Take a look around. Research other photographers in the area, and I don’t just mean their prices. Look at the quality of their images. Look at their posing, the styling, the lighting, the composition, the environment and the finish on the image.
I find it very hard to blow my own trumpet, I’m not perfect but here goes...
Some photographers don’t take the time to learn how to get all the aspects right. It’s so easy to pick up a camera and off you go. I made this mistake myself about 7 years ago. I was a hobbyist and had a decent-ish camera. I did an online Diploma. Then I thought all I needed was to get a backdrop and a couple of studio lights and a few cheap props from ebay and off I went. I was so naive. I bought cheap equipment and didn’t take the time to learn where my lights should be positioned or how to pose people. And editing was a whole other ball game...I used to spend hours editing one image just to get the backdrop looking passable. The hours I spent on one gallery was absurd.
When I decided to explore a career in Photography this time around I knew that the very first thing I needed to do was to train. So in my first couple of years I’ve attended 7 in person courses and spent hundreds of hours watching training online, all with the best photographers from the UK, Australia and Canada. I’ve learnt how to pose and light for maternity, newborn, family and boudoir sessions as well as learnt about fine art lighting and editing techniques. I still have so much to learn and I’ve learned that that attitude is key. There will always be something more to learn and improve upon. Photographers who don’t invest in themselves to raise their standard will stay at that same standard forever.
Let’s talk about posing. If I look back to my early work I will now be able to spot all sorts of errors. I’ve trained my eye to spot minor details that add up to what makes or breaks an image. With boudoir sessions, the eyebrows must be relaxed. The hands must be relaxed and angled a certain way. The feet must be pointed and dainty. Any parts of the body that can be bent should be bent. Shoulders should be relaxed. Faces should be pointed towards the light. Catchlights in the eyes are everything. Getting any of these factors wrong can create an uncomfortable distraction to the eye meaning the image doesn’t flow and isn’t enjoyed by the viewer. It’s not easy to make a pose look natural!
The hands...When we look at a photograph, we automatically look at the eyes first, and then the hands. If the hands are looking weird it’s hard for us to move on from them and look at the rest of the image. As time has gone on, I’ve become more confident in posing hands or giving them something to do. It’s often what I focus on the most.
The face...We often hear about people having ‘good sides’ and it’s true. During shoots I always explore faces positioned to the left, centre and right to find their ‘best side’. I try hair being pulled around to each side and up & over. I have learnt that you can’t break the outline of the side of a face with the nose. There is certainly a fine line where the face position is at its best. I can see it easily now, that’s what comes with plenty of shoots under my belt. Because quite a lot of my poses are taken from behind the head, it’s crucial for me to direct ladies to raise their chins rather than their eyebrows so that they can comfortably look at my camera without straining their foreheads. Because strained foreheads create tense looking images. I’ve also learned how to accentuate the jawline because it’s so easy to make someone look as though they have a horrendous double chin when they don’t really.
The body...During my sessions I demonstrate posture. Chest forward, shoulders relaxed, back arched, legs elongated. I push my ladies to give me the best possible posture that they can manage. I can spot when someone is holding back and can give me a little more. I position arms to create flattering triangles and position the legs in a flattering way.
When my ladies arrive for their boudoir shoots, I explore with them what they’d like to accentuate and what they’d like to flatter the most. I then look at their chosen lingerie and create a bespoke plan for their session based on what style suits each of the rooms and which poses are best for the style of lingerie. I don’t have any expectation on my ladies to pose themselves and I go in to the shoots entirely prepared so that all my lady has to do is follow my lead and direction, hopefully leaving no space for any nerves!
The camera...I’ve learnt how to use it properly. Some photographers shoot in Automatic mode because they haven’t taken the time to learn how to use it in Manual mode. I know how to expose for the best light in the room, capturing flattering shadows and highlights. I’ve seen so many errors being made elsewhere where the photographer hasn’t paid attention to where the light is falling or posed their subject in the right place according to the light. In order for an image to look appealing, the light has to fall on the face from a certain angle. This is why they use a torch at the bottom of the face when telling scary stories in the dark, it looks bad! I use a shallow depth of field to create the blurry backgrounds and put the focus on the subject. This means I have to be very careful with focusing as there is only a small area in focus. I always aim to get the eyes nice and sharp so I take multiple photos to make sure I do. I get my camera and lenses calibrated regularly to make sure I get the best focus.
