Aiden was an angel during his newborn session 3 months ago, so when his parents requested a first milestone session I was more than happy to oblige (after I had gotten over the shock that three months had gone by so quickly). I setup to recreate his newborn session with similar props and colors and a consistent theme but when I saw them arrive I changed my mind. Victoria his mum looked so different and his dad too!! They had lost the “new parent” look. They looked comfortable and very relaxed as parents it was such a beautiful vibe that I was inspired to do a lifestyle session for them. We glammed mama up and boy did they light up the room! Aiden was a dream as usual to photograph and we captured the most precious images they are sure to treasure for years to come.
I made my first Instagram post on my newborn portraiture exactly a year ago today. If anyone would have told me at the time, that I would come to love newborn photography as much as I do I would have found it very hard to believe.
This journey has been full of pleasant surprises for me. What has been most surprising is how many people have embraced the concept of newborn portraiture in Ghana. I was almost certain it wouldn’t catch on, I thought people wouldn’t be interested or they wouldn’t appreciate the amount of work involved to produce a worthy piece of art. Boy was I wrong!
The beginning was tough I’ll admit. I’m not the cheapest photographer on the block which is one of the reasons why my clients inevitably become like family. To choose me out of the many options available means they VALUE my art and believe as much as I do that it will only accrue in value over the years.
That one day the tiny people in my portraits will they themselves stand in front of their images and tell their children about them. They will talk about life, about blessings, about miracles, about grace and favor and mercy. In a spirit of gratitude, they will talk about God.
This is what portraiture means to me, from the 10 day old, to the 50 year old, 100 years later, in all the changes that will take place, the one thing that remains certain and true throughout every image that I create is that God indeed is Faithful.
Thank you for all the likes and comments and words of encouragement, you don’t know how much it means to me. I remember the happy dance I danced when I had 199 followers on my Instagram page. I called my mum to celebrate, obviously neither she nor I knew very much about instagram at the time. Still, it was a moment of celebration because over 180 people I had never met chose to follow my page.
Merci beaucoup!! Here’s to many more wonderful years of adorable babies to come :)
I remember how hard I fought against doing baby sessions. I had what I thought at the time were very good reasons for not doing it:
IT IS EXPENSIVE: Newborn portraiture (done well) is a whopping investment. You never really know how much money you are going to spend till you you're too far gone in your decision to change you mind. Thankfully, I have enough self disciple to confidently walk the very thin line between what I need and what I want. Nevertheless my pocket is still traumatized. It's all the cute stuff that conveniently pops up in your mail box just when you've vowed to cut down on spending for props. That's when you suddenly realize how much you NEED that bumble bee newborn romper complete with antenna and woven honeypot. (I didn't buy it btw . Self discipline. Elom 1- Adorable romper seller 0)
IT IS TIME CONSUMING: I've tried to get around this by honing my workflow and pricing my packages for timed sessions. This is the only way I can afford to have something for everyone in my packages but boy do those babies know how to make me work for it. I tell parents it could take up to an hour to settle a baby. I give all parents a very precise preparation guide on what to do to bring me sleepy babies. Do they follow it to the letter like I ask them to? Your guess is as good as mine. "Ooh don't worry my baby is always sleeping" If I had 10 cedis for every parent who told me that only to have their newborn stare defiantly into my face the whole session, I would be on a private resort in Belize by now. (lol.....hmmm maybe I should start betting with parents...where's my bikini?...)
IT IS PATIENT WORK: Let's just say I have surprised myself.
THERES ONLY ONE WAY TO DO IT: That's the safe way! Newborn portraiture is basically handling someones whole life and some, propping and positioning them in ways to create 'awww inspiring' photos that families will treasure forever. There is no room for trial and error. YOU HAVE GOT TO KNOW WHAT YOURE DOING!! I believe maternal instincts help some, but only to a certain degree. It certainly helps that I've managed to keep three human beings alive. I work on all my baby sessions with my husband. He's the ying to my yang and my secret weapon in newborn portraiture. We know what the miracle of new life is and we don't take that for granted. All three of our children were high risk and we only had each other to handle them with care. At no point would we knowingly or unknowingly risk the safety of a newborn to get a shot, however epic the shot may be. This is why our clients trust us and continue to do so.
