Why you Should Book a Graduation Studio Photoshoot!

Are you graduating this year in Newcastle? You may want to consider opting for a dedicated graduation photoshoot with a professional photographer rather than the traditional ceremony photographs. There are many benefits to booking a bespoke graduation shoot which you may have never thought of… 

The first is variety! A shoot with me will be a completely custom and bespoke shoot based on your preferences, ensuring you are receiving images you will love for a lifetime. You can decide on a full length portrait (not offered by uni photographers) or you might opt for the classic headshot or a mixture of both.

I can also give you additional options you wouldn’t get with the traditional uni shoot; you could remove your cap & gown for some professional profile images or have a choice of multiple backdrop colours from neutral to bright, giving your images a pop of colour. If there are other props or elements you’d like to involve in your shoot, it can be discussed when you arrive at my photography studio. 

The next is quality! A shoot with me is not a one size fits all service. As an expert in portrait photography with over 23 years of experience, I’ll ensure your images will be of the highest quality and professionally lit to achieve flattering portrait photos. You will also have the option for some light retouching once you have selected your final images. 

Another factor is time! A dedicated photoshoot gives you the luxury of time, so no long queue and no having to be photographed under the watchful eyes of your peers! This is especially good for those of you who are nervous or uncomfortable in front of a camera, you can take your time to relax around the camera with some test shots.

As a portrait photographer, I deal with nervous clients daily. Most people are not confident in front of a camera, but it’s my job to help you relax and enjoy the experience. So if this is you, you will benefit from booking a shoot with me at my Newcastle city centre studio. 

If you are someone who is nervous around a camera, you may want to read my blog post ‘What Happens at a Studio Photoshoot’ for more information on what a typical shoot at my studio is like. 

These portrait photos will also be completely bespoke, so we can of course opt for something more classic and traditional, but if this is not your vibe we can create completely unique and creative shots! Perfect for the person who likes to stand out and this can be personal to you. You can even go for a mix of both! That’s the beauty of a tailored service, it can be whatever you want it to be.

Finally, the images are supplied are digital! I shoot digitally, so you will have 30 or so images supplied as thumbnails for your selection. Once you select 5 images for the Headshot Shoot or 10 for the Portfolio Photography, those are yours to keep! This is much better than the single image you get from traditional university graduation shoots.

As these portrait images are supplied as an online gallery they are perfect to send to your family and friends all over the world. No more taking a blurry photo of your print to send to relatives! Another benefit of digital images is they are ready to be uploaded to your social media, making the perfect profile image for LinkedIn or CVs. A professional image is a must for your profile as you are venturing out into the working world! 

A graduation shoot is also perfect for any recent pandemic graduates who did not get the chance to attend a ceremony or capture portraits in a gown. Most universities allow gown rental all year. So if you missed out during covid, order a gown and book in and get that celebration photo that you missed out on. It’s never too late!

If you are interested in booking in for graduation photography, drop me an email or give me a call and we can discuss what you are looking for so head to my contact form now on the link below or give me a call on the number above.

Contact me here!

or book here!


What happens at a studio photoshoot

Newcastle Photographer Sarah Deane explains…

What Happens at a Studio Photoshoot?

If you’re thinking about having a studio photoshoot in Newcastle by a Professional Portrait Photographer, you may be wondering what to expect. Here’s a brief overview of what happens during a typical portrait shoot with me:

Step one is planning your shoot! 

You will need to book in and schedule a time for your shoot on my easy to use booking page. Once you have your shoot planned, you will receive a detailed email confirming your appointment and information on how to find me and how to prepare. 

So you’ll need to think about what you are going to wear and if you want to style or cut your hair prior to the shoot. You’ll also need to think about make up, are you a full face or a none at all kind of person? 

You might like to consider bringing a few props relevant to your line of work or clothing/jewellery accessories to add some interest or personality to your photos however they aren’t essential and simplicity works very well too.

For more specific information about the different types of shoots I offer and what to expect, check out some of my other blog posts. Model shoots, Corporate Headshots, Actor Headshots and even tips especially for men!

Step two, shoot day!

On the day of the shoot, when you arrive at the studio’s building Clavering House,  you will arrive at the main reception of the building. Clavering’s lovely receptionist Li will give you directions on where to find me and you will be able to sit in my waiting area until your appointment.

At your portrait appointment time, I will come and greet you, guide you into my studio space and offer you a comfy seat whilst we chat through the different backdrops and lighting options. Then we will work together to make sure I create the look you want.

Then it’s time to take the photos! 

My job is to get the perfect shot, and lots of variety from which you choose that shot. I may give you some direction on how to stand or pose. But most importantly I will help you relax around the camera, capturing posed and adhoc shots, making sure I catch natural expressions and genuine smiles by distracting you from the camera.

If you are still feeling nervous about what happens at the photoshoot, head over to my Instagram @sarahdeanphotographic for some behind the scenes footage and please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns. 

Step three, Post-shoot editing. 

Once the photo shoot is complete, I will schedule the edit a few days later. I’ll select the very best from a large selection shot, tweak each one then send thumbnails for you to choose from. Once you choose your favourites you can request any photoshop retouching work if you feel you need it.

Then the finale! Your finished shots are supplied on your very own simple to use gallery where you can view, download and even purchase printed versions. 

I love seeing my clients share their images on socials! So on instagram please tag me @sarahdeanephotographic in any images you share. Or find me on LinkedIn too!

Here are some additional tips for having a successful studio photoshoot:

  • Be yourself. The best portrait photos are the ones that capture a glimpse of personality so choose an outfit that feels like you! Style your hair how you think it looks best! And if you don’t like makeup, don’t wear it! You shouldn’t try to be someone you’re not, just relax and be you.
  • Talk to me! I am there to help you create the look you want. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or make suggestions.
  • Relax and have fun! Photoshoots should be enjoyable, so don’t take them too seriously. Just put your faith in me, let me help you relax and the photos will be amazing!


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! ;-)

Actor Headshots

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