10 Years As a Photographer!


I am asked so often in sessions how long I have been doing this. And I kinda thought… 10 years now… it’s a big deal.


So, here’s my story of the last 10 years. Not just 10years as a photographer but also a big decade for me. I am also 40 this year and so much has changed in my life.


Let’s start back in 2014. I was doing a Masters in Social Work having worked the last 10 years in and around a career in mental health. But, despite doing a degree in Psychology and then my MA, I knew I wasn’t happy and it was affecting my mental health and I wasn’t getting the satisfaction from it I thought I would. It was around this point I had discovered a joy for the countryside and hiking and was always stopping to take pictures.

My Dad had kept going on to me about going along to his photography group one night… I needed to get out more rather than spending the evenings at home. If I am honest, I wasn’t interested in listening to what I thought would be people enthusiastically discuss their latest lens or other bit of equipment (how times have changed). However, with much pestering, I had a look through a list of the guest speakers and found someone I thought could be quite interesting. His name is Chris Upton (google him he’s an amazing photographer and teacher). It was his talk on his travels around India and the photos that he showed that wowed me. After his presentation, my Dad asked me what I thought and like that I said… that’s what I want to do. I knew I wanted to work with people and in a role where building a relationship with someone was the focus of the working relationship; I had always thought that this was mental health and social work, but it was seeing this that made me realise that it didn’t have to be that and I could have it in other ways. I then enrolled on a course in 2014 at a college and set up the business then known as Kate Morley Photography.


In 2015 I spent 3 weeks in India myself. It was my 3rd visit to the country and is somewhere I am dying to go back to. In these 3 weeks (I went with my Dad) we were immersed in Indian culture and were lucky enough to attend a wedding in Pushkar, see the Rajasthan Dessert on camel back, visit the Taj Mahal and possibly, the highlight of my trip and something that still gives me goose bumps was seeing Tigers in the wild in Ranthambore National Park. Not once but twice in 4 days, the absolute icing on the cake was seeing a mother and her adolescent cubs all together… and closely too.



After this I started with paid work shooting weddings in 2015 and also then doing a lot of gig/band photography. Those who know me will know what a huge fan of Frank Turner I am and he is the artist I have seen 10plus times now. I was lucky enough to get a photo pass for Rock City and get some awesome pictures of the man himself.


(Frank Turner, Rock City Nottingham).


Then in 2016, I met Matt. One April afternoon in 200° coffee in Nottingham. We both knew from the off it was something special… so much for him he didn’t even tell me his visa had come through for him to work in Australia. Within 5 dates he pretty much moved in with me in my flat in The Park. By the August we decided it would be better if I moved to his house up in Huthwaite as it didn’t make sense paying a mortgage and rent. Being in a relationship with someone who worked 8-5 meant that it was difficult me going out shooting gigs, and moving meant it wasn’t as easy. I had done a few weddings by this point and we decided that we needed more stability and it would be best to follow this route. I taught Matt how to use a camera and together we formed a wedding photography business.

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We had plans… we were going to move to Australia together. He was going to go back to his role in forensic radiography, and his boss was going to line me up some work with the Sydney Herald. We had planned to visit in November 2017 and book flights in the sales in Jan 2017. His work was quite intense and quite horrific at times and he wasn’t sure he would be able to do such an intense role while being in a relationship. So, the plan was to go for a month and see how we got on. But, this was not to be. In November 2016, there was the positive pregnancy test!!!!! We knew then there was no way that we could go. We didn’t want to move across to the other side of the world with no immediate family support network, and take the first grandchild away from his parents and the 3rd from mine. So, we focussed on wedding photography. This was going amazingly well, shooting close to 50 weddings in just over a year.


In June 2017 Bess came along. Our first born. Weddings carried on going strong getting over 100 by June 2018. We married in February 2018, the day the Beast from the East hit and was real feel -14 in the wind. We didn’t plan a big wedding and ran away only telling our nearest and dearests what we were doing. From deciding to get married to the wedding there was only 5 weeks. Us 3 and 8 other people went over to Norfolk; a place Matt had grew up in going almost every holiday and a weekend or so a month. His special place became our special place. We had already booked a holiday there for the February and so decided that we would get married while we were there.

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(Our Wedding - Norfolk 2018)

In June 2018, we found out we were expecting baby no 2… days before our wedding party. I was 5 weeks pregnant, hormonal and we were in the middle of a heat wave. It made an interesting wedding party not being able to drink. Not the wedding party I pictured… but perfect. And who else would do our wedding photos but Chris Upton. My Dad and Chris became friends after that presentation and he came along to get pics of the party for us.

It was just after this point we had the discussion that perhaps us being out most a weekend with 2 young children wasn’t ideal. Matt would second shoot for me so we relied on family having the kids. So, he suggested why didn’t I set up a studio. If I am honest, I didn’t really want to. I thought it wasn’t the photography I would enjoy and I wouldn’t get the same relationship with people as I did spending hours with them on their wedding day. However, that was not true. I did my first cake smash in my parents living room for an amazing little lady who has become one of Bess' best friends. 

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(My first ever cake smash session - Wollaton Nottingham) 

Feb 2018 came around we had moved house and we had Pip.. our second girl. By now I had a photography studio space in Bulwell. Wedding bookings were limited and I focussed more on the studio and doing more cake smash shoots. I did the odd newborn as well as maternity and family sessions.


(Cake Smash session in the Nottingham Studio)


I then moved to a bigger space in the same building and grew and grew. Only 9 months later we had another positive pregnancy test. And then COVID!!!!! This hit us hard. We had not long been in our house and when things seemed to be going well the world suddenly stopped. Covid meant that Matt couldn’t attend appointments with me and the worst thing was when I went in with reduced movements and then rushed in for an emergency C section he missed the birth of our 3rdchild. H was born in August 2020.


I have always stood by our sentiment that even though H’s birth was awful and, the coming days after when she was in NICU were the worst of my life, we were grateful that she wasn’t our first born as we knew what we were doing with a newborn.

We were also lucky to be on the tail end of the restrictions of 2020 as it meant that we could have newborn photos of our 3rd. I’m getting quite a few people coming to me now for newborn photos with their 2nd and 3rd saying how they weren’t able to get photos with their first and, while I understand that as non-essential businesses we had to close, my heart breaks a little that people missed out on so many experiences of being pregnant and having a baby.


In 2021/22 I decided to focus on newborn photography and invested myself and a lot of funds into the newborn photography side of the business. I attended numerous training courses, watched hour up on hour of online training and bought props, fabrics and everything else that comes with newborn photography.

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Over the last couple of years, I have focussed on the training in Newborn photography. Before I started newborn photography I didn’t realise just how much training is needed to be safe. As we hit 2024 I have 2 in person training courses already booked in for this year and there will certainly be more. I also do online training on a weekly basis. I feel it’s important that when people are entrusting me with their newborn baby that I am never letting myself become complacent.


Life is pretty busy. With 3 girls whom, come September will all be in school, their out of school activities, my netball and running my own business is more than a full-time job. But, I love it. I don’t see the training, research and shooting as work. I love it. I get excited about downloading my cards and starting work on the images. I love meeting new people, I love getting to know them from the initial apprehension of being a first-time parent when they come in for a maternity session and then seeing them again for the newborn shoot, cake smash shoot and subsequent maternity and newborn sessions. It is an honour. To say that 10 years ago I was adamant I wanted to work with adults and not children and I wasn’t even sure if I wanted my own to being here with 3 children of my own, and working with kids. I couldn’t ask for a better job.