Why did I choose to specialise in Portrait photography?

Why did I choose to specialise in Portrait photography? My mission to you

I guess it’s time for a reintroduction don’t you think? You might have been following my blog for some time but never really heard the story of how I came about, specialising in portraiture?

Here’s my story

Humble beginnings


I am originally from Alsace the Eastern border of France and Germany, a region with two cultures, a mix of French and Germanic cultural background, a lot of influences (Hungarian, Swedish), a crossroad of European routes. I was fascinated by photography from an early age and used to love browsing through my grandmother's shoe boxes, full of old family photographs searching for my past.

The Halter sisters, one of them was my great grandmother

The Halter sisters, one of them was my great grandmother

I started taking pictures when I was 10, I remember the excitement when my dad came home with a box containing a 110 Kodak camera with a blue button. I was very disappointed with the photos I produced, what I had in mind, were glossy magazines fashion images. I didn’t understand the technique behind photography. I upgraded to a Kodak 126 (tells my age!) and started to take my camera everywhere to document my dance classes, my trips and friends.

At 16, I somehow stopped photographing people and moved onto travel photography, carried my camera to documents my trips, I would say to do very conventional sunsets and landmarks and upgraded to a canon EF35mm with a zoom lens.

Photography kind of became less part of my life, even if I would still be very passionate about the subject, somehow I had abandoned the idea that I could be a pro. I always loved looking at reportages, black and white, fashion, street photography, and documentary photography of people who made history. I was mostly doing landscape and travel photography in my free time, or just photographing people off guards with no real connection.After years of giving up, I thought it was time to give serious thoughts to what I was so passionate about photography. I quit my job and decided to start studying photography properly by doing an MA in Fine Art Photography!


I had a real breakthrough finally challenging myself learning new skills, lighting, off-camera flash, focusing on portraits while studying for the MA. If I didn’t have a fantastic time doing the course, I enjoyed learning about the history of photography, new skills and techniques, going beyond the limits I had set for myself, thinking that I should limit myself to film and natural light.

Why portrait?

You can’t imagine how long it took me to realise what I loved photographing was people. It took some detours with landscapes and travel, I still like to take a camera with me when I travel as telling a story is a must, but landscapes really?? Yeah! The truth is, I was too shy to photograph people or would expect the person in front of the camera to know what to do! I would just be the button pusher!

Someone should have screamed “Take control girl!” at me but there was no one. It took time to realise that I was the one in control. I had to be the one, to guide and coach the person in front of the camera instead of letting him/her freaking out with a photographer who doesn’t do the talking!

Well, there was only one way to go from there, all the way up! Since I started photographing people I have learned, educated myself and glad that you’re not freaking out when I take my camera out.

Why people?

You’ve got a story, you are unique. My mission is to help you step into your zone of brilliance, make you look at your best in front of the camera but also be true to who you are, these images will remind you of the great things you can accomplish and celebrate YOU.

When there’s You involved, a portrait session is always so much more than just taking pictures. It’s a collaboration, a celebration, a commitment to create images you want to look at every day.

I was talking about purpose in my previous blog post last week so there you have it! That’s my purpose!

My mission to you

I feel a need to create beauty, show how beautiful you are and give you the opportunity to show the world who you are and free to be yourself.

I love to look in the camera's viewfinder and see the beautiful light and expression on your face when you feel confident, open up and relax enjoying the whole experience.

I bring your true self in front of the camera via empathy, embracing your personality, putting you at ease and engaging a conversation.

Portrait is about people and people make me tick, everybody has got a story to tell and I am curious about yours. What’s yours?

Rachel xx

PS. Time to tell your story and share it with the world!Get in touch via info@byrachelv.photography or leave a message below!

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