Introducing Amateur Photographer, Devon Louise

Over the past 3 months I have been attending Teesside University’s ‘Introduction to Photography’ Course, an online learning experience with weekly classes. Before this course, I’ve loved capturing vistas and landscapes with my phone; especially holiday highlights and views from hilltops – I mean who doesn’t? I really thought that the more I captured, the better. Particularly greenery and red bricks against sunny blue skies. The contrast of architecture and nature never fails to capture my attention.

Here’s some examples from the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Whitby Harbour, and The British Museum in London:

However, as I expand my Marketing portfolio I realise that photography is an essential skill that I’m missing – and I can’t exactly help a small business take great shots with just my phone! So, where better to begin than with an online course and a borrowed high-end camera!

At the beginning, as if by some strange self-imposed pressure, I was stressing about capturing something striking or once in a life time. When looking at the work of professional photographers the results always seem to be unique and impactful, a shot they were lucky to get. However, if this course has taught me anything, it’s the value of noticing the mundane.

Following a few hiccups and a day of landscape shots that were all out of focus, I soon noticed that when I’m equipped with a high quality camera I find myself leaning in to capture the intimate details, instead of zooming out to get the wider picture. Slowly, I’ve found comfort in focusing on garden plants during the changing seasons, twisting my body to snap birds on the feeders, and posing houseplants in ‘the perfect lighting’.

Now, I’ve started to view the outdoors as an opportunity for exploration through the lens of a camera. I’m considering composition and colour with every view. When I watch small animals, like squirrels hanging upside down, I imagine how that would translate to the screen – what details would be stored in a single snap.

I’ve camped out at the back windows of my house just to spot Cyril the squirrel and hidden behind bushes to pinch a shot of a Blue Tit, Robins, and Great Tits (and hopefully some day soon a Bull Finch). Truly, this has been an exercise in how still and silent I can remain.

Though, my favourite subject has to be flowers. Possibly because they can’t run or fly away. But as we move into Spring, the vivid colours blooming around me are too beautiful to ignore. I love to focus on the wrinkling of petals, the blending of yellows and pinks, and the strength hardy garden plants.

Alongside my flower photography, I’m working on movement shots involving waterfalls and fountains – using a quicker shutter speed to pause the water mid-air. There’s still a little bit of blur in my final images, but with practice I should get better!

As the course comes to an end, I hope to continue developing my photography skills as a hobby: experimenting with settings, exploring new environments, and trying out portraiture. I will soon be entering the world of full-time employment where my skills are not yet needed, however as I get better I hope I can take on a few professional gigs just for fun.

Plus, I have plans to spend a full day capturing Lancaster when I return, so look forward to those shots! I know I only just published a post saying goodbye to the tiny city, but, I’ve been offered a job in Digital Marketing at my Alma Mater, the University of Cumbria. And I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to move back to a place I consider home and work for a University I truly adore.

I’m excited to return to Lancaster, especially so soon after leaving and believing I would never be able to.

If you’d like to join me on my photography journey, feel free to follow me over on Instagram! Or, stay tuned here where I’ll post new shots occasionally.

Goodbye Lancaster

*Please excuse the choppy writing. This is a post I have tried to make for so long, editing, deleting, and reworking to no end. So I decided to just write my thoughts and feelings and publish what came out. Enjoy*

I’ve spent the past month trying to write this post. This time last year I published my blog post ‘Here’s to the New Year‘ where I outlined my goals for 2020. The very first goal I had was to ‘Say Goodbye to Lancaster’. I wanted to move away from the student city and find somewhere better for a budding professional. I thought I’d grown tired of everything Lancaster had to offer after four years, when actually I just didn’t realise how good I had it.

Typical.

Now that the worst year in World History has come to an end, I’m back in Middlesbrough living with my Mum and her Partner. It’s not exactly where I expected to be, but after months of financial insecurity due to COVID-19, I had no choice but to return home. The move meant leaving behind my best friend, the catering aspect of my current job, and a city that I truly loved.

Back in September 2016, I moved to Lancaster with only a car full of boxes and enrolment at the University of Cumbria. They were the only Uni to give me a chance and I will forever be grateful for that. Lancaster city had my heart from day one because of it’s heavy stone architecture. It looked historic and it was small enough that I’d never need to get the bus, but also big enough that there were plenty of areas to explore.

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Devon Louise: Freelance Writer | Everything You Need to Know

When I imagine my future, I don’t see myself working a 9-5 office job. I see myself working from home, in a room with lots of natural light, a desk surrounded by art that inspires me. I dream of managing my own time and income, having a dedicated work space that I can leave behind a closed door each day, but with no commute. No pressure to check emails out-of-hours or a boss breathing down my neck causing unnecessary stress. I dream of earning a peaceful income so that I have the energy at the end of the day to truly enjoy the things I love.

