Saturday, December 24, 2011

Surprise Christmas Gifts....

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

A few months ago I got a call from a sweet lady wanting to talk to me about a photo session that would be a surprise for her son and his wife.  The pictures would be of her teenage granddaughter.  So we started with the planning, and met up one gorgeous Sunday afternoon in downtown Kings Mountain, NC.  There is so much history in this little town, that surely you could just take photos without even a person in them and stay busy... but when I met Kathryn, I could tell she already knew the look she was after.  She was a little bit shy at first, but I could see that right under that shy exterior was so much excitement I thought she would burst.  As we moved along with her session, I could see more and more of her personality come out.  I would LOVE to have spent all day with Kathryn.  Not only was she a sweetheart, but the camera loved her, and she's just simply gorgeous.  

Now I have been given permission to finally share some images from her session... the gift has been given to her parents, and my understanding is that they were both surprised and happy with the work.  

Merry Christmas, Kathryn... and to your Grandmother, you are a totally cool Grandma!!  Hope to work with you all again very soon!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Reflections

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

A few days ago I wrote a blog (on my personal blog-page) about reflecting... the importance of it, and how much reflecting is a part of my life and who I am.  I very much believe that also plays over into WHO I am as a photographer...WHY photography is so important to me...HOW I visualize a photo session with a client. Photography has always been such an important part of my life...recording those moments that grabbed me right then and knowing I didn't want to ever forget it.  And a picture often makes that possible.  

It's Christmastime... and along with this season comes a time of true reflection for many people.  Thinking back on the year... what worked... what didn't.  Amidst blessings, hardships, joys and disappointments we also come to the ending of one year and somehow find HOPE for better times in the next. I look at my Christmas tree and see much of that reflection in the ornaments that hang... the meaning behind some of them.  I have the first ornament I ever bought for my OWN Christmas tree... an ornament from my children's 1st Christmases... an ornament representing Alphie the Lion (who is the ADPi mascot, and the sorority my daughter has been a part of through her college career)... I have a heart with "Love Never Ends" and many times I have looked at that ornament with tears, and other times with joy.  What is on your Christmas tree?  Does it help you reflect on those times you never want to forget?     

LUKE 2:8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

May you have a VERY Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Friends and the Sea...the Best!

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @
... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

For those of you who read my blogs or follow my facebook fan page, you know that I spend as much time as possible at the beach.  And last month I was so fortunate to get to spend two weeks there!  I got to take many walks on the beach, get my feet in the ocean (it was a bit cool in the water!), spend time with some family and loved ones... and those loved ones include some very dear friends.  I LOVE all of my friends... but isn't there something cozy and comfortable about those friends you've had forever?  This couple is someone I knew growing up as friends of my parents...and as I've grown up our relationship has evolved into a special friendship all of our own.  Here are some pictures I captured during out weekend together at the beach... some of my dear friends (they're so sweet!) and some of what was going around us that evening as we were heading to dinner in Murrell's Inlet.  



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baby M

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Maternal would definitely be one of the words I would use to describe myself.  Maybe that has something to do with why I absolutely love newborn baby sessions.  Newborns just represent so much hope, promise, newness and love.  I count myself very blessed to get to snuggle up with these sweet little beings and take some of their first pictures!  

Meet Baby M... He was determined he was not going to wait until his due date, so he made his entrance over 5 weeks early!  After a week or so in in the hospital, and still very tiny, he went home with Mommy and Daddy... and he has really pulled quite a few heartstrings since.  When I took finally got to do his session in my studio he was already 2 weeks old, and usually I like them no older than that when I do their pictures.  But no problem here -- this little guy was still only 5 pounds of complete and total sweetness! I hope you enjoy his pictures (and I couldn't resist including one of him with Mommy and Daddy!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

What is Making YOU Wait?

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

There's always a good excuse: "my hair needs to be cut" or "I don't like this haircut"... "I need to lose some weight" or even "I only have ten pounds left to take off and then I'll do it"... "the kids won't be still"... "we're all so busy"... "I don't have the money in the budget."  On and on it can go!

