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

Business headshot session with Raiza

Raiza is a lawyer and the co-funder of MyHurryApp. She is a lovely, warm and kind hearted person who I absolutely loved working with. She shares her photo shoot experience:

“What can I say? Working on the photoshoot with Amanda and her make-up artist was a really fun experience. I felt really at ease and comfortable during the shoot (this started from the minute I walked in through the door). I loved the makeup and hair styling they did for me – my features were enhanced but my look remained natural. Amanda helped me out during the shoot itself, by showing me work she had researched so that we can do our own shots, helping me push the boundaries just the right amount! It was a really enjoyable experience and I really felt good about myself. Thank you Cranberry. 🙂 “

Read more about Raiza:

  1. NAME : Raiza Borg Carr
    I am a lawyer by profession, and I will be opening my own law office in Luqa this month! I am also a co-founder of a local platform called MyHurryApp which facilitates the looking up and booking of service providers here in Malta, with my husband. My husband also operates software/website development and printing/merchandise ventures and I assist him with administrative and legal work too. Together with what he does, I use my legal expertise (such as my know-how on trademark legislation in Malta) to offer a one-stop shop to our clients so that he can assist them with developing their website and software, as well as the design, printing, and their merchandise. I am however the door they need to knock first as I am the one who can guide them on making sure the business name chosen is a legal and appropriate one which does not cause them trouble in the future.
  2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD YOUR OWN BUSINESS: I have only left my full-time job in early 2018 however I guess I was always meant to do my own thing – running my own businesses is great even though difficult at times. There are certain challenges you can only understand when you are actually doing your own thing. Howvever if you love what you do, you will be extremely happy to go through these challenges as you grow a lot.
    4: WHAT ARE YOIR GOALS & ASPIRATIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS: I hope I continue meeting many people everyday, as that has helped me develop on a personal level. I also aspire for my businesses to grow further so that I can continue doing what I love and being able to help people. As Steve Jobs once said (and my husband constantly repeats), the only way to do great work, is to love what you do.

Photo Shoot with Anabel

“It was a “me to me” birthday present.” She said.

Love the smile of Anabel and the blue velvet dress she brought to the shoot. In fact, she has great taste, every dress she brought was amazing to shoot. 🙂

She looks absolutely beautiful in the green dress I design. I love designing dress and accessories for my photo sessions, I can be so creative. 🙂

Anabel shares her photo session experience: This photo session was a ‘me to me’ birthday present 🙂 It was really easy to relax, ended up being a long session :)… and very convenient to have hair and make up taken care of in same place. I’m very happy with the outcome! The photo shoot was on my to do list and finally managed to do it – would do it again anytime! 🙂

Stunning look of Anabel, the red dress is also design by me, seeing images with my own design dresses makes my heart sing. 🙂

Teen photo shoot with Teodora

A princess or a sporty girl? You don’t have to choose. Because you can do it all!

I first met Teodora was at the Training Room, she was lifting weight, her techniques were great, she looks good and powerful. I thought that was so cool. I had this idea of breaking the stereotype about what girls should do and what girls shouldn’t. When I was a Tchoukball player in school, I was always been thought of as a tomboy and it made me thought that how I should be. But it shouldn’t. Girls should never be put in boxes.

I love this photo shoot concept and the results just amazing!

Teodora wrote about her experience about her training and her photo shoot experience:

I got to know about training room through mums colleague from work at the time. Ever since I moved to Malta I started searching for a gym and training room seamed like a perfect place to train. The first session was difficult but I managed to get through it with a help of the coach who helped me scale the work out and made sure my technique was correct. I started training as I started having back pain but also, I have done sports ever since I was 6 so I wanted to stay fit even though I didn’t do sports any more. I have been going to Training room for a year and a half now and wish to continue for much longer. I keep coming to train because I love the feeling I get when I finish the session. I also love to be able to do different things like gymnastics, weightlifting and running. It makes me feel strong and powerful and it gives me confidence in my everyday life. I wound recommend other girls to start training and doing sports as it makes them evolve into a batter person, through socialising and it creates good habits for the future. 

The photoshoot was an amazing experience and I loved to have an opportunity to do it. I made me see myself in a different way and it showed me how we as girls can be both powerful and beautiful. Thorough the whole photoshoot I felt really beautiful and encouraged.