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. 🙂

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Whoever said never to work with children or animals?

I work with children every week. I wouldn’t have much of a business without them, so I’m sure I don’t need to say that I absolutely love working with children. It’s easily my favourite type of photography. But I don’t often get the chance to work with animals. This past weekend I got that chance with a trip to Chester Zoo.

I’ve said before that I continually try to push my photography and learn all the time, so I couldn’t resist the chance to spend an afternoon with some of my Welshot Photographic Academy friends on a Mini Module. And I only felt the tiniest bit guilty that I didn’t take my children with me.

Rather than just wander aimlessly around the zoo taking photographs, we were given a challenge to create a set of 10 images that didn’t look as though they were taken in a zoo, ie no bars, cages, fences, brick walls etc. It is actually more difficult than you might think, and I wished I had had a longer zoom lens. It certainly kept me on my toes. Shooting at distances throws up challenges that my usual close up shooting in a studio with flash does not. I had to use fast shutter speeds to avoid camera shake, because using a tripod in a crowded zoo is not really practical.

My favourite image of the day turned out to be a fairly unconventional one. I spotted a baby elephant fast asleep with his back to us and I just couldn’t resist the sight of his cute little bottom. It must be the Mummy in me. 😉

Here Come The Boys (for a change)

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It’s usually all about the girls at Pamper and Pose. For some reason boys don’t seem to want photoshoot pamper parties. I do actually photograph boys from time to time when I do family portrait photoshoots, but the majority of the time it’s all about the girls.

So it was quite exciting last week to get the chance to do a photoshoot with two male models……and a shiny red Ferrari. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut when you are doing similar sorts of photography all the time, but my  membership of Welshot Photographic Academy keeps my on my photographic toes and makes sure I am always learning new genres, techniques and skills that can be transferred to my business.

Welshot Academy Evenings are also the highlight of my month, mixing with other photographers of all abilities who are all equally keen to share information and help each other out. This weekend I am off to Chester Zoo with Welshot, so watch out next week for some animal photos. My favourite style of photography, as has been said many times, is candid shots of children at play, so I am hoping some of those skills will transfer well to photographing animals. We’ll see. Log in next week to see the results, but in the meantime, here are a few more of my photographs of those men and that sports car.

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.

Halloween and Bonfire Night – one of my favourite times of year for photography

I absolutely love this time of year. I’m such a big kid when it comes to Halloween and Bonfire Night. Apart from the obvious festive week, it is definitely my favourite week of the year and it throws up such great opportunities for photography too. This year, both days fell within the children’s Autumn half term break, so we had plenty of time to play around with a Halloween photoshoot. My favourite type of photography is the ‘magical’ kind, where I create scenes that make my children gasp in awe and amusement. They think I can do magic. 🙂 It also gives me chance to practice my face painting skills. So here are a few of the images we made together during a wet half term afternoon:

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Bonfire Night for us is usually celebrated on the nearest Saturday, when we have a big family get-together with a potato pie supper and fireworks in the garden. This year the weather was not on our side and although we managed a few fireworks thanks to my brother braving the torrential rain, there was no way I could go outside with my camera. We sheltered inside and watched from the conservatory.

Last night I was working, doing hair and makeup at the monthly pamper evening I take part in for teenage girls in a deprived area. But I packed me camera gear in the hope I  would have time to catch a firework or two. I managed to find a distant hillside just in time to see the Heaton Park firework display. I was too far away to get great pictures, but I managed to capture the images below with the help of a long lens, a tripod and some long exposures.

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Now, back to the drawing board. Christmas will be upon us before we know it. Time to start thinking about the next lot of magic……..

PS. Did you notice one of those pesky teddy bears managed to get on on the act again? 😉

Pamper and Pose meets another Disney Princess

Grace tower 1I really enjoy working with and supporting other local businesses, but I definitely look forward most to working with Princess Impersonations. I have worked with Belle and Cinderella before, and at the weekend I got to work with Rapunzel for the first time when we teamed up to deliver a Disney Princess Pamper Party for birthday girl Grace and her friends.

I spent some time pampering the six very excited little girls before Rapunzel arrived with a big bag over her shoulder. As the  girls watched in awe, Rapunzel pulled a treasure chest out of the bag and told the girls a story before opening the chest to reveal a birthday present for Grace.

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After a lesson in Princess etiquette and posing, Rapunzel style, we gathered everyone for a photoshoot. Each of the girls posed with Rapunzel and each other.

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Even the party girl’s Dad wanted to get in on the act and have his photograph taken with Rapunzel. He even adopted Rapunzel’s trademark pose.

It was great fun working with Rapunzel and I think she’s now my new favourite Disney princess because she’s that bit sassier than the others. She even told me afterwards that it was a shame the weather was awful because she likes to cartwheel down the grass and swing from trees. Now that would have made for some fun photos, so I look forward to working with Rapunzel again some sunny day. 🙂

Details of Pamper and Pose’s Disney princess hosted pamper parties can be found in the Pamper Parties section of this website.

Photography Copyright Lisa Marie Gee of Pamper and Pose

Introducing the adventures of Teds in Boots – a fun photography project by Lisa Marie Gee

Meet Teddington and Little Ted, aka Teds in Boots.

