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"IF YOU'RE A PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER WITHOUT ANY GOOD PORTRAITS OF YOURSELF, THIS MEANS YOU DON'T VALUE THE ART" states internationally published fashion photographer Lindsay Adler in one of her B&H seminars.

It's incredible how obvious this statement is, yet you can still find photographers with 10+ years of experience that are terrified to be in front of the camera. When I first heard Lindsay say this I fell into this category. Apart from that one photoshoot I had for my quinceañera I had never again asked a photographer to take photos of me. In fact, even though I had spend years photographing my friends, family, clients and even taken some self portraits, the thought of being somebody's model made me nervous. What if the photos turn out horrible, what if I do not know how to pose, what if it's a waste of money I remember thinking. And then the obvious hit me: these are the exact thoughts my potential customers have, and part of my job is helping them overcome them. So I did the sensible thing and I booked a photoshoot session.

Luckily around that same time I had these epiphanies Newcastle based artist Renee Hibbert posted on social media saying she needed models for her work. Renee is also a portrait photographer running her own home studio and her signature style is beautiful yet so different from mine, which meant this was also an opportunity for me to learn from her. We all have our own ways of directing, lighting set ups we prefer and methods for creating: there is no right or wrong, but being exposed to other creator's ways can be very inspiring. So I contacted her on social media and we scheduled a date.

It took a three hour train journey to get to Renee's house, but the time passed swiftly as I edited on my tablet, read and watched Netflix on my phone. Actions speak louder than words: I was not only proving getting your photos done is an experience worth having, but also that traveling for the right artist is worth it.

She offered to pick me up from the train station and before I knew it we were at her home discussing photography. Sharing a passion with somebody is always exciting: I swear Renee and I could've stayed hours talking about each of our individual journeys, camera equipment and all those things most people don't really care about. The experience hadn't even started, yet it had already taught me how fruitful surrounding yourself with other artists can be. We live in a world that constantly teaches us competition, yet we're so much stronger and learn faster when we work together.

By the time we moved into the studio escorted by Renee's beautiful dogs, I felt as if I was about to be photographed by a lifetime friend. We tried different outfits, lighting set ups poses and make up looks during the course of an hour. I made sure to let her direct me instead of imposing my own ideas, but I found myself having useful suggestions. Even though I was not used to posing, I understood the way light worked, and light is the key element of this art. It was so interesting to experience that process from the other side of the lens, to feel my arms and legs getting tired as I held a pose. To feel my face go stiff and the ways Renee helped me to relax and to remember we were supposed to be having fun. I'm not somebody who gives a lot of importance to my looks or style, but that day I felt like a queen. I felt powerful and elegant, and you know what? We all deserve to feel like that sometimes. Photoshoots are more than just about the final result that come from it (the photos), it's about the experience and the feelings you get out of it. It's a big mistake to deny yourself those feelings just because you are used to being the one providing them.

Before that date I was certain I understood the way models felt, but some things can't be read or hypothesized: you need to go out and seek the experience. As I rode back on the train I was so happy with how worth it that journey had been, and those same feelings crept back on me when one month later I received the stunning final results.

This experience taught me a lot about an art I thought I was so familiar with, and it made me enthusiastic about both being in front of the camera in the future and making sure other photographers get to experience these feelings. This is why I want to do my part and offer a 20% discount on my Standard Photoshoot Package to any other photographers out there who have never been in front of the camera or who need to update their portraits. All you have to do is provide us with an online profile or link to a social media account that proves your photography profession at and we can start planning your experience.

Hope to hear from you soon and hopefully this post has given you some new insight into the art we both love.


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