The lighting...For all my boudoir sessions, I shoot with natural light. One room is dark and moody, while the other is light and airy. Both have very different looks but create a beautiful contrast between the two. One room is perfect for silhouette shots and contrasty shots while the other is perfect for light and dreamy shots. I absolutely couldn’t pick one over the other! In the large dark and moody room, there are two windows so I can cut the light down on one to create a certain look. All windows are diffused so the light comes through softly. I pay attention to the way the light falls on the face and body. I have a decent enough camera to be able to handle low light even on gloomy days.
Editing...After the shoot, it’s time to edit the images. When I first started, I had very limited knowledge on this crucial part of the process. With Boudoir images I edit responsibly. My aim is to enhance it rather than change it too much. I aim to get it right in camera as best as possible, so that with the general image there are only minor tweaks to make with cropping, exposure, contrast etc. My aim is to make the subject stand out as best as possible. I bring out the eyes and make the skin look flawless. I smooth skin because often the camera can show up too much detail, often more than the eye can see. I will remove blemishes and get rid of stretch marks if the lady wants me to. I’ve been asked to cover up tattoos before as well. I spend hours perfecting each gallery and then create black & white conversions for each image.
The environment...After spending the first 18 months shooting at home (luckily I had a very supportive partner who didn’t mind me taking over the house) I opened my very own studio in May 2019. It’s quite a big building and there’s a large room for my Portrait Sessions, a dedicated makeover room and two rooms that I use for Boudoir Sessions. Each room is fairly simplistic as I like the focus to be on my subject. After shooting at home it’s amazing to have a professional purpose built space.
Styling & what to wear...After all the shoots I’ve learnt so much about what to advise my ladies to wear. My advice focuses more on what I think flatters the best rather than what we may have learned is ‘sexy’. I don’t like the stockings, suspenders and heels combo. I don’t like teddies. I don’t like a man’s shirt. Stockings & suspenders don’t flatter most body types and personally I find them really dated. I find that with teddies, you lose the curves on every body type. A lot of ladies tend to choose them because they accentuate the chest and loosely cover the tummy area, but I like to find the curves on every body, and a teddy just doesn’t help me with that. I find that a man’s shirt is also often chosen to cover up. Yes we see Pinterest images of 6ft slim ladies looking gorgeous in a man’s shirt but for the majority of us, it doesn’t translate well. Men’s shirts can make us look boxy, wide and stocky. I much prefer a long, light lady’s shirt or even better...a kimono. My absolute favourite is a bodysuit. These gorgeous garments cover the tummy area smoothly and come in so many different styles and colours. I have a whole clothes rail full of them in all sizes and colours and team them with kimonos. I really can’t get enough of them. I also have a selection of heels and other accessories that are always growing.
I suppose what I’m trying to explain is that you are in good hands with me. I understand how much a bad photo can affect your self-esteem so profoundly. It’s happened to me a lot. I want to do the opposite of that. I want to give you images of yourself that you’ll feel proud of. That you’ll look and think ‘Wow, that’s me!’ It isn’t just a case of snapping away, I hope I’ve showed you that there is so much more to it than that, and every piece of the puzzle has to be in place in order to get it right. Boudoir Photography is considered to be one of the most challenging, I see it being done wrong A LOT. It makes me sad, I feel sorry for the poor woman in them and wonder how they made her feel. It’s so important for me to get it right. Yes I earn a living from it but I also feel a huge responsibility and a passion towards building women’s confidence through my work...because the world needs more confident women!
If you’re interested in a shoot, head over to my ‘Prices’ section to see my packages. I’d love to have a chat with you about your reasons for wanting a shoot and welcome you to the studio.
Here are the answers to the questions that I often get asked…
What is your ethos?
My aim is to help women celebrate and embrace themselves and to increase their confidence...because the world needs more confident women! All my shoots are focused around the woman and making them the star of the show. I encourage body positivity and self love and want to give women photos of themselves that they adore.
What do I wear?
Boudoir Sessions: I have a large collection of lingerie, heels and accessories that are available for shoots. I advise ladies to bring a selection of their own as well, to make sure the style and fit is right for them, and I think it’s an important part of the process, to treat yourself to some new lingerie! In your preparation guide, I will let you know what does and doesn’t flatter and what I think works well.
