Jo Rutherford Portrait

Digitalab Featured Photographer: Jo Rutherford

Our latest Featured Photographer is the incredibly talented Jo Rutherford!

Jo is a Professional portrait photographer with a Studio in the lovely Village of Banks, West
Lancashire. She has been a full time Professional photographer for the past 5 years and before this had several years as a part time photographer before making the leap!

“I originally trained as a Physiotherapist and worked in a hospital for many years then went on to be a University Lecturer and it was while I was doing this I started taking photographs as a way to deal with the pressure of the job, I would head out an about taking landscape photographs ( badly!) to get away from work and the computer. I then realised that I was absolutely rubbish at landscapes and wanted people in the pictures – so did some training in children photography and was hooked.

I photographed anyone and everyone who was willing to go in front of the camera! I tried Boudoir, head-shots for businesses, photographed friends weddings, their children and families, tried my hand at some fashion photography and loved it all!
My first Studio space was on a Farm, a little building which I rented for the summer and ran workshops allowing getting photographers and models and make up artists together to play. There was no formal teaching, just an opportunity to try new things and work together. I then worked part time from the shed in the Garden which was great for the commute to work ! But not so good for my obsession with props which continue… and I outgrew the shed!”

fashion photography from Jo Rutherford

“I never planned photography to be a full time career but life has a way of guiding you to destinations you never imagined and it was Redundancy and the loss of my Mum which made me take the leap. I found a wonderful little Studio space and invested in training with the amazing Gary Hill, knowing that I needed to gain the skills in studio photography if I was to work through all weathers, I didn’t want to be reliant on the British Weather to be able to work.

With Gary’s amazing tutoring and his enthusiasm and passion for Studio work I have been primarily a Studio photographer ever since, in love with classic portraiture. I moved to the new Studio about 18 months ago and have 3 amazing spaces to work in – and plenty of room for props!”

a selection of portrait images

The main work I do is children and family portraiture and I am passionate about photographing families , making sure that Mums and Dads get on the photographs too ! This year I launched
Pawsome Portraits, just for the dogs, inspired by the amount of photographs I take of my lovely rescue dog Ted!

I also photograph Cosplayers and Historical Re enactors … this started as a Personal Project and has become a part of the Business , we have had Star Wars characters , Indiana Jones , Judge Dredd and Vikings and Romans all coming to the Studio and its what I love and allows my geeky side to come out!

I’m a little bit competitive …. well very competitive if you ask my Husband! I love to enter competitions and have been incredibly fortunate to have been awarded BIPP Northwest Photographer of the Year this year and this is the 3rd time in 5 years that I have held this title Personal work has always been a big part of what I do , I have had such a short career in Photography and the steepest learning curve and so I am always trying new things , new lighting set ups , new sets in the Studio , last week we headed to the woods with a fabulous model , tulle skirt and smoke grenades!

Jo Rutherford’s Quick-Fire round

Who inspired you to become a photographer?

I dont think there was a person , I came to photography very late and I think I have always been attracted by visual images , movies in particular , over the top theatrical stuff and think I just wanted to be able to create what I saw.

I now adore Andy Gotts celebrity images and Abbie Leibovitzs work but Rankin is an absolute hero , his connection with his subjects is incredible even when there is a room full of people he appears to be able to make such an intimate connection

What is your all-time favourite photography shoot?

The Alice in Wonderland series we did , a wonderful collaboration where everything suddenly seemed to come together and I realised that I could be a photographer

What is your camera of choice and why?

I shoot with a Canon 5d mark 2 ….. I stated with Canon as it was on sale at the time !

Other than your camera – what one piece of kit can you not live without?

Am I allowed to include all my chairs and props in this ???? I use my trusty light meter and grey card when shooting , I do a lot of low key work and getting the lighting spot on is essential – always want to get images
99% right in camera

What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring photographer?
Shoot every single day , shoot anything and everything , get training …not just in photography but in business skills too

Is there something that you would love to photograph more than anything else?

