Toby Lea

Designer

“You get to have some creative freedom, from planning to executing the ideas, and seeing the final image is quite satisfying.”

I primarily work on the NFU’s magazines; the membership titles we produce, and Countryside magazine, the public‑facing title. I work on layouts for those, as well as any marketing materials needed to support campaigns and occasionally, I’ll go out to do photo shoots. Tomorrow I will be photographing eight border collies for the front cover of Countryside!

I’ve been at the NFU for exactly 10 years and over that period I completed a six‑month City and Guilds Level 3 Photography course which the NFU supported. I gained a lot from it and could implement what I learnt into my day‑to‑day work. I was always asked by my line manager if there were any training opportunities I’d like to take up and knowing that my interest in photography was growing, I knew I could take them up on the offer. The role has developed and it’s nice to be able to take on elements that I personally enjoy. The variety is a real perk and keeps me engaged.

My daughter was born back in January and I spoke to my line manager about changing my working hours so that I started and finished earlier, which fitted in better with family life and meant I can be up to do the feed and spend more time with my family in the evening, all while working the same hours.

I really enjoy getting involved in the photoshoots. You get to have some creative freedom, from planning to executing the ideas, and seeing the final image is quite satisfying. Generally, getting out and meeting farmers and Countryside members is a great part of my role.

When we’re looking for a subject to go photograph, there is always someone in the NFU who can point us in the right direction which is helpful – to know what should and shouldn’t be in the photo as I wouldn’t necessarily know that detail.

A highlight for me was creating a British flag comprising of different coloured eggshells for NFU Poultry magazine which won some awards and is now at the top of my portfolio!