Now that I’m almost 23, I think it’s about time I start working towards that dream. That’s why I want to work Freelance. Over the past 5 years I have built a strong content writing portfolio through my role in Marketing, a Work Experience with Penguin Random House, volunteering with multiple businesses, and through my own personal blog.

Currently, I am still in a Marketing role building my skills, however it’s primarily focused on social media management and graphic design. Therefore, to keep my content writing skills up to par, I would like to offer my abilities as a service for others. Following the troubles of 2020, I would love to focus my efforts on supporting small businesses. Although, I’m very aware that beggars cannot be choosers, which is why I’m promoting my services in the following ways:


Fiverr

Fiverr is an online gig service where independent sellers can offer their professional skills for a relatively low prices compared to agencies and content farms. It’s a nifty service that plenty of large companies and smaller businesses turn to in order to find unique and reliable talent at an affordable price.

As a Seller on Fiverr, I will be using this site to streamline my services and reach an international audience. As of writing this I currently only have two gigs live: Arts & Entertainment Blog Content and Interior Design Blog Content. I thought these two subjects would be the perfect place to start as I have a genuine personal interest in each interest. And, if I am able to create fantastic content about the things I love, perhaps someone will try me out for other opportunities.

Over-time, as I gain more confidence as a Freelance Writer, I will expand my gigs to include Web Page Content like portfolios and project outlines, Product Information, E-mailers and Social Media Graphic Design. However, for now I plan to keep it simple and build upon my current portfolio with strong, engaging content.

You can check out my Fiverr profile here.


Facebook

Another place to find me is Facebook! I’ve been debating for a while whether to use Facebook as a business tool for myself. From my Marketing roles I understand that it’s a great place to reach a large audience and advertising is fairly easy, however it’s also home to all my friends and family. Putting yourself out there in front of strangers is one thing, but doing it in front of people you know is daunting.

However, I have bitten the bullet and finally made a Facebook page to help promote my website, projects, and achievements. My posts may be sparse as I find my feet and look for jobs while also balancing Uni, a part-time jobs, and an internship, but nevertheless it’s a place for me to share the positive aspects of my work.


devonlouiise.com

Speaking about my website, you may have noticed the new menu option: ‘Services’. Right now, this page feature two branches of services I offer. While with Fiverr I have taken the ‘less is more’ approach, here I really just wanted to straight up say what I’m all about; all the services I wish to offer.

The difference with Fiverr and this website is that here, potential clients are able to completely tailor the services they request depending on their needs and budget. Anyone can contact me through the contact form provided and let me know what they need, when they need it by, and their budget. It’s a more personalised and direct approach to ordering my services.

Plus, this way 100% of the income goes to me and not an international freelancing service.


Thank you for supporting me in this move to Freelance! I have high hopes for the future and I am prepared to take it slow if needs be. But, just putting myself out there is the first step in many to building a successful and sustainable Freelance career. In the wise words of Chanel Miller, author of Know My Name:

I never asked anyone if I was an artist, I just cleared enough space on the table to make room for my paper.

Chanel Miller, Author

If you need any web content creating or blog posts writing, please feel free to contact me below!

Here’s to a Better New Year | 2021 Goals

Last year I sat and wrote this post with hope and excitement seeping from my finger tips. In early 2020, I was a fresh graduate working part-time at a Marketing Agency, my life’s journey was just beginning. Now, I’m a Master’s student Marketing an on-campus indie business remotely. And, though I had the desire to do a Masters and was considering freelance/small indie work pre-March 2020, these decisions were certainly not made with the same mindset I would have held last year.

Admittedly, I could be in a worse position. I have a friends who support me, an amazing boss, and I am still enrolled on a course with thoroughly engaging material. However, my mental health has taken a massive dip and being forced to leave Lancaster sucks hard. It really sucks. I wished to leave on my own terms, having moved on from the student life it offered, instead I was booted out by COVID-19.

So, going into 2021 my goals have been adapted into ones I can still achieve in a COVID-19 climate. Without further ado, here’s my 2021 goals.

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Seasons of Music | 2020 So Far

Every few months I put together a new playlist to represent a new season of my life. And, as you can imagine 2020 has been quite the year of change.

Originally, I was going to create a new playlist every three months to correspond with the changing of the seasons; however since I have more time on my hands than expected, I’ve driven each song into the ground. So, as I commence with my 4th playlist of the year, please enjoy what I’ve been listening to so far in 2020.

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