I have a wish list of people ……
Sean Connery
Ian McShane
Gary Oldman
Johnny Depp as the Hatter
Simon Pegg
Harrison Ford – as Indiana
If anyone out there can help with any of these that would be great!

For more information on Jo’s work visit

    The MPA North East Awards 2017

    Winners at teh MPA North East awards

    We were thrilled to sponsor the The MPA North East Region Awards Night this week! It was a fantastic awards night and a great opportunity to learn from the individual image critiques provided by  judge, Ray Lowe FMPA. Our owner, Jill Roe, was also on hand to present the awards to the talented winners.

    Huge congrats to overall Photographer of the year, David Armour!

    A full list of all the winners and runners up can be found below along with their stunning images – well done to everyone involved!




    Winning image in Animals category


















    Winner: Paul Hattam

    Life Studios



    winner of the portrait category





















    Winner: David Armour

    Focal Point Photography

    Runner Up: David Armour

    Highly Commended: Paul Hattam & David Armour













    Winner: Paul Hattam

    Life Studios

    Runner Up: David Armour

    Highly Commended: Paul Hattam

    Open Category















    Winner: James Thompson


    Runner Up: James Thompson

    Highly Commended: Andrew Brown & James Thompson


    newborn winner













    Winner: Steven Hattam

    Life Studios

    Runner Up: Steven Hattam

    Highly Commended: Andrew Steven Hattam


    Press & PR

    press & pr winner







    Winner: Paul Maddison

    Focal Point Photography


    Under 5’s

    Under 5 winner














    Winner: Paul Hattam

    Life Studios

    Runner Up: Paul Hattam



    weddings winner





















    Winner: David Armour

    Focal Point Photography

    Runner Up: Michael Hope

    Highly Commended: Paul Hattam & David Armour


    Thomas Heaton

    Brand Ambassador: Thomas Heaton


    Digitalab are excited to announce our newest Brand Ambassador is the unbelievably talented Thomas Heaton!

    Thomas Heaton is a landscape photographer & content creator. Using the YouTube platform, Thomas documents his landscape photography & travel adventures. His popularity comes from his extremely honest & unpolished approach to film making & photography.


    He is an outdoor enthusiast and aims to showcase the beauty of the great outdoors through his photography.

    “I love being outside and I love the never-ending challenge of trying to portray ‘that feeling’ – you know, the warm evenings at twilight, the sense of isolation when you have a mountain to yourself, the sound of waves lapping the shore of an empty beach. My images are all about the outdoors and telling a story.”

    Thomas’ YouTube channel has over 6.5million views, his photography has been published nationally and internationally and he has appeared on national television including the BBC’s ‘One Show’. You can view his video on Selling Prints (which he filmed here at Digitalab!) below. If you are interested in the large format printing and fine art printing that Thomas uses us for then make sure to head over to the site for further details.

    You can view more of his work over on his website HERE and you can subscribe to his YouTube channel HERE
    Thomas will be launching an exhibition of his work here at Digitalab later in the year and we have some exciting joint projects in the works. Below is one of Thomas’ videos that he filmed here at Digitalab focusing on producing and selling limited edition prints.


    Human Traces: Cuba

    York Place Studios Exhibition Launch

    On the 13th of July Digitalab are delighted to be hosting the opening of York Place Studios first street photography exhibition; Human Traces – Cuba.

    The friendship, warmth and reflective patriotism of a people are captured amongst the tarnished bold colours and fading opulence of Castro’s Cuba in this optimistic collection by photographers Liam and Dominique Shaw. Photographed during the first visit of a sitting U.S. President in over 90 years and shortly before the death of its iconic revolutionary leader, the spirit of this Island nation in flux is found not in its turbulent politics but in the eyes and hearts of its citizens; proud yet tired, optimistic yet cautious.

