franklin childrens photographer | the tangible.

being a photographer right now is different. times change and peoples needs change. we live in a day of immediate results, everything and everyone is just a click away. my kids will never know life without the internet, life without cell phones , im afraid they wont even know what real conversations are at times. i constantly make them stop texting and pick up the phone to call their friends, i so remember the hour long conversations i had with my bestie and boyfriends. i need them to know that.

things change constantly but one thing that doesn’t change is our need to slow time down, to somehow freeze a moment and be able to retrieve that memory, that moment again. photography allows us to do that. it allows us to remember an exact moment, the emotion and feeling in that moment.  i know that is why i still have such a passion for this job, being able to watch children laugh with that perfect dimple and know i am preserving that forever. it is pretty awesome.

the world tells us that instant is best, we need results now. the world tells us sharing on the social media world is what its all about. well… its not. NOW don’t get me wrong, if you know me you know i LOVE me some Instagram, it changed my life in some ways. i know it sounds silly but it did. after becoming a professional photographer i was so insanely critical of every image i took. no matter if it was just snapshots of my kids, work or whatever. i felt it had to be perfect or it wasn’t worthy of showing the world. it wasn’t worthy of being printed. how CRAZY is that? those are real moments of my life, my kids lives, life isn’t perfect so why in the world did i feel like every single photograph had to be. I quit taking everyday images of my kids. they grew into teenagers and hated pictures so it just became easy to not take them except for REAL picture days. So once or twice a year i made them dress they way i wanted and stand where i told them. it was kinda awful for everyone but hey i walked away with what i knew was great portraits. i was happy.

then i got a Iphone. then i started on Instagram. i quickly started documenting great funny ordinary moments with my family again. it was so easy. they didn’t have to be perfect, i mean they were from a phone for goodness sake!! i became that mom that only brought her phone to school awards and functions, yep that was me. I was thrilled! i fell in love with photography again and it bled into my work. i realized, things aren’t always perfect, life is blurry, messy and a little grainy sometimes. real emotion and real life beauty is what is important.

now don’t get me wrong. there are alot of photographers that quite honestly should not be called professional. you MUST know how to use your camera properly, you must know how to find light and composition… and lots more of technical things and darn right out of focus isn’t the same as beautiful blur  🙂 is being a professional photographer easy? No, like most jobs its hard work, its a full time workload, when you own your own business, really are you ever off? But am i soo grateful to have this workload? absolutely!  i am honored and humbled by it honestly.

so what is all of this rambling about? well its really about slowing down. its about living every single moment to the fullest and seeking what the good Lord has sent me here to do! in 2014 i will be limiting sessions more and focusing on each and every client to the best of my ability. i am using more and more film to capture those emotions i am feeling and seeing. so you will see more and more about film sessions! super excited about that!

as one of the few professional studios in this area that do not offer digital files with every session, we do constantly struggle with this great debate. i totally understand the thought that you as a parent need every single image, you need those files to archive and share with family. i get that. my fear has always and will always be this. YOUR coming to me to provide you with beautiful timeless portraits of your family. MY job is to walk with you thru each step and provide the experience and in the end artwork you will be proud to display in your home FOREVER  (that is a long time… no pressure here. :/ ….)  Its my job to make sure those portraits are printed on the best paper with the best inks and displayed in the proper way, that is not your job! So sadly what ends up happening is those drop dead gorgeous images end up on FB, maybe a few 5x7s are printed and sent to grandma, usually that is about it. Right? You know your shaking your head right now!  Its ok we have all done it! So when you ask why we don’t just giveaway our digital files that is why. NOW… all of that being said, we are working on new ways to incorporate those darn files into your purchases, so bare with me. We will talk more about it soon enough. Just know…. walking away with one fine art portrait printed & framed beautifully for your home is WAY better than a cute little USB drive, i promise!! its about the tangible remember, the blurry emotions we witness, its about remembering that every time you walk thru your home!

lots to share with you soon.

these are some of the first images on film from 2013.i was just learning my new (old) film camera, they aren’t perfect, or are they?  i haven’t shared them with anyone yet, till now. embracing the raw beauty in them is like setting my soul free.

would love to hear your thoughts. what are you changing for 2014? what are you dreams and goals? how do you feel when you see these images?



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Mandy Johnson is a nationally acclaimed professional photographer specializing in fine art children's photography.
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