Studio Sessions: I have dresses for ladies and little girls and casual suits for little boys. Plain light or dark colours are great and it’s best to avoid patterns and logos.
Outdoor Sessions: It’s best to wear plain colours and have 3 base colours that coordinate well together or that tie in with your decor at home. It’s best not to wear patterns or logos.
Will I have my hair & make up done?
Yes - if you want to! Some ladies would rather do their own or have a more natural look. I find that most ladies enjoy having a pamper and a makeover can help with their confidence levels and help them to feel more confident in front of the camera. Some ladies have never had a makeover before and are so excited to see how they look. When you arrive, the MakeUp Artist will discuss with you how intense you’d like your makeup. We usually curl or wave hair and add volume at the roots. Makeover usually take 1.5-2 hours. We ask ladies to arrive with day old dirty hair (it will hold a style better) and with a clean, moisturised face.
Should I tan?
I advise not to. Home tans can look streaky and often leave dark unnatural looking areas on the hands, elbows or ankles. Even professional spray tans can leave streaks and white bits and often ladies choose to go too dark and can look too orange or unnatural. If you have booked your shoot in the Summer, it’s best to avoid getting any tan lines as it is very difficult to retouch them.
Do I need to know how to pose?
There is no expectation on you to know how to pose or to have had any previous experience. I have spent a lot of time and attended many training courses to learn how to pose women, their bumps, couples, groups and babies. It’s my job to pose you and I will direct you from head to toe, often mirroring the pose myself so it’s easy for you to do. I pay particular attention to facial expression, hands and feet as these in particular can make or break a shot. Some poses are more physically difficult than others, I will check with you before we start if you have any injuries or conditions that may restrict you, and I’ll work around this.
How do I overcome my nerves?
Please keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal to feel nervous, uncomfortable and out of your comfort zone when it comes to having your photograph taken. It isn’t something that happens very often, and for some people never at all. I try to reassure ladies ahead of their session that they will be fine once they get to the studio. The truth of it is, I can say this until I’m blue in the face but you won’t know how fine you’ll be until you get there. All my ladies have been pleasantly surprised by just how comfortable they’ve felt during their sessions and most really enjoy the experience and can’t wait to do it again. I encourage ladies to focus on feelings of excitement, and imagine that it will be a positive experience.
I’m worried that I won’t look as good as the ladies that I see in your photographs. What if I don’t like mine?
A lot of ladies feel this way. Then I show them their images and they say ‘Wow, I can’t believe that’s me!’ I’ve photographed hundreds of ladies and it has only been a rare occasion when someone hasn’t liked their images. They have been clear that this hasn’t been due to the photography, but more about how they feel about themselves. If you haven’t already, please check my reviews and the stories from other ladies on my Boudoir Group on Facebook.
I’m awkward in front of the camera and don’t like posed shots. Can we have a natural shoot?
There always has to be an element of posing even when capturing natural interaction, because otherwise it may not be flattering and I need to make sure that I can see everyone’s face and have everyone lit correctly. My sessions are always relaxed and I don’t ask for cheesy, awkward smiles :)
What is your availability like?
I photograph on weekdays during the day. I use natural light for Boudoir Sessions so I tend to book these for 930am as in the Autumn & Winter the light fades in the afternoon. I’m usually booked 2-3 months in advance. I sometimes have last minute bookings come up that I advertise on the Facebook pages.
How long does a session last?
Outdoor sessions are around an hour.
Maternity, Family and Boudoir Sessions last 3-3.5 hours in total including the makeover and newborn shoots can take around 4 hours as they are totally baby led and I allow time for baby to be fed and settled.
How do I book?
When you’re ready to book a session, you can send me a message via the website or Facebook. I will then give you a call to go over everything and look at a date. A retainer is due within 24 hours to secure your date in the diary.
Do I need to pay a deposit?
A £49 retainer is due within 24 hours of arranging your booking to secure your date in the diary. This comes off your final order, so if you choose for instance a £399 package, you will have £350 to pay. The retainer is non-refundable, so if you need to reschedule your session at the last minute, another retainer will be due.
What are your prices?