    “The people of Cuba are extraordinary. Many live with little but are proud of what they have and in the often hostile world of the street photographer we were privileged to be welcomed so warmly and openly into their lives and even into their homes. In a city filled with extraordinary architecture, streets lined with classic 40’s and 50’s cars and an air of faded opulence and a forgotten time, we quickly realised that Havana is not about any of these things, it is about its citizens. So we found a ‘casa particular’ in the heart of the city and explored Havana street by street, with a small Easter weekend excursion to UNESCO world heritage site Trinidad to experience a different side of Cuba.”

    The Exhibition opens on July the 13th at 6pm. Entry is free and Liam and Dom will be on hand to discuss their work along with staff from Digitalab and FujiFilm.

    Digitalab, 8 Stepney Bank, Ouseburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 2PW

    For more info about the exhibition please feel free to contact Digitalab any time.

    Tel: 0191 2323558


    Human Traces: Cuba


      Large Trader of the Year

      Large Trader of the YearWe were incredibly thrilled to win the award for ‘Large Trader of the Year’ at this year’s Newborn Photography Show! It is a huge honour for us all here and we’d like to pass on a massive, heart-felt thank you to all of you that voted for us.
      Winning the award has let us know that our customers appreciate the strides we are making in the industry, continually looking to improve upon the product range and service that you receive.
      The Trade Show itself was also a huge success – It was brilliant to meet so many talented photographers over the 2 days and catch up with many familiar faces – thank you to everyone who visited us over the course of the event. We are looking forward to next year’s event already!

        Digitalab Featured Photographer: Emma Case

        Emma CaseThis month’s Digitalab Featured Photographer is the incredibly creative , always passionate and downright very talented Emma Case. Shooting Weddings is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Emma’s creative output as this post will attempt to convey!

        Emma is a Photographer currently based in Birmingham, England. With her husband Pete they have been shooting weddings for the past 8 years, committing to an honest approach within their work and their communication with their couples.

        Shooting on both film and digital Emma and her husband Pete have worked on several commercial campaigns, overseas charity projects, local documentary photo stories and weddings all across the globe, from Serbia to San Francisco, Zambia to New Zealand.

        For the past five years they have also run their own workshops for photographers as well as guest speaking at photo conferences around the world.. including Nine Dots, Fearless, Snap and A Bit More Soul.

        Recently, they both have founded the IDo Community, a space where members of the online community can give their time and skills to raise funds and create awareness for various charities and non-profits.
        Emma has also set up Deaf Refugees UK organising a trip to the Calais Jungle to offer hearing aids and communication support for Deaf refugees.

        Who inspired you to become a photographer?
        I’m not sure a person inspired me as such. I feel that everything in my life has always geared towards being creative. I studied Theatre and was an Actor for about 10 years and photography was sort of a happy accident.
        Since becoming part of the photography community, who inspire me the most are the ones that create from a very honest place.. who are true to their own voice, one’s who are curious about the world and how they fit within it.. and that goes for any creative field.

        What is your all-time favourite photography shoot?
        Am I allowed more than one??!
        I was lucky enough to head out to Zambia with the charity Soundseekers and document the work they are doing to improve the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing children and adults in the developing world. I am fluent in British Sign Language and have worked within the Deaf community so this project was particularly special to me.
        Another shoot that stands out was with the arts organisation Multistory. I was commissioned to take photographs of allotments and their tenants in and around the Black Country. For me.. this is the work that I am really interested in making. It’s social documentary and a wonderful way of archiving stories that might not be told.


        An image from Emma’s ‘Soundseekers’ project

        How would you describe your photographic style?
        I would say honest. As a wedding photographer I have always been fascinated by the ordinary, the everyday and what place that has within the contexts of a wedding. I feel that there is extraordinary in the ordinary and feel that it is just as important to show.. to tell the whole story and to find beauty and meaning in the more mundane things.

        Emma Case

        What is your camera of choice and why?
        The workhorse is a Canon Mark III, 95% of the time with a 35mm 1.4, but if I had the choice to just take one camera out for the day… hmmm… that’s a toughie. I am a big Polaroid shooter and have done a 365 project on Polaroid and continue to shoot on my SX-70 regularly but I also have a Mamiya 645 which is an absolute pleasure to use and the results make me squeal with delight!

