Leanne Mackay was named Most Promising Photographer of the Year at the Scottish Master Photographers’ annual awards ceremony – just over a year after changing career path.
Leanne, who works for Grahame Smith at GWS Photography as a baby photographer, was “absolutely delighted” to even be at the awards.
She said: “Grahame wanted me to get some through to the awards and he submitted 18 [images] to the awards.
“All the 18 got through – it is insane, it is crazy – for five different categories.
“One was the Most Promising Photographer and I was just happy to be involved.”
The former Musselburgh Grammar School pupil joined GWS Photography in February last year.
However, she did not respond to any job advert.
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Leanne, who lives with husband, Callum, and two-year-old daughter, Freya, in Edinburgh, had visited the studio, near Longniddry, as a customer.
The 28-year-old said: “I had a job in admin and hated every single second of it.
“It was very boring and I used to do bits on the side, crafty stuff, to keep me going.
“I had studied photography at college but gave up on it.
“We had gone to Grahame for our family photographs in about October 2020.
“We had our daughter and when we were there he asked if we had any photographs done before.
“The only ones we had done were of when she was just born and I said I had gone to college but never did any more with it.
“I had gone back to collect our photographs and Grahame offered me a job.
“He had not seen my work or anything but we really clicked really well.”
Leanne is now targeting a number of other awards, including newborn photographer of the year and photographer of the year.
She said: “I, honestly, just love babies – they are the best.
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“I really do love it and most parents when they come, afterwards they say, ‘I cannot believe how good Leanne was.’
“I just seem to have a little bit of a knack and get them to calm down – even when they don’t want to!”
Grahame, who has been taking photographs for more than 40 years, set up GWS Photography in 2010.
He was quick to praise his colleague and said: “Impressed by her personality and attitude and a natural eye for detail and composition, I offered her a position as a baby photographer at our new studio as soon as it was available.
“After qualifying as a professional photographer last year, Leanne has now achieved her first award, which is a great testament to her dedication and hard work.
“Her photographs showcase her unique style, which is a blend of traditional and contemporary elements, creating stunning and memorable images that capture the essence of her subjects.
“In receiving this prestigious award, Leanne has cemented her place as a rising star in the photography industry.”