The photographer, the milliner, his portraits and their hats.

Hi everyone

My name is Jon Busby and I am a professional portrait photographer,

I have been thinking for awhile now about specialising in millinery portraits that help milliners showcase their work. The idea came from a model I was working with who felt my uncluttered, minimal style would suit hats. Although I haven't done many hat specific shots yet I have attached portraits I have done where my models have worn hats.

Having researched the market the difference in a well composed and well lit hat placed on a model, I think, can be defining and can bring out so much character than say a hat on a stand. Cropping in closely with zero or little background 'clutter' enables the eye to be naturally drawn to the hat. Make the composition full length and there are other things to look at which takes the eye away from the hat. It is similar if there is some background distraction. As a photographer the focus should be on the hat first, complimented by a good model.

So I would like to make an offer to the Hat Academy community. I would like to offer three miliners my time for free in a professional studio where we can work together to create amazing images of your work that you can then use to promote yourself.

I am based near Birmingham UK and have access to two wonderfully spacious professional studios. I also have a bank of male and female models who will sit for free (assuming availability) for the images. Typically these models would require copies of approved images to add to their portfolios as a 'trade for' payment. I tend to use more mature models as they bring a sense of experience and realism although I also have access to younger models.

I will also provide you with access to a private web based gallery after our shoot for you to access and review the work. From that you may select up to 15 images, (in reality I usually offer more but wanted to put a mimnimum number). I will do post process and retouch so they are super sharp and clean. I will also make them Instagram etc friendly. BTW the gallery means you get every shot taken of your hats.

The only charge that I will make is for the studio hire as this is a fixed cost that I have to pay the owners. Typically this is weekdays £15/hour, weekends £20/hour. I take no cut from this and in the interests of being transparent you can make payment direct to them if you prefer.

As a guide I would say that as a minimum 2 hours and a maximum of 4-5 hours.

What's in it for me? I get the chance to establish myself in a niche that I am interested in and work with people who have a creative passion.

If you are not one of the 3 selected I would like to make a secondary offer exclusively to The Hat Academy. Below are my discounted charges for The Hat Academy members excluding studio costs but including the 15 post process images.

2 hour shoot for £120

3 hour shoot for £150 

4 hour shoot for £180.

If you want to work with another milliner at the studio to split costs that is okay but from a purely organisational point of view I'd say two would be the limit.

I can hire in studios in other parts of the UK however that may impact on costs around travel.

I can and do do outdoor/location shoots but initially would prefer to utilise studio light as it is far easier to control.

I hope that provides all you need to know but please feel free to email me at with any questions. I am as passionate about portraiture as you are about millinery and collaboration is a vital part of the process for me. I do have a general FB page called 'jonbusbyphoto' that you are more than welcome to like.

Thank you for reading this.



Tags: photography, portraits

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You do beautiful work.  Wish I lived in the UK as I would take you up on your offer.

Thank you Sharon, that's kind of you to say.

Looks great Jon, please move to Scotland! xxx

I would have loved to take this opportunity. I live in India though. Would you be interested if I ship 3 hats to you? is my website. I would absolutely loveee to work with you on this!




Such a great idea. I love the fact that you use mature models. Wish I lived in the UK instead of the US and I would let you do this. Had lots of my hats on the runway but not any great model shots outside of the runway. Good luck.

Margie Trembley



Apologies for the delay in responding and thank you so much for your kind words.

Whilst I do not limit myself to mature models I do feel that sometimes age can carry with it a sense of travel and experience, call it worldly wisdom.

I came to millenery because I felt I could attempt to add something that could enhance through my knowledge of image capture, call it a meeting of creative passions. 

Whilst I don’t have the budget to travel to America today, a country I have visited many times and love, let’s never say never.

Best wishes to you and yours for 2018.


What a fabulous idea!  And such beautiful portraits. I'm going to email you now, just in case your offer hasn't been snapped up already.


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