Female Graduate Business Owner: #DeterminationAndDisability blog series with Girl Tribe Gang

Hello and welcome back to the blog. I’ve had a really interesting few days as I’ve been busy with Girl Tribe Gang meet up’s this week with my partner in crime, Tracy James from Bright Yellow Coaching. On Tuesday we had our Maidenhead & Windsor meet up at Saints Café. We have the lovely Bethany Joy who is a brand voice crafter and wordsmith extraordinaire (I must say I love the fancy title!) give us a power hour on ‘Is your marketing saying what you think it’s saying?’. I made lots of notes and had a great conversation with a group of women business owners discussing ways in which we can improve our written content. It really made me think about the message I want to convey to my clients and audience. 

It also made me realise how much I do in terms of written content. I have been hard on myself lately as I haven’t been consistent on my blog, however, I do write an e-newsletter (you can sign up here) every month to my network and I write content for various social media platforms as well as running the #DeterminationAndDisability blog series for Girl Tribe Gang. So it made me realise that I do need to give myself a bit more credit. 

On Wednesday, we were at Bel & The Dragon for our Reading meet up, where we had the lovely Claire Winter from Making Words Come Alive who gave us a power hour on ‘How to make effective use of video in your content mix’. This was an interesting one for me as I don’t use a lot of video and I have only ever done one Instagram Live. I don’t feel as confidence because of my speech, and I worry how I would come across. Having said that, it is something I’d like to work on and do more of in the future. I really enjoyed getting to know how Claire works and hearing about her video set up, this really interested me as a photographer. 

I wanted to share with you the blog series I run with Girl Tribe Gang which is called #DeterminationAndDisability. The purpose of the blog is to raise awareness for woman in business with disabilities. I interview other tribe members and members in my network to raise awareness for different disabilities and talk about my own experiences from running a business as a female business owner with Cerebral Palsy. You can view all of these posts through the links below:

First Post

Why disability is important to women in business “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”

Interview with Rebecca Broad

Interview with Sarah from Crafty by Nature

Interview with Viktoria from Your Change Story

Self-Employed with Cerebral Palsy

Interview with Alicia from Crumb’s The Word 

Last month I gave my very first power hour with Girl Tribe Gang on ‘How to make your business more accessible’. I covered various key topics from how we are talking to clients, the hiring process to events. I engaged guests and members with an interactive activity to explore key areas in their business and how they can make them more accessible. They engaged in this by discussion in groups and writing ideas down on post it notes. Finally, I also spoke about my past experiences as a freelance business owner with Cerebral Palsy and the #DeterminationAndDisability blog series. You can read a full blog post on my power hour and my experience of speaking in public with Cerebral Palsy here

I’ve got a few ideas for new blog posts (thank you so much Claire) and an exciting collaboration in the pipeline too! Looking forward to giving you more content soon. Have a great week.

Thank you for reading. Kirsty X

Berkshire Business: Photographing a Luxury Home with EAB Homes

I was recently granted an opportunity to photograph a luxury home in Beaconsfield with EAB Homes after meeting Tonia, a lovely member of the Girl Tribe Gang. Tracy from Bright Yellow Coaching met Tonia at a Girl Tribe Gang meet up and told her about my love for all things architecture and how I was keen to develop an interior portfolio. 

I met Tonia for the first time at the EAB Homes offices and I shared my exterior portfolio with her, she talked me through their wonderful luxury brochures and I remember saying how much I would aspire to take interior shots exactly like the ones in the brochures. She granted me with an amazing opportunity, allowing me into one of the luxury homes for a day to take photos for my portfolio. 

Mulberry house has six bedrooms and bathrooms, a large open plan Kitchen/Dining/Garden area and a Study, Drawing room and additional reception room. It has three floors in total with the third floor having a cinema room, a kitchenette and two bedrooms. 

Preparing for the Shoot 

After myself and Tonia set a date for the shoot, I thought “I really must make the most of this incredible opportunity!” I decided to hire a Canon Tilt-Shift lens from Lens for Hire in Maidenhead who’ve always provided me with a great service. I also developed a Pinterest board of interior inspiration for shots and angles that I was confident that I could recreate.

Once I had got my inspiration, I then thought about equipment, I packed up my three Canon lens (24-105mm, 70mm-300mm and a TS-E 17mm), camera body (Canon 6D), Canon flash gun, a tripod and my laptop. I also took spare memory cards and you never know what’s going to happen on a shoot! 

When I arrived at the property, I was greeted by Tonia and remember feeling excited and a little nervous, but I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I started downstairs in the open plan kitchen and dining area which was all dressed. I set up my tripod, tilt-shift lens and positioned myself in front of the main dining area.

Developing my Craft  

I really wanted to take my time with each shot, the tilt-shift lens I was using only focuses manually and I am used to autofocus, so this meant that I really had to take my time. My eyesight isn’t the best even with glasses! After each shot I had to check the focus and readjust when needed.  

My plan was to take a wide angle shot of each room from a couple of different positions. In the back of my mind I had set shots prepared to recreate from my inspiration from my Pinterest board and the brochures that Tonia had showed me. 

I made my way upstairs to discover the Master bedroom which was dressed with beautiful luxury décor. The bedroom led onto a dressing room followed by a Master ensuite bathroom which I like to call the ‘Bathroom of Dreams’. The bath was smack bang in the middle, sitting beautifully surrounded by spot lights. I captured each of these three rooms with the tilt-shift lens focusing on the angles and positions.  

Getting out of my Comfort Zone

I have only used a tilt-shift lens a handful of times and due to my Cerebral Palsy I do find it a bit fiddley. When setting up my camera and changing lens I have to take extra time and care. In the reception area of the property was a large circular sofa, this was perfect for me to lay my equipment down carefully and change my lens over with ease.

Due to my disability, I’m naturally a shaky person and this can get worse if I’m under pressure (most of what I put on myself!). So when it came to photographing the smaller details of the décor and interiors, I found this tricky at times. I really had to take my time and make sure the key elements were in focus.  

Seeing the Results 

I love photography and believe I have always had the correct eye for detail and a passion to create bright vibrant images. It’s good for me to get out of my comfort zone and I am proud of my first interior shoot of a luxury home. When I reviewed and edited my images, I could see room for improvement and thought about how I could do things differently next time. I learnt a lot about my skillset and the types of images I enjoyed taking as a photographer. 

I want to finally thank Tonia for this opportunity, I learnt a lot and it feels amazing to now say that I have made a start to developing an interior portfolio. There will be a body of work up on my website soon of the finished set of images. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience on a shoot as a photographer with Cerebral Palsy. 

Connect with Tonia


Instagram: @eabhomes