Olde Time Portraits and fairytale themes come to life

Helena Blundell is a photographer in Hobart Tasmania who offers costume based photography portraits and wedding photography.

Helena’s passion for art and photography began in her 20s after completing a two year course at TAFE Fashion Design School.

She had her own fashion label and even went overseas to the London Fashion Show.

Upon her return to Australia, she made a career change into film making, which included producing training films for Government and private enterprise.

In 1997 Helena won a prestigious humanities berth, to film Antarctica science programs for the Australian Antarctic Division.

One of her videos 'Keeping your distance from penguins' was used on cruise ships from countries all around the world.

The video showed the importance of keeping your distance from penguins’ colony as a tourist, based on Australia’s scientific research.

Following the development of digital cameras and computer editing software, Helena discovered a passion for wedding photography and portraiture.

At the age of 53, she decided to go back to study at TasTAFE gaining a certificate III in Design (Graphic Design) and the following year completed a Diploma of Visual Arts (majoring in Photography).

Her teacher Bernie Carr – who has now retired – was a specialist in studio lighting, and helped Helena towards her dream to create her own studio.

“I just love the creative capacity of controlling light in the studio and use of reflectors to position light and have total control over the picture being produced”, she said.

“My business is an amalgamation of life experiences and teachings to-date, it is made up of my passions for my two greatest loves fashion and photography.

“I had friends who had done the New Business Assistance with NEIS scheme some years ago and before I finished my diploma I had my application in. One thing we had not done in our course was a business plan. NEIS gave me time to concentrate on the formulation of a business plan with a two year projection.

“The NEIS platform had excellent resources online offering all sorts of advice and mentoring support was excellent. The business plan so important for any business loans or funding applications that you apply for. So many people I speak to have not got a written business plan. I just love mine it’s the backbone of my business and every plan will be unique to your business.

“Perhaps the most interesting aspect was the comparative studies of competitors pricing taking into consideration running costs of the business and formulating a budget.

“Mentoring has been very important and on advice from NEIS throughout this time I also used the services of Business East, Kingborough and Huon Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) and Digital Ready which gave up-to-date information through their forums and network and information on latest social media trends. I also attended forums by Google in Hobart which was really inspiring.

“The second year of NEIS gave me the space and time to enact and my second year of the business plan. Mentoring provided by Joel and Brian was invaluable.

“I now offer olde time portraits and fairy tale themes and wedding photography.”

The NEIS program has been delivered by APM Employment Services since February 2020. It was previously delivered by Konekt Employment.

From 1 July 2022, Self-Employment Assistance replaced the NEIS program.

Things that have set Helena’s business apart is her ability to work with people of all ages to achieve their ideas, and an eye for detail. She Photoshops photos to create Victorian and fairy-tale portraits.

Helena also has a huge collection of costume props that help bring her photos to life.

These include items that she has collected over the last 10 years such as a rocking horse and pram handmade in Tasmania:

  • Handmade Victorian era hats which are adorned with silk flowers made by her grandmother in 1930s
  • 1950s authentic cowboy outfits found in a friend’s attic lovingly used after 30 years of storage
  • Children toy sports car
  • A replica Harley Davidson bike and much more

She also has an amazing backdrop by famous Tasmanian artist Max Angus of Olde Hobart Town.

Clients that visit her studio are transformed into bank managers of Olde Hobart Town, saloon girls, wild west cowboys or gangsters, children who become fairy-tale creatures, scarecrows, bumble bees and fairies. She caters from 8 weeks of age to 80 years plus.

All of Helena’s photo shoots are full of laughter, jokes and stories as they are transformed through costumes into character.

Clientele is local and tourism based only one of a handful of business that offer olde time portraits in Australia.

Helena’s future is exciting with plans to expand into other costume-based photography.

She is always on the lookout for new props and costumes to continue to make her business unique, with portraits only limited only by imagination.

For more information, visit oldetimeportraits.com.au.