Written by Andy Taylor
Therapy used to be an enigma. Something that wasn’t discussed, something to hide, not for sharing. In some cases, not even with those we love the most. For many of us, especially in older generations, therapy is something we grew up with thought of as a last resort to solving problems, a sign of weakness maybe, or so it seemed. Thankfully, there is a new era of understanding and real proof that therapy can be effective for our mental and emotional wellbeing.
In recent years, a lot of science has come in to the mainstream that supports mental health therapy in a positive way. Mainstream media and celebrity exposure have had a positive impact, not always in a positive way when an individual’s personal life is laid bare without consent or worse, when it’s too late. But even then, there is a value in other people’s sorrow. Real life is for everyone, mental health does not discriminate by gender or social circumstance. As unique as we all are, many of us face the same challenges. And that’s ok. One of the biggest lessons for all us is it’s ok to not be ok.
The key to positive action and positive change, and to anything new in life is to start small. Small changes, small actions, small goals. Take it easy on yourself and making it easy, small, and achievable will change your mindset, change your ambition, change your life. Momentum creates momentum, and once you have an emotional attachment, things can change for the better.
These days there is a myriad of self-help tools, where to start can be overwhelming with books, apps, podcasts, social media, and self-help tools. Information overload and constant exposure to all manner of information can lead to mental paralysis, or the inability to do anything. Overwhelmed to the point where we feel paralysed. Unable to take positive action or any kind of action whatsoever, without help.
Just talking about thoughts and feelings can make you feel better, whomever that person is, a close friend, a colleague, a spouse or relative. Someone you feel can trust, someone who will listen. But listening is a difficult skill, and it is a skill. This is something that not all of us have even considered and it’s not the first thought we have when looking for an outlet for our fears and emotions. Even trained therapists will tell you how hard it can be to resist a natural desire to offer opinion, to guide and give advice.
As helpful as the listener feels in offering advice or opinion, it’s often not as helpful as it may seem. Sometimes you just need to talk and have someone listen. No judgement, no advice, no opinion, just deep and active listening. It’s even more valuable if that person is qualified and experienced in listening and other skills such as hypnotherapy, to help with your mindset.
There are so many amazing ways to improve your resilience and mental well-being, and I was delighted to meet and photograph a local hypnotherapist Susan Hodgson from Northants Hypnotherapy Susan can help you in controlling anxiety, fear, and phobia. She developed Northants Hypnotherapy to help people just like us, to quit smoking, to manage weight, to control anxiety or be free from fear and phobia forever. If you still feel there is any stigma attached to therapy, think again.
Visit Susan’s website to learn more about how she can help you by using a blend of Hypnotherapy, Hypnosis, NLP and CBT. ” Northants Hypnotherapy
How did I meet Sue?
“The editor of Clay Shooter Magazine wanted some high resolution pictures for an article about Sonny Bowman, and I realised I’d only got some photos taken with my phone! I set about looking for a professional photographer and Julietta’s website stood out to me. I just knew this was the right person for me. And, I was right, because Julietta responded quickly and was able to fit my photo shoot in, and get the photos edited and sent back to me within a few days! They were perfect and nothing was too much trouble. We had fun too, which made the experience a pleasure.”
Sue has a lovely warm and welcoming therapy room
Headshot and commercial, corporate photographer Kettering, Northampton, Corby, Wellingborough, Market Harborough, Rushden, Oakham, Rutland, Oadby, Stamford.
Contact me to find out how I can help you.
Someone once told me that the gift of a photoshoot was “priceless”. They said the value of those images far outweighed any cost that they would have to pay. I’ve always believed it myself. So when a family friend of this gorgeous couple booked this fun loving session as a gift, she was also giving them something that will transcend time and generations. She was buying them the first journey into their visual legacy. Gifting them love.
I’m mostly known as a studio newborn photographer, but I often booked for home sessions in Northamptonshire, and I adore them. Not only do I feel honoured to be welcomed into a family’s sacred space, I feel a huge duty to do the best I possibly can to capture everything they love about their new world. These sessions are gentle and although directed, they involve less posing and more natural. When I’m spending the time choosing the images, I look for those that make me feel something special going on, something real.
When I’m taking the images I do go into a zone of what I know I need to capture and try and keep things as simple and relaxed as possible. The sessions last two hours and they fly by! I take time for baby to have a feed or settle, nothing is rushed. I also love getting to know my families in these sessions and give my whole heart and soul into making them feel as comfortable as possible. Plus I love people so this is my highlight to a day that might be otherwise spend editing the images.
