Everyone is a photographer nowadays – it’s seemingly easy to be snapping away on smart phones recording every minute of children, grandchildren and pets’ lives.

But there is still something very special about a professionally taken photograph which captures the moment perfectly in intricate detail.

Eilidh Robertson is expert at achieving that amazing shot, which makes you go ‘Wow!’ in a seemingly effortless way, but it has taken years of hard work and dedication.

Eilidh, who trades as Eilidh Robertson Photography, is well known in farming circles as the other half of Craig, who produces top class commercial cattle at Newton of Logierait Farm, near Aberfeldy. They have two young sons, Jack (3) and Andrew (1).

She set up her wedding photography business in 2013, specialising in rural weddings, which immediately took off and soon she was training up her sister, Laura, who, since 2016 has been an associate photographer, capturing her own weddings.

Family shoots have always been popular, but only a small part of the business, but Eilidh commented: “When we went into lockdown and couples, sadly, had to start postponing their weddings, I quickly realised that family photography could be an opportunity to keep busy during 2020 and hopefully claw back some of the revenue I was losing.”

With her income expected to be drastically reduced due to the loss of weddings, and taking inspiration from ‘doorstep photos’ set up by some urban photographers, she launched Farm Gate Photos during phase one of coming out of lockdown in June.

Eilidh is very active on social media and around the same time set up her Farmlife Scotland Instagram page, on which she aims to showcase rural family life in Scotland through documentary photography. The Farm Gate Photos were promoted on this, which has around 1400 followers, and she was soon busy with shoots in Angus, Perthshire, Fife, Stirlingshire and Ayrshire.

She added: “I was delighted with the way Farm Gate Photos took off and, while it took a bit of organising to do up to 14 shoots a day and driving from place to place, it was worth it. I felt very safe, travelling alone and keeping my distance from the families outdoors.”

A 30-minute shoot costs £75, which includes a gallery of 50 photos, from which the family can chose five high quality digital files suitable for printing. Any extra images cost £12.50 each, or the whole gallery can be purchased in high resolution for £150.

During August and September, she and Laura had a few low-key, small weddings to capture but the Farm Gate Photos started again at the beginning of this month with a difference – Eilidh decided to make use of the spectacular scenery locally and invite families for a farm photography experience.

Dunfallandy Farm, near Pitlochry, which is tenanted by the Robertsons, has an old, picturesque steading, which Eilidh says is useless for cattle, but perfect for photos! There is plenty of space outdoors, but also a few covered areas, should the weather be typically ‘Scottish’.

She said: “I like to feel this is a form of farm diversification, with Dunfallandy an ideal outdoor photography studio and the families who have come so far have really enjoyed the experience.” She has a few spaces left in November and December.

Eilidh’s style is really natural, making use of what is lying around for props and the glorious natural light in the Highlands. Photos are seldom posed and no-one is ever asked to say ‘cheese!’

It also helps she has two small boys and knows exactly what children can be like. She added: “People say, ‘never work with children or animals,’ but I love the challenge of persuading – or distracting – them until I can get them in the perfect shot!”

She has been careful to follow Scottish Government guidelines on Covid-19, keeping her distance from the families by using an 85mm lens, providing hand sanitiser and ensuring that one car load has left before the next one arrives.

Since the spring, Eilidh has been working with a rural business coach, Jane Hemmingway, who has been helpful in directing her to new opportunities, and with this in mind, she offers a couple of other options on the website for longer family shoots, which she has branded ‘A slice of life’ or the even longer ‘A day in the life.’

She said: “When coronavirus hit us, I realised the balance in the business was wrong, with too much focus on weddings. When and if we get back to normal, I would like to keep going with the other projects, even if it means employing someone else.”

This may well have to be the case, with Laura expecting her second child in January and more than 60 weddings between them in the book for 2021, with 12 already scheduled for 2022.

Not one to rest on her laurels and motivated to develop herself more, Eilidh also enrolled in this year’s Rural Leadership programme, which has had to be all on-line, but she is enjoying it very much.

She is also about to launch a mentoring programme and said: “Having trained with the best wedding photographers in the UK and benefited hugely from my own mentoring, I feel I have something to offer those just starting up in business, so I have a few mentoring options on my website from ‘bite size’ to ‘long term’.”

Being a busy farmer’s wife, mum and running her own business, means she does not have much time on her hands, but her next aim is to train in videography so that she can offer short video clips alongside the Farm Gate Photos.

As she pointed out: “Kids say and do the funniest things sometimes, and it would be great to capture some of these moments on video, alongside the photographs.”

Testimonial from Julia Onions:

“We wanted to capture some relaxed family photos in a fun environment so the farm shoot at Dunfallandy was perfect for us.

“A short shoot in a stunning setting with the perfect amount of places for my young kids to explore and capture those special moments. Eilidh made the time on the farm so fun for the kids, they didn’t even notice getting their picture taken and the results are amazing.

“Thanks for capturing my little family moments so well, we will be back for more!”