Our Boutique Portrait Studio based in Woodbridge, Suffolk, is all about luxury portraiture. We aim to empower, increase confidence and boost self-esteem in not only women but all our clients. We provide simple, elegant photography, and creating unique contemporary portraits clients are proud to own and display.
How do we build confidence and self-esteem in our daughters and our sons?
It seems by the time they leave high school many have routinely and negatively compared themselves to not only their friends and peers but to a huge number of individuals in the wider world via the internet.
Pre-ten years old, pre-ego, for the most part, confidence and self-esteem are high.
Give them a photo shoot and they love it- they comfortably dress up, play let’s pretend, and fully embrace fantasy while still knowing who they are. Ultimately, its fun!
They want more photos and are excited by what they see.
It’s hard to believe things are about to change for the worse and continue to worsen well into adulthood.
Challenged by puberty, the education system, and bullies and trolls, to mention a few, confidence begins to plummet, and self-esteem too.
So how can photography help?
I believe photography can play a significant part in providing a sense of self-value, providing an opportunity to see themselves in a more positive light, and creating a sense of pride in their uniqueness.
I know from experience at my portrait studio this can and does happen for women following their portrait experience.
As a society, we are all aware women are arguably, almost always their very worst critics. Conditioned from birth to look for our faults, why wouldn’t we struggle to see the best?
We could, and should, start to change this.
If we can change the way we feel about ourselves through photography then it is much more powerful than we realise, and we need to recognise the deeper benefits.
The world would be an infinitely better place if we all thought better of ourselves and upgraded the way we saw ourselves.
Like the oxygen mask on a plane, fix yourself first. Experience a portrait session for you and see how you feel afterwards.
Check those negative thoughts and messages, external and internal, and speak more kindly to yourself and to others. Then follow by treating others in the same way.
Be that change in your world, and free up your positive self to make your children’s world better too.
Owning and running your own business is exciting, full on, and never dull.
Despite the endless challenges, I’d choose it every time over working for a company.
But that’s typically me… always picking the difficult route!
From finance and sustainability, building relationships and marketing, through to work/life balance, there’s much to work out when you go it alone. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
The learning goalposts continue to move and yes, it can be a very isolated and lonely road.
Despite the glamorised, perfect world of social media when working for yourself – you will be lonely.
This year as I was looking for more space to grow my business to the next level, I met Milli.
The timing was perfect
Both Milli and I had reached a point where we were unable to progress separately with our businesses.
We both wanted to grow; reach more clients and expand- and we knew we needed a larger space for our respective businesses before going crazy!
Milli is a highly talented lady.
As a skilled dressmaker and designer she started her successful business working from home and had numerous clients visiting on a daily basis.
It had become increasingly difficult to separate her work life and home life.
Those of you who visited me previously in my old studio know only too well how cosy it was!
Large groups were increasingly difficult to accommodate and there were other aspects which limited my ability to achieve the results I was wanting for all clients.
We started looking for space we could share.
Incredibly the universe was on our side.
It took very little time to relocate to the most beautiful studio space, our dream space, when we found Hall Farm Barn.
Now, 3 months on, we are able to run our independent businesses while staying connected and supportive on a daily basis.
Our 2 separate zones blend beautifully.
It’s always busy, never lonely, and such a joy to walk into the positive, kinship alliance we have created.
This gives our clients a huge advantage. With both portrait photography, dressmaking, dress design and fashion alternations available in one space just 5 minutes from the centre of Woodbridge, Suffolk, they have numerous reasins to pay us a visit. Not only a beautiful space, this is a hub of creativity and productivity like no other!
“She’s very pretty in her photo – she must be a model.. But honestly I would NEVER look like that.”
Maybe this is you? Or a friend?
“I’m just not photogenic. Everyone tells me! I don’t have any good photo’s of me – anywhere. Really!”
How about this?
“You wouldn’t want to work with someone like me, would you? You know, I’m getting on a bit now – I definitely need to lose a few pounds, could you airbrush those out? Look at these lines!”
Both in my portrait studio and in life I’ve heard this and a whole lot more. I’d say 98.5% of us have a fear of being front of a camera.
A fear of showing off. Putting ourselves out there and daring to be proud of ourselves.
Do we dare? Generally, we don’t. It’s too painful.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
My beautiful, wonderful friend. I hear you. Feel your pain. Know just how you feel.