        What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring photographer?
        Invest in exploring who you are.. and enjoy the journey. That probably sounds lame advice but in our current world of constant bombardment of imagery, being surrounded by versions of ‘success’ it’s easy to be caught up in what and how you feel you ‘should’ shoot. For me that is a sure fire way to stop listening to your own wonderful, individual voice.

        Is there something that you would love to photograph more than anything else?
        I’m currently doing a personal project on Liverpool fans and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. My Dad played for Liverpool in the seventies and I was wanting to explore how it felt.. in that particular era.. (especially as now the game and the business around it has changed so much). I chose to head to Anfield and talk to the lifelong fans, hear their stories, take their portrait. It’s been a pretty wonderful, cathartic process as it is such a big part of my life but at the same time I wasn’t even born at that point. I feel very much at home at Anfield and I’ll be heading back their next season to carry on with the project.

        An image from ‘RED’ – Emma’s ongoing project on the fans of Liverpool FC




























        Follow the links below to see a greater range Emma’s work and to find out more about the fabulous projects she runs and takes part in;


        Commercial / Personal


          Digitalab Newsletter 01-04-17

          New Product – Fine Art Naturals

          Our Fine Art Naturals range is a stunning combination of a beautiful Hahnemuehle German Etching print and one of our ‘Naturals’ frame options.

          German Etching is a heavyweight Fine Art etching paper with a fine surface texture giving the paper a very luxurious feel. The print is dry mounted to a foamex board and then placed within one of the hand-finished Naturals range of frame moulding.

          The wooden texture of the frames compliment the texture of the print perfectly. All of our Fine Art Naturals frames are made from premium quality materials and are available in 3 colour options: Grey, Charcoal and Whitewash.

          You can also add an optional Giclee matte varnish to protect your image from dust and scratches. Hand applied, we coat the print 3 times to ensure an even cover whilst still retaining the stunning texture of the Fine Art print.

          FIND OUT MORE


          Coming Soon! – New Album Service

          New Albums














          Our Album service from the award-winning Tony Sarlo is getting an exciting overhaul!

          New software, cover options and wonderful new accessories to customise and tailor your albums will all be released in the coming weeks.

          With Sarlo Albums based in Contursi, Italy, and ourselves based here in England, you have the best of both worlds .. Italian flair for design and album manufacture, whilst dealing with a UK contact.
          From Digital Books, Completto Duo, Harmony, Traditional Matted, the choice and combination of options is infinite.

          Sarlo Albums are a family business, and have been making high quality products for nearly 40 years, and are renowned for their bespoke albums, each one finished by hand, and individual to you.

          Keep an eye on our blog and newsletters over the coming weeks for more information. We will also have the new album ranges at this years trade shows!


          Digitalab on the Road



















          We are so excited to be exhibiting again at The Newborn Photography Show in May! We had such a great response at last year’s show and we have a whole host of new products launching at this year’s event!

          We have been nominated for Large Trader of the Year 2017 and we would love your support in helping us to win it! We have made a huge push toward the Newborn market over this past year – listening to our photographer’s feedback in order to know what kind of products to bring to the market – we hope you are happy with the result!

          Book your FREE ticket & Vote For Digitalab HERE!



















          We are also going to be exhibiting at the fantastic Photovision Roadshow in Edinburgh on the 25th of April.

          These events provide Imaging Professionals with a host of exciting visitor attractions including FREE seminars for 2017 to help sharpen your skills and teach you new subjects. Other attractions include, Studio Area Live, Camera Cleaning, Equipment Area and Used Equipment Fair.

          Book your FREE tickets HERE


          Adobe Lightroom for Photographers:
          Lisa Beaney Seminar with The Societies










          Join us on the 26th of April, 10am to 4pm! – click HERE for more info. LAST FEW TICKETS REMAINING!

