BUSINESSWOMAN Mel Taylor rose to become a manager for pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories before having children.

But after having her two boys, now six and nine, she struggled to find something that would fit in with family life, until a friend suggested she could change careers.

She had spent 15 years at Abbott, becoming product quality assurance manager and then incoming operations manager, responsible for all incoming materials used in the manufacturing process.

When the company moved from Abingdon to Witney, Mrs Taylor took redundancy and used the money to set up her own photography business at her home in Letcombe Regis.

Mrs Taylor, 49, said: “Photography has always been a passion of mine and I started going on courses. I set up a studio at home in a bedroom and did a lot of training.”

The popularity of DIY photography has made life tough for studio photographers, but she built up her business by dedicating herself to improving her skills. She added: “Now I have a viewing room where clients can see the products. The boys are older and I have more time to spend on the business.”

With the encouragement of a mentor, Martin Grahame-Dunn, she started entering competitions, becoming a finalist in one set of awards, resulting in her image being shown at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

She was also third in the ‘natural world’ section of the Photographer of the Year awards, followed by gold awards from the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers.

Her latest inspiration has been baby photographer Karen Wiltshire, who trained her in the specialist skills required to picture newborns.

“I met her at a workshop and she has been an inspiration,” Mrs Taylor said. “I had done baby photography before, but I hadn’t had formal training. Some of the techniques are the same as for other photography, but the skill lies in handling and posing the babies.”

Since then, parents have been travelling to her Letcombe Regis studio for a session, which can last two to four hours.

“Babies need a lot of looking after, so you have to wait for the right moment,” she said.

“The best age is within the first week because they are sleepiest then, and they are more flexible. After that, it’s harder to get them into position.”

Her venture into newborn territory has been so successful she is now looking at adding an outbuilding as a new studio.

“I feel the business is growing well enough to be able to expand,” she said.