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Sue Abbot has always wanted to dedicate more time to photography but other commitments have always taken priority. Now enrolled on the online BA (Hons) Photography course with IDI, she has found the perfect balance of studying, spending time with her family and working.

When Sue was just 11 her brother set up a darkroom in her bedroom. Most young girls would object to the invasion of space; their room being lit with a dim red glow and filled with trays of chemicals, but Sue was so impressed by the developing process that she didn’t mind, “It was like watching magic!” she recalls.

Her Dad was another influential figure in her early fascination with photography. He would carry a camera in his pocket everywhere he went, a trait Sue would come to copy:

“I was the one in the group who always had a camera with them. I still do. Not just a camera phone, but a small digital camera in my handbag at all times, complete with spare batteries! Even before digital I always had a small 35mm film camera with me.”

As Sue went through school, however, photography took a back seat. She finished with good grades but felt the time wasn’t right for university; instead focusing on family, getting married and having two sons. But, watching as her sons grew up inspired her to rediscover the magic of photography:

“By the time I was in my mid-30s I picked up my camera again properly and stopped just taking snaps. I started taking proper pictures of my boys.”

Sue even followed her brother’s example by setting up her very own darkroom at her family home. On seeing the results, Sue’s friends realised her talent and started asking for her to take pictures of their own children. The interest led Sue to believe a career in photography was a viable option and she decided to combine photography with another of her interests.

“I now mainly concentrate on taking Equine photos and have a website,, which covers my other passion – horses. Ultimately I would love to be a respected Equine photographer.”

Sue decided to join IDI to help make her dream job a reality. With a little more time to devote to herself she chose to study and is thoroughly enjoying the benefits:

“I find it a personal challenge as well as a personal gift. Finding the time can be hard – but that is all about self-discipline. It is about looking at the end goal and what is important to you.

“If you are thinking about doing the course, seriously thinking about it, I would say jump in and do it. It’s not something which takes over every spare second of your life. You do have to devote time to it and you do have deadlines, but it is so enjoyable and so much fun.”