Visible Start Graduate

CLAIRE BALLARD

Claire’s job is finding your best light, your best angle, so you can see yourself through new — kinder — eyes.

Claire Ballard

Like many midlife women, Claire Ballard has had a career of two halves: the first taking the path she thought she wanted, the second taking the one that set her heart on fire.

By any standards, Claire’s first career was hugely successful. Working in corporate communications, PR and advertising for some of the biggest names in the industry (WPP, Grey, Publicis), she traveled the world, led campaigns for high profile brands and even crossed paths with the occasional celeb. But it wasn’t a career that she loved. And by the time office politics and toxic workplace culture had taken any pleasure that was left, the writing was really on the wall.

It was an opportune redundancy that gave her the push to look to do something that would actually bring her joy, and an opportune favour — a friend’s request to take photos at her wedding: a few extra shots alongside their official photographer — that set her on the path along which she found it.

Claire’s shot captured the beauty of the day so naturally, so effortlessly, they became the ones her friend put on her mantlepiece. And with that, she had a new career to pursue.

She’d always loved photography, she’d just never considered it could be the way she made a living. As it turns out, it was what Claire was born to do. The older she gets, the more it means to her to know she is making people happy. Looking back, family photos are incomplete – Claire was always the one missing; she was always behind the camera. Now part of her drive as a photographer is to address that for other families: to capture their precious memories, making sure all the family are in the photo.

It’s the little details she loves: the affectionate look between newly married soulmates, the twinkle in the eye of a curious child, the sparkling smile of a woman convinced she isn’t photogenic, the naughty giggle of two nonagenarians, sharing a joke they’ve been telling for years.

Few of us relish being the subject of a camera – there’s always one body part, wrinkle, ‘imperfection’ we wish could be edited out. We fear the judgement of others and are our own worst critics, scouring the images for blemishes only we can see. But Claire won’t use Photoshop to remove them. Claire’s job is not to blur someone’s beauty, it is to help see past them; to let go of their inhibitions and find peace with themselves. Finding their best light, and best angle, so they can see themselves through new — kinder — eyes.

Taking photos of people who will cherish forever is one of her greatest pleasures. The nervous smile at the end of their shoots: “Wow/ I loved that. Why was I so scared?”

There’s a lot more I could say about Claire, but I’ll leave the last words to her clients. After all, they see her light just as brightly as she lets them see theirs.

“Not only is Claire great with people, she also has an incredible eye and skill for capturing the moment.”

“She completely put me at ease, and somehow captured photos that I am genuinely happy with (which basically never happens!).”

“Claire makes you feel at ease from pretty much the moment you arrive and the result is some fabulous photos that make you realise you should do this far more often!”

“She’s the loveliest person. A joy to have around!”

“Not only is Claire great with people, she also has an incredible eye and skill for capturing the moment.”

“She completely put me at ease, and somehow captured photos that I am genuinely happy with (which basically never happens!).”

“Claire makes you feel at ease from pretty much the moment you arrive and the result is some fabulous photos that make you realise you should do this far more often!”

Claire can’t help but spread joy with every shot.