Women-owned small business Network in Malta

I started this group “Women-owned small business Network in Malta” last year. I wanted to create a place for women like me, self-employed to connect and network so we don’t feel so alone. 🙂 We do monthly meetings, sometimes we simply meetup for an informal chat and very often we combine the meet up with a talk so we can learn from each other. I feel that everyone has a superpower and sharing knowledge is a great way of giving and receiving. And it is always exciting for me to host the monthly meetings and great talks.

Past monthly meeting speakers

In the past months, we had Nicole Bugeja talked about her superpower “The basics of public speaking”, Amanda Savona talked about “3 Steps to attract more clients”, Raiza Borg Carr talked about “Choosing Your Business name – What Steps to Take When Starting Your Own Brand”, Josephine Gauci talked about “Install Passion In All You Do and Create Success”, Maxine Bristow talked about “The correct Mindset For Getting Fit and How to Achieve it”, Marisabelle Bonnici talked about, “Food and Emotions – how to listen to your body” and Mateusz Podgorski, “A scientific and “Measurable” Approach to change your diet for better health and longevity.” It was the super exciting year 2019 with all the amazing speakers we had.

Our group is strictly for “Women” and “self-employed” in “Malta”. If you are “all that”, you’re very welcome to join our group. 🙂

Thank you again all our past amazing speakers and our group member attendances and support. We are looking forward for more great speakers and great topics in our studio.

Link for the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/365019934135822/

Do it for yourself, whatever “it” might be

When I started to specialise on photographing women, I started to implement art nude and boudoir (lingerie) in my sessions. Besides the beautiful portraits, I found the sensual art nude and boudoir images are most empowering to women. They couldn’t believe they could have such sensual and beautiful images of themselves until they were brave enough to try. They see themselves in a different way. “It’s me?!” “I did this?!” “I can’t believe these are so beautiful and it’s me.” They gasp while looking at their own images. It doesn’t matter the image is framed in her bedroom or tuck away under the bed, every time she looks at the image, she remembers how beautiful she is, and that’s empowering. Many women don’t do it because they don’t think they can do it, but it’s never about size, shape or ages, everyone can do it, everyone has their own beauty. Some judge other women who would want such “provocative” images of themselves, some jealous the how daring those women are. But it’s never about what other people think, isn’t it?

When is last time you do things for yourself? Something bold, challenging and adventurous?

My mission is to empower women, one at a time. 🙂

Professional Headshot Photo Shoot with Viviana

Viviana needed something new headshots to reflect her new business and career path so she booked a headshot photo session with me.

Here Viviana shares her experience of photo session with us:

At the beginning I was shy and I was afraid of the make up as I usually don’t do make up but then the more we got into the photo session Amanda guided me into the poses and what we wanted to achieve with them highlighting my strengths and my peculiar characteristics. She really tried to get the best out of me and she succeeded!

Impressed, I like the photographs a lot, I can see a new different version of me, In the photographs I can see a powerful woman and a woman happy and satisfied about what she has become.

The photo shoot experience indeed improved my confidence. It proved me that I can be a confident business woman and still smiling and being gentle and kind. My friends were shocked with the photographs and they keep telling me that I should always do my make up and wear like this. But I think more than the outside it is the confident that those picture show and the new version of me I am embracing internally but I also need to embrace and enhance externally, and bring it to the world.

Apart from the professional headshots, I thought since Viviana already had the hair and makeup done, why not take the opportunity create some beautiful portraits?! So we did, we created some stunning and artistic portraits with Viviana. 🙂

Viviana is the founder of Global Mindset Development GMD Malta, here is some introduction about her and her work:
Her business describtion: With trainings, team building, cultural immersion experiences and relocation support, we help companies, organisation and individuals to develop a global mindset to understand the worlds around them promoting cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion strategies and intercultural communication capabilities. Recognising and valuing cultural diversity can help our clients to promote inclusion and a sense of belonging in their organisations, to attract and retain diverse talent and to value and transform a diverse workforce into a real competitive advantage.


HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD YOUR OWN BUSINESS: I have been working on international mobility and cultural diversity as a freelance consultant for profit and not for profit organisations for more than 10 years in Europe, North America and the Middle East but I started my company Global Mindset Development GMD Malta in Malta less than one year ago. I created my own business after a complicated summer in 2018 due to an emergency surgery and the following treatments and it was my rebirth and the outcome of 10 years of work, experiences and people I met in my journey. With GMD Malta I was finally able to organise all my knowledge, my expertise and my contacts and to develop exciting projects and collaborations to help companies and individuals in Malta and abroad. 


WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS & ASPIRATIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS: My aim is to grown in Malta and abroad and to be able to serve as much companies and organisations as possible promoting diversity and inclusion for a better society. I am also aiming to continue to develop interesting partnership with innovative organisations and ideas in Malta and all over the world. I strongly believe that nowadays everyone needs a global mindset, a curious mindset open to the world and to the others withouth fear and that develop a global mindset can help everyone in all the aspects of their life. It’s for everyone, everywhere!  

Portrait Session with Marisabelle @roadtobelle

Marisabelle Bonnici had her first professional photo session with us.
I asked that why she decided to have her portraits taken because, she said, “I will be part of a book with 25 inspirational women and needed a portrait for that apart from that I am also working on my own book dealing with binge eating disorder and intuitive eating.”

She shared her photo session experience, “I love taking photos myself – although my favourite subject is nature. I always felt comfortable behind the camera but not in front of it. So I was really worried when I needed to provide a professional photo as I was convinced I would not be able to give a natural photo as I tense up when photographed. Amanda made me feel comfortable and attractive and I absolutely loved the experience. It was a game changer for me as now I know how to pose better and feel that I would love to have more pictures taken as it felt amazing.”

I am so so so moved and happy when I read Marisabelle wrote: “I am much more confident now and wont be shying away or hiding in the background when photos are taken anymore. Thank you Amanda for this.” This is want I want for every women I photograph, it means a lot to me. Thank you Belle for such lovely review!!

Below is her story and journey that I would like to share with you:

If you grew up anything like me you grew up hearing the phrases “Finish your meal!” Or “Clean your plate!” My parents and grandparents would often make me feel guilty for not eating a whole plate and I grew up thinking you always had to finish your entire plate, even when you were full. I eventually ended up turning to food as a way of comfort in times of stress and anxiety and loneliness.

A few years ago I realised I was suffering from an eating disorder. Recovering from an eating disorder includes not only getting better, but achieving a full and satisfying life. My journey to recovery has not been a straight, steady road. Rather there were ups and downs, new discoveries and setbacks. Over time, it is possible to look back and see, despite the halting progress and discouragements, how far I have really come.

Each time I reach a milestone, I see that I have recovered a piece of my life and I draw new strength from it. I once read “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

I find choosing joy and trying to experience joy to be among the most difficult tasks when you are battling an eating disorder.

And yet it is critical to try to reconnect with those persons, places, and things that were once able to give us enjoyment. You have to learn to fight and always look to the good in your life. One thing that I needed to hear was: you are not weak. I am nowhere close to the end of my journey, because finding happiness doesn’t end when you get it—it’s a lifelong path of finding what you enjoy to become who you want to be.

I have beautiful days and I have dark days. It is those dark days, however, that I grasp onto, and that I use to propel me onward through whatever emotions I am feeling. I embrace the night, because without it, morning would never rise. Not every day is filled with complete happiness, but every day is filled with moments of hope, love and possibilities. Every day is filled with resiliency and strength—and that, is my happiness.

Her interview story on Pink magazine and the Times of Malta:https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/whats-it-really-like-to-live-with-binge-eating.739699

Portraits published in Pink Magazine, featuring Marisabelle Bonnici

It doesn’t matter how many times my work has been published in magazines, it is still a wonderful feeling seeing them and holding the magazine in my hands. I’m so grateful for each and every opportunity.

I was so happy that Marisablle contacted me for her portrait session. I am always excited when photographing someone who has a great story, it doesn’t matter about the size, shape, skin colour, looks, with a story I get to create the images with depth. In fact, if you look closer, everyone has a story. Marisabelle has a great story and I was thrilled to create the images that would tell her story in a visual way. She is no size zero like those models we see on Instagram, as a photographer, my real women portraits have been critizied every single day on social media, but you know what, to me they are real beauties, all the imperfection makes them perfect, every single time I look at their portraits, remembering their transformation in studio, the moments their light shined in front of my camera, it makes my heart sing and filled with gratitude that I get to do what I do for women. It’s a privilege.

