
  • Attract new customers and clients

If you’re looking to rebrand or refresh your website, maybe adding a ‘meet the team’ page then professional portraits are a must-have. 

Photographer in Newcastle takes portraits for business websites and social media

Make a positive first impression

When potential customers or clients visit your website, they’re going to make a snap judgment about your business within seconds. If your website is outdated or poorly designed, they’re likely to move on to the next one. But if your website is professional and well-designed, with high-quality staff portraits, they’re more likely to stick around and learn more about your business. 


Photographer in Newcastle takes portraits for business websites and social media

Build trust and credibility

Professional portraits can also help you to build trust and credibility with your customers and clients. When people see professional photographs of your employees, it shows that you’re a legitimate business that takes pride in its work. This can be especially important for businesses that are new or that operate in a competitive industry.

Newcastle Photography studio takes portraits for business websites and social media

Show the human side of your business

In addition to making a positive first impression and building trust, corporate portraits can also help you to show the human side of your business. When potential customers or clients see photographs of your employees, they get a glimpse into the culture of your company and the people who work there. This can help to make your business more relatable and approachable, which can lead to more sales and conversions.

Photographer in Newcastle takes headshot portraits for business websites and social media

Attract new customers and clients

Finally, corporate portraits can also help you to attract new customers and clients. When you have high-quality photographs of your employees, you can use them in your marketing materials, on social media, and in other promotional efforts. This will help to put your business in front of a larger audience and attract more attention.

If you’re looking for a way refresh your marketing materials with your staff, please drop me a line on my contact page to discuss ideas and a quote for your team here or if you are an individual I have a booking page here 

Newcastle Photography studio takes portraits for business websites and social media

Press Release Photography Focus

How do you feel about being in the press?

Whether it be North East, Newcastle or nationwide as entrepreneurs the idea of having a piece of press coverage showcasing what we do, how we do it and how we help others is absolutely invaluable!

Portrait photos, editorial and documentary photography that tell an in depth story of who you are are and what you do is the single most reason my clients come to me for their imagery so that they have an archive of story telling photos to use in their marketing materials and press to enhance their brand.

Well this time, the lens was on me which ironically is never easy as I prefer to be safely behind the camera! It was my second feature in as many years in the popular Digital Photographer magazine published just late last year. They showcased me as a ‘CV’ with images, an overview of my work, my kit and experiences running my photography business to date. To see an image of me in print rather than just my images is always exciting so I wanted to shout about it.

You can have a read all about it below…. thank you so much Peter Fenech for choosing to feature me and my business just in time to share with you all on my 12th business birthday this month too!

Let me know what you think!


Sarah Deane Photography in Newcastle upon Tyne in Digital Photographer magazine

When did you start out and how did you get involved in your current photo genres?

I loved photography from school age and got my first Film SLR aged 16. Pictures of local architecture and my school pals were the main themes. I discovered the buzz of doing portraiture of strangers in my final year of
a Graphic Design Degree at Camberwell Art College and I furthered this during studio employment at Venture Portraits. I worked at the ND Creative ad agency and moved into the commercial sector with product
and marketing photography. With the tools I’d gained, I set up my own studio in 2011, shooting weddings, portraits and commercial.

What challenges did you face as a startup and how did you overcome them?

Adaptation is an essential skill for self- employment. Initially, I lacked the knowledge of how to run a business. I had good project management and marketing skills from my agency days, people skills from years at Venture and creative skills developed since I was a teen, but I had no idea how to handle accounts or tech issues, or how to consistently generate enquiries. I also was a single parent of a teenager and had no savings or funds, so money was tight. I knew I needed a studio to offer Venture- style family portraiture. I found a rented space that another photographer, Alex Telpher, had created by converting an old church in the suburb of Byker. His studio, his team and his shoots were hugely inspiring to observe when I was starting up mine.

But just two months into my business, my dad died unexpectedly, which was a huge setback. He had been my photographic inspiration and after some really tough times, I went back to my business feeling pretty raw but full of determination to succeed.

What challenges have you faced since?

I had to scale back when I lost my main client, meaning a third of my annual income disappeared overnight. It was a huge error putting all my eggs into one basket and some reflection was needed. Recently, I’ve had
to restructure how I work due to an auto- immune disease diagnosis that causes me chronic fatigue and joint pain. Limitations on the hours I can work, long commutes and carrying equipment have meant a rethink.

