living well

Everyone should have one good photo

14 Comments 15 November 2013

amazing headshot photos london

To see myself looking carefree is worth a pot of gold.

Every photo, whether touched up or not is only ever one split second of you. You’re always changing, moving, blushing, growing, ageing, sighing, laughing, and blinking. Take a lot of photos. Choose the right one. Keep it. Put it on display or tuck it in an envelope to pull out every now and then to remind yourself of how good you look to others.

Or even better, have several good photos. You never know when you might want them (blogs, gravatars, book jackets…).

The photo series of me (up there at the top of this post) is… well, better than I ever expected. I’m really happy with them. Not just because of what’s missing as a result of the clever Photoshopping (although I am delighted that the heavy bags of exhaustion and the furrows from plate spinning—and plate dropping, are gone), but because of what it captured. I look at those photos and see a carefree woman: A woman free of cares. She is relaxed and confident and happy. She isn’t in a rush, she isn’t rethinking the grocery list, she isn’t anxious that a teenager might not be studying enough for GCSE’s, she isn’t worried about paying the bills, she isn’t consumed with anxiety about ill relatives.

And yet I was. All of the above. When I arrived at Boggio Studios, home of Home by Midnight one hot summer’s day in late August, I was 15 minutes late, I was hassled and frustrated with Worries, I had all kinds of crap and rubbish flowing through the rivers of my mind. I pushed open the door and was immediately welcomed by Julia Boggio and her friendly staff. They took my bundle of clothes, offered me a cool drink, gave me time to unwind and look around the studio. Soon, we were laughing and choosing outfits and Julia knew I was nervous but kept me moving and getting right into the mood without giving me time to worry about anything.

It wasn’t just Photoshop that lifted those cares off my face, it was working with a wonderfully calming, reassuring, friendly, experienced photographer.

Why have a Couture Portrait shoot?

I know several people who have had a session with Julia’s Home by Midnight brand. One of my friends became quite emotional about the effect a professional photo shoot had on her, and that was before she saw the photos. Putting yourself in the hands of a total expert and they in turn make the whole afternoon all about you… well! Just wow.

Having a Couture Portrait shoot like this is better than a spa treatment. In a treatment you feel good for that hour, maybe a bit levitational for the hour after, but then reality swirls around you returning you to the ugh of schedules and worries and rushing here and there. With a half-day photo session at Home by Midnight what the photographer wants most in the world is to make you look your very best. Forever. These are photos you can keep returning to again and again to remind yourself that you do look pretty good after all. And let’s face it, you’ll look better in these photos than after a spa treatment every time!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll flick through magazines thinking, ‘I’m sure she’s older than me, how does she look so good?’ And most of us know Photoshop has a lot to answer for, but it isn’t just Photoshop. These slebs have expert training and experts on hand. They are told exactly what to wear, exactly how to pose and someone else does their hair and makeup. This is exactly what happens with Home by Midnight, a celebrity treatment.


This was an hour or so into the shoot; I was feeling relaxed and we were having fun. It shows.

Ahead of the day:

You’ll get advice from Julia in advance about what clothes to bring: solid colours, glamorous as well as stylish everyday outfits. We talked about my personal style. I had my hair trimmed before I went. I got rid of my blue streak just in case I didn’t want to see it in the photos in years to come (yes, I really did have a blue streak in my hair and I loved it.). I arrived without makeup or hair done.

On arrival:

Friendly, happy welcome—you’re the star! Julia and her assistants put together the outfits they think suit you best (and they have a few cool items of clothing on site as well) while a makeup and hair artist gets to work on you. I brought loads of clothes because I couldn’t decide (lack of confidence) and no one blinked an eye. Like I said, star treatment—act weird and you still get treated nicely by this team.

The session:

Julia guided me on how to tilt my head, push my chin out, lift my shoulder, turn my hips, everything. An assistant stood to the side with a hair drier on cool setting, flicking my hair about. One shirt I brought was just a bit too big so Julia clipped it behind my back with a big hair clip and pushed the sleeves up. I brought heels just in case, but even though you won’t see them in any photos Julia suggested I wear them anyway as a person stands differently with heels.

