Realising that the highly romanticised images of swan-necked Edwardian beauties dressed in extravagant gowns and seated on high-backed period chairs, clutching huge bouquets of flowers, were no longer in favour with the fashionable women of the day, she decided on an altogether more realistic approach to her work, designed to bring out the individual personality of her sitters. She began experimenting with different poses, lighting systems, backgrounds and paper, often using her family and friends as willing subjects. Little by little, she evolved a style of her own in which the sitter, placed against a dark background but well lit, faced slightly away from the camera. She also began using a variety of props to balance her compositions. At the same time, in order to promote the business, she began offering complimentary sittings to well-known personalities - usually actresses and ballerinas and, much more rarely, their male counterparts - and her work soon began to appear in the glossy society magazines which reflected the lifestyles and aspirations of the café and theatre society of the day. Her work also began to appear in the fashion magazines, such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, which had recently arrived from across the Atlantic, and it was this connection which led in 1922 to her first important commission - the official engagement photograph of Louis Mountbatten and Edwina Ashley, later lst Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

In 1920, she had married the journalist and aspiring playwright Edgar Middleton. While they were still engaged, she had offered to give up her career for him, but was greatly relieved when he considered that it would be a great mistake. This was perhaps just as well, since it was only on their honeymoon that he surprised her with the news that he could not bear the thought of children. This upset her greatly, since she considered that marriage was rather pointless without children, but it left her free to channel her prodigious energy into her career, for which posterity can only be profoundly grateful.