My nana was the type who lined the hall with framed family photographs. The conglomeration that, when finally removed, left rectangular outlines where the wall paper hadn't faded.
As a child, I would stand and marvel – especially at the portraits of nana. I would stare at her captured youth, searching for resemblances in the porcelain, unlined skin. They were there in the same kind smile and twinkly, pale blue eyes and the grace with which she held herself.
These days, silly selfies just aren't the same and, although I lean more towards minimisation on the hallway-front, had decided a nice, regal photo for my grandchildren to compare with vestiges of their wrinkly granny, would be grand.
A milestone birthday this year prompted me into action, coupled with spotting a series of timely and lovely generational portrait posts on my social media timeline by Sarahlee Studio. I decided to not delay – already we had missed my nana by a few years and the pampering and posing would have been right up her alley!
My mum Jan, on the other hand, is a tad shy and needed a bit of convincing but my daughter Jayla, like most nine-year-old girls, was all for it.
We met Sarahlee at her studio on Rust Ave for a styling consultation first. She was very welcoming and we sat on the plush couch and discussed what we had in mind.
She advised us to think of colours that would compliment each other for our group shots (no easy task when your favourite colour is magenta and your mum and daughter are red heads!) and to try and steer clear of bold prints that would portray the era. Timeless was the aim.
On the day, we excitedly hauled our bags of clothes and accessories into the studio. Even mum had come round and was looking forward to a morning of pampering and spending time with her family.
The team were waiting to greet us as we arrived and were also in good spirits. They were the lovely Danelle Knight of Style Plus Hair Design and Kasey George Makeup Artist. After the 'Before' photo, the team discussed the look we would like before getting to work with our transformation. We soon relaxed into our pamper session, surrounded by friendly morning banter, while Sarahlee was busy hanging the outfits and preparing the photo sessions to ensure it ran smoothly. During this time, she would also pick up a video camera to discreetly film snippets of our experience to later create a personalised video.
Next it was time to don our first ensemble. We had decided golden, bronze hues would suit mum and Jayla's colouring and I always love an excuse to bust out a little bling so we went for these shades in our group shots, along with that best friend to many a red head – green!
It does feel awkward posing for photos. One never knows how to stand or where to put their hands. But Sarahlee directed us into poses that flatter, often getting into poses herself and making it seem natural.
We underwent several outfit changes and were definitely getting into the swing of things. For a bit of fun, I donned a gold flapper dress and, with wind in my hair, performed a bit of a shimmy. With my mum and daughter peeking and giggling around the corner we were all laughing. Even Jayla forgot her shyness and was soon dancing and skipping around the studio.
It was a lovely bonding experience and we decided to follow it with a girls lunch out. After-all, we couldn't just go home that glammed up!
Describing herself as an 'Obsessive Compulsive Creative', Sarahlee's focus on modern glamour portraits stems from her belief that being 'photogenic' is a myth.
"Anyone can have beautiful portraits. Cover girls on magazines need a team of people to look that good and we are that team for the day. It really is a transformation inside and out. With a skilled photographer, the most camera-shy people will just light up and feel and look incredible. The most important thing to me is that they enjoy every moment of it.
"I get to show someone a side of themselves they have never seen before. I create legacies and want to create images that, not only give you confidence every time you look at them, but you are proud to pass on to the next generation."