Interview with Renata for Brand You Magazine

Today is a celebration of women all over the world but my wish is for women to celebrate and appreciate themselves every single day. As I work exclusively with women and for women, to me this day is a great reminder of why I do what I do and also of my personal journey to empowerment. 
And just to make this day even more special, I have been featured in the empowerment issue of BRAND YOU magazine. This publication is focused on women running boutique businesses so I was very excited when they asked for an interview. 
If you feel like reading some inspiring content (all by women and for women), head to the Brand You Magazine page to subscribe. 

And in case if you need to hear it today….
Ready to rediscover and claim YOUR POWER? Reserve a consultation with me to start your own journey to empowerment.

Can you tell us what it is about photography that drew you to turn it into a career?

A love or photography and fascination with the process of creating images has always been there. As a child and teenager, I spent hours going through family albums. I loved holding the prints, trying to imagine the people photographed, how hey felt and what their life was like. I always had camera near me, even if it was a simple point and shoot. Digital photography and then the discovery of Photoshop and other editing software was such a game changer as it took the process of image creation to another level.

I always felt good in my own skin, but I entered my forties and suddenly I felt like that had changed. Making other women feel beautiful helped me somehow compensate for that, and I came to conclusion that I cannot truly empower anyone until I empower myself first. Its been a challenging journey of forgiveness, acceptance, understanding, getting out of my comfort zone, looking after my mind, body and soul, so I can finally say I truly love the woman I have become, and am becoming. Also, if I’m honest, after years of working for other people. I absolutely love being my own boss and shaping my own business and future.

You specialise in transformational photoshoot experiences for everyday women and female entrepreneurs. They’re not just ordinary photoshoots though, are they – more like a journey of discovery? Tell us more.

The true value of a portrait to me is to take you on a journey of self acceptance and empowerment. To watch you unfold from vulnerability to trust and allow you to see yourself at your most beautiful. The journey begins with giving yourself permission to feel beautiful, feminine, confident, and strong. There is still a stigma around it, and I hear a lot about how it’s considered vain or for celebrities only. I want to change this! 

Women of all ages get to come in to my studio to spend a day of dress up, pampering and fun but also open up about things that matter to them.Their beautiful portraits are a perfect reminder of their strength and beauty. Often, they show them a side of themselves they had forgotten about or didn’t even know existed. It’s a mixture of fun and excitement and wonderment for me to watch these women transform to confidence in front of me. It’s part fantasy and a whole lot of soul. 

How powerful do you think photography is in enabling women to see their true self and to realise that the person they aspire to be is already inside them?

My business is not just about creating photographs or pampering you. It is about creating an experience that will transform the way you see yourself and feel about yourself. It is about enabling you go through your own transformational journey. It is about showing you how we see your beautiful soul so you fall in love with yourself and have confidence to conquer the world. Photographs are the final product that will stay with you forever as something to cherish and leave as your visual legacy. But the real revolution starts within you. 

I watch my clients transform from the first consultation through their makeover and photoshoot and the big reveal when they get to see their final photographs. Vast majority of women are very nervous about being photographed, most have not had professional photos taken apart from their wedding or some quick family portraits. Thats why creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, great service with attention to detail and genuine connection with my clients helps me put them at ease and bring out their personality during the session. They have absolutely no idea how gorgeous they look and as the session progresses how their confidence in front of the camera grows so I’m able to bring out a piece of their soul on their photos. This is the number 1 thing I look for when culling my images. The second is pose and then the lighting and the overall feel. 

How powerful is photography? I would say more than you would think! I see tears (the good tears of course), awe, amazement, shock when women are confronted with final results of their session. The question I hear mostly is “WHO IS THAT WOMAN?” It’s a very emotional moment to both me and my clients. This is when they get to see their power and strength reflected back to them. 

Who are your typical clients?  What are they looking for and hoping to achieve?

I photograph mostly women in their 40s and 50s. They come from all walks of life but what they have in common is a shift in their lives when they suddenly realise it is now THEIR time. As women we look after everyone around us and put others first, often forgetting ourselves. When our children grow up, we progress in our careers, our relationships evolve or sometimes end, we start coming into ourselves slowly and get to know who we really are and what is our purpose. We realise that we have a life to live for ourselves and there is so much to live for. 

The number one thing my clients want is confidence. This is so much more than just seeing themselves in their best version. They want to see that confidence and strength in their images that’s why creating great experience and the right approach are so important in bringing this out. As a natural empath I am able to tune in into other people’s energy, see beyond whats in front of me and show this in my work. 

Apart from confidence there are many other reasons women book their session. Most of my clients simply want to celebrate themselves and their life’s journeys which is often prompted by hitting a big birthday, going through a significant change in their lives or winning a battle with cancer. They want to be pampered and feel like a real superstar for the day. Some of my clients also want some impactful photographs to use with their business. These are more business portraits rather than typical personal branding photography but also are nothing like corporate headshots as there is quite a lot of soul and personality in them. The goal is to really stop the scroll and attract their ideal clients. 

How do you prepare your clients for a transformation experience and what’s included in their fully bespoke sessions?  Do you offer help with props, wardrobe selection, hair styling and make-up?

I always have initial consultation to find out more about your goals for the session and work with you to make sure we have everything planned out. Apart from beauty preparation and style guides, you’ll get a video consultation about 2 weeks before your session, where we’ll go over outfits, themes, and give you advice on what outfits and fabrics are most suitable for the photo session. My tulle gowns are always a popular choice, as they’re both comfortable and flattering.

On the day of your photoshoot, you will be pampered with a full makeover from one of my favourite makeup artists. She will recommend makeup look and hair styling that will go well with the different outfits you’ve selected for the shoot. Afterwards, it’s 2 hours with myself where I fully pose you from head to toe and talk you through everything. Our photoshoot will be an experience you’ll never forget, as we take 4 outfit changes, and play your favourite music.

You will be invited for your reveal and ordering appointment around 2 weeks later to see fully retouched curated images from your session and make any purchasing decisions at that time. This is my favourite moment and is always so emotional! 

You’ve created a fabulous celebrity-style magazine photoshoot experience called 40 OVER 40, where every-day women tell their stories and get to see themselves in a completely different light.  It’s fun, fulfilling and oh so empowering – I’d say liberating too.  What’s been the feedback so far and how have these women used their images?

This campaign is so close to my heart as I am now an empowered 43 year old and want to show the world that live does not end at 40. In fact my life is so much more fulfilling than it has ever been and first time in years I am proud to admit my real age. And this is true to so many other women 40+. Many of my clients undergone big transformations, started new careers, relationships or achieved some big bold goals, some of them started new ventures in their 60s. All women who responded to my call so far were intrigued that I was marketing specifically to this age bracket as it was unusual. They all want to be part of something bigger than themselves and are very excited about the photo exhibit once I have finished 40 sessions in this particular series, and a portrait magazine I will be designing that will feature all participants along with their I AM manifesto. I believe that the time for women just sharing their stories and having their voices heard has passed that’s why my campaign focuses more on who we are now and who we are becoming as individuals and collective. This is also different from other campaigns I’ve seen or even run myself. Rather than just sharing a life story, all my 40 over 40 women are going through a guided process of creating their own I AM manifesto. All our experiences made us who we are today but my focus is on NOW and moving forward. The future for women 40 or over is exciting! 

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