TFP.BD - Jane Laidlaw, Private Hire

“People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering and their families feel a sense of shame about it which doesn’t help. One needs support and understanding.”

- Deepika Padukone

Recently, we were hired to take some promotional shots for Jane Laidlaw, a Counsellor and psychotherapist. The brief was to supply some headshots and candid shots for her up coming website. Naturally Jane was a little nervous. After all, there’s a reason I firmly try to stay on the other end of the camera, but she soon loosened up and turned out to be a natural.

Location wise, I chose Parliament Square, just behind St Gile’s Cathedral, Edinburgh. Aside from being stunning in it’s architecture, it has archways we could photograph in, should the Scottish weather take it’s toll.

Turned out to be a stunning day. Too bright if anything!

My heart sank when we arived at St Giles. Tourists EVERYWHERE. We’re thinking, there’s gonna be someone with a USA baseball cap in every shot.

However, when Jane arrived, we headed round to the aquare and there was barely anyone to be seen. I think the tourists think it’s off limits or something because of the layout. Who knows. After a quick chat and preparing the camera for the bleaching light, we got started.


Christina was shooting with a 50mm prime lens, and I was on 18-135mm. We deliberately under-exposed, aiming to fix it later. After all, we only shoot in RAW format. Our work is usually quite dark anyway. This was shot at F1.8 and -2 exposure.

Once we fell into the swing of things, the rest of the shoot just felt natural.


The extreme light from the sun was tough, but you just have to perservere. Luckily there ws no sky involved, because that would have taken more editing to bring out any colour or it would have just been white.

I was worried because I’ve been a little rusty lately because of ill health, but the old knack of it soon returned, and the camera became the extension of my arm it usually is.


Thankfully Jane was very good at getting into the poses we required. Sometimes, with shoots such as these, you end up with people making duck lips, or trying to look overly seductive. No matter how many mes you tell them, they don’t relent. Then they aren’t happy because they think they don’t look like a Snapchat filter. So, Jane was a breath of fresh air.

With the light being so harsh, I thought I might as well utilise it’s power. I find that when you see a glint of it coming from a source, attempt to find an angle where it’s slightly cut off, so as not to blacken your subject in shadow, but just enough to create atmosphere. Sometimes this requires getting into some bizarre positions.We call this photography yoga. This one wasn’t too bad. After all, I have climbed and leaned over a ledge on the Brooklyn bridge to capture a long time exposure.


Due to the nature of Jane’s work, she wanted some photos that illustrated reaching out, and the support she provides. So she suggested the touching of hands. This was an ideal location, with the pillars of the square.


Now, a Tenth Floor Photography shoot wouldn’t be the same without a bit of shadowplay, and this light was perfect for it. I couldn’t resist.


And so, the shoot came to a close. We really enjoyed working with Jane, and hope to work with her again. It was challenging light, but we got there.

If you feel you need counselling or to enquire about psychotherapy, you can contact Jane. Highly experienced, including working for Edinburgh University. With a kind and friendly nature, she offers a fantastic service in mental health.

You can reach her at

- TFP.David Gulliver