When I’m thanked at the end of the session, before they have even seen the images, I know that I’ve ticked my first job as a newborn photographer, which is to make this a happy relaxed and fun journey. My aim is for a family to feel they’ve experienced something new and something special. The photos to follow will seal and confirm that deal.
If you are reading this because you are curious about having one of these family photoshoots yourself. It could be a newborn baby, older baby or older children, then call or message me to chat. It’s the first step to knowing more about making some real memories.
EXCITED ABOUT A COSY HOME SESSION? MESSAGE ME TO FIND OUT MORE:
Home sessions for baby, children,maternity or family are worked around you and your home. I love to use rooms with the best window light but the session will involve some direction, mostly asking you to relax in the best place for good light and interact with your baby or family and some following you. These images are finished off with the main emphasis on capturing raw emotions.
THE FUN LOVING FAMILY SESSION
2 hour session in the comfort of your home using natural light only
20 beautifully edited and high resolution images on a USB and available to download via secure weblink
20 x 9″ by 6″ prints or 8″ by 8″ in a presentation box (10 mounted)
*20 is the maximum images you will see
£100 credit towards wall art
Photographs by Julietta Arden-Taylor
Model/Actor Tracey Ann Selmes
How many times have you lost an opportunity because you were worried about failing? I know there is a small percentage of people with special powers that include ZERO self doubt, but that’s not the majority of us.
As we get older we have been burnt, hurt, steered in directions that suited others, and then fall, not sure where to head next.
We put things off, or even think we should give up. I’ve been there. It takes a great amount of courage to put your doubts away and keep going.
You must remember that as a human being we are a strong species and we have been challenged by many things. This recent upheaval in our lives is probably one of the greatest ones we will endure.
But lets remain focused on the dream, the future and all whilst remaining to be enjoying and living in the present.
Let us practice living moments that keep us optimistic day to day and continue to keep ticking away at that dream day by day too. It’s a balancing act, but you/we can achieve this.
Even if you don’t believe it possible at the beginning, you need to still tell your brain it is. Eventually the universe will open doors for you. It’s a powerful thing. Trust it.
1. Feel the fear and do it anyway
This title is also a book by Susan Jeffers. It changed my life at 19 years old. One of my fav’s along with Who Moved my Cheese.
The first book taught me to keep trying, and put up with failing until I would succeed. The second made me think about jumping before I was pushed. Not always the case, but it helped me cope with sudden changes and pre-empt new ones.
How many people do you know – friend, foe or famous who were told they wouldn’t get that grade, or achieve that goal, or take the next step? I’ve heard these stories from so many walks of life and I’m sure you have too. Well believe that their success came despite all the negatives.
The pursuit of happiness is another book and story that reminds you that if you BELIEVE, then you can make anything happen, against all odds.
3. Trust in the Universe
Everything you need to achieve your goal is inside you already, you just need the time and space to tap into it. Find a quiet or busy space that’s away from YOUR norm. Let the inspiration flow by watching the world go by and allow to be reminded about what you love.
The universe will speak to you, and the thoughts will come flooding in. The ideas will take form from all walks of life… your child might say something that leads you in a new direction, a book might be lent to you that will inspire your goal, or someone will say a word that rings in your ear and you can’t seem to let it go. These are being put to you so listen out for them.
Keep your eyes peeled for those messages and trust that what you desire will come to you in stages.
Say out loud your dream as silly as it may seem.
4. Accept Help
We can’t all achieve success without a little help. Take it where it is given along with knowing when to ask for it too. It’s important to remember that we can’t be skilled at everything.
There may only be a few people who you can trust, but still don’t give away all your secrets. Remember to help others too. Don’t forget to reward those who have helped you along the way, as goes around comes around.
Being kind will also get you to places to beyond your dreams.
5. You have self worth
I read a poem whilst travelling that reminded me no matter what I am faced with, I can endure it. Even if it rips you to the core and the layers need to rebuild, you can endure it and recover and have self worth.
Nothing can stop you when you know your destiny, and no dream is too small or too big, we all know what will make us happy, it’s not always about riches, or being the best, it’s a lot in the end to do with LOVE and HAPPINESS.
You don’t want to get through all the goals and dreams to find that they had no meaning in the end. Think through your dreams and goals in a way like this:
Where would you like to be, who is with you, how do you feel, what does it look like, where are you living, what are you doing, what surrounds you.
