SARAH - this was my old blurb, i haven't changed it yet but I need to redo it. I guess it should be about me personally here, but also lead into why i am doing what I'm doing ethically.
I am a freelance photographer from the Macedon Ranges just outside of Melbourne, Australia, who specialises in food, interior and lifestyle photography.
A former environmental scientist, I'm hardwired to be green in everything I do and how I view the world. Years working in the corporate world means I'm an organisational freak, great with deadlines, and have an unhealthy obsession with spreadsheets and lists. But now it's small businesses and entrepreneurs that excite me, and I love all aspects of running a small business. I could talk all night about websites, branding, workflow and imagery - especially if you're sharing a drink with me.
I work from my little weatherboard studio that used to be the town's old post office when I'm not out and about, which is literally just a leap from our front verandah. Dexter the miniature pinscher is generally fast asleep in an old suitcase next to my desk while I'm editing your photos, fuelled on coffee and a passion for what I do.
photography + styling
I love working with small businesses that have an ethical and sustainable mindset, with a focus on conscious consumerism and fair trade. I'm drawn to simple styling, neutral colour palettes and natural materials.
publications + clients
My work has been published in a number of print and online publications including Country Style, Habitus, The Design Files, Openhouse, Green, Real Living, Peppermint, Trouve, Broadsheet, Homelife, Good Weekend, Inside Out, House & Garden, Laine, Celebrate by Hooray and White.
My clients include Fair Trade Australia New Zealand, The National Trust, Elk the Label, Metta Melbourne, Tomorrow Agency, Airbnb, Loom Towels, The Downtime Agenda, Happy Melon Studio, Hub Furniture, Anise Botanical Skincare, Wooldays, Miss Glass Home, The Organic Meat Specialist, Myrtle & Moss, Harrow & Eton, A Plot in Common, Daylesford + Macedon Ranges Tourism Board, Basil's Farm, KLM Landscape Design, realestate.com.au, MLS Built, Small Studio Architects, The White House Daylesford, Wootten, Wine by Sam, Serotonin Eatery, Green Press, Woodfolk, Blossom & Glow, Phillip & Lea, Illuminate Yoga Studio, Grafa Garden, Bare Juice, Clever Polly's wine bar, Broth Bliss, G. Luxe Muesli, Erin Malloy and Co Squared.
I'd love to talk to you, reach out and contact me here.
I also shoot weddings for people who want to have an ethical wedding (HELP!!!) - see my work here.
SARAH - I really like this quote, but not sure if it has a place here or somewhere else on the page?
SARAH - I need a short intro here explaining that the below values are my personal beliefs and how I live my life etc...
Also, Cheryl's husband Mitch said that 'craftmanship' and 'community' were nouns, and the rest are adjectives - do I care or not...?
The only thing missing from below is something around small business and supporting them where I can - but I don't want 7 values cause it won't fit in my website (wtf, but it's true), could i add it to something else, or change a value to incorporate more than one thing?
A former environmental scientist, I'm hardwired to be green in everything I do and how I view the world. My chosen power supplier is Powershop, whose energy is certified 100% carbon neutral. My car is offset with Green Fleet, and my flights are always carbon offset. I grow a large edible garden, have chooks, and have been vegetarian for over 20 years. I feed my dog ethical food, and am always hunting for the most sustainable option in everything I do.
Everyone is equal in my book. It doesn't matter where you were born, who you were born, or who you want to cuddle up to. I think that everyone deserves to earn a fair wage for a hard days work, and men and women should be paid an equal wage. (SARAH - need another big sentence to make this paragraph as long as the others!).
Craftmanship, good design and functionality are the apple of my eye. Well-made means longevity and therefore sustainability. I'd rather buy once and buy well, and have an item for life. Everywhere I can, I support local makers who value natural materials and minimise waste. Alternatively I buy vintage - in my opinion most things are better aged and worn anyway.
I'm a member of 1% For the Planet, supporting Charity Water with a portion of my profit. I lend money through Kiva to support people growing their businesses in a sustainable way. I give back to value aligned brands with a free quarterly shoot, to support small businesses in their startup phase (SARAH - should i name this, my idea is almost exactly like this one i found after! https://www.compasscreative.com.au/northinitiative.)
When I decided to change my business model to niche into the world of a 'for-purpose' business, I knew it had to be all or nothing. This included stopping work for my highest paying client, but I am committed to only working with brands that I believe are making a difference in an environmental and social space. I am in the process of obtaining my B-Corp certification as a platform for measuring and improving my impact, and to join a global community of likeminded companies.
I get the biggest kick from working with fellow small business owners, sharing knowledge, and geeking out over spreadsheets and organisational hacks. I love connecting my clients to like-minded people so they can build relationships and networks with each other. I think everyone should lift each other up, support each other and work together in collaboration - great things can happen when people band together with a common goal.
SARAH - i want this section to answer client's questions, and be more specific in terms of what I would and would not do and why. I'm not sure if some of the questions are too similar in terms of they are answering the same kind of thing in different ways?
Do you have a strong commitment to the environmental and social impact of your business? Are you constantly seeking to improve these impacts where you can? No business is perfect, but if you're constantly trying to improve your processes wherever you can, then we are probably a good fit. I can see through 'greenwashing' lingo, there must be a genuine effort to make your business sustainable and ethical.
Some examples of this would be:
* If you sell a product, can you trace all your raw materials back to their source? Are they damaging the environment, or are they managed in a sustainable way?
* Do you know exactly who makes your product, and in what conditions? Are they paid fairly?
* If you are not selling products directly, but sourcing them for your clients (think interior designers, stylists, architects), are you making decsions for each item based upon values other than pure profit and affordability?
* If you're a florist, are you importing flowers from overseas that are treated chemically, or are you only sourcing from local, organic growers?
* If you make food, are you sourcing your ingredients from local farmers with sustainable practices, and only using seasonal ingredients where possible? This may not be possible with every single ingredient, but if you are making the best decisions you possibly can and always looking to improve how you do things and where you buy from, then that's going to make a difference.
I have a business that manufactures mass-produced products, and I cannot trace the full impact of where the primary resources come from. Will you work with me?
The short answer is no. If you cannot account for every step of your manufacturing process, and hand-on-heart say that you try and minimise all environmental impacts and employ fair labour, then I will not work with you.
Why did you decide to change your business model to only work for ethical clients?
Working for businesses that only valued profit and not profit PLUS the environment and people didn't sit well with me. My work helps promote whatever my clients are selling, and if whatever that is, isn't sustainable, then I'm part of the problem. I want to work for people that are doing good things, help them achieve those good things, and give back where I can.
Do you work for any clients that place a priority on profit over their environmental and social responsibilities?
No. As outlined above in my core values, as part of this change to my business model - I stopped working for my highest paying client (which was a LOT - change this to something funny like 'could have funded something green and expensive...blah blah'), and a few others that didn't fit my values. I could not do this half-heartedly, it was all or nothing for me.
I want you to take some photos of my house, but it's not an impressive 10-star energy rating or chock-a-block with solar panels and double glazing. Will you still work with me?
The short answer is probably yes. The long answer is that as long as you are trying to make your lifestyle more sustainable in some ways (for instance, buying vintage furniture or making conscious decisions about where your furniture comes from, supporting local makers, being energy efficient, growing some of your food etc), then that is a good start. A lot of us don't have the luxury to employ an architect and builder to build our own homes from scratch, and often buy or rent places that are older and not well-designed in terms of efficiency and their footprint on the earth. So doing what you can to be sustainable in the place you are currently in is what I would look for.