Like most people, when I think of England, I have images of Big Ben, the Queen and tea at a small cafe. Well, that was until I met Sue Vaughton, one of our Certified Photographers.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Sue for just about a year. What an amazing person and such a unique business model of real estate photography in England. She has also uniquely positioned floor plans into her business model and includes one with every shoot.
I truly enjoy each of our conversations (I can’t help but love the British accent) and wanted to share some of the greatness that is Sue Vaughton with the rest of the CubiCasa family. So grab a spot of tea, cup of joe or whatever you fancy and read a little more about my friend Sue.
Sue, How did you get into real estate photography?
“Thanks to my dad, I have forever been fascinated by photography, atmospheric homes and interesting living environments. He was a petroleum engineer, and his job meant frequent relocations for our family across the world. I was born in Bahrain and have some very vivid memories of many houses we lived in from Libya and Tehran to New Orleans and more! My early childhood was enthusiastically recorded through the lenses of my dad’s cameras – he was obsessed with documenting our lives overseas and I’m so grateful to him for instilling a passion for photography in me.”
“This curiosity for taking photographs continued as I grew up. I couldn’t wait to leave school and head off to art & design college to study photography. Three years later, I had my degree and started my career in medical photography. The travel bug hit again and after moving abroad I focused on developing and refurbishing residential properties and holiday vacation homes and then owning and running rental management businesses both in Italy and in Devon in the southwest of England. My love for property influenced my photography and for the last 15 years, I have specialized in property interiors, exteriors and architecture. My photography skills were perfect for all the necessary marketing activities and ultimately the sale of the hospitality businesses in 2017. I’ve been freelance ever since and haven’t looked back!”
Since you are in England, why don’t you tell us something unique about your area?
“I have lived in the popular seaside holiday town of Torquay in Devon on the south coast of England since 1995. Before moving to Devon, my husband would regale me with many tales of his childhood growing up by the sea. We were fortunate to raise our two boys here too from a young age and it’s not surprising we stayed put! South Devon is officially a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, famous for its beautiful clean beaches, rolling hills and countryside, winding rivers and its dramatic coastline. Consequently, the holiday market has exploded and there are now between 10-12K traditional holiday homes in Devon.”
You have a unique niche within real estate photography. Can You Tell us more?
“I like to blend my extensive experience of staging and styling holiday home interiors with beautifully lit and composed photography to create images that will successfully market a holiday property to its full potential.
Having developed and furnished 7-holiday homes of our own in the early 2000s, I’ve enjoyed lots of experience in presenting and styling interiors. Fast forward to Oct 2019, I was approached by a local rental agency to help interior design a holiday home owner’s newly acquired vacation property and to photograph it for their website once the project was complete. That was the beginning of my combined interior photography and design business. I have since designed and photographed ten additional holiday homes to completion and continue to provide this service alongside the everyday interior and commercial photography commissions I receive.”
How have floor plans helped you shape the Holiday Rental space?
“I am always encouraging holiday homeowners to invest in a floor plan to accompany their gallery of interior photographs. Floor plans are a welcome addition to holiday rental advertising descriptions and image galleries, according to visitor surveys. By lending confidence to your property, they can give your marketing an edge and convert more enquiries quicker. The floor plan of a holiday home enables guests to visualize the space which is especially beneficial for families. A floor plan is also the best way to understand how people can move through the entire property in a single glance. Even though photographs are the primary visual asset, floor plans give context and structure to photographs. This is the best way to understand how the rooms fit together and how a house flows.”
What does Sue like to do when she isn’t shooting?
“I love dogs and have two rescues from Thailand and enjoy walking them and wandering through the extensive trails in the woodland across the valley from my home. I also love spending time looking after my 20-month-old grandson Finn every Friday. Any other free time I can eke out, I’m working my way towards my MA in Photography via an online course with Falmouth University. It’s 38 years since I studied for my BA Hons in Photography and I became curious and eager to continue my photographic journey once more. To rediscover the freedom to experiment with personal photography projects with a bunch of like-minded cohorts and tutors. Indeed, there is certain loneliness to being a self-employed photographer! I am excited to develop a deeper, more philosophical understanding of the subject, which has led me to follow my passion further.”
What are you looking forward to in the 2nd half of 2022?
“Professionally, I’d like to work with more architectural clients and grow that side of my business (I had my first organic enquiry a month ago and intend to seek more via email introductions). I’m also eagerly anticipating my younger son’s wedding in September as well as my elder son’s move to live a mile from us in Torquay, which means I’ll get to see my grandson more often!”
What are your favorite vacation spots?
“Vancouver Island (we visited when the kids were young in 1996 and are eager to return someday) and Lake Como (where we lived and were married 33 years ago)!”
I sincerely hope you enjoyed getting to know our photographer of the month. We have included some of Sue’s amazing work and I’m sure you will find it as fascinating as I do.
Join The CubiCasa Community
Tammy and I would like to invite you to be a part of this community in a bigger way. If you haven’t already joined our group on FB please jump in HERE. If you have interest in being featured as our next featured photographer you can email Tammy Dwight by clicking HERE. We sincerely look forward to chatting with you soon!