Betty Noir shares the secrets to keeping the glamour of these era’s past, in a modern age. Staying confident in your fashion, in control of your style and dressing alternative for the most important person of all…You! Expressing your inner ‘pin up’. In wonderful photography sessions.
‘There’s nothing I love more than seeing people dressed in a way they want to dress, regardless of current trends and fashions.’
When I first came across Hannah freeman’s work I was delighted by what I saw. The sophisticated and bold poses. Contrast of colours and of course the fabulous fashion within them! So many women, all different and unique. Glowing with vintage confidence in her images.
I just had to contact her, commend her on her wonderful and alternative take on today’s makeover shoots and find out more from this talented and wonderful photographer. Like most people I get many emails telling me of great makeover photo-shoot offers, but to an alternative girl in an ordinary world, the idea of being photographed seemed uncomfortable and uninspiring, even pointless.
Alternative fashionistas are expressive artistic creatures who ooze alternative glamour and I wanted to find a place that this could be captured just as conventional fashion can be so widely encapsulated. Then I came across Betty Noir photography!
A friend on Facebook had been for a ‘before and after’ makeover shoot with Betty Noir and as her new outstanding images flashed across my news feed I was in awe of them! Could there truly be a photographer out there who has taken the niche market by storm? The further I looked into Betty Noir the more excited I became. The prices were reasonable. The pictures were stylishly unconventional and the ladies in them seemed confident, at ease and loving their experience.
I couldn’t wait to contact Hannah and ask her all about her wonderful business.
‘They seem to gain the confidence to be the person they always wanted to be. It’s so much more than just a photo shoot.’
Hi Hannah (Ms Noir), Thank you for taking the time out to talk to me.
When did you set up Betty Noir?
I officially launched Betty Noir in May this year. In the months building up to the launch day I worked hard on building up my portfolio.
I set up my website, refurbished and decorated the studio space. It was a crazy few months, but I set myself a date to officially open by, and that motivated me to get the work done!
Where did your name Betty Noir originate from?
I wanted something that sounded vintage as well as having a glamorous edge to it.
I was listening to Ram Jam’s Black Betty a lot at the time, and thought it would be a great name to use as my middle name is Elizabeth, but it just needed a little glamorous tweak, and so Betty Noir was born.
What was your inspiration for starting up a photography business with such a specific clientele?
There’s nothing I love more than seeing people dressed in a way they want to dress, regardless of current trends and fashions. It’s so refreshing to see someone who really knows who they are and what they like, and is confident enough to dress in a way that reflects their personality.
My personal passions are vintage styles, from 20s-50s, and the pin up style is one that promotes body confidence, and suits all ages, shapes and sizes. There’s something about the classic pin up girl that the modern day glamour models lack.
There are so many traditional portrait photographers out there. I didn’t want to just photograph faces, people in jeans and a white T-shirt.
I wanted to photograph personalities, and I wanted to remain passionate about my work. Combining my love of photography with my love of vintage was a perfect solution.
What fashion genre would you say your main focus is on?
I cover styles from the 20s through to the 50s (as well as the occasional more modern style shoot, when requested).
My most popular genre would be the classic 40s pin up girl. Pin up girls really became popular during WWII, their popularity continued through to the fifties. Pin up girls were often used in advertising. I really love recreating some of these images with my clients.
For those customers who have never dressed vintage or pin up before, are you able to guide them?
Styling and putting together outfits is something that I really love doing and have previous job experience in. 95% of my clients have never dressed vintage before, and are keen to try the style, but don’t know where to start, so it’s always a joy to help them piece together a look that’s just right for them.
We have a range of clothes here, from sizes 8-22, as well as shoes 4-7, some lingerie items such as corsets and suspender belts, and tonnes of accessories! We have some stocking here for the ladies to use in their photo shoot if they forget to bring their own.
When posing for the images do you assist them with facial expressions and posing?
Everyone that comes for a photo shoot always mentions how nervous they first feel when they arrive, unsure of what to expect. As the shoot begins I guide them through each pose, helping them get the most flattering poses for them, and they soon begin to relax and enjoy the experience. It’s always great fun.
When the shoot has ended how do the clients feel?
I have so much wonderful feedback from my clients. It makes me happy to hear these ladies are leaving my studio feeling more confident, and happy, wanting to try out new looks.
They seem to gain the confidence to be the person they always wanted to be. It’s so much more than just a photo shoot.
What is your price range for shoots?
Our photo shoots range from £28 to £200 for a more creative shoot with a lot of art-working on the final images. Our most popular photo shoot sessions are our makeover shoots, which include hair and makeup, and up to three outfit changes, priced at £40. Our makeover packages are also very popular and include five 8″ X 6″ prints, all for just £85!
What is your price range for prints?
Our prints start at just £12 for an 8″ X 6″ fully edited image. Our largest print size is 40″ X 30″ priced at £120. We also do canvas prints starting at just £60. ‘I wanted to show everyone that there are other alternatives to the standard style of studio photography.’
Where did you study photography?
I am predominantly self taught. My father was a keen photographer as I was growing up. His passion for photography runs through my veins. He left me some of his old cameras from the 70s when he passed away nine years ago, which I absolutely treasure.
Photography was always a hobby of mine, but I never imagined it would also become a career. I found my photography was a good outlet to express my creative side. My confidence grew when I was offered a job at a photography studio.
However, I didn’t want to lose my passion for photography and my creativity by working under someone else’s style. I wanted to show everyone that there are other alternatives to the standard style of studio photography.
Where is your studio? Will you travel if clients want you to come to them?
I am more than happy to travel for location shoots. Betty Noir Studio is at my home in Coleford, Gloucestershire. We have a great versatile space, with dressing area, hair and makeup station, and a huge plain backdrop for when we want to shoot with a plain background.
I’m a collector of vintage pieces, so the studio is adorned with vintage items which I often use as props in photo shoots, including a fabulous retro radiogram, a gramophone, singer sewing machine, and a couple of gorgeous old steamer trunks.
Betty Noir Photography will be opening its doors to gents out there very soon too, as we don’t want anyone to miss out on the Betty Noir experience. Go online for more information about Betty Noir.
Written by Mizz Twisted Cherry