Pamper and Pose, Studio G

All about Studio G – our new photography studio and party HQ

Like most photographers, I have always harboured a dream of one day owning my own photography studio. I don’t think I believed it would happen – at least not for a few years yet. When a friend told me about an empty studio to let I pretty much dismissed it out of hand. But he made me go and have a look at it, and from the second I stepped through the door I knew I had found a perfect home for Pamper and Pose.

Even then I didn’t think I had the confidence or the guts to give it a go. I did what every girl would do in those circumstances, I went to see my Mum. Always my biggest supporter, she brought me up to believe I can do anything I put my mind to. But she also keeps me grounded. I expected her and my stepdad, Keith, to tell me to keep plugging away, building up my business for a few more years before I took such a risk. They didn’t. They told me it sounded like a fantastic opportunity and I should go for it.

I went home to talk to my husband, Carl, convinced that he would tell me it was too much of a risk to take when we are just getting back onto an even keel after a rocky few years through a recession. He didn’t. He told me I would never be in a better position to go for it and he would support me if I decided to go for it.

Totally confused, I went for a coffee and a chat with a very sensible friend, Robert, who I knew would stop me getting carried away. He took the wind out of my sails by offering to back me and become my business partner. Finally, in my quest to find someone who would tell me I was being ridiculous, I talked it over with my photography and business mentors, Lee and Eifion, from Welshot Imaging. They were all for it and pledged to help me in any way they could.

After that, I had pretty much run out of reasons why I shouldn’t do it. If so many people had faith that I could make it work, then perhaps, just perhaps, I could. So, soon afterwards I signed the lease on what has now become Studio G.

Photo courtesy of Barry Mappley

Photo courtesy of Barry Mappley

The studio will allow me to expand the photographic work that I do, but it will primarily be the base for Pamper and Pose. It is the perfect place to hold a party if you don’t want any of the mess and the fuss at home. Plus, because we have a lot more space and equipment there is so much more we can do in terms of party themes, props, sets, lighting etc.

Studio G has a reception room with plenty of chairs, where refreshments can be laid out. We have introduced a party food package that includes everything you need, including a basic birthday cake (you are of course welcome to bring your own). All soft drinks, plus teas and coffees for the adults, are included in every party package.

Birthday parties at Pamper and Pose

Birthday parties at Pamper and Pose

Inside the modern studio area there is a comfortable seating area where guests can wait for their turn in front of the camera. There is a dedicated makeover station complete with large dressing room mirror and shelves filled with boxes of hats and props that can be used in shoots.

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We are working on developing a selection of themed parties that will appeal to both girls and boys, but in the meantime, if you have a theme in mind please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate it. So far we have done Princesses; Hollywood glamour/red carpet; Rock Stars; Catwalk; Tea Party and Secret Garden.

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We’re confident that anyone would be happy to have a party at Studio G, so we welcome anyone who wants to come and have a look around and a chat before booking. Our kettle is always on.

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For more information or to book a party contact Lisa on 0161 300 6224, email parties@lisamariegee.co.uk or fill in our booking enquiries form.

 

From full time mum to full time photographer and businesswoman

first day-2016Today is a landmark day for me. My youngest child finally started school full time today. For the last eight years I have been a full time stay at home mum. I have loved (almost) every minute of it. But today I am on my own. Time to concentrate on me and time to prove that I can make it as a full time businesswoman. It is a very exciting time, but I won’t lie to you, it’s a little bit daunting too.

Of course, I am not suddenly making the leap from mum to businesswoman. I have been both things in tandem for quite some time now. There have been many twists and turns in the Pamper and Pose story to get me to where I am today. I always knew that I wanted to stay at home with my children. I was 36 when my daughter was born and I was ready to put my career on the back-burner. I knew I couldn’t do both and neither did I want to.

But staying at home means making huge financial sacrifices. I am not in the least bit materialistic, so as long as my children had what they needed I was happy. But my son was born in the middle of a horrible recession. My heroic husband, who runs his own blinds and curtains business, worked his fingers to the bone to provide for us (and still does), but I needed to do something to help. I did what many ‘housewives’ do – I joined a party plan company. I chose Virgin Vie because I had always loved playing with makeup. I was good at the makeovers, rubbish at the selling. But it gave me the confidence to go to night school and train as a makeup artist. Virgin Vie went bust and I started doing bridal makeovers and pamper parties.

