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With the country in lockdown, it could have been easy for me to throw the towel in. Roll over and assume that our amazing business was damaged beyond repair.

No, not a chance!

Hearing of the recent re-birth of the British Institute of Professional Photography, I was intrigued and I found out more about it. I’d never been very interested in our UK photography associations, never understanding (or having the time to understand) the exact point of them.

The UK doesn’t have one governing body for photography, there are several. So how does a busy photographer like me get to grips with what’s out there? It seems, have a lockdown!

Finally, after 10 years, I was gifted TIME.

A focus on professional qualification

After the initial shock of lockdown, thinking that perhaps the business was finished, the fear… I realised that wasn’t the case and we just had to wait for the country to hit restart.

I finally had time to think about what I need, to stretch ME. How could I become the best I can be? How could I bring professional development into my life?

Surely that could only elevate me in my own eyes? I’m proud of so much we do here at Johanna Elizabeth… how could I challenge myself?

The answer I found was put myself through the stress and pressure of gaining a qualification with the British Institute of Professional Photographers. I’m totally sure my clients aren’t fussed what letters I have after my name… but what about me?

So this week, after months of intense preparation, I travelled to the beautiful and inspirational HQ and took the first stage of qualifications with the Institute, aiming for a Licentiate in Boudoir Portraiture…

The British Institute of Professional Photography

I laid my soul in front of an incredible panel of judges who I admire greatly in our wonderful industry. I think so highly of them. They all inspire me in different ways; James Musselwhite, Paul Wilkinson, Sean Conboy, Catherine Beltramini, Saraya Cortaville, David Stanbury, all chaired by Scott Johnson.

Supported by Martin Baynes CEO and Sharron and Joel, the whole experience was seamless and a joy to be part of.


Nothing can prepare you for how nerve-racking this is. Professionally done though and excellent social distancing considerations made us all feel really safe.

Preparing with the help of my wonderful team

Over the last few months, together with my friend and mentor, Karen Massey, diligently selected a panel of impactful portraits. These were prepped beautifully by our Rachel and printed/presented by the wonderful team at Digitalab.

Stunning! I was very proud to see them hung ready for the judges, if a little terrified! At least I knew I’d created the best I could to present.

Achieving the Licenciate in Boudoir Portraiture

So after what felt like hours of deliberation (I’m so dramatic), I was called back in and was given the wonderful news that I’d succeeded. I can’t describe what that felt like!

So what’s next?

In 2021, I’ll now be looking ahead to my ‘Associate’ panel and beyond. I’m planning it already. I’ve been thoroughly inspired. What a journey this was!

Thank you team! Here’s to finding joy and inspiration in such challenging times.

Johanna (LBIPP)
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