          Have you ever wondered how you can speed up your workflow and use Lightroom to its full potential ?

          This full day Adobe Lightroom training will take you through everything you need to know to get the photos from your camera through to the finished version either printed or delivered digitally to your client.

          Using Lightroom can significantly speed up your workflow meaning you have more time to do the things that you love doing! 

          We are thrilled to be hosting this fantastic seminar day here at Digitalab with the award winning Lisa Beaney, presented by The Societies.  Tickets cost £80.00 for members of the Societies and £120.00 for non members. A lunch buffet is included with the cost of the ticket and you will also have the opportunity of a full Lab tour along with receiving free test prints and discount offers from both Digitalab and Adobe. 

          Book onto the course today!


          Featured Photographer – Gary Hill

           Gary Hill



















          A renowned portrait photographer in his own right (twice nominated for Portrait Photographer of the year with the SWPP), Gary works in a number of photographic fields offering wedding, portraiture, events, catalogues, brochures, books and websites, fashion and commercial packages through his own business.

          Gary also runs the Just Pose workshops & training days with last months featured photographer Cass Davies. These workshops & training days are intensive courses for photographers looking to up their game in their chosen field, offering training in Newborn Posing, Lighting, Business, Boudoir & Maternity.

          Read the full Q&A HERE


          Meet The Team

          meet the team

          Ever wanted to meet the wonderful team here at Digitalab and find out more about the people behind your amazing prints and products? Of course you have!

          Meet The Digitalab Team HERE

            Digitalab Featured Photographer: Gary Hill

            Gary Hill










            This month we speak to the multi award-winning photographer and trainer, Gary Hill.

            A renowned portrait photographer in his own right (twice nominated for Portrait Photographer of the year with the SWPP), he works in a number of photographic fields offering wedding, portraiture, events, catalogues, brochures, books and websites, fashion and commercial packages through his own business.

            Gary also runs the Just Pose workshops & training days with last months featured photographer Cass Davies. These workshops & training days are intensive courses for photographers looking to up their game in their chosen field, offering training in Newborn Posing, Lighting, Business, Boudoir & Maternity.

            Gary Hill

            Who inspired you to become a photographer?

            A guy called Bill Birkett, a climber who takes fantastic Lakeland landscapes, I then got into people and portrait work.


            What is your all-time favourite photography shoot?

            Tricky, so many great people I have met. A recent one with a 13-year-old child model with Autism, a superb young lady who has overcome issues to be a fantastic model and role model, this one sticks in my mind.


            How would you describe your photographic style?

            I argue with people that I don’t have one, the reality is a simple classical style of portraiture, timeless and elegant.


            What is your camera of choice and why?

            Canon 5 series, mk2’s. I should upgrade but it does exactly what I want so why change.


            What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring photographer?

            Pick your camera up daily, shoot anything and learn to understand how light works.


            Is there something that you would love to photograph more than anything else?

            Kylie Minogue or Charlize Theron, I love photographing ladies portraits and these are top of my list, or Brian Blessed, a hero of mine.



            To View more of Gary’s work check out his Facebook and Instagram Pages

            To find out more about his workshop training visit his site HERE

            Brand Ambassadors: York Place Studios

            Digitalab has been an institution of the Photographic industry for over 68 years now. We are incredibly proud to work with some of the very best photographers in the country and our Ambassadors are testament to how we continue to provide an exceptional service, tailored to the photographer’s needs.

            We will be releasing information on each of our ambassadors over the coming weeks but first up we are thrilled to announce the first of our Brand Ambassador’s, the award-winning team of Dominique and Liam at York Place Studios.

            York Place Studios

            Dom & Liam are a brother and sister team who believe that in order to create truly original work you need to work moment to moment, leaving any preconceptions at the door. They strive to create photographs that would be engaging to anyone regardless of their interest in weddings, not just to the couple or guests involved. It’s people first and foremost, not weddings that they shoot; weddings just happen to be one of the places they find them.