Another challenge is being taken seriously as a female in a male-dominated industry. One of my first big industrial contracts needed me to wear hard hats in factories and mines, working alongside mostly men. I remember seeing the all-male film crew I was working alongside sniggering behind my back, it was crushing. I later learned they thought my male client and I were having a fling!

Sarah Deane Photography in Newcastle upon Tyne in Digital Photographer magazine

What skills are needed in your line of work?

Solution-based skills. Sometimes clients don’t know what they want yet and suggestions
or encouragement to find the right tone or genre of photography are needed. People skills are needed to be passionate about the service you provide and to make working with you a fun, bespoke experience for your clients. Efficiency and adaptiveness are also essential, as I pride myself on hitting deadlines and providing a slick and professional service.

Which social platforms are you on and how do you use them for your business?

I’m on Instagram and LinkedIn. Facebook was good when I shot family portraiture and weddings, but now I’m strictly commercial, it has little impact. LinkedIn is best for B2B and growing a commercial network. Instagram has been great for actor headshots, as it attracts a younger client base.

Sarah Deane Photography in Newcastle upon Tyne in Digital Photographer magazine

For sample editorial shots have a visit to my editorial and events gallery where you will see photography shot for medics, higher education, scientists, speaker, performers and schools here

I’d love to hear from you so please get in touch if you have any questions or would like a quote, I have a contact form on this page of my website here

Now please excuse me whilst I get back to the correct side of the lens! ;-)

DECADE a Virtual Photography Exhibition

As part of the tenth anniversary of my studio this year, I am celebrating with a virtual photography exhibition, simply named Decade. Below is a poster to the exhibition, I’d love you to take a look around so please click on this and it will take you to my gallery to see pop star pants, robots shopping and people fighting with tomatoes in a muddy field. This exhibition runs from 26th March to 26th April 2021. However the YouTube link to the slideshow exhibited in the exhibition will remain here permanently.

Portraits taken in Newcastle by Sarah Deane photography studio


My Photography Studio is Ten!

This month, March 2021 marks exactly ten years of my Newcastle Photography business having set up in March 2011. Happy birthday to my beloved studio! I am thrilled to still be here, proud of what I have achieved and so grateful for all my clients and the relationships I’ve grown over the last decade.
The biggest thanks goes to all my clients who have worked with me, I have celebrated a few of you on a showreel animation shared below. Unfortunately the showreel would have been too long to mention all my clients so I drew from a hat. Every client big or small, gave me the fire to drive this business through many ups and downs and the opportunity to work everyday on something I love.

In the beginning.. the 1980’s

My inspiration for photography came from my parents who in the early 1980’s had a darkroom in our attic with a vintage Gnome enlarger and processing kit found at a jumble sale. Just like this one below.
Photography in a dark room with a gnome enlarger
My father had always owned a film SLR camera (single lens reflex-means you can take the lenses off to change them) and been influenced by his own father’s love of photography, travelling down though the generations to me. This is a photo from the 1990’s of my dad with my grandad winding on the film and no doubt chatting about his Pentax which, has been passed down and sits on display at my studio.

In the words of Public Enemy, Nineteen Eighty Nine!

A big year for me! I learnt to drive and whilst studying art at A-level, I was bought my very first SLR film camera for my 17th birthday. It was a Practika from Bonsers on the Bigg Market in Newcastle’s city centre. The school art teachers gave the 6 form art students the use of a stock cupboard where we set up a dark room and learnt the traditional processing and printing methods. This is where the love of photography magic began and this is me that very year, sat on my door step in Heaton, wearing the red converse that I passed my driving test in.
Portraits taken in Newcastle by Sarah Deane photography studio

The Leap, 2011

In March 2011 I took the plunge, leaving a wonderful job, a kind boss and an ace team to set up my own photography studio. I remember my hand was shaking when I handed over my notice letter and I felt really sad to go. But I had a burning desire to take this risk and do something that had been in the back of my mind. I was to turn 40 the following year and wanted to achieve a goal to start my own business before I hit this milestone. Pic below is me (in black sandals) with the ND Creative team I left behind in Horsley.

Portraits taken in Newcastle by Sarah Deane photography studio

The Journey

I was a single parent at the time and had brought my daughter up on my own firstly in London then in Newcastle. It had been a big journey, the first step was studying for a Graphic Design Degree hons at Camberwell College of Arts when my daughter Daisy was young. Then later my photographic career really took off at Venture Portrait Studio after a move to the North of England to Newcastle in 2002.
It had been a steep learning curve from the start, with freelancing and tough competition in London and feeling I was catching up with those who hadn’t taken time out to have children. I also had the tricky negotiation of managing life, home and work as a lone parent. But this didn’t hold me back, instead it made it me more determined to succeed, for the both of us. Because if I didn’t, quite frankly we were up sh*t creek without a paddle.