Because the session moved along at an unrushed, yet steady momentum, I got right into it in no time, loosened up and lost most of my self-consciousness. That momentum thing is really effective for people who overthink everything like me.

The viewing a week or so later:

One of the Home By Midnight team take you through all of your images, advising and guiding, showing you how they can crop or otherwise alter photos for the best effect. Katy met with me and she was the perfect guide. She knew just how to talk about the images, asking what I might use them for, what I wanted to portray about myself, and quite efficiently helped me to narrow them down.

The total celebrity treatment.

Top tips:

  • Turn yourself over completely to the team. Hair, makeup, outfits, poses, whatever, don’t say no to any of it. You’ll be amazed at what other people can do for your image.
  • If there is something specific you want included, discuss it with the team in advance.
  • This isn’t a makeover session; this is a professional portrait session. You’ll end up with amazing images, not a new look. Then again, my images have inspired me to think about my clothes and poses differently, so you never know how you might be accidentally inspired.
  • But all this styling and Photoshopping isn’t me! Isn’t it? Is the frumpy look you throw on for the morning school run more you than dressing up and having an expert do your makeup and hair and an experienced photographer take amazing shots of you? Seriously, think about that. You may not do the ‘Couture Portrait shoot look’ every day, but it’s still you.
  • The incredible confidence boost you’ll get from this is legit. These images are a reminder of what we’ve got. Home by Midnight doesn’t turn you into someone you’re not; this is you, looking amazing.


  • A Couture Portrait shoot like the one I had is £300 for one person or £450 if you want to do it with a friend. That includes expert hair, make-up and the experienced photographer’s time.
  • Products are bought separately and start at £150 and go up to £3000.
  • A disc of 5 fully retouched digital images is £1000.
  • Money well invested.
  • What a perfect Christmas present! It was my 44th birthday this week, and I’d say this was a fantastic present to me.

Enquire and follow:

Twitter: @HBMidnight
Instagram: @HBMidnight
mother and daughter photography london

While I was with Julia my daughter had her own session with the Innocent & Wild brand (more on that soon!) and at the end Julia wanted to see us together. Here I’m tickling her and she’s trying to not smile because she has new braces on. You’ll see next week that she eventually smiles.


This post was written in exchange for a Couture Portrait shoot and digital images with Home By Midnight.




Your Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. Expat Mum says:

    Wow – these photos are amazing – and yet they look SO like you.
    I agree that it’s worth every penny to pay for a good photographer, but it sounds like you get even more with this package.

  2. Expat Mum says:

    PS. I think the first one should be your more serious “I know what I’m talking about” photo. It has warmth and authority.

  3. You look amazing. And you are so right. As always.

  4. Nickie says:

    I LOVE these photos of you! I’m always wary of “studio” shots but these look so natural and fabulous. I love Julia’s work – she’s great.

    • I agree, studio shots can be a bit dodgy but that’s because photographers can’t decide what they want to do with them, I think. They don’t think outside the box, or think about how they can add that extra oomph to a shot to, bring out the best from the subject to make the subject really REALLY happy. Because Julia has such clear goals–these shots are meant to make every one look fabulous, she can’t go wrong. Sure there’s more work for her involved but the product is MUCH better.

      And thank you! x

  5. Russell says:

    Looking good, Michelle! Is it inappropriate of me to use the words “yummy” and “mummy” together at this time? 😉

  6. Emma says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous pics! I would love to have this done, Julia’s work is so brilliant! :) x PS. hope you had a lovely birthday!

  7. You look gorgeous – fabulous shots. Especially love the one with your daughter. X

  8. Mammasaurus says:

    You are a sex bomb lady! Love these!

  9. iyas says:

    Wonderful photos. However, for some of us, we’d actually need a sculptor to work on the original material rather than a photographer to record it as it is!

    • Thank you.

      I know you’re not referring to yourself, but I think a really good photographer could capture the beauty in anyone.

      • iyas says:

        There’s a reason my profile photo is from the back :) Anyhow, great photos, Michelle, and I’m still looking forward to reading the book now you have your sleeve shots!

        • You forget we’ve met.

          And yes, I think I will use one of these should I be lucky enough to get something published. One or two have the right authory look about them 😉

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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