Pamper and Pose was born, with me just doing the pampering side. But all the while I was rediscovering an old passion for photography, constantly chasing after my children with a camera in my hand. As friends began to ask me to photograph their children my confidence grew and I joined Welshot Photographic Academy to get some proper training.

Then, around a year ago, I was forced into a position where I had to either let Pamper and Pose go, or step up and take over the photography side myself. With the support of my friends I gave it a go and have not looked back. I know that portrait photography, particularly of children, is what makes my heart sing. I have worked hard over the last year, studying and practising at every opportunity.

So now, the day I go full time, is the perfect opportunity to announce the launch of Pamper and Pose’s sister business – Lisa Marie Gee Photography. My new portrait photography business will run alongside Pamper and Pose, but will allow me to be more creative and hopefully build a name for myself as a lifestyle portrait photographer in a way that wouldn’t be possible within Pamper and Pose.

I won’t be taking my eye off the Pamper and Pose ball in the slightest, I adore doing my photoshoot parties. It just means that this site will concentrate on parties and everything else will be on the new website. So please, if you like what I do, head over to www.lisamariegee.co.uk and have a look.

Exciting times. 🙂

 

New mini films added to all photoshoot pamper party packages

Recently I have been trying out a few mini slideshow films on some of my clients. It started out with me making the video below as a promotional film for my Pamper and Pose photoshoot pamper parties.

I got such a good reaction to it on Facebook and Twitter that I decided to make a couple for pamper party clients. They loved them! So I have decided to include these little videos as a standard part of all my photoshoot pamper party packages from now on. They are low resolution files that can be emailed, shared on social networking sites or saved to disc. They are a perfect memento of your party to share with friends and family. And high definition DVDs, viewable on big screen TVs will also be available at a modest additional charge.

Here’s one I made earlier for a recent party girl, Bethan:

Click here for full details of all my pamper party packages, with prices starting at just £120.

2013 – That Was The Year That Was

It’s that time of year when people like to look backwards over the year and process what it meant, what was achieved and take stock as we move into the start of a New Year. I’m no different, so here’s a little look back at 2013, Pamper and Pose style:

2013 was a landmark year, both for Pamper and Pose and for myself personally. Looking back I think that for the first half of the year I drifted along, working mostly as a makeup artist and lacking much in the way of drive or vision. Now, I think that I was feeling frustrated. What I wanted to do was to develop (excuse the pun) the photography side of my business, but I lacked confidence and self-belief, having been badly put down by photographers I knew.

And then something happened. Call it fate, serendipity, or the universe lending me a helping hand, depending on what you believe. What happened was that Welshot Photographic Academy came into my life. I heard that my friend Laura Norrey was modelling for them and before I knew it, one summer evening, I was walking with her into the lions’ den, aka a room full of photographers. I was so nervous that I managed to drop my camera and broke a flash trigger I had borrowed.

But I took a selection of photographs I was proud of that night. The people were welcoming and I learned so much that I couldn’t sleep, I was so excited to get my camera out again. This is one of the photographs I took of Laura that night and for obvious reasons it is one of my favourite images of 2013:

That weekend, itching to create, I set up my studio lights and took a whole load of photographs of my family:

I joined Welshot, couldn’t wait for the next Academy Evening. Under the gentle, parental encouragement of owners Lee Iggulden and Eifion Williams I have spread my photographic wings and tried my hand at low light architectural, street, macro and commercial photography. None of that has any obvious direct link to Pamper and Pose, but the key thing is the way Welshot has boosted my confidence and given me the drive, no, a need, to constantly be learning more. And I do, all the time, from the Welshot team and from the many members I now count as friends.

It gave me the confidence to strike out on my own when I had always worked in partnership before. I redesigned and rebuilt this website, introducing these two little chaps, a creation I made to amuse my children, but which ended up as the mascots for Pamper and Pose.

Photographing children remains my first love and is central to what I do at Pamper and Pose. In the last couple of months I have done makeover photoshoot parties all over Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire. I absolutely love the fun we have. And last month I finally plucked up the courage to hold a family photoshoot day. It was a great success and I photographed six lovely families that day. I plan to do more of them, and soon.

When I look back at how far I’ve come during 2013 I am very excited to find out how much I can learn and how much I can achieve in 2014. I would like to put on public record my thanks and appreciation to those who supported, encouraged and believed in me this year. So, to my family, especially my husband and my Mum; to my lovely friends, especially Julie Crowley of Clear Mind, who coaches and supports me; and to my new Welshot family I will raise a glass and toast you at midnight.