Finally YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY!! I hope some of my few words have resonated and you can pass on.
I love to hear about new books about being inspired, please comment and share them below.
To find out more about a headshot photography session with me please see this link: https://www.juliettaardentaylorphotography.co.uk/headshots
My photography studio is based in Kettering Town Centre, but I am able to set up a studio in the surrounding areas of Northamptonshire and beyond.
If you are looking to stand out for the next stage in your career then lets talk.
written by my wonderful husband Andrew Taylor
Do you remember that feeling? That moment when you found out that you were going to be a dad? Surprise, fear, joy, happiness all hitting you in an instant………maybe all at the same time. When you have recovered from the realisation that life is about to get quite different, what next? In reality, this is not the moment when you realise that life is about to change dramatically, nothing can really prepare you for the new realities of life as a dad.
The pregnancy period can be a busy time, an anxious time and will be overwhelming at times. All being well your partner will be well and your antenatal appointments will go well, but there will be anxiety and there will be lots of new, unexpected experiences. Pregnancy is very individual and a deeply spiritual and personal experience, often quite different from one new mum to the next. As a new dad it’s impossible to physically experience the changes your partner is going through, you won’t feel the nausea or the mood swings physically, but you may get the other side of them! But be present and share what you can with support and understanding at every step. Your partner will blossom and bloom and look amazing, glowing skin and thick shiny hair, this is a time to cherish and enjoy.
When it comes to how you support it’s the little things that count, but don’t always expect a smiling vision of pregnancy bliss every day even when you are doing the best you can to support. Go to all the appointments together, learn and support each other at every step, two sets of ears will be useful, and you will both have your own thoughts and questions. A cup of tea in bed every morning when your partner has spent the night being poked and kicked from within is a good start. In case you wondered how it feels baby’s kicks are easy to mistake for gas bubbles, but they gradually grow in strength into unmistakable jabs (often causing visible seismic activity on the woman’s abdomen). Imagine that feeling!
Things will be different from the perspective of a new dad. Less ‘networking’ with new friends made at pregnancy support groups, less discussion and sharing with friends and relatives that have small children and a world of their own experience. And nothing can prepare you for the choices and decisions that you’ll need to consider that you never even imagined you’d have to make. I vividly remember walking into a child and baby retail ‘superstore’ and leaving around an hour later empty handed, confused, head spinning, completely exhausted and overwhelmed. There is lots to consider and arrange at home too, decorating and preparing the nursery, buying car seats, buggies, monitors, bottles, blankets, sleeping bags, nappies and accessories and gadgets that you never even knew existed. Some of which you probably won’t use and don’t really need.
Becoming a new parent might is probably the most significant and biggest life change you’ll ever experience, especially as a first-time parent. As a new mum, your partner has been through the emotional and exhausting experience of giving birth. But how did it feel the day you became a dad? A lot will depend on the birth experience. Will you go full term without complication? Will your partners waters break at home or somewhere convenient? What will your labour experience look like? For me birth was complicated and so had to be carefully planned and calculated, no surprises but lots of anxiety and unknowns for the big day. It was exhausting but relief and joy settled in when baby arrived without too much complication and both mum and baby were safe and well. Then the fun begins, and life will never be the same again!
Paternity leave is an important time, a time to support your partner, bond with your new arrival and establish new routines get hands on. Don’t be too quick to fill the house with family and friend well-wishers but do accept offers of help. A timely delivery of a fresh home cooked meal would be very welcome! Take your time to settle as a new family unit and recharge, visitors at this time will be tiring for you and take their toll, there is plenty of time for that in the coming weeks and months.
Gifts will flow in from all over the place, this is a time of great generosity. The greatest gifts will be those that you experience together, those that you can capture in time and those that will never fade.
After I became a father, I was on a mission to capture every moment and document every step, this started from day one with those first phone pictures in the hospital. I know I’m not alone and this so easy these days with phones and social media channels. Capturing moments is a big part of parenthood and the real legacy you leave for your children and your family to enjoy. Of course, this is a universal rite and nothing new, I still have the ‘baby book’ that my mother wrote in to capture my early days and years with name, birth date, weight, first words, pictures, growth and development and tiny curls of hair. The only difference is that these days it’s just so much easier to do. I challenge you to find any dad who hasn’t got a phone full of pictures of children and family life. But a phone full of pictures isn’t the goal and isn’t the way to celebrate parenthood.
