The Inspirationals: Elspeth Van Der Hole

 Super babe Elspeth

This 'Inspirational' is seriously close to my heart. Not only is Elspeth a BADASS fashion photographer, super talented, kind and my friend, she is also a massive inspiration to all those out there suffering with any form on mental illness. Elspeth openly talks about suffering heavily from anxiety, depression and recently diagnosed with showing traits of Borderline Personality Disorder. To me the fact she is so open about her illnesses are admirable, and has she let it stop her taking over the photography world? Has she fuck! Having worked with anyone and everyone from Vidal Sassoon to Asos she's a force to be reckoned with. Here she tells us all about how she got to where she is! 

 Elspeth recently shot musician Franzie Cocozza

Tell us what you do:

I am a UK Fashion Photographer!

What does your average work day look like for you?

The average work day? There is no average work day and that’s why it’s the BEST JOB EVER.

Do you primarily work alone or with other people?

I am a registered sole trader so primarily I work alone but I get commissioned by clients to take photographs. These clients could be anything from a model or make up artist to a well known fashion house!

How amazing?!
Is this what you wanted to do as a child?  Did you end up in this job by "accident" or was it a planned career choice?

As a child I actually wanted to become a fashion designer – I ended up taking my photography A level as a ‘filler subject’ and completely fell in love with the industry and creativity!

How long ago did you start on this path?

Over 10 years ago now! Including my previous art/fashion background.

How long were you doing it before you made it int your your career or primary form of income?

Probably around 9 years, but I ran my business and building myself up as a name in the industry alongside my education.

Did anything specific happen to get you to that point, or was it a series of small steps?

A series of MANY small steps – and still going! The Prince’s Trust Enterprise course was one of the larger steps I took as I gained a business mentor and a business loan which has helped me progress quicker in the more recent months!

 More of Elspeth's work. 

What kind of education do you have?

I graduated last year from Nottingham Trent with a 2:1 BA hons in Photography.

Before that I got a distinction in my Foundation Art and Design National Diploma at Birmingham City Uni, after completing 5 AS/A Levels at Worcester Sixth Form College.
What do you think is the best thing about what you do?

Getting to meet the most incredibly inspiring people all the time, and not knowing what the next day will bring you!
What's the worst thing?

I don’t actually know, even the bad parts of what I do have helped me get to where I am, you learn from your mistakes and you begin to embrace the bad times! It makes you a much more humble and grateful person that’s for sure!
Would you call yourself a work-a-holic?

I don’t think I would call myself that, but I’m sure EVERYONE else will haha! To me, my business is my lifestyle so I am constantly networking, marketing or creating – purely because I just LOVE what I do!

Such a talent.

What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do?

Love what you do, but also make sure you have an element of being business minded. If you love what you do too much without any notion of marketing it then it’s almost a sure fail, in the same way that being too business minded can make you want for money too quickly and get impatient with how long the journey takes!

How about number 2?

Choose your battles wisely. Learn who to take advice from, some people may be out to belittle you for their own gain – either because of jealousy or other reasons. Be polite, but be aware of competitive nastiness!

What do you wish you had known when you first started out?

That you can get to where you want to be, regardless of money. You don’t have to be a millionaire to achieve your dreams!

Are there any major misconceptions about your job or industry?

That it’s just a hobby, and we’ll happily work for free to enable other people’s monetary gain. ARGH.

 Photographing musical star Alexa Goddard

Do you have any ethical dilemmas with the work you do?

I haven’t directly encountered any yet – although there are a number of men who exploit the industry as a photographer in order to gain contact with young, vulnerable ‘wannabe’ models.

What's the best thing that's happened to you as a consequence of the work you do?

Having an outlet and somewhere to channel my emotions in order to keep my mental health balanced. It’s not easy running a business when you suffer from anxiety, depression and traits of borderline personality disorder!
What motivates you to keep what you're doing?
My mental health and the recent passing of my father have opened my eyes up to the need to living a life of fulfilment and the importance of being happy in your career. And my complete and utter infatuation with fashion photography, that feeling you get when you create a BEAUTIFUL new image that you just want to share with the world – it’s just bliss!

Who do you look up to within your industry and why?

I look up to a number of people around me – predominantly my direct circle of contacts, they keep me going and support me when necessary. It is important to surround yourself with positive and honest people, ESPECIALLY in the fashion world. I don’t think there is anyone I would single out in particular but having a good network of supportive contacts is key.

With the stunning Hannah Owen

Rate how happy you are with what you do out of 100:

10281924793846210q93812-03912-=0949023748. ALL THE HAPPY.

Is there much career progression available to you?

So much. You can never stop learning and progressing. I’m just so excited for what the next few years will bring – this is just the start!

Do you think you'll continue doing this for the rest of your life?

FOREVER AND ALWAYS. It is my life, if I didn’t have my business, photography, fashion photography… I just don’t know where I would be right now, but it wouldn’t be a happy place that’s for sure!

 Would like to thank Elspeth SO SO much (and you will be seeing lots of her and Wonderland soon!) for her openess and honesty. I reccommend you check out her work especially if you're in the midlands, even if not! If you're are suffering from any kind of mental illness she is such a inspiring, honest person and I urge you to do so. Elspeth is unique in this, that she admits when she has 'dark days' or is suffering, and that to me makes her all the more real, she doesn't sugar coat or bullshit. 

All photographs taken with permission from Elspeth's website

Find this babe at the following places:



  1. Amazing inspiration, thanks for sharing! <3

    I have a new outfit post on my blog, would love to know your thoughts;


  2. Such an inspirational post, totally loved reading this post and the interview!

    much love xxx

  3. All the pictures look amazin, and she's such an inspiration! This post really made me realise that if you want to achieve your dreams, you have to work for them! Thank you ;)


Thanks for popping by! We love reading what you think, and read every comment. Make sure you leave your link so we can check your blog out if you have one! Or come chat on twitter @oxwonderland