A very Happy New Year to everyone who reads this, and to everyone who has worked with me, used my services or in any way supported me this year. You have all helped to make Pamper and Pose the fun business that it is. I can’t wait to see where 2014 will take us.

Announcing Brand New ‘Make Your Own’ Pamper Parties

Handmade skincare by Lisa Marie Gee at Pamper and Pose

This is a very exciting week for Pamper and Pose. I am delighted to announce the launch of a whole new pamper party format – make your own skincare products. I always try to involve the guests at my pamper parties as much as possible, so that they are not just sitting there while I do the pampering. I have done some craft activities with the younger girls, but I wanted a format that was totally interactive, but keeping with the pampering and skincare theme.

Anyone who has followed Pamper and Pose for while will know that I am a big fan of natural cosmetics and skincare products. I make a lot of my own at home, and often post my favourite recipes on my blog. For the last few months I have been experimenting with recipes, refining them and running workshops with friends and family, getting them to make, use and feedback on some of my handmade products. I now have a whole collection of workable recipes for face masks, moisturisers, lip balms, bath salts, exfoliators and massage oils.

SONY DSCFollowing a very successful dry run at the weekend with a lovely group of 11-year-old girls, I am now taking bookings for Make Your Own Skincare parties. These parties can be tailored to suit any age and occasion, making your choice of products. They can be straight-forward Make and Take parties, concentrating on takeaway products such as lip balms and bath products. Alternatively, you might prefer a Spa in Your Kitchen party, where I will show you how to make fresh products, such as face masks, foot scrubs etc, from all natural ingredients. You and your guests can then try them out on each other there and then. You will each also make at least one product to take away and enjoy at home.

To find out more about Pamper and Pose’s new Make Your Own Skincare Parties or book one for yourself give Lisa a call on 0161 300 6224, or email Lisa@pamperandpose.com.

New Year New You? Small Resolutions Can Lead to Big Changes.

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good festive period. Mine was fairly quiet, spent with my family, which is just how I like it.

 

New Year's Eve, Gee style.

New Year’s Eve, Gee style.

So now it’s 2013 and it’s back to work for most of us, so what now? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? I have. It is no secret that the last few years have been a struggle for me, I have blogged before about my battles with depression. Yesterday, fired up by the New Year (and the New Year’s Eve alcohol)  I boldly announced that 2013 is going to be the year that I get strong, get well, get fit and build a successful business.

 

Woah Neddy! That’s a rather massive resolution to make.  Anyone else pledged to make huge life changes? Are you now wondering where to start? Small steps, that’s the key. As I was sitting in the conservatory this morning with the first coffee of the day I started to get overwhelmed by the height of the mountain I have to climb. That’s the thing about those of us who suffer with depression and anxiety, we tend to get easily overwhelmed by tasks. We need to break big problems down into small, manageable steps in order to make progress.

 

So, as I gazed out of the window at the grey and drizzly day, I started to feel sad. Lots of posts on Twitter and Facebook from people fed up at going back to work today. But then I spotted a small thing of beauty – a spider’s web covered in tiny little droplets of rain. I grabbed my camera and here it is:

 

Spider's web

Even on a flat day, when all the celebrations are over, when everyone is going back to work and when the weather is grey, miserable and damp, you can still find small things of beauty. So my plan is to open my eyes and every day look for something beautiful. I might photograph it and I might share it. I might not. Let’s not make any rash promises eh? 😉 But I will at least look for it and take a mental note.

 

I reckon it will help me to have a positive outlook on life and that has to be a major plus point when you are trying to defeat the black dog.  Why don’t you join me? Just try to find one beautiful thing to be grateful for every day. It could be something big, it could be something small. I might start a post on my Facebook page and invite people to share their finds. It can’t hurt can it? And you know what they say. From little acorns………..

 

Happy New Year everyone. May 2013 be a great one for us all.

 

 

Grab a silly hat, pull a funny face and say “CHEESE!!”

I am delighted and very excited to announce the latest, newest and quite probably the most fun Pamper and Pose service so far – the Circus Big Top Photo Studio.

Add some fun and originality to your party or event by hiring our mobile photobooth style studio, packed full of fun props for you and your guests to pose with. Take your pick from our selection of wigs, hats, glasses, moustaches, boas and props galore and say “cheese” for the camera. Be as silly as you like, we dare you!