My son gave me a gift as new father, a writing journal ‘Dear Dad……from you to me – a journal of a lifetime’. In its own words a book for my unique and amazing story for me to capture some or life’s key memories, experiences, and feelings. A journal to complete and return to my son, a record of my story, a story that can be treasured forever. How many of us know the story of our parents and our grandparents in any detail? Unless documented details are easily and regrettably forgotten and lost in time.
Photoshoots also became the new norm and my favourite way to document and celebrate our family. Starting with pregnancy through new born baby and on and on. A family photoshoot makes the perfect personal gift for any dad, it’s really, it’s a gift for the whole family………but maybe that’s one little secret that we can keep from dad! Time flies by, visual memories of parenthood and family life at all stages, ages and generations are timeless and will drive emotion and make you smile forever.
Fathers should be celebrated at every opportunity. Father’s Day is a great opportunity to plan something special, a time to celebrate parenthood and all that being a dad means and just have fun together! More than just a gift, a photoshoot is an experience day and something that you will look forward to and something that you will remember through the beautiful images, the stories they tell and the memories that they create.
However you capture those special moments just do it!
For pricing please see here. Gift vouchers available for Father’s Day.
I have a very quick question for you which is to let me know in the comments below your favourite place to meet and chat with your friends (with or without kids).
If you’d like to know why you can read this next bit:
Pre-children I mostly met up with my friends in various bars, nightclubs or sometimes shopping for a weekend spree. This then graduated to the gym for moral support which was always followed by a coffee and cake snack in anywhere nearby we couldn’t be spotted.
The years went on and we became a little lazy or tight because most of the places we would meet would involve one of our homes. I think we were saving for something or drinks just started to become expensive, which meant drinking at home before going out. Something along those lines.
Thinking about it now I’m jumping forward to post 30 something and I liked having a conversation with my friends which bars didn’t always allow for, and we worked Monday to Friday and still shopped or did couple things at the weekend.
Roll onto maternity and suddenly the cafe visits increased again and this time with maternity mum friends, because we needed to get our talk quota for the day out (whilst not at work anymore) and eat cake. This cafe meeting culture I became dependant on and looked forward to.
Then babies came and didn’t leave the house, home coffee and cake visits until we were able to explore the world of suitable places to go with breastfeeding mums and or screaming toddlers. Anywhere with great access, little embarrassment options and great coffee. Space for us to put our car seats, prams, babies when not on our laps. CAKE CAKE and more CAKE.
There were a couple of places but most of them diminished. One day someone will invent the best cafe for mums with their babies, screaming toddlers (so that they don’t scream because there is entertainment).
Most recently with my 7 and 4 year old I’ve taken to venturing out again now they can be reasoned with or rewarded with good behaviour. The Kino Lounge in Kettering is one of the easiest places for me to meet with other families due to the nature of the space, the entertainment, accessibility and food for all.
Having said that, I do meet a friend at Rushden Lakes and we usually end up in the Marks and Spencer Cafe or we frequent Cafe Bloc another favourite for people watching from the top window. I realised how important it is to choose a place when you are with the right people. We consult, arrange and enjoy.
I am now going out more (than before but still not much) and lots of the locations are family homes, with or without kids and usually involve tea or wine drinking.
As much as I love Kino, I am still crying out for another lounge type place a bit more cosy, day time into evening, where there one late afternoon into evening a casual entertainment option like comedy or open mike music. There are so many places like this in big cities and yet small towns are crying out for some relaxed sophisticated choices. I always think about a favourite place of mine in another town called The Orange Room, where there was this wall to wall fish tank, burnt orange wall feature and great big lounge chairs in cosy corners. If you wanted to hide you could, but equally there was plenty of space in each part of the venue. At night the mood would change from casual lounge cafe to a drip feed of interesting people going from coffee to wine. A mic would appear in the corner and the evening entertainment would begin with an acoustic set which later on became something else. The food would be amazing with unusual but simple dishes and the norm to keep all happy.
There’s more to my memory than one favourite location, but I know that when you find or have your favourite place, there’s no where else to meet where you feel immediately comfortable. We humans love to feel comfortable.
So there’s a huge tick list for me now as it has to include something for all types of friends I’ve managed to find along the way in life, and children I managed to acquire with a husband. Hopefully one day someone will tick those boxes in the small town I walk the streets of. Or maybe with all our ideas put together someone might create one!!! That would be very exciting.