Hold on... what's the question? What is Making YOU Wait... for Family Photos.  Yes, I'm a photographer - and of course, I would love to take your pictures.  I would love to sell a big package.  It is how I keep my {newer} business running!  But I'm not talking about ME {specifically} taking YOUR {in particular} family pictures... after all, whoever is reading this could be from another city, state or country!!  (but don't get me wrong - I would absolutely LOVE to take your pictures!) I'm talking in a broader sense of the question.  Think about it: What is making you wait to do family pictures?  

Now I will admit... I do not like to be on that side of the lens.  Truthfully (and you will not find too many that will disagree with what I'm going to say) I am very UN-photogenic.  In fact, you can't take a picture that will turn out much worse than one with me in it.  BUT - I will quickly stop with my family to get pictures taken.  When my son is home from the Navy, I want my picture taken with him.  Think about it this way.  There is no promise for tomorrow.  NO - I'm definitely not trying to be morbid or depressing... but it's just a simple truth.  Do you think people who meet tragedy wake up expecting it?  That's why it's called tragedy.  And it's why we should live our lives as if each day could be the last.  Leave no regrets - nothing undone.  

When I am taking pictures, especially when it's within my own family, and someone constantly avoids the camera, makes an ugly face or throws their hand up in front of the lens, I will often ask them "is that how you want to be remembered years from now?"  Because let's face it... there does come a day that the only real thing left of us is the pictures.  (and I promise, if someone truly doesn't want their picture taken, I respect that!)

Then there's that aggravating budget... I definitely know how there's just never enough money to do everything you want to do.  But to me it seems that if you prioritize and plan for those special "picture times" each year or so, they are well worth the investment.  Because an investment is exactly what we are talking about here with family photos.  And if that's still not something that's possible for you, then consider that there are tons of photographers... many different "price points" to work with... so you can find someone who is within the range you can spend to do the job that will hold so many memories for years and years to come.  
Last year my daughter was moving out of her apartment at college.  We were there helping, and I always have my camera with me.  A couple of her close {guy} friends had come over to help - and I had my camera right there.  It's ALWAYS with me!  But I didn't take a single picture.  It was busy, and I just didn't make the time.  That will never happen again.  Less than a week later, one of the boys who was helping, Collin, died suddenly and unexpectedly after having surgery.  He was one of my daughters very close friends... I'd had a perfect opportunity to take his picture in those last days when he was with friends...laughing and enjoying his life.  I let it pass... and those memories are only in our minds.  
Family pictures.  They are more than a record of how much weight we need to lose, or the bad haircut we should have re-thought.  They are a moment captured and frozen... a moment that can be revisited over and over again in the future, shared for many years and touch many lives.  Don't keep waiting!

{and please - do call me if I can ever be of any help with capturing your family's special would be an honor!}

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tying it Together

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Two weeks by the sea.  It sounds like the start of a novel... but it has been my last two weeks.  And while many people have thought maybe I was a bit crazy to be down here alone so much, it has been a lot of time on my with my camera, my thoughts & daydreams, coffee, editing, reading, SLEEP...maybe a little wine and definitely lots of walks on the beach!!  It will be very hard to return to "real life" - but I feel like I've been exactly where I needed to be during this time.  Just like the sand when the tide is coming in and going out, life often has a lot of shifting about... and it's good to have the opportunity to regroup a bit.  Sadly, many people are afraid of time alone...but as I've grown through my life I've learned to cherish those alone times and to see them as a gift.  To use them to work through the questions, hurts or overwhelming moments in my mind that get pushed back into some place that gets overly cluttered.  It has been a good couple of weeks, and I will be sad to see it end... but knowing that it won't be too long before I'll be back again definitely makes it easier.  And who knows, maybe next time I'll invite a few girlfriends down for some "girl power" time!!

My many walks on the beach have given much opportunity for many pictures... so many moments captured.  But let this just tie up one walk to share with you.  

