Pho­tog­ra­phers found fo­cus by re­spond­ing to call of the wild

Each week, we ask small busi­nesses key ques­tions. Here we speak to Jacky Bloom­field, one of the duo be­hind High­land wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy firm M&J Bloom­field

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - BUSINESS -

“It took time to find the right house, but we love ev­ery as­pect of High­land life”

How and why did you start the busi­ness?

My hus­band, Mark, and I, orig­i­nally from near Wind­sor in the south of Eng­land, moved our home and busi­ness to near Kil­tar­l­ity in the High­lands three years ago.

Pho­tog­ra­phy has al­ways played a ma­jor role in our lives.

Both my fa­ther and grand­fa­ther were in­volved in the in­dus­try and pho­to­graphic para­pher­na­lia sur­rounded me as a child.

But while I en­joyed tak­ing pho­to­graphs I cer­tainly never thought of it as a full-time ca­reer.

Mark, on the other hand, has al­ways been pas­sion­ate about pho­tog­ra­phy, pick­ing it up at an early age. He gained a place at art col­lege study­ing it be­fore go­ing on to en­joy a long ca­reer as a com­mer­cial pho­tog­ra­pher.

I had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in lit­i­ga­tion, cus­tomer ser­vices and as a se­nior per­sonal as­sis­tant be­fore re­dun­dancy struck both Mark and my­self some 15 years ago.

While re­dun­dancy can ob­vi­ously be seen as a threat, it can also be a great lib­er­a­tor. It was the cat­a­lyst we needed to start our own busi­ness.

M&J Bloom­field Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­phers seemed like a great idea at the time, and so it has proved to be.

Based ini­tially in the south, af­ter spend­ing six or seven win­ters work­ing in the High­lands we thought: “Why travel 600 miles when we could live there?”

It took us a long time to find the right house, but we love ev­ery as­pect of High­land life.

We’ve been kid­napped by na­ture, spend­ing our time watch­ing and pho­tograph­ing the amaz­ing va­ri­ety of the nat­u­ral world.

How did you get to where you are to­day?

Lots of read­ing and study, then spend­ing long hours in the field watch­ing and wait­ing. Our busi­ness falls into three cat­e­gories – tak­ing and sell­ing, com­mer­cial and de­sign, and tours.

Pic­tures we place with li­braries sell to tele­vi­sion, news­pa­pers and printed me­dia all over the world.

In­di­vid­u­als also pur­chase our im­ages for their homes. When some­one chooses to live with our pic­tures for per­haps the next 50 years, it is very hum­bling and en­gen­ders a great sense of pride.

De­sign and com­mer­cial work are also im­por­tant to our busi­ness. It may not be wildlife-re­lated, but again it al­lows us to con­tinue tak­ing wildlife and na­ture pic­tures.

Mov­ing to Scot­land made us think about run­ning tours – these are tailor-made, and we of­fer a unique ex­pe­ri­ence.

We want peo­ple to get the most from their time with us, so we ask them what they want to achieve. If they want to see the spec­tac­u­lar High­lands or learn more about a cam­era or a bit of soft­ware, we can help.

With ev­ery train­ing course or tour we run, we aim to in­spire peo­ple – giv­ing them con­fi­dence and fos­ter­ing in them the same pas­sion we have for pho­tog­ra­phy and the nat­u­ral world.

Who helped you?

Friends and fam­ily have helped and sup­ported me through­out my life. Net­work­ing was im­por­tant when we started, and some of the peo­ple I’ve met through net­work­ing are now great friends, though mov­ing to the High­lands meant we had to start the process again.

I re­cently joined the Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses, and its ser­vices have al­ready proved in­valu­able.

What has been your big­gest mis­take?

We should have started run­ning our own busi­ness a lot ear­lier.

What is your great­est achieve­ment?

Run­ning my own busi­ness, with Mark.

If you were in power in gov­ern­ment, what would you change?

I’d put na­ture on the school cur­ricu­lum. Chil­dren need a good dose of “Vi­ta­min N”.

What do you still hope to achieve?

See a Scot­tish wild­cat in the wild.

What do you do to re­lax?

Go horse rid­ing.

What are you cur­rently read­ing, lis­ten­ing to or glued to on TV?

I’m read­ing a book on British moths.

What do you waste your money on?

Malt whisky.

How would your friends de­scribe you?

Com­pas­sion­ate, friendly and some­one who has an in­fec­tious laugh that al­ways gets oth­ers go­ing.

What would your en­e­mies say about you?

None of my busi­ness.

What do you drive and dream of driv­ing?

A 4x4 but I would love to drive a Jaguar E-Type.

CA­REER CHANGE: Jacky Bloom­field and hus­band Mark started their wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy busi­ness af­ter they were made re­dun­dant

Jacky says it’s hum­bling when some­one buys a pho­to­graph for their home

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