They belong to my children. The boots belong to my daughter and I. She had hers first and persuaded me to get a matching pair. Mine are a bit of a midlife crisis purchase. I told my husband he should be grateful that he has a low maintenance wife. After all, I could have wanted a sports car. 😉 The boots were partly a reward to myself for working hard. As they arrived in my life at a point where my business and my website were due an overhaul, I thought it would be appropriate to incorporate them into the design of the site somehow. Using both pairs of boots seemed obvious, and as I was looking around for a suitable setting to photograph them in, I realised that Teddington and Little Ted were watching me.

And so they collectively became the emblem for Pamper and Pose and can be found at the top of every page, much to my children’s delight. I made the image above, of the Teds flying on a magic carpet, to amuse them both, and gradually began to formulate an idea. So here begins the adventures of Teds in Boots. They will be visiting all sorts of locations, whilst helping me polish up my photo editing skills. They will also pop up in all kinds of photoshoots from here on in, forcing me to use my imagination. Their escapades will keep my children interested in and bewitched by what I do and I hope anyone who pops by my blog and follows their adventures might be amused and a little bit charmed by the little rascals too.

They have already been hiking in the mountains….

 Photography copyright Lisa Marie Gee at Pamper and Pose

Who knows where they will turn up next!

Portrait Photography in the Golden Hour

Photographers refer to the last hour before sunset as the Golden Hour because the lighting can make for some beautiful images. As a mum of two small children I don’t often get chance to get out and try golden hour photography, as it is usually during, or even after the children’s bedtimes.

But on Saturday my husband took my youngest on an overnight camping trip. It was a lovely sunny evening, so I decided to grab my camera and take my daughter out for an evening stroll around Tandle Hills Country Park in Royton, one of our favourite places. The resulting images below are all taken using just the flattering evening sunlight and my favourite 50mm prime portrat lens on my DSLR. I didn’t use flash and I didn’t even take a reflector. I really enjoy playing around with my studio lights, but it will never replace natural light photography for me. It was how I got started and it will always be my first choice.

Photography by Lisa Marie Gee at Pamper and PoseI am really pleased with the results. I think this image is the best photograph I have ever taken of my very photogenic daughter (admittedly I am a little biased). But please take a look at the rest and see what you think. Tandle Hills is one of my favourite spots for family portrait photography, but using the evening light just adds an extra dimension.

The only downside was that we didn’t hang around for sunset as the inevitable groups of young people were beginning to gather and I really didn’t want to be in a park with a small child and expensive camera equipment as it began to get dark.

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You’re never too young for a bit of vintage photography.

Portrait photography by Lisa Marie Gee of Pamper and Pose

Day two of the school holidays and the weather breaks, major style. What do you do when you have work to do, but you can’t scoot the children out to play in the garden while you work? A bit of vintage photography. The children always come first, but I feel guilty if I play hooky for a whole day. I always try to get at least a bit of work done. So, during the downpours yesterday, we played dress-up and I got some studio portrait practice.

I wanted to try out a few techniques I learned on a photographic lighting workshop recently. My daughter, Gabrielle, who is a real chip off the old block, has started showing a keen interest in all things vintage. So  we dressed her up and I styled her hair in victory rolls. No makeup needed as she is only six and naturally beautiful (well, to me she is the most beautiful girl in the world).

All of these photographs were taken in my own (not very large) living room, using my Pamper and Pose mobile photography studio equipment. Outdoor candid shots are still my favourite, and we are planning some outdoor shoots over the next few weeks, but sometimes it is nice to do something a bit different.

Here are the results of our couple of hours of fun. Today we are leaving work behind and going off to do a craft workshop. I’ll do some work tonight when the children are in bed. 🙂

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Friday Facial – the ‘Miracle’ Homemade Face Mask

A study published in the last week claimed that on average we have products worth £2000 in our bathroom cabinets and that a fifth of them are never used. Those who have been following my blog for some time will know that I snorted at that report. Not in my bathroom cabinet!

 

I wouldn’t spend £2000 on skin care products, even if I could afford it. It is totally unnecessary. So, today I have decided to share with you the Rolls Royce of homemade face masks. It is fabulously effective, but will cost you mere pennies to make. You probably already have the ingredients in the cupboard.

 

Homemade skincare by Pamper and PoseYou will find variations of this face mask all over the Internet and it is generally known as The Miracle Mask. It contains honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. All three have wonderful anti-bacterial properties, so are great for problem skin. Both cinnamon and nutmeg will help to heal old acne scars and marks on the skin. Used together in a face mask they have a rejuvenating and tightening effect on the skin. This mask is a perfect pick-me-up for tired skin that is suffering from the constant changes in the weather and the drying effects of central heating.

 

Did I mention that it smells divine too?

 

The Miracle Mask

Half tbsp of honeyMiracle Mask by Pamper and Pose

Half tsp of ground cinnamon

Half tsp of ground nutmeg

 

All you need to do with this one is measure out the ingredients, mix them together and apply to the face. The quantities stated should just make enough for one thick application. This mask will keep quite well, but it is always best to make it fresh as you need it. Leave for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse off with tepid water.

 

 

This mask will probably tingle after a few minutes. This is the effect of the cinnamon, which acts to draw blood to the surface of the skin. This is completely normal and should settle down after a few minutes. If it becomes uncomfortable or painful then rinse off and apply a cool damp cloth. Try using less cinnamon next time.

 

I adore this mask and it is a firm favourite among my clients too. I have several variations of it, but those should be saved for another time. I can’t give all my secrets away now, can I? 😉 Here’s the proof that I practice what I preach – the Miracle Mask, as modelled by yours truly.

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