Have an awesome day!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Captured Truth

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

bridge to the sea

As a photographer I look at the world constantly through my lens.  Even when my camera is not right in my hand, I see things and immediately think of how I would capture it at just this or that angle to show the world just what I am seeing.  Years ago when I got my first dslr I would carry it around and think "What can I take a picture of?" but as time has passed, and as I've gotten older and more experienced with life {and photography} I find myself thinking "How can I not stop and capture this shot?" Colors and clouds, angles and contrasts... all of these things scream for me to stop that moment in time with my camera.  

serene ripples in the sunset

It's no longer just a sunrise or sunset...and it's no longer just a ripple in the water.  It's a moment that I want to stop forever and remember.  That moment evokes a feeling that I want to treasure and hold onto so that I can look back on it at a time that I need to revisit that feeling.  Isn't that what a picture should do for us?  I have often said I want my pictures to make you smile, laugh or cry... I want to touch your emotions.  I want to evoke feeling in you.  And I want you to come back again and again wanting to see more.  

My Superhero

My Angel

And when I capture a person, whether it is a newborn or someone who has lived a hundred years, I want that picture to reveal a part of who they are.   I want their eyes to show what they are be able to see the pain in their life, or the happiness in that moment.  My philosophy with living my life is to live it in truth... and I carry that into who I am as a photographer.  I want the images I capture to reveal the truth of the moment.  And then I am happy that I have accomplished my dreams...

Make your day a beautiful day! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Douglas Family Session

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

For a photographer it's always exciting to be contacted by a perspective client who has already seen your work and developed a love for your style.  Going into the relationship you have a sense already that you're on the same expectation level.  But it's even more exciting to be contacted by someone who has a connection in some way to your life and hear "I just somehow found you - and want YOU to do my family pictures."  For an ego, that would be food.  I'm not an ego-type, so for me it's very humbling and an even greater challenge to deliver something ground shaking to that client.  I was not at all disappointed by the Douglas family.  The client lives 3 hours from where I live - but not too far from my parents - so I could combine their photo session with visiting my parents.  That's always a plus with my Mama!  But to complicate matters, we had to find a date that their whole family could get together - and that I was also available to travel up for the weekend - AND that we didn't have the worst of weather conditions.  That is a lot of "ifs" to get worked out!  But WE DID IT!  And I couldn't be happier with the results.  We had a wonderful time during the session.  I try to always calm everyone's nerves - tell them I'm a "no pressure" kind of photographer and I want everyone to just have fun.  We talk, kid around, do some impromptu posing (if you see my work, you KNOW I don't care for those real "posey" shots) but what I always hope for is that by the end of the session we have developed a friendship that will last for many years to come.  During our time together I've gotten to know them a little better - but they've also gotten to know me.  

Here are a few images from the very special Douglas family session:
Sweet B loved playing in the leaves... and she loved that pumpkin so much she just had to give him a kiss!  I loved LOVED watching this family dote on this little girl.  It always makes my heart melt to see a child so loved.  B started life with some complications requiring surgery before she could even leave the hospital... but 1 year later you'd never know she ever had a problem!  There's no slowing her down!

Much of our session was around B... at that age it's hard for everything not to be about the 1-yr-old in the room!  But seeing how that little girl ties that family together into an even stronger bond was such a treat for me. 

Next I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with Lacy... since she'll be a Senior next year we're already talking about her Senior Session... what fun! 

Enjoy the pictures... and have a great day!  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Great Gift Ideas

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Can you believe Christmas is less than 2 months away?  It seems to arrive quicker each year.  Have you started making your shopping list... figuring out what you're going to get for the people who are special in your life?  I'd love to offer some great ideas, and if I can help you with any of them, please get in touch!
  • Photography by DonnaKay Gift Certificates... perfect for young parents, expectant mom's, teenagers (they LOVE having their photos done!) - actually, photos are perfect for just about anyone!
  • How about gorgeous custom designed Christmas cards to send to those special people in your life?  Not the typical photo cards that are sent every year... but something beautiful and professionally printed.  A typical card that you would pick out at Hallmark would be well over $4 - but you can have custom designed cards made just to your specifications with a family photo or even opt for a few different photos designed into the card... all for around $2 per card.  
  • Family photos...GREAT gifts for grandparents!  They LOVE photos of their kids & grandkids!  But also great to send those friends and family who don't live so close and would love to see how the family has changed since last Christmas.
  • Gorgeous custom Organic Bloom frames!  Great to go along with that custom photography... but if you have other photos (how about the kids school photos?) that you plan to give, how about making them an extra special gift by putting them in one of these gorgeous frames - available in so many colors and sizes.  Photography by DonnaKay is a retailer for Organic Bloom frames, so contact me to get more details.
  • There are many options for custom gifts... if you've had a photo session this year with Photography by DonnaKay you can choose your favorite images and have them made into a custom calendar that is professionally printed... something that would make a perfect gift that will be treasured all the way until next Christmas!  And there are many other custom gift ideas. 
And don't forget those special family get-togethers over the holidays.  It's a GREAT time to schedule a custom photo session to get pictures done with the entire family!  Nothing holds more memories that you will treasure for years to come than photos of the family together.  Please get in touch if you would like to find out more information about scheduling a special session.  We can discuss custom designing the session that would be perfect for you and your family!

