Lisa's Mastectomy Journey
It was such an honour to welcome Lisa for her Boudoir Session last month. We chatted on the phone beforehand and I knew we'd be a good fit for each other. I hope that by Lisa sharing her story she is able to empower fellow survivors to embrace the changes in their bodies too. Thank you for being so wonderful, Lisa.
"What an amazing experience! Doing a boudoir photoshoot is one of those things I’ve always fancied doing but never actually had the courage to go for it and I’m so glad I have!
In September 2019 I felt like my whole world fell apart when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Suddenly it felt like someone had pressed pause on my life as I entered 6 months of chemotherapy. I could actually cope with losing my hair thanks to an amazing wig, but once you lose your eyebrows your whole face changes and that’s when my confidence took a hit.
My treatment was going to plan and I was nearing the end of my chemo when lockdown happened. My last round of chemo was cancelled and my surgery was put on hold. My confidence hit rock bottom – being told you can’t get close to your own children or husband in your own home was really hard.
I had a mastectomy in the summer of 2020, however due to COVID, reconstruction at that time was not an option for me. I finished 2020 with radiotherapy and since then I have been getting used to my new body. My hair is now long again and my confidence has improved, however I felt I needed to give it a boost and do something totally out of my comfort zone – and that’s where Rachel came in.
I’m quite a shy person and did look at a few photographers offering boudoir photography, but none of them really hit the bill, I wanted something classy and that’s exactly what I got with Rachel.
I had a nude baby bump photograph done elsewhere when I was pregnant with my first son 16 years ago and I’ve always hated how it turned out as I look really awkward and uncomfortable.
This photo shoot and the results were totally different – from the minute I walked through the door Rachel and Sasha put me at ease (I was extremely nervous). I’d never had my makeup done, not even on my wedding day, so that was a real treat and I felt amazing. Rachel was so friendly, helpful and encouraging, yet so professional. She was so careful with positioning the camera so not to draw attention to my mastectomy side, which is exactly what I wanted, and was very clear in giving instructions to get me in some wonderful poses. The results were fabulous, better than I could have wished for, she is so talented and has an impressive eye for detail!
I really did feel amazing after the shoot and I would recommend anyone to do this, there really is no better way to boost your confidence! I will definitely go back to Rachel in the future"
This is one of the most special sessions I've ever done and it was an absolute privilege.
Charlotte has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type 3 which is a connective tissue disorder which causes widespread pain, dislocations and subluxations of all of her joints. In her case, her bowel also doesn't work properly so in March 2022 she had surgery to have an ileostomy bag fitted (Sally the Stoma!).
Charlotte also has a feeding tube due to severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). She suffered morning sickness so badly that her weight dropped to the extent that she needed a feeding tube. HG usually stops early in the second trimester but in her case she's had it since 6 weeks with no relent. Charlotte has had this to deal with during her pregnancy on top of her other health issues.
Charlotte suffered 13 prior miscarriages due to a combination of the EDS and a gene mutation causing issues with blood clotting; this photoshoot was a huge deal for her to finally celebrate her pregnancy and in many ways accept her body for how it is now (with the ileostomy and all the surgery scars). At the beginning of the pregnancy and even more recently, she felt like she was never able to get excited about it out of fear of another loss.
I am in awe of Charlotte's strength, bravery and her attitude around normalising stomas and feeding tubes and although we took some shots from different angles so that you couldn't see them so prominently, she was clear that she wanted to also include them as part of her journey and accepting her body.
Charlotte admitted that she struggled physically through her shoot but I told her I would never have noticed. She was an absolute trooper and I've never seen such absolute adoration from a husband to their wife than I saw from Nathan. You guys make the most amazing team and I am so humbled that you chose me to do this with you.
Charlotte, you are absolutely beautiful 💕💕
A look back on 2022
All the Bumps!
I welcomed lots of beautiful bumps last year, both to the studio and on my favourite beach! My favourite part is when they come back a couple of months later with their new arrival...it's magical! The best time to have a maternity session is at the 30-34 week stage. All of the dresses you see in the images are available for you to wear in your session, and I can book you a makeover with one of my professional hair & makeup artists...the perfect way to embrace your bump!
All the babies!
