Over the next few weeks, we’ll be telling you about the staff here at the Packshot People studio, to give you a flavour of the atmosphere and camaraderie. I decided to begin with Gemma, who is in the unique position of being the company’s newest recruit, yet one of owner Mike Harrington’s longest-serving employees…
“I first worked with Mike in 2003”, Gemma says. “I’d signed up to Broadland Council Training Services for a hand with employment, and Mike contacted them looking for an assistant. He got me involved, helping him to set up photoshoots, giving a hand on location and arranging meetings with clients.”
Gemma’s success in her employment with Mike is exemplary, as she learned most of her professional knowledge from him. “I’ve always had an interest in photography”, she explains, “but only as an amateur until I joined up with Mike. I’ve photographed landscapes and local cultures around the world, especially in Bali, where I got married – but it was here that I learned about working in a professional studio, about setting up photoshoots and post-production. Coming in to the job was daunting, as I lacked experience, but I was willing to learn and I picked it up quickly. Everything I know about editing software, I learned here – and I’m still learning it, of course – there’s always new software to get used to.”
Another key area of work in photography is maintaining strong relationships with clients, at which Gemma excels. Ensuring that deadlines are met, and that images are produced to a standard which satisfies our clients, is a strength of hers which has always impressed Mike.
Outside the studio, Gemma enjoys drawing as well as photography – although her husband and two children, Noah (4) and Caleb (1), currently take up most of her time. “I’ll get back into my art at some stage”, she says, “and Noah starts school in September, but I’ll still have Caleb around, and obviously he’s my priority for now!”
After taking a break from employment, she recently came back to the studio. “This time, most of my work consists of the post-production and administrative sides of the business. It’s lovely to be back.”