Introducing Emma!

Wowee! 2018 has been absolutely phenomenal! I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I have amazingly lovely repeat clients who are such a delight to work with such as Centre for Life, John Lewis, RTC North, Guide Dogs for the Blind and AHSN NEC and not to mention fab new relationships with Millie’s Cookies, Fentimans, The Helix and last (but certainly not least) Greggs (oh yes, oh yum)! There is not a day that goes by where I don’t thank my lucky stars for the success of this biz. Pardon my French but I bloody love it!

So with all this busy biz as you can imagine I have seriously needed a helping hand. When Emma Cheng, a Photography graduate from Leeds Arts University, returned to her native city of Newcastle this summer she got in touch asking for a intern position at the studio. I was delighted! Emma’s photography work is fantastic, beautifully executed with creativity, sharp graphic compositions and superb retouching and edit skills. Her work really stood out amongst the many emails of requests for work experience I receive from students and graduates.

Emma specialises in product photography and her eye is a fab match for mine. This studio in fact now has not two but FOUR very arty eyes!! So after a few months of training and learning the ropes over these Summer and Autumn months Emma has recently become my assistant on a regular freelance basis. Emma’s role currently supports me behind the scenes, helping edit my shoots turning around hundreds of raw images a day, as general studio assistant and will be supporting my clients when I take two weeks off in January 2019.  As Emma’s role develops we plan to progress and promote the studio’s product photography together so please watch this space for updates and new work. You see now she is held captive in my basement studio at Clavering House in Newcastle city centre and I am certainly not letting her go!

Emma and I are having a great time getting to know one another, sharing a silly sense of humour, educating each other on ‘good old’ and exciting new editing techniques (I am a dinosaur) and old and new music and radio while we work- yes I like radio 4 Woman’s hour and she likes Kisstory and Radio 1! Emma is of tremendous support to me and and this year it feels celebratory, I’ve worked so incredibly hard on building my photography business, celebrating 8 years this spring, that she is the winning prize! I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be out shooting on location knowing my clients work is being edited with skill and care back at the studio by Emma. I am excited to see her how her skills excel, her role develops and how my business grows, so here she is….. introducing the delightful Emma, please give her a big wave and a giant smile!

Staff photos taken in a Photo studio in Newcastle Staff photos taken in a Photo studio in Newcastle Staff photos taken in a Photo studio in Newcastle














Staff photos taken in a Photo studio in Newcastle

Staff photos taken in a Photo studio in Newcastle

Branding, Website and Studio Refresh

This year has seen some big changes at my photo studio and the way I approach my work. As I am now non stop with corporate photography Monday to Friday I have restricted my weekend work and ceased wedding shoots altogether. It’s exactly where I aimed to be so I’m delighted and have celebrated with an updated logo to reflect my focus on Commercial Photography. This all celebrates 7 years in business which feels fantastic!

London based Studio hb who had designed my original branding were briefed to update the typeface to something very ‘me’. A new fresher tone of green has replaced the old and we have ridded of the black and dark greys and switched to a fresher cleaner white. The new font Bella Regular has a similar friendly, approachable and creative feel to the last, but with a new simplistic SD and circular icon. I love its newness and to me it represents progression and celebration that I am still here 7 years on! Hurray! The new logo is now stripped though my website, my marketing materials and up on my studio walls so have a gander and see what you think…

SD Photographic logo 2018

As well as my branding refresh I have refitted my beloved studio with a built in desk space beautifully designed and fitted by A. Lister Carpentry and Joinery, a local lady who knows her stuff when it comes to bespoke office creations in uneven underground whitewashed caves!

Clients often visiting my studio at Clavering House for portrait headshots, comment on how my photo studio looks like a house in Santorini, the bar in an early Star Wars film or an igloo. Whilst young visitors here for family portraits often ask ‘do you live here?’ as it is so cosy and homely. Thankfully there is time after work to go to my real home!

The studio space accommodates website product photography, headshot staff profiles, fashion and family celebrations whether Graduations, Wedding Anniversaries or Bumps and Babies now with even greater ease and I have space for another staff member too! I’ll be updating you on this fab addition soon.

