Portraits of a Scientist

Nuchido’s Dr Nichola Conlon

I just love this woman. She is really quite incredible! She is a Molecular Biologist Scientist, a Dr, a mother, a business founder and a lovely friend of mine. She is so mutuitalented I even saw her on Instagram this weekend driving a speed boat! I first met Nichola in Clavering House’s kitchen when we were both making like minded lunches. We became friends and in the subsequent years Nichola has gone on to launch the brand Nuchido to develop products designed to stimulate the body’s own self-repair systems. Essentially a genius anti-aging pill! What’s not to love!

This Sunday Nichola featured in an article in the Sun’s Sunday Supplement Fabulous Magazine highlighting female empowerment. It focussed on women working in male dominated industries with stories of where they are today, often having being told they were in the wrong profession. There are unfortunately a number of people who have the opinion that women need to choose between being a mother and their career, that they can’t have both. What rot! I built a successful career as a single parent and did Nichola, alongside many other women and it’s proof we can succeed as business women whilst being fabulous mothers too!

Nichola has used my Newcastle Photography services for various images over several years including product photos and portraits so she asked me to be her photographer and capture these pictures with a clear brief from her team. I’d suggested the fantastic new development  Newcastle Helix as it is a collection of modern, shiny and bold architecture giving a dramatic backdrop for eye catching editorial portraits.

Unluckily the shoot was on the windiest day EVER  as a US storm was passing over the UK so each photo was captured during millisecond breaks in the wind. We had to stop when the grit flew in our eyes and made us wince. It was pretty antisocial! However the results were fantastic, almost serene with not a hair out of place together with very ‘sciencey’ glass and geometric patterned backdrops. Here are a selection of the best from the shoot and obviously I had to post some outtakes! You will see how aggressive the wind really was. Didn’t we do well?

It’s a fantastic article and can be seen here  and more information about Nichola and the company can be found on the Nuchido website here

Editoral portraits of Dr Nichola Conlon taken at Helix Newcastle 1Editoral portraits of Dr Nichola Conlon taken at Helix Newcastle 3Editoral portraits of Dr Nichola Conlon taken at Helix NewcastleEditorial portraits of Dr Nichola Conlon taken at Helix Newcastle 4Editoral portraits of Dr Nichola Conlon taken at Helix Newcastle 5Editoral portraits of Dr Nichola Conlon taken at Helix Newcastle 6Editoral portraits of Dr Nichola Conlon taken at Helix Newcastle 7Photos of sarah Deane Photography in Helix Newcastle

Frenchie Kisses

French Bulldog Portraits
So I was going to write a big blurb about this… but you know I think sometimes pictures speak for themselves. I am portrait photographer and I have a cute puppy! It’s a match made in heaven.
Her name is Blue (Bell) or also known as Batpig, Baby Rhino and my husband’s fave in light of her vast quantities of toxic wind and toilet time; Poopitino Pumpatron. He helped with my shoot, squeaked the toys and wore some pretty sweet trainers- on brand no less. She is a soppy and smoochy French Bulldog and loves the camera… so I just had to share her shots.
I have added some of her dog portraits my to Pets galleries page too so if you are crazy about Frenchies, like a poochy pet photo or want to see more of my studio’s work please go to my studio gallery on this furry link;
Dog Portraits:
Pet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog PuppyPet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog Puppy Pet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog Puppy Pet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog Puppy Pet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog Puppy Pet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog Puppy Pet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog Puppy
Pet Portraits taken in Newcastle Photography studio of French Bulldog Puppy

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

The Ultimate Big Cheese Kit Recipes

The Big Cheese Making Kit has had such success with it’s easy to follow kits for making a variety of cheeses at home that soon it is to launch the Ultimate Cheese Making Kit! This kit will be the king of cheese making kits and comes with an accompanied recipe book for delicious suggestions as to how to use the home made cheese in savoury and sweet dishes.

I was up in Edinburgh on location last week shooting food photography images for the home made cheese recipe illustrations in owner Ailsa Proverb’s now famous kitchen and these are samples you see below. The kits are sent worldwide and Ailsa recently received an MBE from the Queen for services to the Food Industry after only a short time in business. Bravo! Say cheese Queenie!

