• Sarah Tulej

Rotterdam Brand Photography Shoot with Author Kate Briggs

Updated: Nov 8, 2021


Author sitting with dark hair at table in front of bookshelf

Let me tell you about Kate.


Kate is a writer and translator and, when we first met, she was really nervous about having to have her portrait taken for a prestigious literary award she had won, the Windham Campbell Prize.


She’d had photos taken in the past where she really didn’t feel herself and hadn’t had any say in the final shot that was used by the photographer. She also felt like she didn’t know how to smile naturally, and really didn’t want to end up with a big cheesy grin that made her cringe when she looked at her photos.


It's something I hear a lot and I get it. It’s nerve-wracking at the best of times having your photo taken and most of us aren’t practiced at giving natural expressions to the camera.

Women in white shirt smiling and looking out of window

As this was a job commissioned by a film company, rather than directly working with Kate, the process was a little different. Normally I spend an entire, in depth call with my clients understanding exactly what they want from their brand photography, planning every detail and allaying any concerns they might have about posing, their appearance, what to wear.


So, knowing how nervous Kate was, we spent the first 15 minutes of the shoot chatting over coffee and talking through how I’d guide her throughout the process and make it as laid-back as possible so that we’d easily get natural and relaxed photos of her. We wandered around the neighbourhood talking about her work, our experiences as Brits in Rotterdam and what we'd been reading.


Kate really loosened up, started to have fun, and ended up getting really into it. And when she saw the photos a couple of days later she was completely delighted - and hugely relieved - at how great and natural she looked.


This is one of the many things I love about my job. I can't get enough of seeing that transformation of confidence in clients in the course of a shoot, just like Kate.


On looking through the image gallery with her husband, this is what Kate said to me:


"We are scrolling through with celebratory g and ts and there are tonnes of good ones! Phew-wee!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.


“It’s the first set of photos of myself I’ve ever looked at which hasn’t made me want to burst into tears!


My husband and I just went through them and hearted 70 that we DO like!I could cope with any of these being made public and amongst them there are some I really love. I feel like me. Thank you.”


That is the sort of reaction I am talking about!!!!


Do you need some new portraits for your work but feeling icky about the process? Drop me a message as I would love to answer ANY questions you might have.

Woman in navy blue coat standing in street in front of red brick houses
Woman in navy coat sits on stone steps
Woman in navy coat sits on steps looking at the sky
Woman in navy coat stands on street in front of red brick house
Woman in navy coat leans against red brick wall
Woman in navy coat leans against red brick wall




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