CONFIDENCE BOOST: Renae Barnes' experience with photography made her realise the lack of self confidence among young girls. Now, she is on a quest to change that. Here she stands with a photo of her daughter.
CONFIDENCE BOOST: Renae Barnes' experience with photography made her realise the lack of self confidence among young girls. Now, she is on a quest to change that. Here she stands with a photo of her daughter. Debrah Novak

Photographer's new venture to boost girls' confidence

FOR Renae Barnes, her love of photography started in a painful place.

"I lost my father at a very young age, and the only memory of him was the photographs in my grandparent's old caravan," she said. "So photos became very important to me in remembering him."

But after a time working for the Clarence Valley Council and the birth of two children, Renae's love has become an up-and-coming business that is attracting a lot of attention.

"I picked my camera back up when I had my now six-year-old daughter," Renae said. "But it was just a hobby then to document my life and my daughter's life in case I wasn't there when she grew up."

"But after a restructuring of the council and the birth of my second baby I decided to turn it into a business; I wanted to show my kids you could succeed through your creativity."

After creating her business, Renae May Photography, in June of this year, Renae was shocked at the amount of support she received. "It was really encouraging and supportive, I was honestly overwhelmed by the interest. I'm almost booked through until December and the Valley Made Markets have booked me as their official photographer for the day."

While Renae's subject matter ranges from pre-school age kids to weddings, her greatest interest, and the specialization for which she is gaining attention for, is personal confidence photography.

"Since I started taking pictures of other people's children I've noticed that kids, especially young girls, are lacking confidence," she said.

"It's not a glamour session where people look back on those photos and think 'I looked good then', they're professional, natural photographs to show you are always beautiful as who you are." It's not just locals who are sitting up and paying attention though. Jessica Smith, a former paralympian, and author of Little Miss Jessica Goes to School, took notice of Renae's business earlier this month.

"Photography is a beautiful way to express ourselves and capture memorable moments, so why not teach our girls how to value their image the right way," Jessica posted on her Facebook.

"Everything I am doing has thought and heart and meaning behind it", Renae said. "And I'd like parents to invest the time in their children and make a lasting connection through services like this."

For more information, see www.facebook.com/RenaeMayPhotography.

Renae's first photography experience comes from the dark room of The Daily Examiner during work experience back when she was in high school, learning from professionals Adam Hourigan and Simon Hughes.



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