The packages range from £199-£599 and include the photoshoot, use of lingerie / dresses / props / accessories. For £399 packages and above, makeovers are included free of charge. There is a £40 fee for makeovers for £199 packages. For £599 packages, you will receive £50 off your next session and £75 off wall art packages.
What products do you offer?
£399 and above packages include a box of mounted prints. The prints and mounts are of superior quality and are ready to go in to a 12x10 frame. They come in either a white or black box and matching gift bag. The USBs also come in a little ribbon tied box and the USBs themselves are sparkly and heart shaped.
I have a range of stunning wall art products available to really showcase your images in your home. They are of superior quality and are guaranteed to last 100 years, meaning they can be passed on through your family generations. Details and samples of these are found on the website under ‘Products’ and can be seen at the studio.
Are payment plans available?
Yes, you can pay in up to 3 instalments for packages of £399 and above.
Do you retouch the images?
I retouch responsibly, aiming not to change the image too much. The camera can show up some things a little too much, so I always smooth the skin and remove any blemishes. If you want me to, I can remove stretch marks and small tattoos. Tan lines can be difficult to remove or blend so please do your best to avoid them in the lead up to your shoot. Please tell me about anything specific that you’d like retouching and I will do my best within my ability.
Where are you based?
I have a studio in Cattedown, near Plymouth City Centre. There is a room dedicated for makeovers, a large room for studio shoots and two rooms for Boudoir shoots.
Is there parking at the studio?
There is 2 hour parking outside and I have a small courtyard for parking.
What do I need to do to prepare for my session?
After your retainer is paid, I will send you an email with details of how to prepare for your shoot
Is there anything you won’t photograph?
I don’t photograph weddings as I already cover a lot of genres. My ethos is about celebrating women so I don’t tend to photograph children on their own or cake smashes.
For the Boudoir Sessions, I don’t photograph men (I haven’t trained to) unless as part of a couple. I also don’t photograph eroticism or full frontal nudity.
Can I bring a companion to a session?
I am more than happy for companions to come to any sessions apart from Boudoir sessions. This is because from experience I’ve found that having another person there can be off putting for both the lady I’m photographing and for me, which can affect the results. I really believe Boudoir sessions should be an individual experience and it’s important for me to create a one on one rapport with the lady I’m photographing, so that they feel more at ease and comfortable.
Will you share my images?
After your viewing session, I will send you a model release form, for you to consider giving me consent to share your images on Social Media and my website. I will not share any of your images without your consent and I totally respect your wish if you choose not to share. I am always grateful when my clients decide to share their images and I love showing them off as well!
When will I see my images?
At your photoshoot, we’ll find a mutually convenient time for you to return for a viewing session where I will show you your images on a slideshow. It’s at this point that you’ll make your final decision about which package and any additional products you’d like to buy. The viewing session is usually 7-10 days after your photoshoot and take around 30 minutes.
Why are you called Ruby Light Portraits?
I wanted to choose a name that wasn’t First Name - Last Name - Photography. I’ve always liked the name ‘Ruby’ and it is also my partner’s Mum’s maiden name. Light relates to photography and I chose ‘Portraits’ to best describe what I do. I also wanted to have quite a visual sounding name so that it was easy to remember.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions.
When I first decided to start my portrait photography business, I knew that I didn’t want to just focus on photographing children. I wanted to see women in photographs more. A lot of the time I saw that women always took photos of their children but were hardly in the photos themselves. It’s hard to get a decent selfie with your children, isn’t it?
It’s so important to exist in good quality portraits before your children grow up. You may keep putting this off so that you can lose that bit of weight you feel you need to lose, but there’s really no better time than right now. I offer makeovers for all my sessions so that ladies can feel more confident and comfortable in front of the camera. These aren’t designed to make you look different, but to accentuate your features and make you feel amazing. I see on a daily basis how a woman’s body language changes after a makeover, it really can make all the difference.
I also have a growing collection of beautiful dresses for you to wear in your session that take the hassle out of deciding what to wear. Most of the dresses are unique and made by European designers especially for photoshoots.
Did you know that children who grow up surrounded by photographs of themselves are more confident? They feel more secure and valued. And what better than having portraits with your parents in as well, a constant reminder of the love and bond between you... to keep for generations to come.