THESE BABIES ARE CONTAGIOUS: I will admit it, I was afraid. One minute you're cuddling cute babies the next minute you're having an ultrasound (Jesus!) God had to promise me, the way He promised Noah after the flood, that NEVER AGAIN! (come on somebody)...I'm done having babies,... finito! Which is what makes this the perfect job for me, this is the only way the Lord could deliver me from a perpetual state of pregnancy. I get to hold them, cuddle them, rock them, sing to them and bid them farewell in Jesus name. Won't He do it! Mighty to save indeed.
So now here I am, smack in the middle of what I believe is my calling, happy to wake up on Monday mornings. Who would have ever thought?
Newborn portraiture is all of the above and I wouldn't have it any other way. It fills my spirit with so much joy to be able to create imagery for families that they will value forever. That fleeting moment of perfection that is the first few weeks of newborn life, to be able to capture that and let it exist to be remembered for all time. That my friends, is what sets me on fire!
What sets you on fire? Have you found it yet? Tell me in the comments
How old is your professional headshot on LinkdIn / your website/ Facebook ? (Go check now)
10 reasons to call me:
1. You don't have a professional headshot
2. You have an old headshot
3. You have a selfie on your professional page (shame on you) or a picture someone took of you at a wedding.
4. You don't look like the professional you are in your existing headshot
5. You need more options
6. The quality of your headshot isn't up to standard
7. You don't like what your headshot says about you
8. You don't know what your headshot says about you
9. You settle for nothing but the best
10. You are ready to go pro.
A headshot is not just a "nice" picture of a professional. A lot more thought and effort and expertise goes into creating an image of you that accurately represents you and your brand. From styling to posing to the final product. My head shots are industry standard, they are a step in the right direction and a foot in all the right doors. Do yourself a favour and let's get your first impression right!
0507407838. Dial it. Now.
Below is an example of my bestselling pro collection. 3 digital images that accurately depict everything Nana's professional brand is about. These beautiful images are for her LinkdIn profile.
I've been fighting this uphill battle to convince women to do portraits as they are. That means no makeup and no fancy clothes.
"But isn't that the whole point of what you do?" you may ask. I get women glammed up and in fancy clothes and photograph the best images of them. All true. I still do and I always will because I know what it feels like to have your makeup on and in clothes you love. Your confidence shoots through the roof. It's very entertaining to see how a woman changes before and after the makeover session. She stands taller, suddenly speaks more eloquently and there's this look in her eye. ALWAYS. She's a superstar! I love it!! That look and that feeling is why I do what I do.
But lately, after photographing hundreds of women there's a raw and vulnerable naked force that is not celebrated enough, and I see it in EVERY woman I photograph. It comes through most of the time during the consultation, when I spend time with her, I listen to her I speak to her, I hear her but most importantly I SEE her. I see what she would like, how she would like to look, how she would like to be perceived in her portraits. Every time we are able to create the magic she wants but never the magic she is.
Naked and unashamed. Bare and flawless. Simple. Strong. Stunning.
This type of portraits are deep. They convey a powerful message only the person can understand different people looking will see different things but only you know the truth behind those eyes. I haven't been more passionate about a project like this in a long while, and while i'm still facing a lot of resistance from women who do not want to bare it all to the camera, those who have haven't stopped thanking me.
So this is my invitation to you. Take the photo! You have nothing to lose. If you are an old client of mine, I will do this portrait session as my gift to you. If you do not like it, you would have gotten to hang out with me again at no cost to you. If you are not yet client, you should probably think about becoming one ;)
I can't wait to photograph you for all time.
Err, I just realized It may sound like I'm talking about nude pictures. I'm not. This is a portrait of your face. For old clients, the session fee is waived but as usual you will have to purchase what you absolutely love. If you would like to do this session and you are not a client, call me. 0507407838. Let's talk!
This year I'm doing something very special for mothers day. Something very close to my heart....Read More
I linked an article I found online from huffington post that I found fascinating. Click the link below for the full article:
Women should be seen and heard -- and a new portrait series uses women's words and faces to make sure they are.
Created by Jennifer Bermon, the "Her | Self" series is a gallery of 28 black-and-white portraits of women from all walks of life, taken over the past 20 years. Bermon, a professional photographer and network TV producer, asked each of her subjects to write down what she saw in the image of herself and included each woman's response underneath her picture. The results are undeniably powerful.
"What better way to explore the source of women's body image issues than to see, and hear, from women themselves?" Bermon told The Huffington Post. "The photos give people insight into who the women really are and what story they want to tell about themselves."
