Northumberland photographer receives support to build business

Sue Todd specialises in food, drink and hospitality photography. As well as working with restaurants, pubs and food suppliers, she also teaches photography through workshops and one-to-one tuition. 

Until March 2020 Sue worked with clients at their premises, or from her studio in Northumberland. When the first COVID-19 lockdown began, Sue was unable to continue with her teaching, and many of her photography bookings were cancelled.

“My diary emptied completely within the course of a week,” said Sue. “I went from looking at my busiest year ever to wondering how I would get through it.”

Sue adapted her business by trialling the delivery of training via Zoom. This had the potential to work well, but her existing ICT equipment needed upgrading in order to continue.

Sue was encouraged to apply for support through the North East Business Support Fund (Restart & Recovery/Kick-starting Tourism) by one of the North East Growth Hub Connectors. The £2,741 of funding allowed her to invest in a new laptop which speeded up her workflow, allowed her to tether her camera on shoots, and enabled the delivery of teaching via Zoom, which has in turn led to new photography bookings.

Sue now plans to build up the teaching side of her business, specialising in teaching food and drink photography.

“The difference this has made to my business has been huge,” said Sue.

“I’m so grateful for the assistance, and without it I would have had a much, much harder time. As well as teaching via Zoom, I’ve been able to take part in online networking, communicate better with my clients and I can now edit video footage from my home or studio. This year I hope to get back on track and exceed what I was hoping to achieve in 2020.”

The North East Business Support Fund (Restart & Recovery/Kick-starting Tourism) is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL.

NBSL is approved by BEIS and has achieved the Customer First accreditation. NBSL has a team of experienced business funding advisers who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.

NBSL relaunched North East Business Support Fund in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.