I was thrilled to see Marisabelle’s beautiful portraits on Pink Magazine, love her story, such journey and achievement. Congratulations Belle, your story has inspired and encouraged many women. Thank you so much again for choosing me to be your photographer.

Link for this article appeared in Times of Malta:

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/whats-it-really-like-to-live-with-binge-eating.739699

Portrait Session with Mariella

Mariella is the president of the BPW (Valletta)

These are such beautiful portraits of Mariella, I absolutely love them. Mariella is one of the amazing women I photographed, she is a women’s right advocate.

The first time I met Mariella was in a networking event. She was presenting BPW and gave a workshop at the event which I joined. The workshop was about public speaking, Mariella and Stephanie made the workshop absolutely fun and enjoyable, many of us were very empowered.

Mariella is such a warm and kind hearted person, always makes people feel welcomed at BPW’s events. I was immediately drawn to her and her dedication to women’s right. I absolutely love working with women who are witty and knowledgeable, I would love to photograph her so I invited Mariella to my studio for a photo session. It was months later she decided to take the challenge. I am glad she did, we created so many beautiful portraits that I absolutely love.

Women Networking Events

At Wasp. Hamrun.

I started to join networking events since last year. I think it’s a great way to meet like-minded people and connect. Through these events, I’ve met so many wonderful businesswomen and some we got to work together. It’s really amazing how diverse people and professions can be, I love hearing about their work and seeing their enthusiasm, the energy just incredible. At the beginning I was nervous and no idea what should I say or behave at the networking event, in my eyes, I see most of the women are so good at making conversation with people and public speaking while I couldn’t get words out clearly when I was nervous. But after been to many events with practice, eventually, I got better.

Me, on the left, the first time meeting Lesley who is a business development life coach.

These networking events really helps me to grow.
Among all the networking events, I really enjoy going to Mingle at Wasp. in Hamrun. The organizer Dana makes the event fun and enjoyable for everyone. She is a great hostess, very thoughtful and taking care of each everyone. We change networking partner every 15 minutes, it’s like speed dating, we get to talk to different person in a short amount of time. I get to work on how to briefly talk about what I do and leave time for the networking partner to talk about what they do, it’s so much fun. I’ve never been to a speed dating so for me this is super exciting. When we got the end of the event, I didn’t even realize the time has passed so fast. Apart from the Women in business Networking group which I organise monthly meeting and talks, this Mingle event I would highly recommend to people who just started to network, it’s a great way to meet nice and kind people, gaining confidence for the next big event.

In The Meads – Féroce Magazine Publication

Self Portrait
Self Portrait Closeup

This series “In The Meads” was published in Féroce Magazine in 2018. It was such fun project to shoot. I had this idea using wild spring flower to do a shoot for over a year. I would like to thank Feroce fashion magazine which based in UK, published my image series “In The Meads”. I am truly appreciated the opportunity and thanks to my team, my friend and my partner’s help and support. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Model: Rebecca Busuttil

This series was inspired by the nature which around us. It is for celebrating the nature we have and appreciate its rich colours. Apart from work I love being surrounded by nature. These wildflowers were found by our BBQ camp and our rides in the countryside lanes. Some of the flowers my darling brought me on special occasions such as valentine’s day, I don’t have the heart to throw them away so I dried them and kept them.

There was a long struggle before I sent out the images to the magazine editor.

Pressing and drying the flowers.
After a week pressing and drying, the colour still look vivid and very pretty.
Model: Rebecca Busuttil
Closeup

This series contains close up self-portraits. It was scary for me to present my own face in this close up detailed size. I feel I am not beautiful as the models on Instagram so I thought my self-portrait would ruin the whole series. But still, I encouraged myself to do it, I wanted to know if it is ok to create images I love even I am not perfect.
I actually embrace the imperfections of myself, instead of worry about it when when I was younger.

Self Portrait

I was very happy when I got the email from the editor said they would like to publish “In The Meads”, as it was such a challenge shoot but it was very rewarding that creating the images I love and being published.

Model:Valerie Caruana
Behind the scene: This is how I created the image above. I used 2 backdrop stands and the cross bar to hang 2 pieces of polystyrene, I poked the flowers’ branches into the polystyrene.

Photography & styling & retouching:@amanda.hsu.photographer
Models and makeup:Rebecca Busuttil, Valerie Caruana, Amanda Hsu