Look at all those beautiful colours! I always ask parents to let me know what colours they'd like to see in their session, advising them to choose colours that compliment their home decor or the nursery for when the images are displayed on the walls. Equally I love keeping it timeless and simple with black & white images, particularly silhouettes. The best time for a newborn session is when baby is 5-14 days old so that they are nice and sleepy and still in that wonderful curled up newborn position. My newborn sessions have increased in popularity, so if you're expecting this year, be sure to get your due date booked in my diary. I'd love to welcome you!
All the gorgeous families!
Chubby cheeks, magical mother & daughter bonds and lots of smiles! Both in the studio as well as out and about in the woods and my favourite beach! I've loved my family sessions this year. If your family prefers a more natural, outdoor setting we can head out in to the great outdoors! In the studio, we don't need to worry about what the weather is up to and you'll have access to my studio wardrobe as well as one of my professional makeup artists. Either way, it's a great way to update your family portraits...so important when they are growing away so quickly!
My Beautiful Boudies
Boudoir Shoots remain my most popular session, with ladies coming from all over Devon & Cornwall and beyond, I still can't believe that! Boudoir Sessions are a great way to give yourself a confidence boost and they also make a great gift for a loved one if you need to find an excuse :) Doing it for yourself is absolutely the best reason. The ladies I photographed last year were again a wonderful set of every day ladies who most had the usual hang ups that we all have. They all worried about whether they could pose or look like the other women in my photos. As you can see, they all smashed it! It's wonderful to see my ladies leave the studio with a little buzz - because for some it isn't just about the end result of the photographs, it's about pushing themselves out of their comfort zone and doing something they couldn't have ever imagined doing, and enjoying it too!
I still pinch myself about how lucky I am to have the best job in the world, year after year I welcome and fall in love with so many very lovely people. Thank you for letting me follow my dream!
We've been pretty lucky with the weather this Summer so I've been out and about making the most of our gorgeous surroundings. Aren't we lucky to live so close to beautiful beaches and wonderful woodlands?!
I have two favourite spots - one is Tregantle Beach at Whitsand Bay. It's not too far to drive once you get the ferry journey out of the way. There is a bit of a cliff to go down (and back up!) but it's over and done with in 10 minutes. I aways head to Tregantle an hour or so before the sun sets for the best light and when the tide is out. This beach is enormous and vast at low tide. Other people being there doesn't really matter because there is so much space for everyone! And dogs are welcome too so if you'd like your furry friend to be included in the photos, that's fine! Here are some of my beach shoots this year...
Abbie - Maternity Session
Abbie loves a big floaty dress so I grabbed all my best ones from the studio and she was absolutely in her element! What a gorgeous way to celebrate your pregnancy.
Susie, Jon & Zac - Family Session
This was a special one for me because I've been photographing Susie since she was pregnant. This is her sixth session with me and it worked perfectly for little Zac who was able to run around being himself!
Sam - Family Session
Sam & Juliet live in Hong Kong with their little girl and after all the COVID restrictions, finally made it back to the UK to visit family. Sam wanted an updated family session including his Mum and Sister. I'm so glad we were able to get everyone together for this!
My Newborn Sessions!
This month I’m going to showcase one of my amazing ladies, Dannii. Turning 30 at the end of the month, experiencing a boudoir session was on her bucket list. Like so many of us, Dannii has struggled with her self-image throughout her life, doing that terrible thing that we all we do when we compare ourselves to others and feel like we aren’t measuring up. But now Dannii has decided to start taking control of her own self worth. I absolutely adore this woman and the way that she has empowered herself. She is utterly beautiful, kind and inspirational and I’m so happy that she chose me. Happy 30th Birthday, Dannii...you are incredible xx
“I’ve been thinking hard about what I’d like to say about my photoshoot at Ruby Light Boudoir, it’s hard to summarise such a wonderful experience, but I will try.
Throughout my whole life I have struggled with body image and comparing myself to others. I would put myself down and get upset over not being a certain size and being ‘the fat one’ amongst my groups of friends. At the beginning of my 29th year I decided to make a list of 30 things to do before 30, and a boudoir photoshoot was a must. To be captured in a different light, pushing myself well out of my comfort zone, and loving the skin I’m in - lumps, bumps and bulges. I had decided to say NO to the criticism & self doubt, and say YES to loving myself and my body. So I did some research, and was thrilled when I came across Rachel’s page and her body of work. It was inspiring and tasteful. I immediately knew Rachel was who I wanted to shoot me, and capture me at my most vulnerable.