All my wall art products are guaranteed for over 100 years, which means that they can be passed from generation to generation and not lose any quality. It may be so tempting to buy a low cost canvas instead, but inevitably the colour will fade and it won’t stand the test of time. Imagine in many years from now, your great great grandchildren appreciating and treasuring a family portrait!
I understand that a lot of people feel uncomfortable being posed for a photograph and feel they would prefer a more ‘natural’ situation. Achieving good results with completely unposed shots is difficult, so what I aim to do is set up a pose and instead of cheesy smiles at the camera, I allow time for my subjects to interact naturally. I am a really patient person which can be essential when working with little children who have their own agenda! I aim to keep sessions calm, peaceful and as stress free as possible.
I offer family sessions both in my studio in Cattedown near Plymouth City Centre, and in Woodlands in and around Plymouth. My studio is spacious and comfortable and has a homely feel to it. For Woodland shoots, I like to do them 2 hours before sunset when the light is softer and more beautiful.
If you’d like to explore your family session, feel free to give me a call or drop me a message on the contact page.
I adore maternity photoshoots. What your body is doing is absolutely incredible and should not only be celebrated but captured in a beautiful portrait that you and your children can look back on for years to come. I think that those bumps look so special, and pregnancy can be photographed so beautifully, with you looking like an absolute GODDESS!
I know a lot of ladies can feel very uncomfortable about themselves and the way they look as their bump grows, and getting used to the change in their body can be difficult. It’s so easy to get caught up in this and not feel as though you could possibly have your photo taken. I hear from a lot of ladies who didn’t capture their first pregnancy and really regretted it. I find that for a lot of ladies, having a makeover can help to give the confidence to step in front of the camera. I see their body language change as soon as they see themselves in the mirror and then even more so once they put on one of the beautiful gowns.
I have a number of beautiful and unique handmade dresses from European designers that are made especially for photoshoots. They aim to show off that magical bump while making you look like a total queen. Some of them have sheer elements so that you can show off a bit of skin.
There is also an option to have a few tasteful and elegant nude shots.
When you arrive for your shoot, we’ll go through all the dresses and pick out your favourite ones (around 5). You’ll then have a relaxing makeover with a professional MakeUp artist, who will ask you how intense or natural of a style you’d like. While you’re having your makeover, I’ll plan your shoot around the dresses and outfits that you’ve chosen.
During the photoshoot, I’ll guide you through each pose. So don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before, I have no expectations on you at all to know how to pose. All you have to do is follow my simple instructions :)
Other siblings and partners are very welcome to join you in the shoot, little ones can certainly make a cute addition! I have dresses for little girls and cute casual suits for little boys. I have dealt with many reluctant partners and husbands before, sometimes they just need a little nudge to remind them of what their lady is doing for them, and again, there isn’t much to it - just follow my lead!
All my packages include the makeover, dresses and the photoshoot. After the session, you’ll be invited back to the studio to view your images and make your selection.
I’ve spent a lot of time and money on training with the best photographers learning how to pose those glorious bumps. I strive to achieve the best poses, lighting that looks gorgeous and to have to die for dresses that you won’t want to take off!
I’d love to welcome you to capture you and your bump in the best possible way - Rache x
My boudoir sessions are my most popular. When I first started my photography business, I completely underestimated how powerful a boudoir session could be for some women.
In May this year I opened a studio near Pymouth City Centre having started off holding sessions at my home. There is a dedicated makeover and dressing room, and two bedrooms just for boudoir photoshoots. One room is light and airy in all white and has a dreamy, peaceful and serene vibe. The other is completely the opposite with dark colours and is amazing for those contrasty black & white shots. Both styles are very different but I love them both!
A lot of ladies worry about what to wear for their session and tell me that they don’t have anything to bring. I encourage every lady as part of the process to go out and buy themselves something. I also have quite a large range of lingerie and this collection is growing all the time! I also have heels, kimonos, neck / shoulder jewellery, cropped tops and beautiful robes. I am a massive fan of bodysuits. I find them very flattering for all body types because most ladies don’t like their tummies. When a session is booked, I send out a guide to help you prepare, and this contains advice about lingerie and other options if fancy lingerie isn’t your thing.
