I met Gemma a year or so ago through our mutual friend and Cat's PJs collaborator Jane at Quiet the Hive. Gemma's work is beautiful and it is clear she has a passion for what she does so it's an absolute pleasure to feature her in our Businesses Built on Passion blog series.
Gemma Brunton Photography - Gemma Brunton, Owner
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Gemma Brunton is an award-winning portrait photographer, specialising in bespoke family portraiture, boudoir, commercial and branding photography.
What inspired you to set up your business?
I had a toddler and a baby at the time and couldn’t keep up with the support demands of being a website developer – I was already doing bits of photography as part of the web design service so it struck me that the flexibility and enjoyment of doing more of what I loved and less of what I didn’t was a win-win!
What gave you the final nudge/ push to go for it?
With two very small children, the mummy network around me gave a ready-made springboard from which to hone my skills and then launch a full family portrait service. Without that network I think it would have been a much bigger challenge to launch it during the last big recession in 2010. Although I was passionate, energy and time were in short supply back then!
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
I’ve been in business a decade, but self-employed and working alone from home for the best part of 20 years. I still haven’t worked out how to self-motivate, structure my time and improve productivity….that is an endless challenge! Having to fulfil all the roles needed within a creative business – the Creative, the Salesperson, the Marketer, the Accountant, the Administrator – only one of those bits I’m good at – the rest is a real challenge! I had to mothball my business for a year in 2012 while I recovered from cancer treatment, and now again in 2020 due to the Coronavirus – that takes its toll not just financially but mentally too.
Describe your greatest success/ the thing you are most proud of.
I think you shouldn’t get too hung up on getting ‘approval’ for your work, but it’s always very nice to win awards, especially when they are judged by photography industry greats. I’ve been very lucky to win a couple. I also get a huge amount of feel-good factor from helping women who have undergone breast cancer treatment. Through sensitive, intimate portraiture my aim is to help them back on the road to a positive emotional recovery and learn to love their bodies again. The treatment is often brutal and disfiguring and anything I can do to make a woman feel more like herself again is hugely rewarding to me.
What motivates you to keep forging ahead with your business?
I need to feel creatively fresh – churning out identikit images doesn’t feed my soul and in turn leaches energy from my business, so I strive to keep evolving – my focus has shifted from newborn and younger children's photography in the early days to boudoir and more recently launching a branding/commercial arm to my business. It keeps me on my toes and always learning new skills. As they say, the more you know the more you realise you don’t know!
Thank you so much to Gemma for sharing her story with us here at Cat's Pajamas. We always feel inspired hearing about the journeys of others.
If you would like to find out more about Gemma Brunton Photography you can visit:
Facebook - @gemmabruntonphotography
Instagram - @gemmabruntonphotography