My website has also had a revamp (yes I was VERY busy this June & July!) and has a whole new set of professional/corporate portraiture galleries, featuring Studio Headshots, Staff at Work, Meet the Team and on location portrait photography. I also have afab selection of performer profiles and model portfolio images. Check it out on 

So here are the before and after- from store cupboard in 2015 to a glorious space in its 2018 newness. I am loving it!

Clavering house basement converted to photo studio



sarah deane studio refit in 2018 sarah deane studio refit in 2018 sarah deane studio refit in 2018

Profile pictures with feathers and silk waistcoats. Thoughts?

As a photographer I’m probably always going to have a critical eye when it comes to photo quality, but when I see profile photos on LinkedIn I put my business hat on and do tend to wonder whether some of the profile photos my contacts are using to present them as a professional in their field really work.

This week I’ve seen:

  • Women with bare shoulders (in bridesmaids dresses, evening gowns) and men in silk waistcoats obviously at a ‘big event’. So we all know we feel & look great at a wedding right? But endless selfies, couples & group photos later these images seem to often end up on social networks like LinkedIn or Twitter as the face of our business. But unless you tend to turn up to business meetings in an evening gown or top hat and tails, I wonder whether this is this the correct photo context in which to introduce ourselves yourself online.
  • ‘The grey silhouette’ – whether you’re camera shy or just haven’t bothered, on LinkedIn particularly I think the lack of a profile picture could say something about you and your work.
  • Holiday backdrops- to have you looking relaxed and happy exploring a new city of mountain is great but again, unless your line of work is orienteering or travel guides, maybe the setting is not relevant and highlights time away from biz rather than you ‘hard at work’!

I really think that because internet profile portraits are a quick fire introduction to who we are often before we meet prospective clients, colleagues or future bosses in person, the power of a headshot photo is not to be underestimated!

Here are some of the things I share with my customers when they’re thinking about preparing for their headshot …

The psychology of first impressions is an interesting and important consideration when updating your professional profile shot. Research shows that we form a sense of whether someone is trustworthy within a tenth of a second of seeing them. So when skimming though faces on the internet you are often making ‘snap’ judgements (pardon the pun) without consciously realising and therefore others are judging you too!

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” says James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University and researcher on impression management. “judgments are being made and impressions formed all the time.”

So with this in mind here are some points to consider when updating your own professional headshot picture online and thinking about the way you may be perceived in that fleeting scroll or click of a mouse. According to an article by Research Digest looking at the studies of first impressions, careful research indicates these points influence the viewer on that first glance of our faces and dress.

So next time you say ‘cheese!’ and crop out your bestie on a photo app, before uploading check it conveys the right message. If it’s not screaming ‘professional photo’ maybe think again! And if you’re still not sure, ask a colleague you can trust – or drop me an email on

To view ideas of clothing, poses, facial expressions and locations you can see more samples of headshot pictures on this gallery link;

Photography Summer School, Goldsmiths University, London

This week was a special one as I was teaching a particularly lovely youth group for a summer project for a charity based at Goldsmiths in South London. The aim was to prepare the group for a shoot at an event this Autumn.

After inspiration trips to Central London galleries, practical lessons on handling a camera, its settings and managing light, the group applied their learnings to a portrait shoot out in the colourful and lively market of Lewisham. The results were absolutely amazing as they went from knowing very little about technical theory and composition, to having the confidence to approach people on the street and execute perfectly exposed, rich story telling portraiture.

On the last day we composed a few fun shots with timed exposures so we all had a memento of the week! The critique offered some fantastic imagery so I have included their work in this post. See what you think…..

Thanks to the enthusiastic and very talented gang; Danielle, Rheanna, Evelyn, William and last, but certainly not least ;- ) Julian!

teaching at goldsmiths summer photography course for charity organisation

lewisham market portraits teaching photography summer workshop

students work at the photography workshop teaching at goldsmiths

Best of British Photo to Win!

Roman at Home have been running a competition with a super prize of one of my Best of British themed prints!

Here is an article they are currently featuring and if you are interested in applying here is the link

and here is a link to the prints for sale

sarah deane photo competition best of british

sarah deane photo competition best of british 2012