One part of the session that a lot of ladies look forward to is the makeover. A lot of ladies have never had a makeover before so this is an exciting part for them. The make up artist will establish the level of intensity so that you decide together how natural and how glam you’d like the makeover to be. Lashes are also available. We do not contour or highlight as I like to do that using natural light and shadows. The aim is for the skin to look flawless, with a touch of blush in the cheeks, enhance the eyes and then add volume and bounce to the hair.
My sessions take up to 4 hours as no part of it is rushed. I only tend to book one shoot a day so that I don’t have to feel pressured to be done within a certain time frame. The makeover takes around 1.5hrs (sometimes more if there is a lot of hair!) and the photoshoot takes 1.5-2hrs. I create a bespoke plan for you based on outfit choices, your preferred poses and poses that will flatter your body type. I then spend several hours retouching your images. I retouch responsibly. It isn’t my aim to change you, I use poses and lighting to enhance and retouching to finish off. I remove any bruises or blemishes on the skin.
In December 2017 I set up a closed, ladies only Boudoir Group on facebook that now has over 2k members. This is a safe place for ladies to share their images, stories and experiences and I absolutely love it. Ladies are so kind to each other and offer advice and support to each other. www.facebook.com/groups/rubylightboudoir
Later this year I will be attending Gok Wan’s roadshow. I was lucky enough to be invited there by Gok’s team after being recommended by a lovely lady who had a session with me. Gok’s ethos is similar to mine and he will be holding his styling and confidence masterclasses. I will have a stall there to showcase my boudoir sessions. I’m very excited!
I have seen so many ladies find the courage to have a session despite their nerves and despite having little or no confidence. They know they want to do it, they know they want to see themselves how loved ones do. I encourage ladies to give themselves a little pep talk ahead of the session. Remind themselves of the reasons for having a session and to focus on positive feelings, such as excitement and looking forward to the end result. The worst part is always the anticipation leading up to the session (just like anything that we are nervous about). Most ladies say that once they arrive and are welcomed and pampered with a makeover, the nerves fade away. So much so that most ladies really enjoy their session and feel on top of the world for the whole day afterwards.
Most ladies arrive at their session feeling very nervous, they think that all the other ladies in the photographs look so confident and it won’t be the same for them, but the truth is that everyone feels the same. They worry that they won’t be able to pose like that and that they won’t look like the other ladies do. Well, that’s my job! I have absolutely no expectation for anyone to know how to pose. I know how to flatter all body types and I listen and take on board the areas that ladies want to avoid. I pose ladies from head to toe, so the only thing you have to do is follow my lead.
Every lady has different reasons for having a session, but I would say about 95% of the ladies that I have photographed are all on a journey to love or accept their bodies, coming to terms with how their bodies have changed after childbirth or through the process of ageing.
I have photographed several ladies who have lost a significant amount of weight, yet their self-image has not yet caught up with their physical progress. They still see the previous version of themselves in their mind’s eye. I’m always so happy to show these ladies how far along their journey they have come.
I’ve had ladies who have had such low confidence in themselves that after seeing themselves in a different light, has given them the freedom and peace of mind to let their husbands and partners see them naked for the first time in many years, and one lady the courage to walk away from her unhappy marriage because she realised she was worth much more.
It isn’t always like this for everyone. Some ladies have such deep-seated low self-esteem that a boudoir session is just a small part of their self-acceptance journey.
I am naturally quite a caring person and a good listener. I don’t set out to take on a counselling role with all the ladies that come for sessions but sometimes it just goes that way. Some ladies open up to me about how they feel about their bodies and we explore that together. I try to remind ladies that their little ones don’t care if they think they are how ever many stones overweight, they are so loved regardless.
Everyone has a right to be happy. I have learned myself through meeting all these amazing women that even though I’m not the size 10 that I would like to be, I can still be happy and I deserve to be. We don’t have to wait until we lose / gain a certain amount of weight or have surgery and procedures done in order to feel happy. We can still have goals but be happy now. Be happy for everything that you have and grateful for those who love you. Be grateful for having a body that keeps you alive on a daily basis.
I have stopped berating myself. After so many years of telling myself ‘my boobs are too small’, ‘I’m too fat’, ‘my nose is too big’, I don’t tell myself those things anymore. Because the more you say it, the more you believe it to be true and the more this affects your entire self. I encourage ladies to talk internally about themselves like they would to their best friend. Be kind and pay yourself compliments. Accept compliments from others. I don’t want to reach the age of 80 and look back and realise I spent my entire life feeling negative about my body, what a waste!
