William Louis Henry Skeen was the son of a photographer, William Skeen, who had founded a studio in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was trained at the London School of Photography and returned to the family business about 1862. The firm recorded every aspect of life on the island, specialising in photographs documenting coffee cultivation. In 1880 it produced a series of thirty photographs recording the new tea industry. W L H Skeen died in 1903 but the firm continued until the 1920s.