What are you crying out for? Or where do you go now?? Please add your comments below and maybe our dreams could come true.
Identify your amazing transferable skills. You will probably find this hard, until you unlock the first transferrable skill you didn’t realise you have. Visualise your previous tasks and write down the ones that stand out, this helps to identify those skills and abilities you can use in most jobs. It also helps to speak to friends, colleagues and loved ones whom you have explained elements of your job to. They might see something you have missed, probably due to all the information swirling around your head right now. Then you need to show how you can use those skills to strengthen your CV.
Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google…. You have already learned that you need to be present online for people to find you, when they do let them see the best first impression of you. It might be the first ticket to securing an interview before they read your CV. I highly advise you to get a new headshot or personal branding shots, and it’s not just because I’m a photographer that I recommend this. Take it from someone who has witnessed people stalked before they were interviewed. Re-work your online CV too, update any new things about you.
Once you have your online presence ready and those amazing new headshots, upload and start tweeting, sharing, and following industry people. Tell the world you are on the career market. More importantly tell them what you are looking for and what you can offer. I know this is a little like dating but it’s the best way to get your perfect match.
Networking is like dating. The news spreads that you have left your old job and with no time you will have those in your network getting in touch. If you have no network outside your old job then you can look into requesting new contacts on social media platforms to spread the net wide. Going to a networking event is a great idea if it’s in your field, or calling old contacts to see where they are now and who they can introduce you to. Tell people you are looking and they spread the word too.
Blog Blog Blog. Whether you love writing or not, a blog is a great way for an new employer to learn a little about you or what you know about the industry. You can write and blog your words on google and share them to the rest of the social media sites. Your blogs can be about little snippets of your previous achievements, or even where you made impact, which shows what you can offer your prospective new employer. If you have learned anything that your industry would benefit from then share this information too. It will get people talking about you and show you are a true professional.
Network in your new industry.
If all of your networking contacts are still grounded in your old career field, you need to start meeting others to mentor and guide you on your new path. Old contacts can still be valuable if you’re moving to a related industry, but don’t skimp on building new relationships. Look for networking events, have coffee with a professional you admire, or interact with others via LinkedIn groups. Take the opportunity to enhance your professional reach even further, and reap the benefits as you move forward on your new path. You are ready.
That path to a new career is daunting, but the sooner you begin the journey, the quicker you will get a picture of the future… and be open to change. Visualise and it will materialise, open your mind to new opportunities. Some people find a mentor helps or starting a new course in a different direction. Always keep close to your career mission the backbone of skills and knowledge that will be the core to selling yourself in any industry.
P.s. If it wasn’t obvious reading this post, I want to help you get that new job. My most impressive skill is to photograph you the way you want people to see you. If you are ready to have that new headshot, re-brand or confidence boost, then I’m the photographer for you.
Why would you consider capturing the milestones? Well Siobhan and a few of my families coming back to me after a year or more are reminding me why it’s so important to capture the first years (professionally or non-professionally).
Not only do you forget what they looked like, it reminds you about how you felt and how far you have come. Those tiny toes and button noses don’t stay that way forever and neither do those sleepless nights. They will not fit in those arms, or curled up in a womb like fashion EVER again and neither will you eat as much cake!
You might feel like you miss all the details as you are running around being the best parent, spouse, employee or running your own empire of some sort (the household being a gigantic one).
I often look back at my children’s photographs (and they are only 5 and 8) with fond memories of when they were so small I would sit for ours feeding and cradling… then running around making every inch of the house safe, then teaching them new tricks. All of a sudden they are teaching me new tricks.
I had a photographer capture our family at different stages as they grew up, as did my parents who inspired me. I’ve plastered the house in Oscar and Mia. There’s at least 8 professional wall art frames in the house and some prints framed in reasonable but effective high street frames.
So let me tell you how HAPPY I am when families not only find me to do a photoshoot for their family, I’m delighted when they return for the next milestone.
I’ve photographed Siobhan as a newborn and here she is again at 1 years old. I was lucky enough to involve both sets of grandparents at both sessions – something which I LOVE!
Siobhan’s mum and dad value what I do so much and it makes me super happy that they have their images printed and displayed in their home.
By using the same photographer, you can keep some consistency, build a relationship and learn new things. This statement goes for me too as every family I meet has enriched my life in some way. They have ALL had something to teach me.
