This is a pretty presumptuous title, best portrait photographers. Am I one of them? I’m ok at it, and everyday I strive to be better than the last photo I took. I definitely strive to be a Herb, Annie or an Yousuf!
I have been at this photography gig since I was a kid. At age 9 I was already decided that I would be one of the best portrait photographers. To be a Herb Ritz was definitely a goal.
My dad was a hobbyist photographer, and had a darkroom in our garage. When we moved to a bigger house, he built a bigger darkroom underneath the house. That was scary and cool all at once!
All I wanted to do at school was play in the darkroom, accidentally wreck all my clothes with photo chemicals and practise. I did this all throughout high school and never got sick of it. What we do digitally now in the blink of an eye meant spending a very long time in a dark room.
I would use various utensils trying to dodge/ burn and do my weird kind of double exposure images. I will have to dig up some of those images to show what I mean!
So to sum it up, I was always going to be a photographer, and I was stubborn enough not to give up til it happened.
I started my professional career working for a company that took photos of golfers on the major courses on the Gold Coast around 1998. I was even Greg Norman’s personal photographer for the whole day he was out at Sanctuary Cove.
We also took the company out to Kooralbyn and photographed tourists on the “Aussie Muster”. This was fun, they’d hop on horse and make damper etc.. I took the photo when they’d be on the horse.
Not the most thrilling or challenging. The most challenging part of all of that was racing to the lab to get the film developed. Then I would have to put the photos in folders and race back to the golf course to sell the folders to the client.
I ended up running the company, but left when the owner kept forgetting to pay his bills owed to various companies, and left me as the fall guy.
Sad story, but I learnt a lot from that, and made some great connections.
Since then, I’ve had a few different businesses, of course I had to fail before I got better. And I failed spectacularly a few times too!!
I also spent a long time being a photographer to many builders and real estate agents. Making it onto the cover of the prestigious Ray White White Magazine, a couple of times back in the 2000’s.
From there, I photographed a LOT of weddings, headshots, portraits, products, model portfolios, cars, jewellery, boats, events and more.
Working for a music magazine around 2003 was really fun, all I had to do was go and watch live music and take photos. I did a few nightclub photos too, that you’d see in the paper.
Now that I write it all down, I realise how much I have actually done.
I took a few years off, closing down my last business so I could focus on raising 2 gorgeous mini me’s.
While I enjoyed being a mum, and didn’t mind not working for a while, I was soon itching to get back to it. I waited until the youngest started school so I could focus on a business wholly.
Starting completely over with a new name, and focusing solely on women’s boudoir photography. I was loving this whole new genre, shooting from my renovated garage, it was perfect. Obviously once I started working again, word got around, and all the people whose weddings I photographed had had kids! As to be expected, phone calls asking for kids photos started coming in.
How could I do that under a business name of “Your Boudoir Studio”?
So again came another change, open up a separate business for kids photos. Now I had TWO businesses to focus on. This proved to be very tricky, especially since I was learning about the digital world.
When I was in business before kids, I was mostly still using FILM. I did no marketing as I would always get referred from clients, or pick up a few different clients from weddings.
But now it was ALL different. There was social media.. I had so much to learn. And I decided to do 2 businesses at once!
That didn’t last long..
I decided to merge them together, and not have the Boudoir business I planned on. I am happy I did that though. Now I only focus on portraits, mostly of women over the age of 40.
They might be Boudoir Photos, Headshots, or Makeover Portraits, and all of them love the experience.
After about a year, I was lucky enough to have hubby build me a studio at the back of our property. Sadly it was still “home” and no one understood that when I was working, I wasn’t available.
Settling into a commercial studio at the beginning of 2021 was the best move. I have now built up a bit of a name in the community as a boutique photography studio in Nerang.
One of the reasons the locals knew me was I went around the area and introduced myself and my business. I had a great marketing offer for all the small businesses in the area. To be a part of a community project called Monday Meetup.
Here I would photograph a small business, free of charge. It would be showcased on my socials, and give them all the images to use as they wished. As small businesses, they loved it, and hopefully got a fair bit out of it.
My goal is to be one of the best portrait photographers on the Gold Coast, and maybe Queensland, then Australia.
For now though, I am very happy empowering women through the art of portrait photography.
For your own experience in my boutique Gold Coast photography studio, contact me here