Born in Plymouth, Hannah began setting up her career from a very young age. She fell into the hospitality industry at the sprightly age of 17 and soon became an assistant hotel manager by 18 years old. With a strong devotion to her work, she jumped at every opportunity that would enrich her career and in-return. Having worked up to a managerial role, she then became part of the training team, teaching staff at new hotels across the country.
Since having her children in her mid-late 20’s, she realised that the hospitality hours no longer fitted with being a mother and she sought to do something new and creative. Photography and the arts have always been something Hannah was interested in. Despite being dyslexic and having struggled at school, she wanted to prove herself worthy of a degree.
She applied for an access course in 2013 and then dived into a 3-year photography degree. As a mature student at Plymouth College of Art, Hannah was captivated by the subject of commercial photography and delved into the course seeking to learn all there was to know about the subject and its history. During this time, she also developed a keen interest in child and family photography. As well as a First class degree, she also received two awards; the Principle’s Commendation Award, which was the highest award given out in her year and a Photography Award.
Being determined to develop a career in photography, she tested herself even further by completing a Masters of the Arts degree in entrepreneurship for creative practice. Whilst learning a lot about building up business through image sharing and doing family and wedding photography as well, she developed another interest in teaching which is now common practice in her work, covering all generations from children to veterans.
Hannah owns and is managing director of 2 photography businesses, ‘PL7 Studios’ which is the commercial photography business and ‘Community Photographic Studios CIC’ which is a social enterprise, which along with herself, she has the help of Glenn Jordan a Plympton local Councilor and Lily Luscombe from LS Online Marketing who are also both directors of the social enterprise. To support the social enterprise, she puts a lot of work into the commercial photography side, which allows her to support the community projects with free photography sessions.
PL7 Studios was, up until June 2020, known as Hannah Marie Photography, specialising in family, child, new-born and food photography; having begun working as a freelance photographer alongside her studies. She has since branched out and created the brand new venture known as ‘PL7 Studios’. Within PL7 Studios, they not only offer affordable photoshoots if you just want a super studio with all the lighting, but they also teach photography in group sessions or on a 1-1 basis.
Other courses include a 10-week commercial photography course and a 6-week beginners photography session, which is one of their most popular courses. This type of course will only cost you £99 if you get the early bird voucher. There are monthly portfolio builders with a supply of props, costumes, models; fire, water and lots of fun – to get everyone involved and taking pictures they’d never have dreamed of.
Following on from these courses, you go away with a stunning portfolio and a reference from Hannah to use in applications for a degree, or to put you in a strong position to get a job. Some attendees have already been successfully accepted into university degree courses.
Kids holiday clubs and the Art and Photography Saturday club are very popular for 8–14-year-olds. During the day, the children carry out an art task as well a photography challenges; these can range from graffiti painting, watercolour painting, collages – mostly those things that are too messy for home, as well as plenty of photography in the studios and out on location in the local area. Hannah wanted to create this side of her business for young people who may not be interested in sports clubs. This is an activity that is enjoyable for those with a creative interest but still embodies the same social element.
To book onto these courses or to browse more courses available, simply head to their Facebook page: PL7 Studios or website: www.pl7studios.co.uk
The business photography side of PL7 Studios involves working with other businesses helping to advertise their company’s services or products using creative images. We take a wide range of professional photos for social media content and these images form a great structure to a business when put on websites or in graphic design for posters and flyers as well as social media. Many of Hannah’s images can now be seen on local business websites. Hannah is particularly passionate about food photography and works with several restaurants and food suppliers across the Southwest.
Community Photographic Studios was founded by Hannah 3 years ago as part of her Master’s Degree and was CIC registered a year later. Her ethos for this business was to give back to the community she grew up in. She began creating free photography sessions for veteran’s and the over 50’s and worked closely with Help For Heroes.
The social enterprise is funded by various government schemes as well as the Arts Council, Devon Community Fund and The National Lottery which enables them to put on free community sessions. They are also supported by local councillors and the new Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Terri Beer who asked Hannah and the team to be her official photographers this year.
Hannah wanted to offer sessions to people who have struggled with mental health, anxiety or isolation and bring a community together through photography. As well as the free sessions for Forces Veteran’s and over 50’s, they also offer vibrant and exciting youth projects, to encourage children and teenagers off screen-time, off the streets, and into a new hobby.
The veteran’s and over 50’s sessions are fairly similar in the way they are run. They will generally start with a social time over cake and coffee, then they are shown a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation with the theme of their next challenge to focus on – each session is different. They can bring their own cameras along or use one of the 10 cameras we can lend at the studio. The sessions are very photography based, perfect for learning a new skill or perfecting a growing passion; but here, they also have a place to meet other like-minded people. The veteran’s benefit hugely from these sessions, as they may be suffering from PTSD, or just the loss of the camaraderie which is so much part of active Service life.
The youth projects collaborate with the local police and community groups – seeking to engage teens in the local area who would benefit from educational talks and an evening of creative challenges. This project is run over 4 weeks and starts in May 2021.
In May 2021, they are also starting some personal development sessions for women. Collaborating with local business Wild Daisy Personal Development, There will be full day funded workshops, which will include sessions about women’s personal development, with mindfulness photographic activities. These will be studio-based with nature walks activities.
Community Photographic Studios CIC is much more than a photography studio, it is a hub for the community of Plympton, providing a safe, stimulating and creative educational environment for all.
In an image drenched society, with ever-increasing career and personal interest opportunities through photography. The CIC is working with young adults to help to enhance their creative outlook, gain core skills and enable future employment. The CIC is launching a Plympton Community Work Experience scheme for 18-20-year-olds to gain core work experience in the Plympton area across a range of local business, giving them the experience needed for future employment. In addition, there is a new and exciting entrepreneur workshops for 18-25-year-olds launch in May of this year.
They also organise photography trips – not only around Plymouth but the world! They have taken a group to Italy for 5 days and practised street and landscape photography and a group to Sweden to photograph the Northern lights and learn astrophotography. These trips are open to anyone with a keen interest in extending their photography experience.
These sessions and trips are advertised and available to book via the Facebook page @CommunityPhotographicStudiosCIC. All of the links you can find there and everything is booked through Eventbrite.
With the lockdown end in sight, by 19th April, Hannah hopes to bring back family photoshoots and 1-1 sessions in the studio along with outdoor workshops with reduced group sizes. Come 17th May, group sessions of up to 5 can start back up again in the studio. If the Covid-19 Roadmap rules keep to the stated dates, then by 21st June, there will be no limit to group sizes and things will function as normal.
The two businesses are currently hiring two new members through the government’s new kickstart programme. They hope that in 2 years, we can permanently expand the team which means we’ll be able to do a lot more courses and sessions and create larger projects for the local community.
It is clear to us that Hannah is very passionate about not only photography but teaching and watching people grow through teaching a creative subject. The work that she has done to enable the community to thrive of these courses and free sessions is truly admirable. For more information or to book onto one of their incredible courses, see details below.
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