Why I Love This Shot – A Happy Lass

This is not the first time this lovely family have made it to my “Why I Love This Shot” series. This is partly because I’ve had the pleasure of working with them more than once and partly because their home is a photographer’s dream and but mostly, it’s because their girls are so much fun to be around! I’m pretty much in a position where I’d never say no to photographing them!

Here is one of my favourite shots from our most recent photo experience. This little lass was feeling really quite unwell during our shoot but in this moment, you’d never know. Even though she was feeling miserable, she still managed a cheeky grin in my direction and I’m so glad I captured the moment. What a little trooper!

Always such a privilege to work with these guys. x

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome. It’s a thing. No, really, it is. Here’s the definition:

Imposter syndrome (also known as imposter phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

It was identified by researchers at Georgia State University in 1978 when they noted that successful women had a tendency towards high levels of self-doubt. Since then, more recent studies in Belgium have shown that it is common across different career types from “white collar” jobs to scientists. Men feel it too (although possibly to a lesser extent) and sometimes it’s joined by it’s unwelcome friends – anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and guilt. As you can probably tell, it’s not really a charming guest.

For me, it’s an overwhelming feeling that I really don’t know what I’m doing. Like everything I’ve achieved has been through luck and is a fluke. Like I’m just pretending I know what I’m talking about and if pushed, I’ll flake out and be discovered for not really having a clue.

It’s a fairly regular anvil of self-doubt that hangs over my head and threatens to come crashing down with little notice. If you look for it, you can see it through the facade. The unwillingness to make a big deal of things that others would be singing and dancing about. The hesitation to sell myself and recognise the work that I’ve done and things I’ve achieved. The avoidance of talking about my work and myself for fear that I’ll let something slip that “shows me up”. The second guessing myself and wanting to “double check” everything when I do talk about my work. The never feeling quite ready to do things and being able to find a million reasons not to try.

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The trouble is, I tend to compare myself to everyone else’s highlight reel. Thanks to a mix of social media where we only really see the extremes of life (cause let’s face it, posting “hey I got out of bed today, had a shower and then sat for 10 hours working at my computer” isn’t really InstaWorthy) and knowing some super confident people who seem to do nothing but talk about all they’ve achieved. I have nothing against the latter, it’s just foreign to me and adds to the feeling that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

It wasn’t until I was talking in a recent interview about my meandering career path that I realised I have a lot of experience and different skills. Even writing that now makes me very uncomfortable.

I’ve been running my own business for almost three years now and sometimes I forget that in terms of a small business, it’s still early days. I hold myself to extremely high standards and get frustrated when I’m not exactly where I feel like I should be. It’s very easy for me to pattern spot and give much higher value to the things I’m not happy about and to dismiss the success I’ve had a long the way.

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Recently, I’ve been doing well. OK I’m not bringing in the money I’d like (but who is?) and I’ve got a list of ideas for improvement longer than a Mo Farah run, but when I consider the direction my work is taking, a lot of great things are happening. From being asked to deliver a photography class for Skillshare to having my #RealGirlsRealBeauty images up as part of the Visible Women Festival. From starting new collaborations for my wildlife work to finding more time to connect with my wildlife and nature photohttp://www.meiphotography.co.uk/overcoming-imposter-syndrome/ ‎graphy. It’s really all very positive.

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So why do I wake up some days and think I’m just playing “make believe” at all of it? Without reading all the research (and thus being able to thoroughly back-up my opinion without horrendous self doubt…), I guess I won’t really know. I just have to keep pushing through it and finding ways to work around it.

It seems that speaking up about it is part of that journey. Putting my hand up and saying that I often don’t feel like I’ve got a clue what I’m doing. Confessing that most days feel like “fake it til you make it” days.  Coming clean about this and finding other tortured souls helps. It’s why I’m writing this blog.

Other ways of tackling it are keeping track of the successes. Reminding myself of the victories I’ve had, how far I’ve come and accepting praise when something great happens instead of getting cagey and awkward about it.

Sometimes, through the midst of all this, there are perfectly timed moments that give me a much needed confidence boost. Like today, when I felt the sensation of that anvil getting ever closer to landing squarely on my head, this blog popped up in my feed. A review of a photoshoot I did last year.

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It made my day.

And that cheeky toddler face from one of my favourite photo sessions of 2016 reminded me that sometimes we just need to stick our tongues out at Impostor Syndrome and keep on doing the best we can. x

 

Why I Love This Shot – Break the Rules

So it’s time for the 3rd post in my new series “Why I Love This Shot” and this one comes from an outdoor family shoot from March last year. We had a cold morning in the park but it didn’t stop any of us from having fun. The shoot was of eight people, two families of four and there was a lot of silliness on the day which resulted in brilliant, unique shots.

When I think back to the shoot, I always think of this shot. There are a few reasons for it. This girl was an absolute star in front of the camera. Lots of cheeky poses and zero inhibitions. It made for a fun shoot. But this is a moment when I caught her relaxing and unaware and I love it. Us photographers always have to be ready to capture the moment when the opportunity arises.

From a composition/photography point of view it is a rule-breaker. The focus is slightly soft, the eyes are not showing or in focus and it only just makes the “rule of thirds”.

But those are the reasons I love it. Sometimes you just need to break the rules.

Break the Rules

Break the Rules

The Glancy Family

It became pretty clear early on that to survive in this highly competitive industry, word of mouth was going to be a hugely important factor in my business. The same is true for most businesses but it’s quite obvious that without recommendations to friends and family, I wouldn’t have nearly as many bookings as I do now.

I’m always delighted when someone recommends me to their friends and family. It really is one of the highest compliments that they can give.

A couple of months ago I was working with the Glancy Family. You may recognise the boys in the photos. They are the sons of my good friend Kim and I’ve taken their photos a few times now. Especially Christopher’s. He’s so used to me having a camera in his face now that we could barely distract him from showing me his toys long enough to get the shots.

I loved this shoot because it was a little bit of a challenge. It was the first time I’d worked with teenagers, a toddler and a baby all together. They all needed their own space and time to be comfortable in front of the lens. When sessions are short and time-pressured it can get a little tricky at times. In some instances this could easily boil over into a stressful shoot but my experience has taught me to wait them out. If I’m relaxed then my families will relax.

And sure enough, some silly songs, a Darth Vader toy and a few glasses of juice later and we were well underway with everyone happier to be themselves despite a camera in the room. Photographers are entertainers and baby whisperers too you know! xGlancy, Lorraine - Sneak Peek WR

 

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Baby Claudia

A while ago… in fact, a long while ago now, I was asked to take photos of a beautiful family and a lovely friend. The friend who is responsible for my websites and for teaching me the crazy world of web editing. Or at least how to scratch the surface.

It was so long ago, that this family is now a family of four! Baby Claudia is big sister Claudia now and her little brother arrived at the end of last month. I’m so delighted for them all and hope to meet them soon.

Congratulations! xx

8 photo collage of a baby girl - various different close up images four photos of the family. each photo includes mum, dad and baby in a different pose three photos. two of mum, dad and baby outside. one of the family dog resting on the couch