The women featured in the photo series include an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, an NYC firefighter, a 74-year-old rabbi, a NASA scientist and a high school varsity rower. "I wanted to reveal their inner thoughts -- those words that they shared with other women in private conversation," Bermon wrote in her artist statement.
While pursuing my passion and building my business I've found it a bit of a challenge to translate the essence of what I do and why I do what I do to people.
Saying "I'm a photographer" in Ghana does not get you the kind of response that flatters when you do what I do. One of my friends categorically told me just not to say that and others tried to find clever alternatives to describe what it is that I do.
Amongst many other things people perceive to be more important, I am a makeup artist and a photographer. That's my passion, thats what I've chosen to do and thats what brings me joy and fulfillment at this point in my life. I've always been able to see the beauty in a person and bring that beauty out in my minds eye. I talk to people and my hands twitch with eager anticipation of what I could do with their features and the right amount of light. EVERYONE can be beautiful.
My mom has worked in the beauty industry her whole life and thats where I got my inspiration. The art of transforming people fascinated me from a very young age. It's always been second nature for me to want to enhance peoples looks.
However, as is the case with a lot of creatives in my generation raised in my beloved Ghana you had to make something of yourself. Aspiring to be a 'hairdresser' or carpenter was a woeful lack of ambition.
I remember an incident that happened when I was in primary school, I sat next to a boy who was an insanely gifted artist. Let's call him Alex. One of our teachers one day made a joke about another students mother who was a judge, something to the effect of her being a very stern woman. He said it in a colloquialism which made the class laugh and in a moment of inspiration Alex handed me a small piece of paper on which he had illustrated a stern judge complete with horn rimmed glasses. It was amazing. We must have been about 11 or 12 years old and he blew my mind, he drew it in under 5 seconds. Somehow the picture made its way around the class and the girl whose mother it was was understandably very offended. A teacher got a hold of the drawing and when the class was asked who drew it Alex pleaded with me to take the fall. (this was in the day of corporal punishment) Someone was going to get lashed. I didn't even think about it. The picture was that good. Thankfully the bell rang and I ran, but the offended student was out for blood and I was reported in the staff room. So here I am sauntering over the playground heading back to class after break time thinking all is forgotten when I hear "Herh! Elom Amekporfor! look at your face, come here!" I was busted. I head over to the staff room to a Sanhendrin. No class was in session at the time so all the teachers were present. It was a public shaming. I'm sure I must have gotten whipped as well but the humiliation erased the memory of that pain from my mind. Contrary to what I had though, only one teacher (bless her heart) complimented my alleged artwork. I will forever remember that speech:
"You won't draw your mother who hasn't done anything in her life and is a mere hairdresser, you have the nerve to laugh about a respectable judge. Do you know what it takes to become a judge?" "Stchripid girl"
"You should count your lucky stars you are in the same school as the people you are laughing at." "Stchripid girl"
"You better go and apologize to her and write a letter to her mother...nonsense"
and it went on and on for what seemed like hours, every sentence being intermittently laced with an emphatic "stchripid girl"
My primary school by the way, was one of THE best schools in the country at the time. It was a catholic school and I wasn't catholic. Thats how good it was.
I would have felt bad about the blasting and it may have affected me worse had I been able to relate to their venomous displeasure. I was completely oblivious to the perceptions of society to certain occupations. I was vaguely aware of a class system because I grew up with house helps and drivers and nannies but I never extrapolated it to my parents generation. My siblings and I travelled every summer from the age of 3, by twelve I had come to assume thats just what everybody did. My 90 year old grams tells me today that my mum could have bought a mercedes every month with the amount of money she was making doing peoples hair. So when I stood in front of that abusive crowd at 12, I just didn't get it. To be honest I just thought they hated me because I wasn't catholic. Preteen logic. I never told my mum about this incident because I had had a minor incident in school several years prior to that concerning my hair and the woman just came and DISPLAYED!!! I spared them the assault this time around.
My mum studied the science of cosmetology in the UK in the early seventies she returned to Ghana and changed the face of cosmetology forever. Maybe I'll write about her story in another blog. Today when I get frustrated about breaking through that social barrier of having a 'respectable career', she's my inspiration.
I've had my share of a 'respectable career', while it was socially and financially lucrative it was void of passion and a sense of purpose. I never thought I would find that one thing that would make me love to get out of bed every morning; i'm spoilt and I love my sleep. But finding it in fine art portraiture has finally made the penny drop.
