Interview With Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based, Detheo Photography.

When I was first contacted by Angela Adams, asking if I would be willing to give an interview for her column in the Professional Imagemaker Magazine, I was quite stunned.

Professional Imagemaker Magazine has graced my office for many years. One of the many perks of my membership to The Societies Of Photographers, it’s articles have provided endless inspiration and learning, featuring some of the worlds best photographers. I genuinely never even considered that I, would one day feature in the very same publication, let alone over three pages.

Of course I would accept, after all it really was an honour.

At first I did not realise the impact the article would have. Many people know me, know my story and have shared my journey. But it was the one person who knew me best, and knew more of my story than others, that was to be most affected. That person was me.

Why?  Well you see, I felt so strongly that I should respect this opportunity by giving careful consideration to each question. However, in doing so I began to appreciate my own journey. It was like I got to travelled that same road, but this time I was able to actually pay attention to the views.

Through hard work, physical and emotional dedication, my dreams began to became reality, but I was almost too blinkered to realise. In life we spend so much time hiding in the shadows that we often do not realise when the shadows have disappeared.

Thanks to Angela’s interview, I was able to take a fresh look and realise how far I had come in such a short space of time.

I hope you enjoy reading the article and feel free to leave your comments.

(Please click on the images to enlarge them, making them easier to read)

Interview with Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based Detheo Photography

Interview with Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based Detheo Photography

Interview with Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based Detheo Photography

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5 Years On…..Who Would Have Thought.

Maria Michael, Owner / Photographer at Detheo PhotographyRecently, I asked my children if they knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. Our daughter had a few ideas, whilst our son, the eldest, had none. And why should they. So many fantasise about a career in one profession or another, yet the reality is more often than not, far from as glamours as they had envisaged.

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Maria’s children when they were younger.

What did I want to be when I grew up? Now that is an interesting question. Guess what, the one thing I never considered was a Professional Photographer.

The day to day running of any business is challenging, even more so sometimes, for those of us who do so on our own. Switching off is not always an easy option, even when we know we should.

So there I was, head buried in paperwork when the messages started to arrive. “Congratulations Maria, hope you are well”.

Now, anyone who uses LinkedIn will know that it has this cleaver way of asking people to congratulated others on their new job or in this case, the anniversary of their employment. And on this occasion, I was the one being congratulated.

So “Thank You” to everyone who messaged me, because your messages made me stop and realise what had happened.Me in wales 1

5 years ago I started something totally new. Something small and personal, with no expectations, and looking back, definitely no idea, just where it would take me.

In the early days, I seemed to be finding my way in the dark and I know now the mistakes I made were plenty. But I am so grateful for those mistakes. For without mistakes, one can never really appreciate how to do things right.

I also seemed to run into many brick walls, not realising know how important their presence was. Not only did they force me to pause a while and think, but they also taught me how to preserver and use my determination to find my way around them.

Looking back, it is quite overwhelming to see how far I have come.

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Maria working on behalf of the Air Ambulance.

As I prepare for another busy week, I wonder, what will the next 5 years bring?Whilst I have learnt never to try and predict too much, I do know that the plans are plenty.

In the beginning Detheo Photography was just a name. Today it is a rapidly growth photography business, committed to providing a personalised service to each and every client.

With an already established Specialism in Pet Photography, I know have a thriving business that also caters for Weddings, Families, Beauty Unveiled & Boudoir and Corporate & Commercial Commissions.

Whilst my journey has been challenging at times, I have been blessed with many wonderfully supportive people. My husband and children, my mentor and friend John Denton, my closest friend and whip cracker, Laura, and so many amazing friends (too many to mention but you know who you are) whom I met through the Society Of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP).

Little did I know 5 years ago that I would be an Award Winning Photographer, running my own business, being commissioned by some of the industry leaders in Pet Insurance, Veterinary Care and Maritime Security. Or that my passion for Pet Photography would attract invitations from international renowned photographers to teach in this genre, on their behalf.

So, I am excited for the future and hope you will accompany me along the way, because I know it is going to be amazing.

 

Why not visit our website http://www.detheo.co.uk and take a look at what we do, the amazing images we have won awards for and read the reviews from some of our clients. 

 

Hertfordshire/Essex Photographer – Beauty Unveiled Photoshoot with Jayne.

How many times do you stop and make time to appreciate who you are today?

If you look back on your life, how much of it would you say you spent trying to be someone else?

Of course, it is important to have dreams and ambitions, to believe in your ability to achieve the things you want. However, so many people spend years of their lives unhappy with how they are seen by others.  And as time goes on, without realising it, those feelings become the sub-conscience, deep rooted seed of negativity. This in turn grows to drain their self esteem and the ripple effect begins.

It took years to realise,  that learning to love the person you really are is the most important start to making the rest of ones dreams, a reality. That is not to say that wanting to become fitter, healthier or wiser  is wrong.