            The team now have over a decade’s experience in the industry behind them (and over 350 weddings in that time!), collecting a whole host of awards along the way including WPJA, ISPWP, Fearless and Rangefinder & Life-Framer awards.

            York Place Studios work as documentary wedding photographers has most certainly been influenced by their shared passion for street photography and when not shooting weddings they travel the world trying to experience and capture the soul of the streets. With a fantastic body of work already behind them in this field the team are always looking at the next destination and always searching for new ways that they can hone and develop their style even further.

            “We’re thrilled to have been asked to be the first official brand ambassadors for the amazing Digitalab! A family company of nearly 70 years in the photography arena Digitalab continue to be one of the most dynamic and forward thinking print and film companies in the world and we’re excited to be working closely with them to further expand and develop their amazing products and services. Their commitment to quality and great customer service is second to none and we can’t recommend them highly enough for all your printing, wall art and film development needs. We’re looking forward to working with them on some exciting projects coming up so watch this space!”





            The Best Of 2016 from York Place Studios on Vimeo.

              Digitalab Featured Photographer: Cass Davies

              cass davies

              This month we speak to the award winning Newborn Photographer, Cass Davies.
              Cass made the decision to specialise in newborn & pre-school six years ago and has not looked back since! One of the most highly qualified newborn photographers in the UK, she holds qualifications matched by only a handful of other ladies (sorry guys) & an Ambassadorship for the Baby & Newborn Photography Association.

              Cass describes herself as: “the photographer for you if you like your friends a little off beat, with eclectic but allegedly good taste in music, slightly obsessed with where the next great coffee & potentially cake is coming from, sentimental & fun with some joie de vivre for good measure.”
              The training and workshops Cass offers have won much praise within the industry – being a qualified adult vocational qualification assessor along with Associate level accreditation’s from the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers certainly helps! You can find out more about her One-to-One training sessions and Skype Training HERE.
              Cass will also be speaking at the upcoming Northern Portrait & Newborn Expo in Blackpool on March 15th – click the link HERE to book your tickets

              cass davies

              Who inspired you to become a photographer?
              Cliché but my Dad – he’s lived abroad most of my life & at 11 he bought me a little Nikon point & shoot. Thinking about it I had a very stylish bright pink camera before that one of those ones that took flash cartridges that came on a stick with only a few flashes per stick then they were gone, I must have cost my parents a fortune in film & flash! Although this is my second career being a publican & qualified chef & then teaching catering & hospitality first.

              What is your all-time favourite photography shoot?
              Any one where you make Mummy cry – as a newborn specialist I love a good emotional viewing, it’s a very special job. I love to teach & showing someone something & watching the lightbulbs go off is magic. I think one of my favourite images I have shot to this day is my Red Riding Hood, its on a sample in the studio & evokes lots of reactions from clients & I have fond memories of shooting it the little girl had such personality.

              How would you describe your photographic style?
              Clean and simple, quite pared back with focus on baby. I’m not huge into props I love great light & texture, gentle colours but not always neutrals.

              What is your camera of choice and why?
              Currently a Canon 6D I moved from Sony to a 5D mki when I upgraded to full frame, I love the lightness of the 6D & the quality without ‘gimmicky’ features, it does what it says on the tin.

              What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring photographer?
              Get & invest in outstanding business advice, it’s a jungle out there. Then get great lighting training & shoot what speaks to you because that will come through to the right clients for you. I don’t shoot weddings anymore & I rarely shoot adults alone or even many family shots, its all about short people for me & that’s what I’m known for.

              Is there something that you would love to photograph more than anything else?
              I would love to achieve a purely newborn F panel qualification, I think that would top off my career nicely. On the business front a few celebrity babies and a couple of OK featured images wouldn’t do any harm! On a personal level we love to explore as a family & there’s many places I would love to visit – its rare I take the big camera though, street photography in Morocco would be right up there.

              To View more of Cass’s work and find out more about her workshop training visit her site HERE