Us ladies have had it hard for many decades with the media’s portrayal of the perfect woman. We have been comparing ourselves for years. It’s so important for us to take steps to change that. The young ladies in our lives need to grow up feeling beautiful and being surrounded by their role models (their Mums, sisters, aunties, grandmothers) showing them how to be body positive. If they see us putting ourselves down, inevitably they will do the same about themselves. We must build up our young queens :)
I believe that every woman should have beautiful photographs of themselves, no matter what age or size they are. Everyday women who aren’t models, who aren’t used to posing in front of a camera and who have the same body hang ups as everyone else. Because bodies should be celebrated. I am so happy to be part of a movement towards self-love and self-acceptance. Let’s get away from what society has deemed as beautiful...every body is beautiful.
I thought I’d tell you all a little bit about me and my story.
I’m Rachel, 38 and I live with my partner and two pets in Beacon Park. I’m a Portrait and Boudoir Photographer with a studio in Cattedown, close to Plymouth City Centre.
Photography has been a hobby of mine since I was very young. When I was a teenager I always had a camera with me and in those days, we sent off our little film cartridges to Truprint and I still remember the excitement when the prints arrived back! I covered my walls in photos of my friends, family, pets and landscape scenes. When my niece, Darcie was born 10 years ago I decided it was time to get a proper camera. I took photos of her with my family at every opportunity and made her a photobook for every year of her life. I love sitting with her every now and again and looking at her books together.
A year later I gained a Diploma in Photography ahd while working full time as a manager of a residential care home for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism, I set up a studio in my spare room at home. I was a little naive about what goes in to being a good photographer and I thought that if I bought some cheap lights and a backdrop I was all set. I managed to get a few nice photos but also made many mistakes with posing, lighting and editing and with my full time job I didn’t have the time to dedicate what I needed to in order to learn the craft properly.
A few years later, for many reasons it was time for a change from my job in care. I really wanted to start my own business. My partner has his own established business and I wanted to be as successful as him. He totally inspired me. With his support, I handed in my notice and began portfolio building, put in hours and hours of training and used savings to upgrade my kit, equipment (and to buy lots of beautiful dresses and props!)
I knew I wanted to build a portrait business that didn’t just focus on babies and children or weddings.
I wanted to see ladies in photographs more. I wanted them to feel amazing and be just as important in photographs as the rest of the family.
I was passionate about ladies having beautiful portraits that they could treasure themselves, look back on in years to come, and to pass on to future generations as a sort of legacy.
This still forms my ethos for Ruby Light Portraits. For all my maternity, newborn and family sessions, Mum has the option of a makeover and a choice of beautiful dresses and outfits to wear, in order to give her that little bit of extra confidence to step in front of the camera.
Boudoir Photoshoots are my most popular. I have photographed hundreds of women of all shapes, sizes and ages. Before I started, I completely underestimated just how powerful a boudoir photoshoot can be for some women. It is so much more than having pictures taken of you in your underwear. Some ladies totally step out of their comfort zones to embrace their bodies, mostly after having children or the changes that come with ageing. A lot of the time they have nerves and anxiety that almost stop them from going through with it. The courage and determination that I see on a weekly basis is inspiring. The difference that a shoot can make to someone’s life is incredible.
I worked at my home studio for around 18 months. My partner was so patient and supportive while I gradually took over pretty much the entire house! I always worried that it was unprofessional, but I also felt lucky that I was able to build my business at home, and received plenty of feedback that my home was welcoming and comfortable. Low and behold though, it was time for a change and to seek out my own space to create the studio that I needed.
I was fortunate enough to come across a property near the city centre that had exactly what I needed - an ex house that had been used as a commercial property for many years. Because it used to be a house, there are many homely elements to it. There are two bedrooms that I use just for boudoir photoshoots, another room that I use just for makeovers and dressing, and a large area that I use for studio portraits. I’m still pinching myself. The place needed a lot of TLC so my family and I spent around 7 weeks decorating thoroughly! I am so glad to be able to offer a professional yet homely and comfortable space.
I love my ‘job’ and every time I get that review from a lady telling me how special she felt in her session and how much she loves and treasure her photographs, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I made the right decision to venture into this totally different career. I can’t imagine doing anything else X