Meet The Flower Arranger – positive vibes & incredible designs.

In the second post in my blog series on exciting Essex businesses, I chat to Sapphire Bates AKA The Flower Arranger about inspiration, creativity and seizing the moment.

Sapphire’s creativity and unique sense of style and fun was evident as soon as I stepped into her Colchester-based studio to photograph her at work. Surrounded by a multitude of motivational quotes and sayings, I snapped away as Sapphire worked her magic. Over the course of the morning, I witnessed the transformation of a freshly delivered array of flowers into a set of stunning floral arrangements that no doubt dazzled all of the bride’s guests at the following day’s wedding ceremony.

I was intrigued to find out a little more about the girl known simply as The Flower Arranger…


Tell me a little bit about your floristry background and how you became The Flower Arranger:

I ended up in floristry very randomly, I definitely had no idea that this would end being my career path. After finishing a fashion and business course in London I had ruled out fashion but was certain I needed a job that was creative. I decided to do some work experience with a friend of a friend who ran a wedding florist. I ended up spending several years at Lily and May in Brentwood where I became a qualified florist and learnt pretty much everything I now know.

I then took time out from working to travel some of the world, whilst sat on a beach in Thailand thinking about what job I was going to go back too and how I would pay my bills. I just thought why work for someone else why not just start up on my own? …and here I am today with The Flower Arranger.


I notice that your studio is beautifully adorned with quotes of positivity and inspiration – is their a particular quote that sums up your personality and approach to what you do? 

That is such a hard question. I think positivity is so important, you have to believe in what you do in order to make it work. If I had to choose a quote to sum up my life personally I’d probably say ‘life is short’ because it so is! I have it tattooed on my arm as a daily reminder to take risks and take every opportunity be it a new personal adventure or business related.


Your creations are stunning – would you describe your designs as having a certain style and if so, what would you define this as?

I think I definitely have my own style of flower arranging however I’m not sure exactly how you’d sum it up. All of my work features a lot of texture and colour. I love playing with shapes and mixing things up, breaking the rules of floristry a little to make something truly unique.


What are the current trends in wedding flowers and do you seek to embrace or differentiate from these ever-changing styles and looks?

There a few different trends that are currently populating wedding flowers – roses in a soft nude and pale pink tones is one of them. I think a ‘wild’ and natural look is also very in right now, brides are being very creative and bold with their wedding flowers which is amazing, your wedding day should be unique to you!


Tell me a little about how you work with brides to design their wedding flower packages. How do you ensure a balance between meeting their set brief and maintaining your own creative ideas and input? 

I meet with all of my brides in person at our studio in Essex to sit with them and look through our portfolio and have a browse on Pinterest. I think it’s really important to work closely with my clients to ensure they are really involved in designing and creating the flowers for their day.

My amount of input with creative ideas completely depends on each couple that I meet some have all their ideas already and just need me to help make them real and others have absolutely know idea what they are after and I then help to come up with designs that fit with the feel of their day.


What advice would you give to couples who are choosing their wedding flowers?

Research before you meet with you florist, have a look at different florists on instagram and Pinterest to get an idea of the kinds of flowers and styles that stand out to you. Always work with a florist who’s work you love and who is happy to help you figure out what you are after because it can be hard to choose your wedding flowers if you don’t know anything about flowers.


If you are as impressed with Sapphire’s creations as I am, do check out her website at You can also keep up to date with The Flower Arranger by following her on Social Media; | @TFA_Sapphire |

Thank you for reading. See you next month.

Ross Willsher is a social (weddings and portraits) and commercial photographer based in Essex who is passionate about creating images as individual as you are.  His work can be viewed at / | @RWIllsherPhoto |


Meet The Flower Arranger – positive vibes & incredible designs.

Meet Modern Mint – The go-to local business for garden design and quality products

The first in a series of photography blogs looking at some of Essex’s most exciting and innovative small businesses.

Earlier this month I met up with the charismatic trio behind Modern Mint to find out about their bespoke and ethical approach to catering for all of your gardening needs.


Upon meeting Darren, Chloe and Stefano, I was immediately impressed by their passion and knowledge for all things horticultural and was eager to find out more about how Modern Mint is fast becoming the go-to business for garden design and products that are as beautiful as they are practical. Read on to find out what Chloe had to say. 

What is Modern Mint?

Modern Mint is the place to go for all things gardening. There are three of us that work here. Darren is the plantsman in the Essex and London area, Stefano works on the garden design drawings, and me – I run the online shop.


What made you take the plunge into the world of a start-up?

The idea and challenge of setting up a shop from scratch really excited me. Perhaps its in my blood as both my father and grandmother ran shops!  Before I joined Modern Mint I worked as an PA to the President of a large company. This work gave me the opportunity to get involved in running different areas of the business, discovering the nitty gritty of how it all worked – an experience that was brilliant training for Modern Mint.

Getting the confidence to run your own business takes time, it is worth starting small or building some career capital from the job you are in, but now I have done it I wouldn’t want to work any other way! You learn something new everyday, stretch your skill base and it has been a positive and healthy change of lifestyle!


The shop was never in the original plan – how did that come about?

We decided to add the shop after a year or so of setting up the garden design business. It was a natural progression. Going to garden centres we kept seeing the same stuff over and over again. With Darren’s gardening work he had grown tired of working with tools that kept breaking, planting up pots that were ugly (or even worse, boring) or using synthetic fertilisers that harmed the environment. He had gradually tested and refined a palette of products he could trust and start with for the shop.


What was the first product you sold online?