Christmas will be here before you know it.  So start making your shopping list soon... and make sure to contact Photography by DonnaKay for help with any of your photography gift needs! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boundaries in Business??

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Running a business is tough... and this year has seen lots of tough times with starting a new photography business.  It means the world to me to have other photographers, clients and fans from all areas of the world stick along with me on this journey. It has been one decision after another, finding what does work and what just doesn't.  Deciding what kind of photography business I wanted to develop was half the struggle (whether I wanted to be a shoot & burn photographer {no}, studio photographer {no} or my final option to be a Boutique Photographer offering unique custom photography for clients to proudly hang as Wall Art in their homes {YES}.)  Then came the tedious job of setting my prices.  Fortunately I've had some awesome professionals help me with that... giving me advice and guidance, teaching me that there is, afterall, an actual formula set out by the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) to guide with setting proper pricing for your photography business.  And always remembering that I want to retain dignity and integrity in the world of Professional Photographers.  So I painstakingly set my prices by that guide... I didn't look at everyone else's prices and find a happy medium, but I set fair prices to run a Boutique photography business. 

Working with people is tough sometimes...but it is what I love so much, and the reason I went into this photography business.  In running a business I have to understand that things do happen: emergencies come up, minds change, and seriously that hard-to-please person comes along once in a while.  Life has taught me much patience, but life has also taught me the importance of boundaries - and boundaries are important in both personal and business life.  

My prices are not the cheapest.  I will be the first to tell a client that from the beginning.  I put a lot into my business: I use only top-of-the-line equipment (from camera equipment to props), editing software and the best products available.  I take no shortcuts.  I search out unique and special locations, and customize each session to that particular client.  It would be impossible to compare what I am offering a client price-wise to what they would get at Walmart, Sears, Portrait Innovations, JCPenney, etc.  Unique is my personality (I like shoes/purses & clothes that are different from everyone else, I like jewelry that is different from everyone else) so it would only make sense that I would run my photography business to be unique and totally custom.  Boutique.  And I deliver above and beyond every single time for my clients.  So this would be one of my business boundaries: setting the pricing that will work to support what I offer my clients, being clear on my pricing and sticking to it.  If someone comes to me and their budget clearly won't work with what I offer, I will try to find any compromise possible (maybe a mini-session that would work? Saving up for the package they really want just a little further down the road?) - but if there's simply nothing I can offer that will work for them, I will offer them alternative photography options...I'll do all I can to refer them to another photography studio that might suit their budget needs.  And I'll hope that at some point in the future they will still become clients of mine!

Another boundary in my business (and in most businesses that are service oriented) is a schedule.  I respect that clients are most often having to rework their schedules for their photo session.  Many times the client(s) has to take off from work to get the session time that is best for the pictures they are desiring.  I always want my answer to be YES to my clients or potential clients, but the fact is that sometimes the answer has to be NO.  And I have to learn better to feel comfortable with saying "No, I'm sorry... that's not available, that's not an option but let me offer you another option, etc." and move on from there.  And I will trust my talent and my art... I will trust that my clients will continue to share with their friends how much they absolutely loved their experience with me and the products that I provide.  And I will always offer my absolute very best to each and every client.  My desire is that they have the most awesome framed portrait or collection hanging on their wall or Album on their coffee table that is priceless to them for many years to come.  

Boundaries are necessary in all aspects of life... but in my business they are never set selfishly - they are set to offer respect and the very best service to all of my clients. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

And the Winner of the Giveaway is....

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... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

And the Winner of the Giveaway is....



