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