Their thanks and gratitude of what I do for them is highly fulfilling.
If I could be a family photographer in some way for the rest of my life it will be a gift indeed.
If you would like to know more about a family studio or outdoor photo shoot session or newborn or baby then please get in touch. It an include the grandparents! (see below).
Love Julietta x
I’ve spent many hours, days and possibly weeks deciding which maternity outfits to buy to keep in my studio for photoshoots. I feel that this time was mostly wasted. I bought three or four simple, classic and versatile pieces which I’m happy with, but I can’t afford to buy an entire wardrobe, yet.
In the meantime I’m looking for creative ways to diversify my images for my clients and I began to do this with silk chiffon (see my post on Rocking the Bump). Now I’m exhausting that avenue, a little – as this doesn’t really suit everyone.
So when Aimee rocked up to photograph baby number 2, I was determined to do something different, or at least experiment with her session. I know Aimee would come to me with something when I asked her, but I kept it very casual so she wouldn’t stress over it.
She didn’t disappoint, as she brought about four different items of which I’ve all used in her session. It was tempting to pull out some of my usual tricks, but I refused to let that comfort zone take over me. I went with what she brought me and I felt it was working well!
Denim is always a favourite item of mine and I think everyone must own a denim shirt right? If not then you are missing something as it can be thrown over anything, including a bump! She can’t do this up by the way, bu we found a cheeky way of her rocking her maternity bump with it. The colours looked okay but I really felt that the rawness of the fabric came out in black and white, and didn’t distract from the bump. It gave it a frame.
So the pink number I’ve not mentioned above; this is one of Aimee’s surprise elements for me. I am always desperately looking for stretchy non maternity dresses, but I can’t ever find anything in the shops that looks right and for a photoshoot I need the mama to be to be able to breathe. My most important element is that the woman feels comfortable and sexy in the photoshoot. This is about celebrating her body and I want her to feel super good, and it to show. The confidence does not need to be dripping from every pore, but she needs to feel secure and I will do the rest. I think the pink number got Aimee giggling loads as she felt good and knew that this was something very glamorous, yet super simple.
MID NOTE: NONE OF THESE ITEMS IN THE SHOOT WERE EXPENSIVE AND THEY WERE ALL IN THE MUMS WARDROBE.
I will admit to hesitating to this item. It didn’t scream maternity but I knew I had to try to make it work, and out of all the poses I felt this one brought out the best in the item. One of the experiments for the maternity photoshoot was to see if I could make something every day, that didn’t cost the earth, look awesome. It helps Aimee makes it look awesome too!
In a world of extremely glamours maternity shoots I felt like this one represented a complete contrast. Boho, simple, understated and ordinary. But this is very natural, very normal, and very much what most women might feel is really them underneath all those blow dries and big flowing dresses. I really don’t mind it. It feels raw, it feels real and her peacefulness in the image reminds me of the real maternity months as you prepare for the newborn baby to arrive.
So we have in this session, a glamour pink, a casual denim, a cosy jumper and a boho garment. What has it taught me? Well I guess that I don’t have to panic about what outfits to throw in the session, but how to be creative, resourceful and how to make a pregnant woman look and feel amazing in anything. This is how my studio maternity sessions will begin and I can’t wait to see what the next mummy brings in for me to try.
What did you think? Please comment below your thoughts? If you’d like to book in a session with me I have offers to entice you in. Contact me here.
Love Julietta x
One dress designed by Thea Ajayi
ONE WEEK with the Ankara dress! We reveal the images to each other at the end of the project.
How it all began:
In the last couple of years many travelling dress projects have been appearing in female photography groups all over the globe. The set ups involve a group of willing photographers looking for a project to challenge themselves, and to feel a part of a new movement. The result is to showcase the same dress, with different interpretations and present it to the world.
Tianna is the founding member of our travelling dress project, she is an amazing artist and lovely friend. Her vision encompassed a bright dress with authentic tones. We spoke about commissioning an African designer whom presented our group with fabrics and we found Thea worked beautifully within the vision and style, which we all voted for. Size was a key subject and we initially wanted a dress which could fit most women. This was the biggest challenge and we had to settle on about a size 12/14 round arms, however the rest of the dress was flexible. If we were to re-design the dress it would have more flexibility around the arms, making it a more inclusive design.