When I arrived at Rachel’s studio on the Thursday morning, the ambiance was calm and welcoming!! I was offered tea, coffee, biscuits whilst I had my hair and makeup perfectly applied by Sasha. Meanwhile, Rachel prepared my outfits and wrote up a detailed plan about what content we wanted to capture today and what we wanted to achieve from the shoot. After what seemed like the quickest hour in hair & makeup, lots of girl talk, and a copious amount of compliments, Rachel and Sasha helped me feel so beautiful and confident - I was ready for my shoot.
Putting yourself out there and dressing ‘sexy’ in front of someone you barely know sounds super intimidating, but Rachel made me feel like we had always been friends which made me feel more relaxed and confident. The shoot itself lasted for around two hours, which absolutely flew by. Rachel directed me with ease, my poses, facial expressions, even moving all of the furniture around in the short time it took me to change into the next outfit. Clearly her proper preparation paid off, the shoot flowed seamlessly.
After lots of poses, a couple of outfit changes, a bit of dancing between shots (her playlist was FULL of bangers) and plenty of laughs, that was it, that was a wrap!! A short weeks wait until I could see the images that Rachel had so sympathetically captured. I left the studio feeling a great sense of achievement, I felt fulfilled. I felt happy.
I returned to the studio to see my photographs on the following Wednesday. I was very nervous to see my images, after all, What if I hated them? What if they didn’t come out as well as I hoped? Did I really look as sensuous as I felt?
When I first saw the pictures, I was in shock. That was me! I ADORED them!!! I felt a huge sense of pride, I was proud of the confident women I have learned to love and celebrate. The photographs turned out far, far better than I had hoped for. Rachel really is a very talented lady, who clearly knows her art and loves what she does!!
I think every women should have an experience like this. I want every women to see how beautiful they are inside and out. I would have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. It empowered me. I would 100% do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day! Thank you so, so much Rachel xxx
Please see below for information about the fabulous dresses that are available for shoots.
A Look Back on 2020
A look back on 2020
As we enter 2021 and things are unfortunately still very challenging, it’s so important to try and stay positive and keep hopes up for the future.
In this post I’m being positive about 2020 and looking back on some of my favourite sessions. Whenever I do these, it reminds me of how diverse my sessions can be. I absolutely love the variety!
2020 was difficult for me professionally. I lost my first studio and juggled shoots between being open and closed. On the plus side, I opened a gorgeous new studio that I love even more than the first one and I can’t wait to get back there!
I welcomed my very worthy competition winners for their session at the beginning of the year. Emily (2nd from left) had recently been diagnosed with cancer at only 18 years old. Emily’s Mum Karen entered as she wanted to capture Emily’s stunning red hair in a photoshoot before she lost it through chemotherapy. Emily is so gorgeous and has the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen. This session was emotional but I absolutely loved it. The whole family are incredibly lovely, the girls giggled and laughed all the way through so we were all smiling! It was honestly a pleasure and a joy to work with this amazing family.
Chloe came for a Beauty and Boudoir Session as a confidence boost following a break-up from a long term relationship. Chloe was struggling to move on but fast forward almost a year and she’s in a lovely new relationship and in the summer I’ll be welcoming her back for a newborn session!
Louise was my very last maternity session before the first lockdown, and the very last session in my first studio before I left it in May. Louise brought along her little boy Matthew, who is simply adorable! And Louise is pretty special. As a breastfeeding peer, she’s helped many, many mums with their breastfeeding journeys. Something we celebrate and promote at every shoot that she’s booked so far!
Oh dear...things go a bit downhill here! The first month of lockdown and I decide to do a silly boudoir shoot at home with a Bratz doll (no us photographers were not OK haha) It amused the ladies in my boudoir group so that’s the main thing!
Right at the end of May, once restrictions allowed, I met Jo at Shaugh Prior Bridge to do this distanced outdoor maternity session with her and her amazing daughter, Willow. It was quite an honour to do this with Jo, I really look up to her as another lady who empowers women and encourages self-love at her pole and aerial fitness studio in Plympton.
I couldn’t possibly just pick one! The first month of being properly back at it for outdoor shoots. I feel like I came back with a bang!
Katie & Kitty - Feeding Portrait in the woods. Katie had previously been for a maternity session so it was so nice to see her and meet little Kitty.
