Bolton photographer Janet Broughton wins Image of the Year award

Lydia and Zac

Lydia and Zac - Credit: Archant

This atmsopheric shot of a girl and her dog won a new photographer a top national award

Janet's horse portraits are among the most popular in her portfolio

Janet's horse portraits are among the most popular in her portfolio - Credit: Archant

They say never work with animals or children but, for photographer Janet Broughton, they are the subjects that make her job a joy. It is a passion which has resulted in her winning a top national award.

This moody, slightly unsettling black and white portrait of a girl and her dog won two categories at the Guild of Photographers ‘Image of the Year’ Awards after being shortlisted from almost 10,000 entries.

Not bad for someone who is a relative newcomer to the art. She took up photography as a hobby in her early 40s and it led to her leaving the finance industry and setting up in business two years ago.

Janet’s main areas of specialism are fine art portraits of children and families along with equine lifestyle photography which set out to show the bond between animal and owner.

‘Like most people, I took holiday snaps,’ says Janet, who is based in Bolton but shoots on location across the north. ‘Before, I was never involved in anything creative. I never felt as if I had enough self-belief for that.

‘But I was walking past a photography shop and my husband said I should treat myself to a better camera. I did and I soon realised how much I enjoyed taking pictures.’

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Having decided that she wanted to explore a more artistic approach to children’s portraits, Janet was contacted by the mother of Lydia Robinson, a youngster from Reed with ambitions to be a model. ‘During the shoot, Lydia’s mother asked if I wanted to include the family pet, Zac.’ The resulting picture won the award.

‘I had a good feeling about the picture but it was really difficult to judge how it would stand comparison with so many high quality images.

‘I like it because it’s not a picture you would just walk past without giving it a second thought. It makes you wonder about the two of them, what they are thinking.’

Lydia was an ideal model but not all subjects are as easy to work with. ‘The key is getting to know the people you are photographing,’ says Janet, who is 48. ‘The secret is getting them to relax and having tremendous patience.

‘Horses can be difficult as they are never still. There’s always muscle movement going on under the skin

‘But the most challenging can be new born babies, especially when they are under a fortnight old and can’t focus properly. Sometimes you have to wait for them to fall asleep so you don’t plan more than one job in the same day.’

You can see more of Janet’s work at