Sue contacted La Femme Portrait via Facebook after seeing a friend’s photographs in a recent post. She loved the idea of a photo shoot for herself but was quite sure she wasn’t good enough.
She isn’t alone with her thinking. Most women feel this way. I haven’t worked with one client who is so confident in herself that she knows she wants to be in front of the camera.
I love a professional challenge and arranged to meet with Sue to discuss details and what she would expect if she wished to come along.
After talking, it was clear she’d had a tough few years with her confidence at a low point, but I knew she would have a good time at the studio, and we would definitely achieve some beautiful portraits for her to own and love.
Sue had her own ideas on how she would like to dress and be photographed. We love a client who knows just what she likes.
Kayleigh, our professional hair and makeup artist, was on hand with all the essentials to create a look to flatter and compliment.
It’s my wish that other women who believe they too aren’t good enough, or not photogenic (it doesn’t exist by the way) will read her words and understand there is absolutely no reason why they too shouldn’t experience a La Femme Portrait Shoot.
We spoke with Sue about her interests and her life below-
What was the best part of your portrait experience?
I had seen a portrait of a friend online that Sarah had taken and I commented which prompted Sarah to contact me.
I must admit I was absolutely terrified of the whole thing initially. I am no looker and never have professed to be, I had put on an extreme amount of weight due to taking prescribed steroids and just couldn’t take the weight off.
My confidence was absolutely in tatters as both my husband and I had been through the awful experiences in the past two and a half years.
I met Sarah and instantly felt at ease and she convinced me that she could do wonders for my self-esteem. As the process went on I was worried about having to wear glitzy ball gowns, which are not me, showing off my awful body, wearing makeup that I didn’t want to wear and I contacted Sarah about my concerns. I was worried about how she would react.
Sarah was wonderful, she respected my feelings and put me at ease.
On seeing my photos, I actually didn’t recognise myself when I first saw them but I felt great when it finally sank in that person in the photo was me! They are fantastic!
What’s your favourite era and fashion designs?
I absolutely adore the Tudor times although I wouldn’t want to have lived in that era.
Clothes worn by the rich were just so ornate with such regard to detail although it must have been terribly uncomfortable. Imagine wearing one of those stiff ruffs around your neck! But the fabrics, patterns and colours were fabulous.
What did you do before you retired?
Before I took early retirement I was a teacher working in Primary schools for 36 years. I adored teaching children and I had special interests in Art and Drama. I worked mainly in North West London where we lived.
What mainly influences your creative side?
I have always been interested in Art, my Dad was the main instigator of getting me to develop my skills. I have a love of nature and adore gardening which is where I learnt to paint plants, helped by my Dad.
I took Art up to A level at school and then at teachers’ training college it was my main subject.
Whilst I was at school myself, one of my Art teachers was married to Julia Caprara, a well-known textile artist, I went to see one of her exhibitions and was fascinated.
I have belonged to a couple of Art Societies and produced mainly watercolours.
After we had moved to Suffolk, I went to a patchwork workshop and discovered that a textile artist, Alexandra Waylett taught textile art in the same shop. I started attending Alex’s workshops and have enjoyed learning the techniques used. I still attend her workshops and at the moment am carrying out learning from Kim Thitterchai on her online courses www.kimthittichai.com. I adapt techniques and produce my own designs and work.
What has been your hardest lesson to learn?
There have been so many things over the years.
I have had the most unfortunate experience of losing most of my confidence and my self-esteem by being bullied by a head teacher whilst I taught. That resulted in a breakdown which led me to take early retirement. We had already bought our home in Suffolk and decided to move to it earlier than intended, we are glad we did.
Various problems beyond our control led me into comfort eating and although already overweight which has always been so with me, having the misfortune to become ill with an autoimmune illness which required steroids to overcome, my self-respect plummeted.
I have never liked my earthly form and some aspects of my character I am not entirely pleased with either. I have since meeting Sarah and becoming friends with her had a good talk with myself, due to Sarah ’s positive character, outlook on life and encouragement, I have managed to lose just over 3 stones in weight. I still have a long way to go and I still have a tremendous amount of self-esteem and confidence to acquire but a lesson has been learnt about trying to like oneself for what you are, I am not there completely but am getting on track with obtaining that goal. Thank you, Sarah!
What is your most treasured possession?
My husband John and my border collies, Chas and Dave.
My Dad’s and my Mum’s wedding rings, they were married for 54 years before my Dad passed away, Mum passed away nearly 3 years ago. I miss my Dad so much as well as Mum.
Where is your most memorable destination?
I have travelled fairly far and wide and there are so many other places I would love to visit but one place that will actually stay in my mind’s eye is a place in the North West Highlands of Scotland.
I had read the book Ring of Brightwater as a thirteen-year-old and we had the chance of visiting the place where Gavin Maxwell had written this book. It was inaccessible by car and we had to hike down a rough track, paddle across a river to actually reach the beautiful setting of a house set nearby to the most beautiful sandy beaches backed by the Sound of Sleet and the Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye. I will never forget the moment my eyes saw that beautiful setting.
What are your favourite websites you visit regularly?
I love visiting the main London Art Galleries websites. Visiting the National Gallery, I was a member of the RA which I again visited on a regular basis along with the Tates and smaller galleries. I also check into galleries across the world too.
I am a fan of FaceBook where I manage to keep in touch with so many friends across the world.