mumpreneur photographer

Business Mums Story: Unscripted Photography

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

My name is Claire. I’m a Mum to Harry and a wife to Andy. Harry was born in December 2013 – almost a Christmas baby, so that makes him 3 and a half at the time of writing this. And I’ve been married to Andy for 6 years.

What’s your business called?

Unscripted Photography

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Capturing {the beauty} of the EveryDay (and now the BigDays and WorkDays too)

Documentary Family, Wedding and Commercial Photographer and film maker based in Northumberland.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I launched Unscripted Photography in October 2015. Having moved from Essex to Northumberland, after my maternity leave, I did not have a job to return to. I needed something that would fit into the family ideal I so longed for. I dreaded the thought of returning to a marketing job in the city and missing out on spending time with my little man and husband. Also, as we had moved so far from home, I had no support network to help with childcare so the only option would be to find a marketing role with responsibility to make the money necessary to fund childcare and make the job financially worthwhile. With responsibility comes lots of overtime – and this is also something that I no longer longed for. Funny how Motherhood changes our outlook so much!

So. I had to work for myself. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. And it took my husband and friends to notice my talent and encourage me to launch Unscripted Photography. Being my own boss never worried me. To be honest, in my previous jobs I always hated working for someone else. Since Primary School I had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’ve finally been able to harness that and (hopefully) flourish as a businesswoman.

Regarding inspiration – it was Harry. I had always liked and appreciated photography. But apart from travelling, I had never found a time to practice or a subject matter that I loved. Then Harry came along and the camera never left my hands. I very quickly developed a style and learnt more about the camera technically. If there hadn’t been Harry, there wouldn’t be Unscripted.

How did you fund your start up?

I already had a decent camera, but I knew to make decent money I needed proper gear. So I used some inheritance money to fund the purchase of a better camera, a top notch lens and a new computer. I designed my website myself and did all my own marketing – luckily my previous life helped me out here! Amazingly the day I launched my website, I got an enquiry. I was literally buzzing. I just couldn’t believe it. I was grinning from ear to ear.

How do you manage working around your children?

Late nights, nap times, early mornings – that’s when I do my editing, admin, marketing, blogging etc. Now Harry is at nursery three mornings a week, so I’m able to structure my work and I’m hoping that I can become more strategic with my marketing instead of just reacting to a lull. I want to ensure that I develop marketing plans and stick to them to ensure a steady stream of work.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

On a day when Harry goes to nursery, I’m up at 6 o’clock and I sneak downstairs. The previous night I’ve left my hair straighteners, clothes and make-up downstairs so that I can get ready without waking anyone up! About 6.30 I wake up Harry and start to get him ready. We’re normally out the door by 7.45 – it takes him forever to eat his breakfast. Back home, I kiss Andy goodbye and I head upstairs to my computer to work. Harry finishes nursery at 1pm so I dart off, collect the little guy, rush home, make Andy his lunch (he normally works locally) and I enjoy some quality time with Harry before his nap at 14:45. So on a nursery Day I get quite a bit done. Although I know the napping days are numbered. Harry wakes at 16:30, so we head downstairs so he can play and I crack on with tea for 17:30. After dinner we play, have bathtime and get Harry into bed for 19:30 at which point I start work again if needs be. It feels like it never ends. Obviously, somedays I have shoots, so it can be a bit more exciting!

I must say though, I’m the typical Mumpreneur. I constantly feel guilty. Guilty that Harry’s at nursery. Guilty that when I’m playing with him I’m thinking about my to do list. Guilty that I’m listening to podcasts and not Wheels on the Bus. Guilty that I’m on the laptop when I’m sat next to hubby in the evenings. Guilty that the house needs spring cleaning. Guilty that I can bake bread, but I never do. But, at the same time, Harry sees me a lot more than if I had a traditional 9-5. And one day I will get time to clean the house properly and I will get to bake bread again. And I try to make a conscious effort to turn off the laptop at least 3 evenings a week to spend quality time with hubby. But needs must right? Competition is fierce. If I don’t put in 150% into this business – another photographer down the road will.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

My style of photography is quite niche and new – in the family photography genre anyway – so it has been an education process through marketing. A lot of families find it strange that a photographer may want to follow them around for a day and they wouldn’t believe that beautiful images could be captured in a messy home. So it’s been difficult to explain that actually – it’s the EveryDay life and moments that are the important ones. That images of them saying ‘cheese’ in the middle of a cornfield probably won’t mean as much as a photo of their toddler fiddling with their hair as they read a story together on their couch. The photography market is also completely saturated. I’m technically just another photographer in a big long list of photographers. So it’s been hard establishing a brand, identity and service that sets me apart from the rest.

One service that does set me apart is my film making. Yet people find it hard to believe that one person can capture film and images at the same time – but I do! I love making films for families especially. Capturing little people and their movements and interactions with those around them – it’s beautiful. I love capturing the essence of character and connections through film.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Being BossMum. I set my own hours. I set my own goals. I have my own drive. Everything. I’m so glad I’m my own boss. It’s so much fun.

What are your plans for the future?

Oh I have so many ideas, I feel like my head is spinning most of the time. Now that I’ve established my family documentary photography service, I’m launching into wedding and commercial photography. Both documentary style. I know exciting times are ahead and I can’t wait. I’m hoping to ultimately become the main bread winner so that my husband can actually come and work for me and handle all most of the editing. It will really make a difference to our home/family life.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

PLAN. You need a business plan, a marketing plan and strong brand. Even if you are your brand. Then develop that. Especially as a Mumpreneur, people are buying into YOU and YOUR service. So make sure that your message is strong. Your branding is strong. And you have direction.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Cherish every moment and document it. As Mums – we see life flash before our eyes. I also see so many mums who don’t take photographs. Don’t forget photos/home-movies aren’t just for you – they’re for your children. So document the moments. You’re creating heirlooms. And then print them – because technology doesn’t last forever. And if you’d like tips on how to take better photographs of your children, I’d be delighted to send you my ‘Capture’ photography guide, just email me at and request a copy