Agricultural enthusiast, Clare Gelderd, was just 18-years-old when her interest in photography developed into a potential career plan.
The 27-year-old, who hails from Cumbria and has been involved in farming from her early childhood years, has embraced her creativity to carve out a successful career as a professional photographer.
“We took a step into our own farming journey nine years ago, after a lifetime involved in agriculture, both working for and helping others,” she explained to Catherina Cunnane, editor of That’s Farming.
“Lately, I’ve been running my father’s farm, since he is recovering from a stroke in November 2019. I’m lucky to be able to make nearly all the decisions, though some of the livestock is not my own.”
“Agriculture is in my blood, as my great grandfather farmed in the South Lakes also, but my father was only a young boy and wasn’t in a position to follow in his footsteps after his passing.”
Beef and sheep
The family have a selection of beef cattle and sheep and primarily run a commercial herd. Recently, Clare imported and invested in a pedigree Parthenaise bull [pictured below].
The young farmer stumbled across the French breed whilst searching for a new stock bull and was pleased with its calving ease, double-muscling abilities and growth rates.
“I love calving and lambing-time and seeing livestock thrive throughout the year – as many farmers know this is very rewarding!”
“The most challenging aspect to farming for myself is the photography business/farming balance – I love agriculture and I use it as an escape from work, often too much!”
“Currently on our farm, I am responsible for everything from paperwork through to livestock care and management. My brother is an agricultural contractor; therefore, he does the silage work for us.”
Clare capture all aspects of photography and enjoys the variety of work and the challenges it presents. “Wedding photography takes up the bulk of my business.”
“It’s important to me that there is a comprehensive narrative of a wedding, and that the story of the day is told through my pictures.”
She strives to compose the story of a wedding as it unfolds naturally. “During the day, I prefer to capture emotions from a distance so your guests can relax (I usually go unnoticed).”
“Then, in the evening, I like to be right where the action is, in the middle of the dancefloor, capturing all those awesome moves!”
“With a passion for livestock, agriculture and day-to-day farm life, it would be crazy not to capture these moments in my career as a professional photographer,” she added.
“Whilst working border collies and along with my understanding for livestock, working with animals comes at ease and I find it an absolute pleasure!”
The 27-year-old claims she has a “unique approach” to capturing agricultural shows and farm life naturally, whilst remaining to show handlers, livestock and machinery in their best form.
“I photograph anything from, full farm documentary, agricultural shows and competitions, through to, more staged pedigree livestock.”
“I love that agricultural photography and wedding photography see me travelling throughout the UK and meeting so many talented people in the industries.”
“Sometimes the weather can prove challenging during all aspects of my photography, but I love a challenge.”
The current climate with COVID-19 has resulted in all of Clare’s wedding-related commissions, up to September 2020, being rescheduled, which means she can now dedicate more time to farming.
“I am fortunate that I can schedule my photography appointments to aid my farm lifestyle.”
“Also, I invest time and money into the smooth running of the farm, therefore, it is less time-consuming; these items range from handling systems through to new technology for calving.”
Looking ahead, Clare has her sights set on numerous plans and goals for the future including breeding higher-quality cattle with show potential and experiencing continued success and recognition for her work, both in the area of agriculture and photography.
“I believe that whilst an image should be an honest and unscripted portrayal of a moment, it should also be thoughtfully composed and visually artistic.”
“My huge passion for working with dogs and livestock, in general, also shines through. My clients find I handle their pets effectively and calmly, whilst creating beautiful photographs.”
“I find running my photography business challenging at times due to the number of photographers, especially in the wedding industry.”
“Nevertheless, I pride myself on building up a repeated clientele. I want to be the family’s photography. I capture, weddings, celebrations, families, births, pets, lifestyle, livestock and promotional photography, therefore, my clients return year-on-year.” she concluded.
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