Here are a selection of images from the two days we spent in Ailsa’s fabulous kitchen. Photography tips are below for anyone wanting help and hints on food photography on location.

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Macro Lens & Food Photography on Location Photography Tips – The Basics

So my blogs are taking a new angle now as we all know the internet is rather old fashionably known as the ‘information super highway’ so I thought it important to start offering more informative photographic help and tips.

So to set the scene for well lit light and attractive food photography on location I needed elements of studio photography to be taken to the location. I used one flash 400 head with a 1m x .5m soft box bounced onto the ceiling to avoid harsh light bleaching out the white texture of the homemade cheese as much as possible. In terms of kit, I shot with my Nikon D700 (full frame) and I used my 24-85mm Nikon lens with built in macro to get detailed mouthwatering close ups of the ingredients. I shot on macro setting throughout and used the zoom on full 85 for some close up compositions.

Food photography really benefits from a shallow depth of field, so an f-stop of around 2.8 to 3.5 will give you the sharp focus and extreme blur in one shot. My shutter speed was 125 and ISO was 250 fairly statically as the flash head kept light constant despite the nearby window. Try not to rely on natural light as you will be struggling with setting changes if the sun goes behind a cloud. But do try to mimic the way that natural light can cast gentle shadows from a natural source like a window. NB when using shallow depth of field, you must be careful to highlight the correct part of the food in the photo and for this we had the mantra that ‘cheese is king’!

Ailsa’s colleague Alison had prepped most of the food the day before as most would be typically served cold or cool. This takes the pressure off as hot food wilts and hardens as it cools and becomes unattractive so the window to shoot is much smaller. We also had carefully chosen props with subtle shades with small splashes of colour on the crockery for the styling. So the prep had been paramount to the success of this shoot.

If you are doing lots of close ups then it’s a lot easier to work in a location environment as little of the backdrop will be included, so a little mess can be allowed! If you want some backdrop blur of the natural environment then remove any strong coloured items that may distract from the food, particularly red. You can also have relevant props blurred as I did with the Gnocchi shot leaving the parmesan grater in the backdrop. The macro lens was used throughout this two day shoot as it will enhance the recipe book by helping the reader identify the ingredients easily and imagine how it might feel and taste in the mouth as they eat it. You can get in really close and select the most attractive part of the dish. There is a lot of experimentation with this type of photography so it is a lot more time consuming that most. Although as you image extremely rewarding too!



The Big Cheese Recipe Book 389

Dylan Thomas, Love the Words

So here is another set of images recently captured for my London based client Studio hb who specialise environmental graphics for exhibition spaces. The exhibition is a recently refurbished permanent exhibition at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. It is fully interactive with touch screens, spy holes, neon, sound and projections together with beautiful typefaces, a minimal colour palette and cartoon-like illustrations.

The designers have chosen to create a space that is low lit, playful and intriguing and so my environmental photography needed to capture this atmosphere and the design details. The photographic brief was to document the main elements of the environmental design, much like the David Bowie is and Olympic Journey 2012 exhibition where I photographed close ups on print finishes and materials, video projections, text and creative interactive elements.

Photography tips. How to!

How do you shoot correctly exposed images in low light exhibition spaces?

So to give advice on how to capture an exhibition in this type of a low light environment, because the subject matter is stationery you can take down your shutter speed really low without any risk of movement blur providing you use a tripod. So a tripod is a fundamental bit of kit for this type of shoot. The ISO can be anything up to 1600 and maybe higher to 2500 with a camera body that copes well in low light but mainly use a tripod so you can maximise light instead with a very slow shutter speed like 10 or under. This way you avoid the grain often present in a slightly under exposed image shot at a high ISO.

If you are creating atmosphere, be careful to note the level of light in the room and avoid over exposer as you will lose atmosphere with a brightly lit image. You may also like to use a remote to avoid any camera shake when pressing the shutter. Spot lights may cause issues with over exposure so keep an eye out for highlight warnings in your camera as you shoot. Below are samples of the various areas of the exhibition with many different lighting challenges with projections and spots.

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