Our Big Top is bigger than the photobooths run by other companies, so we can accommodate several people at a time.

 

We also add the personal touch by providing a ‘real life’ photographer to man the studio at all times and help you choose your props and poses.

 

The big top adds a fun twist to any party and is particularly popular for wedding receptions. It is also a great fun and highly original entertainment for children’s parties. We can provide props to suit the theme of your event and we guarantee that your guests will love it!

 

 

We offer fully inclusive packages so that you know exactly what you are getting and there are no nasty surprises. This includes:

  • Unlimited visits to the studio throughout the hire period.
  • All the images on disc.
  • Design of the photos to include your name, event details or company branding.
  • An online gallery where all your guests can view their images and purchase a range of photo gifts.
  • Free upload to a Facebook gallery so guests can tag themselves and share images.
  • Free setting up and dismantling of the Circus Big Top.
  • Props to suit the theme of your event.

For more information about availability, packages and prices give Lisa a call on 0161 300 6224 or fill in the contact form.

What World Mental Health Day means to me.

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day when particular effort is made to highlight a range of conditions that will affect one in four of us at some point during our lives. It is a difficult issue to promote due to the stigma that is still attached to it. How ridiculous in these modern times when pretty much any sort of (legal) lifestyle choice is deemed acceptable, that suffering from an illness should be something to be ashamed of?

 

I have been ashamed. Yes, I am the one in four. I want to be the sort of person who courageously stands up and fights mental health prejudice, but a lot of the time I don’t. I don’t do it because I am scared of the consequences. I am scared that I will be judged. Judged as a friend, as a business woman, a wife and, more than all of those, as a mother. I know that my children suffer because of the black clouds that often surround me. I don’t need to be worrying that people are pointing the finger. There’s no need. I already think I’m a bad mother, that’s part of this horrible disease depression. It makes you doubt your every ability.

 

Several days each month I get up feeling like I should give up my business, that I am rubbish at what I do and will always be so. I have spent my entire career feeling like I have pulled the wool over people’s eyes and that any moment now I am going to be unmasked as a fraud. I felt like that throughout my previous career in newspaper journalism, through my progression to PR as I climbed the ladder in the press office of one of the country’s best-known charities, from regional press officer to senior press officer at HQ. I was so afraid of being ‘found out’ for being useless that when a new, bullying, boss came along I ended up having a nervous breakdown.

 

I became a child again, moving back in to the family home, and it took my family (particularly my amazing Mum) two years to put me back together again. I suppose you want to know why I am telling you all this? Because I want to show that there is a positive side to mental illness. Can’t see it? Well then, let me explain why having that breakdown was the best thing that could have happened to me.

 

Without it I would still be slogging away at a high-powered career, working up to 12 hours a day with no time for relationships and little in the way of a social life. Instead, I have a husband, two beautiful children and my own business. I have a great set of friends, some of whom probably had no idea until now about my 20 year battle with depression. To an outsider it may look like I have nothing to be depressed about. And that is exactly the point. There are people with far more going for them than I have who spend their lives battling their own private demons. None of us choose depression, it chooses us.

 

Depression is an illness like any other and we should not be ashamed to admit to it. I have mountains of admiration for the high profile celebrities who have recently talked so openly about their own battles. People like Denise Welch, Stephen Fry, Alistair Campbell, Nicole Kidman, David Walliams, Will Young and Stan Collymore. A couple of weeks ago Dame Kelly Holmes bravely revealed on national television that she had self-harmed and considered suicide. She is an Olympic champion! So, I figure  we ‘one in fours’ are in illustrious company.

 

The more high profile people who stand up to be counted the sooner this ridiculous stigma will be banished for good. It makes it a little easier for mere mortals like myself to quietly whisper from my corner: “Actually, me too!” I still suffer, the black clouds descended again after the birth of my son and they have still not lifted. I am coming to terms with the fact that I will never be completely rid of them and I will probably have to take medication for the rest of my life. But you  know what? If that’s what it takes then so be it. It is only the same as taking daily medication for diabetes or thyroid problems.

 

Why should I be ashamed of something that has made me the person I am and got me where I am today? Yes, I have much to be thankful for. And hopefully one day in the not too distant future I will be able to feel that as well as know it.

