Event photography is often a popular choice for freelance photographers but so many end up pigeonholed into the traditional routine of weddings, concerts and sporting events. However, just beyond the horizon of standard event photography work lay the extraordinary outliers.

Enter a small Welsh town named Pendine. The home of a lovely little ice cream shop, a developmental army base and the annual Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races from the Vintage Hot Rod Association.

Maisie-Lee Walker has been taking photos of anything and everything for as long as she can remember. After being given the majority of her grandfather’s professional photography equipment as a child, she would spend hours having fun documenting the world around her. It wasn’t until people started requesting her services that Maisie realised she could earn a living from her hobby.

“I honestly hadn’t considered freelance until friends of mine started coming to me asking for headshots for projects, and photographing a few local events like markets, dance shows and car events. The more I did, the more I realised how much I enjoyed it, and that I could actually start a small business with it.”


While studying creative media at Bath College, Maisie fell in love with the local architecture, spending a lot of time focusing on the composition and structure of her photographs. Her attention to detail caught the eye of a popular local photography group, IGers Bath, who invited her to join their team in 2017. She was so inspired by all the wonderful creatives she met, that she ended up staying with this group for four more years, getting involved in all aspects of the local community.

“It was amazing to meet so many talented people who all live in the same area, with some amazing opportunities such as organizing meet-ups around the city, private tours in some famous Bath landmarks with our cameras and collaborating with Apple for an iPhone photography workshop.”

Today, Maisie tends to focus more on lifestyle photography, preferring to capture the candid moments of the local people, architecture and events. As the social media manager for Botanica Studio, she spends a lot of her time photographing beautiful houseplants and is working with the owners to open a photography studio above the plant shop. The studio will provide a space for local creators to hire that will allow them to get really creative whilst being surrounded by the inspiring properties of nature.


I caught up with Maisie recently at one of her favourite events to document, the Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races. Every year, vintage car enthusiasts from around the world descend upon the historic beach in Carmarthenshire, South Wales in an attempt to break the land speed records for pre-1949 hot rods and customs. A lot of these cars have been lovingly hand-built specifically for this purpose, as Maisie knows well:

“My parents have been involved in the hot rod scene since they were my age. Growing up we’ve had all sorts of hot rods and customs which have taken us all around the country to different events and races. I’d always take my camera along to these events as they’re, as you can imagine, easy subjects to look good!”

She has always loved being able to call attention to such an interesting and vibrant community: 

“It’s loads of fun photographing both the cars and their owners as they really dedicate themselves to the scene. I love to show their passion (and how cool they all are) through my photos, and you get a real sense of community at these events. Pendine Sands is an iconic location in racing history, so it’s really an honour to be there and capture it all in action.”


As I watched Maisie pick her way carefully through the line of hot rods in the pit, stopping occasionally to find a better angle or gently guide people into a nicer position, it was clear that she cares a lot about the story her photos would tell. She tries hard to highlight, not just the beauty and speed of these machines, but the personalities of their drivers too:

“I never really know what I’m going to aim to capture when I go. This time I decided to focus on the people of the event rather than just the racing. It was a lot of fun capturing them in their element, surrounded by their favourite cars and friends. You get a real feel of the atmosphere that way and the photos feel really natural. My favourite part was probably the final run back; hundreds of hot rods driving down the beach while the drivers have huge grins on their faces, it’s like a scene from a movie!”


Maisie is quick to give credit to the many interesting people she’s met and worked with for the opportunities she’s gotten over the years:

“It’s all down to the people you meet! I’m really lucky there’s such a strong community of creatives in Bath and Bristol, a majority of who I have met through Instagram. It’s all about who you know and the relationships you form with them, people will remember you and opportunities come from all over the place. Even just simply the people I have met working in a coffee shop in Bath, you’re surrounded by them! I met Alice working there, who is now the owner of the plant shop and soon-to-be photography studio, Botanica Studio.”


When I asked, Maisie knew exactly what advice she would give to new freelancers who felt apprehensive about starting their businesses.

“As a fellow nervous person, I know exactly how scary it can be to dive into a freelance job, and the pressure that goes along with it. I’ve found the best way to go about it is to be completely honest with them. Try not to dive into a job you’re not 100% on, ask the thousands of questions, particularly if it’s an event. What’s the lighting like? How big is the area? Preferably go along there beforehand and do a recce.”

“Anything you can do so you’re fully prepared for the job and have all the equipment you need… also in case you may need a friend/assistant. In my first few jobs I took a photographer friend along with me, that way I had backup and we could learn from each other, the organizer gets more coverage and there’s a lot less anxiety. Win-win!”Just like her photographs, she always tries to convey a sense of her personality in her portfolio.

“Your portfolio is most likely the first thing a potential client will see, so if it’s boring or out of date, they lose interest fast. It’s good to both show your best work, as well as some personality along with it… Show them exactly what you’re about!”

Maisie’s final piece of advice was to have belief in your abilities:

“And lastly, have confidence! They wouldn’t hire you if they didn’t think they were good enough.”

If you’d like to work with Maisie, you can find her on Freelancer Club or Instagram.

Photographer Credits:
All Images: Maisie-Lee Walker