South London Press Peckham Rye Lane Photography Article 2000 exhibition

Photography Business Training

When I set up my business after working in studios since 2002 in both portraiture and advertising I felt diversely experienced in photography and well prepared to manage projects and work flow. However I knew little about running a business and so signed up for a local scholarship scheme that supported start ups in digital media. Middlesborough University’s Digital City offered courses and funding for digital businesses such as Photographers, Graphic Designers and Website Designers so I placed myself on the long waiting list. Simultaneously I signed a contract for a studio in Kingsland Church, Byker a building converted into artist spaces for the local creatives, first a small then later that year a double space as you see below.

Sarah Deane 2011 Newcastle Photography Studio
The Digital City project had limited numbers and a tough application process with a presentation interview. It was nerve wracking standing in front of a silent panel of faces with my business proposition on powerpoint, but I had my passion and drive, a branded website, a smart studio space, my business plan well mapped out and I felt my position was strong. My determination won me a place and both the course and the studio lease began in March 2011 in perfect synchrony, so luck was on my side! I received enlightening workshops, the most wonderful mentor, Keith Moss and excellent training on all areas of business management and planning that I still refer back to now a decade on. The image below of me was taken in a class workshop he ran at a North East wedding venue. For more information or to sign up to Keith’s Photography Mentoring, you can visit his site here
Sarah Deane on mentor Keith Moss workshop 12

Disaster and my first adaptation

Two months into my business launch and training, my father became ill and died very suddenly of heart failure. The shock and grief was unbearable as he had just turned 60 and was fit and healthy. I had to pause everything I was working towards for a moment to focus inwards and work out how to cope. Only weeks before this he had bought me an upgrade of my very basic Nikon D70 to a more professional Nikon D300 camera in support of my venture. This is what drove me to return to my studio. I knew he’d have been really proud of me if I could make it a success.

I printed a huge poster for my studio wall with the word Believe from a set of photos I took at the Hoppings Fairground on Newcastle town moor in 2010, somewhere that had lovely hook-a-duck memories for me as child. This positive message helped though the private teary moments and kept me focussed for years. There is added tongue in cheek as this is the Freak Show telling believe in ‘Remo the 2 headed fox’ and giants that ‘must be seen’. If you believe in that well you’ll believe in anything! And other excitingly news you can actually believe, you can have your very own Hoppings Fair Photo Print along with others on my Fine Art Print shop here 

Hoppings fairground photo for a fine art print for your wall on website shop of photography prints in newcastle

And now

So ten years on from that moment where I threw caution to the wind and set up Sarah Deane Photographic, I now look back at the 2011 me and think ‘ooh goodness, it’s so bloomin risky!’ It was really only until year 8, after two studio moves, three websites, two student internships, one teaching at summer school, one rebrand, one marriage (I’m now Mrs Bell), one award and several hundred shoots later that my thoughts changed. I went from thinking ‘I’ll just keep trying it out and see where it takes me’ to ‘I’m really doing this, I’ve really succeeded!’
My 2nd studio space (image below) at Clavering House has been fundamental to my success with a move to central Newcastle in 2014 and a more established identity. This helped excel my business hugely and I’m still there now. I love the building, the team that run it and the location is so convenient for my clients. I smile every time I walk into my while painted underground cave!
sarah deane photography studio newcastle

Then in 2020 after so many ups and downs and adaptations to fab and not so fab years, the pandemic hit! It meant a temporary halt to all work in spring and to my summer exhibition ‘Peckham Loves Me 2020’. This was a project marking a return to the places I captured in 2000 for my degree show at Camberwell College. More info on the Peckham project can be seen on this blog here and it is 100%, to be continued!

For highlights of my decade you can see some some amazing experiences on my blog, just click on the live links; 2012 sees me teaching summer school at Goldsmiths University, 2013 brings Thames TV to film Take Me Out in my studio and shooting for TK Maxx on a moving metro the same year.

More 10th anniversary work will be live on a pandemic friendly, virus free, virtual exhibition coming later this month! Watch this space…

Portraits taken in Newcastle by Sarah Deane photography studio