However, how many times do we hear people say, “I could never wear a bikini, I’m far to flabby” or listen to people talk about the never ending “When….”.  And what of the many people who feel that the emotional or physical scars left from life’s journey have somehow tainted their beauty, forcing them to believe that they have no right to be viewed as beautiful?

They say you cannot change the world…. well, we say you definitely can’t if you don’t ever try!  And if in trying, we help even one other person to fall back in love with themselves, it makes every individual effort worthwhile.

So the journey begins. Taking the everyday person, and unveiling their beauty to remind them that, rather than waiting for others to discover you, it is loving yourself that is the most liberating and powerful achievement. Once you can do this, nothing will extinguish the light that you shine.

Marianne Williamson wrote…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The images below were taken from a recent Beauty Unveiled session. Jayne, a busy working wife and mother, is usually dressed in boots and jeans whizzing around catering for her family and having little time to herself. We have had the pleasure of photographing Jayne before, so it was great to be back photographing her again.  As always we had a fun time working the different lingerie sets, lighting and finding different locations to shoot in. But the images we captured really took our breath away and seeing the pride in Jaynes eyes when she first saw the final set,  was the greatest reward we could receive.

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Learning From The Best

Anyone who knows me well will tell you how strongly I believe in Fate.  And over the past 16yrs that belief has been put to the ultimate test and yet Fate has never let me down.

Just before starting Detheo Photography, and throughout it’s first year I attended many courses, hungry to refine my skills. However, I always came away  feeling unsatisfied.

Looking back I know now why.

As in all professions, people have very different reasons for doing what they do. Throughout my life I have always been driven to jobs that mean something personal to me, and photography is something very personal. My passion to capture those snippets of time, that so powerfully transport you instantly back, has always been my driving force. I  needed to learn the basics, which I did, but the courses always seemed to skim the surface, falling short.  They never catered for the individual, never understood my strengths or try to identify my weaknesses.

Then last year, just by chance, I came across a thread on the SWPP forum, which unbeknown to me, was set to totally change my life. My first 121 training course with John & Liz Denton sent my head spinning. It was the most amazing experience and I shared my feelings in a post that you are welcome to read back on if you like.

So, when I heard that I was going to be given the opportunity to return to Cold Harbour Studios and embark on my second 121 training course with John,  I could not believe it.

And as before, we were joined by two brilliant models. On day one I had the pleasure of working again with Jennifer Dickinson. Jennifer and I met on my first visit. We then caught up at the SWPP Annual Convention 2013 where Jennifer was working with some other photographers. So, it was lovely to see her again on this trip.

On day two, John and I were joined by Katie Louise. It was the first training session Katie had modelled for and I felt very honoured. Her beauty and natural talent are undeniable and she is a great addition to the Denton team.

Straight talking, down to earth, and a true photographic genius, John Denton does what those others in the past forgot to do. Before he teaches anything, he sets out to learn about his pupil. He gets to know who they are, he identifies their strengths and weaknesses and tailors his teachings to help them achieve their fullest potential. As for Liz, she is without a doubt, one amazing woman and the wealth of knowledge she holds is remarkable. Her ability to motivate and guide you through the marketing, branding, advertising etc side of the business leaves people, including myself, feeling so energised.

Photography is so much about who we are as individuals and as such it can be difficult to accept critique. However, I came to trust John & Liz very quickly and a similar sense of humour ensured we connected from the start.

Just like my first visit, this second 121 stripped away all distractions, guided me deeper through my journey of development and taught me to accept responsibility for the barriers I created,  that were holding me back. It was without a shadow of a doubt, a soul searching and eye opening experience.

I have come to hold both John and Liz very dear and feel very fortunate to have met such inspiring people. People I know I will forever call my friends. But how do I thank them for the tremendous influence they have  had on my life? I had plenty of time during my three hour drive home to contemplate this and I realised, there really was only one way. To take everything they had taught me, draw on all the belief they had shown in me and really make Detheo Photography everything I have always wanted it to be. And in turn, I hope one day, they can look back and feel proud that their influence helped form the solid foundations on which Detheo was grown.

(Below are some of the images captured on the second 121 training course at Cold Harbour Studios). 

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Always Improving

“Highly Commended” Awarded Image October 2012

 

Whilst always trying to improve, it can sometimes be hard to measure what we have achieved. Each month I enter some of my images into the monthly competition managed by The Societies – an international collection of eight photographic organisations including the Society Of Wedding And Portrait Photographers, with whom we are proud to hold our Licentiate qualification.

October’s competition was as challenging as ever, with fellow photographers from all over the world submitting some amazing images. So it was yet another surprise to find out that the above image received a “Highly Commended” award by the judges.

This will be my third Highly Commended award this year and whilst I am proud of my achievements so far, I am always working hard, building on my skills and hope I will achieve my first Gold award in the not too distant future.

Another Surprise

Yet again one of my equine images has received a Highly Commended score with the SWPP. I feel truly honored to have scored yet again alongside some worlds most amazing photographers.

Now time to work really hard on getting a Gold!

Thank you to everyone who has supported and motivated me.

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