Jourden - Maternity Session on Wembury Beach. I’ve never seen someone enjoy and embrace their shoot as much as this incredible lady did!
Rose & Merlin. We’d been talking about a shoot with her horse for a long time and finally got around to it.
Sienna was born during lockdown almost 3 months premature. She was around 5 months old for her session and a rainbow baby. Her Mum Kim was super keen to get the newborn poses that I would normally do with babies that are between 5-14 days old. Mum particularly liked the froggy pose. I told her I couldn’t make any promises but said I would try my best. Little Sienna was a superstar from the word go! Thankfully we managed to get froggy! I’ve since welcomed Sienna back when she started sitting up and Kim is booking an outdoor shoot in the Spring as well. Sienna has the most incredible blue eyes so we are planning a shoot among the bluebells in a blue dress. I can’t wait!
Ava was another very special lockdown baby, as well as another older baby who did amazingly well at her session. I love the smiles!
Eden and Indie were my first ever newborn twins! I had to ask my friend Leanne to help me...she isn’t a photographer but is most definitely a baby whisperer! I couldn’t have done it without her, so thank you Leanne! Another person I need to thank is Tamsyn from TC Photography, who was kind enough to let me use her studio and store all my equipment, props and dresses in her studio for a few months. It was because of this that I found my new studio and it’s so lovely being in a building with other fellow photographers!
Anyway, back to the twins...aren’t they adorable?! Mum, Natasha was over the moon and I have to thank her for trusting me to do this even though it was my first time.
Mollie didn’t consider herself girly enough for my maternity gowns so wanted to keep her session more simple and classic. Mollie also braved a nude shot even though she didn’t feel entirely confident. I loved this session because the results were still gorgeous even though we kept it simple.
This was the first week in my new studio and I can’t tell you how incredible it felt to have my own space again.
I managed to squeeze in a few sessions before the 2nd lockdown working at the studio until 10pm. A lot of these were maternity sessions as I didn’t want them to miss out! My final one being a shoot at Foggintor Quarry on Dartmoor with Marie. She was amazing! Carefully clambering over boulders to get to the perfect place and getting changed in front of a group of climbers! It was certainly worth the 3 day arm ache after carrying all the dresses around!
December was catch-up time after being closed for a month so there were lots of Boudoir Sessions! My dad is a retired electrician and I had previously asked him to fit some LED panels above the windows in the studio to give the natural light a bit of a boost. I can’t just keep things simple so I asked for them to be dimmable so that I could control the brightness. Unfortunately this wasn’t very straight forward and took poor Dad several attempts before it finally worked! I absolutely love them though and it’s a godsend on gloomy days when I used to worry so much about the quality of light. Beautiful Laura below had a mix of natural and LED light washing over her...perfect!
As crazy as this year has been, it’s absolutely flown by. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since Covid hit us and changed everything. I’d like to thank you for sticking with me when we had to reschedule, for booking me despite this year being difficult for so many of us, for trusting me, and for all the love and support on Social Media. Every time I’m forced to close it makes me look forward to opening even more. I really can’t wait!
Sending you all so much love, stay safe and I hope to see you soon.
My New Studio!
Sadly, the first lockdown and complications with Government funding meant I had to say goodbye to my first studio. This was a bitter pill to swallow as I’d spent a considerable time renovating and decorating it. I had to make other arrangements for the shoots that I had booked after lockdown and was lucky to have Tamsyn at TC Photography look after me at her lovely studio for a few months.
I always had a plan to get a new studio but I wasn’t sure when. Then the unit next to Tamsyn’s became available so I snuck in there to have a peek and could immediately see the potential, imagining what I’d use each area for.
I’m not sure if it was brave or stupid (or both!) but I decided to go for it, and within a week or so I set to work with family, friends and my wonderful handyman Pete to get it ready.
3 weeks later and was over the moon and in love with my new space!
I have a dedicated newborn area where all my props and outfits are neatly displayed, including a baby changing area. Another area dedicated to my boudoir and lifestyle sessions, a huge portrait area where I have two backdrops, all my lights and props, and also a large Beauty Room where the magical makeovers happen. I also use this room for my viewing sessions.
I was sad when I had to close it for a month after only a few weeks of shoots but I am so happy to have it to go back to!
I am really looking forward to welcoming all the lovely ladies and families to my new space and seeing what we can create together!
Being COVID-19 Secure