It was the Seedballs. When we made our first online sale, our merchant bank refused to work and the customer called complaining that she couldn’t pay. We were in a state of shock that someone was actually buying something off the website and calling us up about it along with utter frustration at the bank for being so unhelpful! Thankfully it was all resolved quickly, and our first customer has turned into a regular one.



How do you source your products, and is there anything exciting coming up?

The garden industry is not really that green – which seems ridiculous really as it is all about working with the environment. There is lots of waste in the form of plastic pots, overuse of chemicals and excess waste that ends up in landfill. We didn’t want to part of this.  We garden organically so it would be totally against our ethos to just buy mass produced items, poorly made with a negative effect on the environment and community where it is made.

We sell items that we know are good quality, have come from suppliers and makers that care and use recycled materials if possible.  A good way to run a business is to sell an amazing product and avoid customer dissatisfaction. Who wants to deal with complaints? We like our customers, enjoy getting to know them and want to build up a long term relationship with them.

The new ideas come from listening to our customers. When we first launched the shop last year we were told constantly our stuff is great for gifts. So we are spending the summer putting together a gift range for all our products, with gift wrapping options too ready for the Christmas season. We aim to launch this in September, along with a very exciting range of indoor gardening products.


How does professional photography benefit your business?

We pride ourselves on only selling high quality, ethically produced products. Therefore it’s really important that these are photographed in a way that visualises the craftsmanship and skill that has gone into creating each item. Professional photography helps Modern Mint to communicate our brand to potential new customers, who may not have had the opportunity to experience the products in person and are viewing them for the first time online. We also feel that by photographing our products in the environment in which they are to be used, we can clearly communicate a sense of size and scale and help clients to see how great an addition they would be to their own gardens or homes.



I had a great afternoon photographing the team at Modern Mint. To see more of the products Modern Mint sells you can visit their website at

 If you run your own business and require professional photos to help you sell your brand, please visit to see more examples of my work or email to arrange a complimentary consultation. I look forward to hearing from you. 



Meet Modern Mint – The go-to local business for garden design and quality products

Relax…it’s in the bag: Part 1 – The Main Camera Body


Part 1 in a series of blog posts exploring what essential pieces of kit I keep in my bag and how each item helps to promote your brand.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be blogging about the essential items I carry in my commercial photography kit bag and how they help me to get great shots of you and your business. For part one I thought it best to start with the most obvious piece of kit – my main camera body – the Canon 5D Mark ii.

Here are 5 features of the 5D Mark ii that help me as a commercial photographer to help you sell your brand..

1. The Full-frame Sensor

A camera’s sensor size ultimately determines how much light is captured within each image. The larger the sensor, the more light that is captured in each shot.  The 5D Mark ii is fantastic for shooting in low light situations due to it’s full-frame sensor. The large sensor also helps to capture the tiniest details in highlights and shadows as well as a broad spectrum of colours and tones.


What this means for you.

My camera can help me to capture concerts and events using only the ambient light available in the room whilst still maintaining high quality in my images.  I have and can use an external flash unit to enhance a low light scene, but often the most interesting images can be created by utilising the Canon 5D’s ability to capture brilliant detail in far from ideal natural lighting conditions. So when you book me to cover your events you need not worry about low light at the venue – I have the equipment to overcome this and take great shots.

Morely-ollege-opera (1 of 1)

2. Long Battery Life

Whilst I use fully rechargeable batteries (more on these in a future blog) and always carry spares on my shoots, I have rarely – if ever – needed to replace the battery midway through a shoot. The 5D Mark ii will take 1000 to 1500 shots before the battery needs replacing so I can shoot without fear of having to stop just when we’re getting into our photographic groove!


What this means for you.

Sometimes it may take a while to relax during your headshot shoot or we need to keep trying different angles and poses to capture your personality. The long battery life of my camera means that we only have to stop our photography shoot when we decide we have nailed the shots and not when the camera says “Enough!”


3. Total control over every setting.

This camera lets me take full control of every aspect of each photograph – from exposure (brightness) to how much is in focus, the image’s colour balance and whether to freeze or to blur motion.


What this means for you.

My camera helps me to ensure that the colours and tones of your products are represented accurately in all promotional material. Using the Canon 5D, I am able to light and shoot products in a way that highlights their USP and thus increases sales of your produce or stock.


4. Interchangeable lenses

The Canon 5D – like most DSLRs – allows me to fit and use a range of lenses according to the photograph I am taking. I will talk in a future post about what each individual lens does for me (and you). Having a camera body that fits so many top-range lenses means that I can creatively shoot from a range of distances and angles and compose shots that help to promote your brand and products.


What this means for you.

From head shots that really capture your unique personality through to wide-angle captures of your premises or event venue, being able to switch lenses to creatively capture what is important to you is a real feature of my photography style.


5. Custom Functions

The Canon 5D Mark ii enables me to personalise which button controls each function. For example, I use a button on the back of the camera to control focussing instead of pressing down the shutter. This means that I can work in a way that suits me best and quickly make adjustments without having to stop and look at the camera body itself.


What this means for you.

Knowing these controls so well means I can focus my attention on you. I can check that you  are feeling relaxed and happy with how the day or shoot is going. I can help to guide your posing and answer any concerns that you may have. It also means that I can work more efficiently which – due to the fact that I charge per hour – ultimately saves you money.


So there you go – five ways in which my camera body helps me to promote your business. To see some of the work created with this camera please take a little look at my website or get in touch if you would like my camera and I to create some images that will help you promote your USP.

In my next post I’ll be talking more specifically about my lenses and how each one makes you look your best. In the meantime, I’d love to hear any comments or suggestions for future posts.

Have a great week.

Ross | 07590 520539

Relax…it’s in the bag: Part 1 – The Main Camera Body