This year I'm really excited to include Secondary School Senior Portraiture to my listing.
One of the fondest memories I have is of me and one of my best friends taking pictures at our local photo studio during our final year. We were so excited, we bought clothes, made sure our hair was right and put on what we though at the time was great makeup. I remember the experience like it was yesterday. We were offered baby powder and a comb and asked to sit by each other and smile.
Those images were priceless. I wore a checkered pencil skirt and cowl neck top ensemble and had an afro (Afrochi do you remember?) We were skinny and 'independent' and ready to take on the world! I remember how excited we were to pick up our pictures, they came on 5x7 glossy paper in a pocket sleeve.
I don't have these images in my possession anymore only the memories of it, and that's a problem. We didn't lose them out of negligence...ok so maybe we did but only in part. Between crossing continents and navigating the era of emails and the www, the pictures got lost in transit. I realize almost 2 decades later that even though we loved the images and were excited about them, we didn't value them as we should have.
This is one of my reasons for offering valuable keepsakes to families in the form of elegant portraits for their teenage girls coming of age. (Of course I'll photograph boys too)
I want girls to come in with their best friends and their mums for a glam girls day out. Get their hair, nails and makeup done and then take some gorgeous modern elegant portraits of themselves. We'll prints these matted in a larger format so it goes immediately on a wall, everything comes with a digital album that's next to impossible to lose so twenty years from now they too will enjoy the memories of a fabulous day out with the people they still hold dear and the portraits on the wall to show their children.
I believe important milestones in life should be celebrated. Memories are good but they fade over time. Pictures remind you of who you were and how far you've come. They teach you to be grateful and appreciate more tangibly the people in your life and the God that has kept you.
This year most girls this age will be leaving their families to go off to college. It's both exciting and scary. It's a moment that should exist in time for a lifetime and what better way to do so than in the form of timeless elegant portraiture.
Why are we so fascinated with before and afters? Regardless of what is being made over we all wait in anticipation for the finished product, be it homes, people, bodies, bed rooms, bank accounts etc. We all love a good transformation.
A very funny phenomenon I've noticed with what I do is that people are often more than willing to have you take a before picture of them, usually one of their own choosing and agree to have you market with it until they see what it looks like next to an after picture. The reactions are hilarious. A great majority of the time permission is revoked and of course I respect that.
We all fancy the best version of ourselves. I know I do. When I get made up and glammed up I feel like me. I think I look like me and I emit a vibe that says 'hello world I'm ready for your best'.
I see the sparkle return to women's eyes when they've got their makeup done. It's like magic, they sit up taller, they enunciate better some of them transform into nicer people. Put some fancy clothes on top of that and my work as a photographer is as good as done.
In my studio I tell women to take a moment to reconcile with themselves before we get started with pictures. We do so much as women. Very few of us get to walk around looking flawless everyday. Its hard to find the time to do so with so many things vying for our attention we are often placed at the bottom of our own lists and we gradually lose our identity amidst the myriad of duties and obligations. This is why doing this is so dear to me. It is important that we as women exist in time for ourselves and our loved ones. We have to have that daily reminder that WE ARE. We are not just moms, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, employees, entrepreneurs etc. We are first individuals with names, dreams, goals, feelings, a past, a present and a future. We are fabulous, glamorous, lovely, beautiful and so so much more.
This is why I wake up everyday to photograph the best of you. To capture the light behind your eyes and the purity and essence of your soul so you are reminded everyday of who you are. So you can remember yourself when the world around you tries to sell you lies. When they tell you you are old, you are tired, you are invisible, you are weak, you are irrelevant, you are flawed and so on.
My portrait of you will say I AM FABULOUS. I AM STRONG. I AM BEAUTIFUL. I AM ME.
Some thirty years later.....My brother Kemm is missing from this picture, he's the youngest (and tallest) of us lot.Read More
Portia and Thami visited Ghana from South Africa and were gifted a makeover and portrait session.
It was a lot of fun shooting this. This was Portia's first Makeover and photoshoot and both she and her husband were in awe of the results.
A lot of women I photograph only have their wedding day to refer to when getting dolled up. That saddens me sometimes, although i totally get it. It's hard for me to find the time to put on my own makeup sometimes let alone get photographed. I do take a mean selfie when I do though. If you checked my personal instagram you wouldn't recognize me in real life. I clean up real good. lol.
I Iwant to give you that special time out. Make the time or take the time and lets create a memory that will last forever.
Enjoy the video!