Carly Talbot got our attention last week when she posted a dramatic before-and-after image of her Instagram feed on the Makelight Subscribers Facebook group.
Her sweet post revealed the inspiring transformation of her photography since she took her very first Makelight course one year ago!
Once we became aware of Carly's journey, we had to ask her to appear on the Makelight blog right away.
If you're not yet familiar with Carly, we know you're going to love her bright and whimsical images of family life that capture the charming details of childhood, combined with her beautiful food photography!
I first met you through your lovely Instagram feed when we were classmates on one of Emily's online courses just about a year ago. I know your photos appear under the Instagram name @gfreeb. You share gorgeous images of your home in Windsor (and the surrounding countryside) interspersed with food photography. Can you tell us a bit about your online life writing not just one but two blogs?
I am a woman of many interests! On top of my day job (working for a large management and digital consultancy) I write the blog Gluten Free B about coeliac disease and the gluten free diet. I also write a personal one about family life in Windsor called Windsor B.
To support these interests I am currently studying for a nutrition qualification around developing recipes and being a mama to my two year old daughter. Let's just say I am very productive during toddler nap times!
What inspired you to start Gluten Free B? And Windsor B?
My gluten free blog was started when I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2009. Since then the gluten free blogosphere has expanded dramatically, and I have specialised in focusing on issues relating to the marketing, science, nutrition and ethics around coeliac and gluten free food.
This year I started my personal blog as I found there was so much more to my life that I wanted to write about and share that wouldn't necessarily appeal to the same audience.
I actually decided to start it after taking a Makelight course, and you'll see I take much greater care over the look and feel!
Can you say a bit about how you're using Instagram to support both blogs?
I use Instagram to tell a story about my life and interests, to provide foodie inspiration to my followers (many of whom follow a gluten/dairy free diet) and to drive traffic to my blogs.
How would you describe your photography?
Someone described it to me as "crisp yet country" so I guess my love of clean lines and minimalism with pops of bright fresh colour against the backdrop of Windsor Great Park shines through!
I took a decision to combine both personal and blog-related posts to Instagram in one feed, partly due to time-constraints, but also because personally I enjoy following people who share a bit of themselves rather than just their business or products - this makes me feel so much more bought into what they do.
I think the key is connecting both things with a common style. I have a difference in the way I use each social channel - for example I keep twitter much more issue-based and conversational, as I have a big community around a topic there; whereas Instagram is a bit more personal but also more carefully curated.
Where is your favourite place to take photos?
On my kitchen table surrounded by chaos and curious toddler fingers, or anywhere with sweeping green grass or bright blue skies.
What does Makelight mean to you?
It's provided me with a creative outlet, continuous personal development and a community I can fit in as part of my every day life - whether that's by reviewing online lessons in the evenings, being inspired to make and photograph new recipes for a family meal, taking my daughter on a photo walk where we notice and learn about the things around us, or even planning professional pursuits for the future.
The one thing it's really changed is the way I now drink in the details of life, and also take time for myself.
I've never been a person to sit and rest or reflect, but there's something quite meditative about playing with a camera and props - I can easily lose an hour or two!
I've learned that developing your style takes time, and your style can change over time. I've been trying and experimenting with lots of things since taking the Makelight Online course last year, and it's only now that I'm starting to get a feel for what works for me and connects my images of really quite diverse subjects.