Wild Arena is a photography company based in northern Scotland. It was founded in 2003 and now runs under the guidance and ownership of David Southard, Janet Southard (myself) and Adrienne Nicholas.
Based at Forsinard Lodge, in the beautiful and unspoilt ‘flow country’ of Sutherland, we provide photographic services, courses and tuition, accommodation and even a tearoom for those interested in the art of photography or just passing through this beautiful part of the world!
David and I have decades of combined experience in multiple genres of photography, shooting many subjects in many locations in both digital, analogue, and video formats. The business also has 20 years experience of running workshops and holidays where we have looked after, guided, and mentored thousands of wonderful guests.
Adrienne has a background in personnel and law, but her passion is baking, and she is the anchor of the catering at the lodge and the mastermind behind the tearoom.
Wild Arena was originally based in Hampshire and then had a 10-year residence at Knowsley Safari Park, where a love of animals and an engagement with the zoological community blossomed. David and I also have long standing connections to the wider photographic industry, and both still frequently work with corporate partners such as Canon, Manfrotto, Gitzo, Lowepro, Lastolite, Elinchrom, Samyang, Atomos and Cokin.
The bottom line is:
‘A love of photography, the beauty of the Scottish Highlands and good cakes are the things we love, so if any of these interests you, get in touch!’
Wild Arena goals
At Wild Arena we always aim to offer personal, caring, and friendly service to all of our guests and visitors.
We hope to provide expert advice and educational support for developing photographers within a range of events to provide inspirational photography and learning experiences. Our simple goal is to help our guests further their photographic journey whilst showing empathy for our subjects and care for our environment. We believe the journey is as important as the destination, so we make our events as enjoyable as possible for small groups of like-minded people!
We also actively support wildlife conservation and protection by working closely with other organisations. Many of our workshops and tours directly benefit partner organisations, so by booking with us, you are helping them to keep animals safe in the wild by financially supporting their activities.
Meet the Team
All the staff and guides at Wild Arena are professional photographers, experts in their respective fields, or have years of seasoned experience looking after guests. They all have a passion for photography and sharing their knowledge with others. Across the team we have a variety of specialised skills, and we work hard to constantly develop and update our collective knowledge.
We believe strongly in giving all our guests the individual time they need, and so always ensure we have enough guides on hand to provide help and advice. Our aim is to give everyone the level of support they wish for, at all times. Similarly, with all Wild Arena tours, we ensure each group is accompanied by a member of our team together with knowledgeable local guides to enhance the experience of our guests. Please click on the guides name to be taken to their website to see their work.
David, Janet and the Wild Arena business, have a long association with the wider photography industry and we have been very lucky to have worked with some wonderful people and businesses, as partners over the past 20 years. As a team, we have decades of experience of the photography industry in the broadest possible sense, and we believe that our continued engagement with this world makes us ideally positioned to support and advice our wonderful customers.
We also think it’s so important to keep the photographic manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses vibrant in the UK, so that we, as photographers, can have access to great equipment and valuable advice whenever we need it. If everyone just made purchases on the global internet, we would all likely lose this rich network of support. That’s one reason why we have so many friends in this area.
Here’s a list of just some of the lovely people in the photography world we work with!
We strive to deliver our goals by enabling our guest to take great pictures in rewarding situations with the support they need, be that technical, physical or emotional. We are passionate about high quality image making, together with furthering a better understanding of our natural world.
We also aim to provide a secure environment that values, inspires and encourages all owners, staff and associates.
The Wild Arena business operates a universal policy of minimal printed materials, concentrating where possible on electronic communication. This includes both internal communications within the Wild Arena team, communication with our partners/suppliers and our guests. Any printing that is unavoidable is completed on recycled consumables endorsed by the FSC where appropriate and our printers (solopress) do the same whilst also using vegetable-based inks.
We donate to the World Land trust to offset our carbon emissions for all of our business and personal carbon footprint.
Wild Arena (and all associated employees and staff) are committed to the welfare and proper husbandry of all the animals within our influence or care. We always have this commitment as a priority above ALL other considerations.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
Trading and Liability insurance with RSA (Brooks Braithwaite).
FSB Incorporated Legal protection insurance with Abbey Legal Protection.
The Wild Arena business endeavours to operate with a strong ethical compass and function in a fair, moral and just manner.
We have been registered as a limited company since 12th February 2003 and are fully VAT registered.
We carry full employee and public liability insurance with ‘Brookes Braithwaite Ltd’ and operate within all known legal requirements.