Insecurity, doubt and self-loathing, hiding, dislike of our outward appearance, our fear of feeling odd and unacceptable, not looking ‘good enough’, not attractive enough, too old, too young, too dark, too fair, or simply unlikeable, comes from an ugly, murky world.
Idealistic expectations, comparison, competition – pitting people against each other, judgement, criticism, jealousy, fear, verbal put-downs, changing fashions, aggression, power…
Blah, blah, blah.. – All of this is delivered to us via others, often from those we don’t even know but dare to judge us.
Saddest of all is our inevitable chain reaction – doubting our worth, our physical being, leading to uncertainty inside us, separating us from others, then eventually, from our own selves.
We hear the lies told to us. And we start to believe them.
It’s an absolute given this creates anxiety, depression, self-harm, and social awkwardness just to mention a few disorders.
Did you know the after-effects can last a lifetime – affecting all our relationships – even with our children? This is a disease we pass on.
The good news is, you are not alone. We’re in it together! En masse. Wait… Maybe that’s not such good news.
MAKING THE CHANGE
Seems to me that, like any fear, positively sharing the fear halves the fear – and sometimes even, removes the fear.
At the very least, our shared awareness is powerful. You can’t be isolated in a community.
Realising this is the problem is the first step.
Step two is focusing on a solution because that connects us.
With too many of us feeling this way, we can and should make a change. We’re helping ourselves while supporting others.
All of us. Yes, ALL of us, even the ‘beautiful’ people lack confidence in their appearance – they do a great job of hiding it from everyone else!
Judgement from others is around every corner, more so than ever today, and it’s VERY negative. No one is spared, even the rich and powerful, the supermodels, the A-listers.
NEGATIVITY IS TOXIC
It hurts and squashes us. Damages our ability to connect deeply.
It’s a strange world when insecurity forces some people to hurt others because of their own weakness. But we know they are out there.
People are designed to connect, we’re better together – our survival depends on it, and life is good when we are good. Isolation and breaking people down is a killer.
Spreading far and wide, this disease not only limits our ability to live our life to the best of our ability. We lose confidence, our self-worth, and often our mojo.
We stop looking at all the wonderful assets we possess – how we do wonderful things for others, give and share the love, share life and our unique selves.
Heartbreaking but true – some disappear down the dark hole of isolation and never return.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
Ironically, and despite our fears of being seen, it’s true to say our love affair with photography continues- and has increased significantly- thanks to our phones.
But there is a downside. Our love /hate relationship with smartphones and apps has given us feelings of inadequacy too.
These struggles come from following perfect people in a perfect world and contrast sharply with our own simple warm and fuzzy pics.
Like many things in life, technology is a double-edged sword and it’s up to us to learn how to handle it. There is no sign that is going away anytime soon.
We know these perfect images can increase our negative thoughts and feelings, yet we’re obsessed. Photography has never been more popular.
Our insatiable hunger to capture endless moments of our lives means we thrive on sharing and saving. They may not be great pics, and we might not look our best but we love them.
The memories, chapters, pictures, warm our hearts are our most valuable possessions; they are utterly priceless.
It’s hard to understand why with our knowledge, our awareness of the damage being caused, aren’t we working together to stop this negative rot?
La Femme Portrait opened its doors for this very reason.
The reasons and excuses why women were uncomfortable when being photographed were too sad to laugh at any more and in a very small way I wanted to help.
It’s not about being in front of the camera, being ‘photographed’. It’s about stepping up, having the courage to be seen and to truly see ourselves as we are.
Fabulous, and real.
Dress up, dress down, dress differently. Sure, Any way you like in fact. Add makeup, style hair, that’s the fun – that’s playtime.
Behind all of that ‘style’ is us.
Brave, strong, kind and confident. On a quest to connect, to feel that we matter, that we have a reason for being here while we set about creating the best world for all of us.
No. It isn’t vain to be photographed. Its valuable and will help you to love yourself a little bit more.
Take a good luck at yourself and like what you see for a change. Feel good about all your abilities, the people you help, the good that you do.
Feel positive. Not negative. Empower yourself and feel the energy rise within you
Here you are on this glorious planet, make the most of it.
Did you know, the odds of us being born are 400 trillion to one?
400 TRILLION TO ONE!
You’re that ONE!
Spread the word, the love, discuss with others, make deep and meaningful connections and conversations- who knows – we might just change the world as we know it.
But most of all- Be recognised, celebrated, remembered, respected, valued, proud and complimented – you are so much more than a pretty face.