What a week! Exciting times for Pamper and Pose

As the title of this blog says, this has been a very exciting week for Pamper and Pose so far. I have been named as a finalist in two major competitions. I am beyond thrilled to be recognised for both sides of my work, the make-up and the photography. I doubt I could be any more excited than I already am if I was to win either of the awards. 

 

The excitement started on Tuesday when I discovered that one of my photographs is a finalist in Oldham Council’s Love Where You Live photography competition. I saw the competition advertised weeks ago and decided to enter a couple of my pictures. The one chosen as a finalist is below. It was taken during the community Jubilee party we had on my estate in Chadderton.

Community Jubilee party on the Swallowfield development in Chadderton

 

I don’t think it is any where near my best photograph, but I entered it because I thought it illustrated the great community spirit we have where I live, and although there are some photos in the competition with much more ‘wow’ factor, I believe the judges chose mine because it matches the spirit of the Love Where Y0u Live campaign. My photo has already been in the local paper and in a Council newspaper that goes into every home in Oldham. Voting is now open to find the winning image and if you would like to vote for me you can do so at http://www.oldham.gov.uk/photography-competition.

 

I was only just starting to come back down to earth when I found out I am shortlisted for Best Vintage Make-up at the Manchester Vintage Awards. One of my fellow nominees is the highly respected Bethany Jane Davies, so I am honoured to have my work  recognised in such esteemed company. 

 

I am really excited about attending the awards evening next month, not least because I will be accompanied by my Lipgloss & Lenses partner, Jude Gidney, who is shortlisted as Best Vintage Photographer. Our friends and collaborators Dormouse and the Teapot, Saddleworth Shindigs and Limb Clothing are also up for awards.

A collaboration between myself, Jude Gidney Photography and Limb Clothing from earlier this year.

If you would like to vote for any or all (please) of us, you can do so by following the link http://www.vintagemanchester.com/best-of-2012-awards/

 

In lieu of an acceptance speech (I’m not expecting to win, but that’s absolutely fine), can I just take this opportunity to thank my family, friends and supporters for their help in getting me this far. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

 

No Boris, we don’t all sit here eating cheese.

I wasn’t sure what subject I was going to tackle for today’s blog, but then I heard that blundering old Tory buffoon, Boris Johnson, describing working from home as a skiver’s paradise. I might not have paid too much attention to him (I usually don’t), were it not for the immortal line: “We all know that is basically sitting wondering whether to go down to the fridge to hack off that bit of cheese before checking your emails again.” That bit caught my attention and made me howl with laughter.

 

In one way I can see where he is coming from, and I may even agree with him to a degree (Oh Lord, did I actually just admit that bit out loud?). It can be difficult to concentrate and remain focussed when you are working from home. It is all too easy to get distracted by the kettle, a programme on TV or even hanging the washing out during a rare spell of sunshine. But when you work for yourself then working at home is often a necessity, and if you don;t get the work done the only person you are cheating is yourself.

 

So here, briefly, are some of the tips I have picked up along the way for getting things done when you are working at home:

 

  • Start work as soon as the family have gone off to work and school. Don’t allow yourself a 10 minute sit down or you will struggle to get started. By all means put the kettle on and take a cuppa into the office with you.

  • Try to have a room, or at least a clearly defined area set up as your work space. It is much easier to get into and stay into work mode if your surroundings look and feel business-like. Believe me, I learned this one from experience. For a long time I worked on the dining room table and had to set up and put things away every day. Now that I have my own office space I get much more work done.

  • If you are used to working with people and don’t like working in silence then put some music or the radio on. I find it helps me to concentrate better when there is some background noise.

  • Allow yourself breaks, but try to schedule them so that you stick to your timetable and are not tempted by distractions. I wander downstairs to put the kettle on a few times a day, but I usually find that I am so engrossed in what I’m doing that I am eager to get back to my desk.

  • If you are the sort of person who flits from project to project and is easily distracted then TURN YOUR EMAILS OFF. Check them in the morning, after lunch and at the end of the day and allow yourself time to read and respond to them.

  • Get out of the office and meet people every now and again. There are often times I schedule a coffee meeting with someone when I could very easily have dealt with them over the phone. But I believe it is important to have human contact, it is much better to deal with people face to face and, frankly, we all need time away from our desks.

These are just my tips – things I have picked up through my own experience. I would be very interested to hear what works well for other people, so please comment if you have something to contribute. This has been day five of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. And, oh, Boris, I don’t think I have ever gone down to the fridge for a sneaky chunk of cheese. Has anyone else?