2019 has started and it’s a time for new starts, fresh beginnings and big ideas including our #beboldbeyou campaign. The aim of this is to encourage women to come in for the photoshoot that they’ve always talked about doing, but not had the courage to book. As part of this, we will be inviting you to listen to some our our previous clients about their photoshoots with us in the hope that they will educate, encourage and inspire you to be bold and embrace who you are through the help of our photography team at Firefly Photography.To kickstart the year, our Marketing Director, Kirsty, has agreed to write the first blog for 2019. For those of you who haven’t met Kirsty, she’s a feisty ex-red head (she says her three children have turned her dark brown!) from the North who shy’s away from crowds but does a lot behind the scenes for both Firefly and the charities and communities she works with. She’s not keen on a camera… So much so, that when we asked her for a before shot, to go alongside her head shot, she scrolled through her FB page to 2012 before she was able to find a photograph of her on her own! We’ll leave the rest of the talking to Kirsty…“I’ve worked for Firefly for the last 7 years and never had a photoshoot. We’ve had world class trainers come through our doors and asked for me to model (admittedly it was for my then, massive, pregnancy bump and not for me personally!) and I ran (or wobbled) a mile from the studio. However, when my sister suggested I looked 12 years old in my LinkedIn profile picture (she may have had a point) it became apparent that I may have to have a new profile photo taken. It took me nearly 4 weeks to pluck up the courage to ask James to take a “quick snap” for me. I think he thought I was joking when I asked, but after a Paddington Bear style “hard stare” he realised that I was serious and it was then or never!It sounds so silly but I’d had my eyelashes “done” that day so couldn’t wear mascara and I felt bare without it… I hate not wearing mascara. We slowly marched down what felt like an extremely long corridor, at Firefly Derby, and James switched on the studio lights. It was around 6.45pm on a September evening and we had an informal business dinner at Turtle Bay – a five minute walk from the studio. I’d gone dressed as “me” with the only difference being heels rather than my boots (I live in boots or wellies, normally!). I wasn’t looking forward to the dinner… It was with two gentlemen who had insisted on coming to visit us, in the hope of business, and had been less than helpful when I’d been trying to accommodate enough time for their visit as well as seeing my own children… So, with a mascara free face, and a mood of less than enthusiastic for the evening we were having to endure, the stubborn side of me had decided that now was a really good time to have a close up headshot of my mug done for LinkedIn. Typically me.James arrived with grin and memory card. My hands immediately when into my pockets and my shoulders were right up to my ears. James just rolled his eyes and smiled… He suggested that, if it was to be used for LinkedIn, I should probably look less like I was in front of a camera and more like I wanted to talk to other business minded people (he may have had a point, although I wasn’t admitting to it at the time!). The flashes started going, and I felt like the lens was staring right into the back of my skull. He joked. I swore. He laughed, I giggled. My teeth were on show – oh god – get me out of the studio! No mascara and peggy teeth on show… It could not have got any worse. I couldn’t tell you what was said – I have no idea. I remember my shoulders going down and my body doing the most odd thing – it began to pose. It swung to the side, giving defining angles between my shoulder and jaw line. James swept part of my, then, long hair back. I was actually taking instructions, letting someone poke around my face and enjoying being told what to do, in a photographic studio.Then it just hit me… I was “me”. Whilst wearing an outfit I felt “good” in, I’d taken the step out of the comfort zone of the office and into the unknown of the studio. It was my faux leather jacket, my ear cuff (which takes me back to my hippy teen days!) and heels that I could actually wear and walk in. When I saw the photographs, I didn’t feel ashamed – I felt surprised. They were “alright”. I’m no model, and certainly not pimple free however it was me. I was “alright”.“Can you hide that spot on my forehead?” I asked“Yes” he said“What about my freckles, can you take them out?” I asked“I can tone them down, but I’m not getting rid of them. They’re a part of you” he said“What about the wrinkles under my eyes” I asked“I’ll smooth them, but I’m not ironing your face… You’re not Barbie” he saidHe was right…The reaction I got on LinkedIn and my personal social media took me aback… Comments of “wow”, “looking good”, “stunning” and my sister, a decade older than me and who had kickstarted the entire thing, saying “Chuffin heck when did you grow up?”. That’ll do.Yes, I work in a photography studio. No, I’m not a photographer. The studio petrified me. However, the kick from the sister, the feeling under the lights, seeing yourself on the screen and then the comments afterwards is a confidence boost that just keeps growing for many, many weeks. It’s even made me start interacting on LinkedIn a lot more! My selfies are crap… My photographs, from this fifteen minute session before a meeting I wasn’t looking forward to, are “me”. I’m a mum of three girls. I work a lot of hours. I’m a wife. I have a house to try and keep clean and tidy and a business, with staff, to keep afloat. It’s a full life… I’m knackered! And even when I have to go to a meeting, that I really didn’t want or need to do, I could still look like that. <insert happy dance here>. I was bold. I was me.