THE DRESS: We chose an Ankara print thanks to the stunning colours and shapes. The print is made by the African print dutch company called Vlisco. After being initially presented by the Dutch to the Indonesian textile market, it took shape and home in West Africa due it’s tribal-like patterns.
Note: We don’t see much of this print and designs on the catwalk, but we think this should change.
Inspired by a diverse upbringing; I imagined that anyone could wear this unique style. My model call searched for three types of models: African, Chinese or European heritage. This was the the first challenge, thanks to the limited shooting in one week, the latter part of the vision failed. I didn’t manage to secure a model with European heritage, due to the time restraints and the model’s availability. I realised in hindsight I needed to have a few back-ups for the next challenge. Instead I had two amazing women of African heritage and a very stunning woman of Chinese heritage. All were amazing to work with, and they all suited the Akara dress in different ways.
The time constraint was not the only challenge; the dress itself was unusual and with no real experience in fashion, I had to think on my feet and use as much common sense along with creativity.
The third challenge was the style of portrait itself. I have experience with newborn, children and family photography. Changing my mindset from making memories to making fashionable or artistic portraits would give my mind a jump start. It took off and I went with the flow of the model and the dress. I used props I would not normally consider and an editing process to make some of the images stand out from the norm.
My final challenge was to make every female who wore this dress in the project feel exceptionally beautiful. To make their personalities stand out as much as the dress and not lose one over the other.
The images below are shown in order of the photoshoots taken.
The Studio Fashion Portrait: Marie Gordon
The Studio Art Portrait: Jing-Yun Wu
The Outdoor Portrait: Candice Alana
THE REVEAL TO THE GROUP:
On Friday 10th January, we all shared our blogs and images to each other before our launch to the rest of the community. This was the most awe inspiring moment to see how diverse we represented the dress. One of the loveliest people Louisa Coulthard, was the lady whom I sent the dress on to, and it makes sense that she follows my story as she added in the one cultural element that I could not shoot, see her beautiful images here on her blog.
The next steps:
We still have the dress in our circle and would be happy to pass it onto another group of photographers either in the UK or abroad. Comment below if you are interested.
We hope we have inspired more people to challenge themselves and step outside of their comfort zone.
travellingdress, travellingankara, ankara, travellingdressproject, sisterhoodtravellingdress, ankaratravelling, ukbfttravellingdress, thetravellingdress, travellingdressUK, femalephotographers,#africanfemalephotographers#photographyprojects ,ankarafashiongallery ,ankaralondon ,blackphotographersuk ,fashion ,fashionphotography, blackgirlmagic, blackgirlrock, Ukbftog, ukphotographer, ukfemalephotographers, ukfashionphotographers
This amazing lady returned to me for her maternity session with baby number 2. I first photographed this beauty a couple of years ago when she was expecting her rainbow baby. This was after many little angels sadly left their world. Within just a few years after her rainbow baby she has a golden child – the one which comes after a rainbow baby.
This bump is an amazing 37 weeks and the usual dates I would capture a maternity photoshoot is around 28-32 weeks. I love that these images prove that it does not matter, and the bigger the better. You are most likely over the worst feelings of the pregnancy and ready for capturing this amazing thing your body is achieving.
Despite the challenges, this mum has had to face, which includes diabetes whilst being pregnant and in the first pregnancy as skin condition, she is as radiant as ever, and as optimistic as ever. I love the confidence she exudes and you don’t have to be confident for this to show in the first place. I like to think it’s because she feels comfortable with me, but I also believe it’s because she is really comfortable with herself.
One of the images which is the black and white one above is the style she wanted after doing some Pinterest searches. It’s a classic image and we did try this facing front, but this didn’t seem to work with the bump, possibly as we passed the 32 week front, but she looks simply stunning and I am so happy we achieved this in this way.
This skirt was her own and I loved how it fell, much like my chiffon red above. This same images looks stunning in black and white, and what I do love about black and white is how it shows her emotions more. Black and White is the soul of photography. Most photographers will be very passionate about black and white, especially us old school ones who may have shot on film.
I love maternity photoshoots whether they are studio or outdoor. My aim will always be to make the woman feel the most beautiful she has ever felt. This is the most incredible her body is achieving, it deserves to be documented!!
Which image is your favourite and why? I would love to know what you think of the images.
Love Julietta x
p.s. You can contact me at 20 weeks – after your scan to discuss your maternity shoot or newborn. More than often I do amazing deals to get mamas in front of the camera!