You won a Free Organic Bloom
mini-frame ornament 
(holds a 3x3 photo) 
AND for the SURPRISE....
I'm also including a $15 iTunes Gift Card OR Starbucks Gift Card (it's your choice!)!

Please send me an email at:
to claim your prizes within 24 hours
and I will send you further information
in a return email!

if you entered the Giveaway... 
and please stick around because
I love giving stuff away!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

You have to "LIKE" me if you really like me!

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ 
... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Just when we get used to things one way, they always have to change.  Wow - isn't that just the way it always seems to be?  Now facebook is shaking things up for business fan pages.  If you aren't active with that page ("liking" or commenting) then you will just no longer see that page... which in turn means you may miss something really special on those pages!  I'm getting more active in "liking" or commenting on the pages that I want to continue seeing, because I know that in my busy life it often does prove to be true "out of sight, out of mind."  ..........What can you do?  Go to my facebook fan page Photography by DonnaKay - make sure you have "liked" the page at the top, and then leave a short comment - even a simple "hello" will do... then visit often, click and "like" when you like something or even better leave a comment!

NEXT - I want to remind you of the giveaway that I'm hosting to celebrate that I'm now a retailer for Organic Bloom frames.  I hope you'll read that blog (go ahead and click that link to go straight to the blog to enter!) and see how easy it is to enter to win a free Organic Bloom mini-frame -- and I'm even throwing in a special "extra" surprise in the giveaway!   
  • If you are a client: These frames are beyond beautiful... they come in so many unique shapes, and the color choices are unbelievable!  I can work with you to find the perfect frame to coordinate either alone or in a grouping with several other frames.  With special software we can even take a look at EXACTLY how the grouping you are thinking about would look in your home, and I can even offer you options to consider.   
  • If you are photographer: I would love to talk with YOU about your needs for your own clients, and work with you to supply Organic Bloom frames.  Just give me a call or drop me an email.
Thanks for following my blogs... I hope to hear from you soon!  

AND Click to find out how to ENTER TO WIN A FREE FRAME!!  If you don't want it personally, it would make an awesome gift!  But I bet once you have it in your hands you will fall in love with it - and want more of these gorgeous frames!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

True Love.....

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @
... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

What do you have hanging on the walls in your home?  My home is personal throughout... it's where I spend the most time in my life and I want it to feel comfortable and full of love...true love.  There are pictures hanging on most every available wall, but not all of them are photos.  A lot of what is hanging downstairs is artwork: large water colors, paintings, etc.  Each piece of this art has some special meaning to me.  But then everywhere through my home you will find photos...upstairs they are hanging in groupings all over the place!  There are enough photographs of my kids around my home that you could put them into a large album!  But they make me happy.  Each photo holds a special memory.  


This is a grouping of the beautiful Organic Bloom frames... I would LOVE to help you find a perfect grouping for your home, either for existing photos you have now, or added to a print order from a session with me that we customize just for you.  Either way, you will love having these hanging in your home.  And they come in so many sizes and colors!!  Please contact me if you would like more information.

Look around your home and see what your house says to someone who walks in the first time.   Does your home tell the story of your family - the story of you?  

Please visit my past blog where I'm hosting a giveaway of a mini-frame from Organic Bloom (much like one of the small frames in the picture above) - and it's SO easy to enter!  I would LOVE for you to have a chance to have one of these beautiful frames in your home.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Organic Bloom...YOU can win a FREE ornament mini-frame?

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Kensley in a tutu
Sweet Blakely

New ventures are almost always exciting... but it is even better when you continue on that venture and the excitement not only stays but grows!   As I am building my photography business into what I dream it will be I want to offer things through my business that will benefit and excite my clients.  My style is unique and customized to each clients' photo session - and being able to offer frames that are also "not your average frame" has also been very important to me.  So I am so excited to introduce you to what is newly available through Photography by DonnaKay... frames by The Organic Bloom.  They come in funky shapes, all kinds of sizes from the smallest to the largest, and can be ordered in SO many different colors to mix and match so that you can custom design something perfect for your home. 
                                              How special to create a display for your nursery wall with a maternity photo along with photos of your sweet baby... it tells the most precious story!

So when you schedule your next photo session, let's also talk about some gorgeous frames to showcase those captured memories...

Would YOU like to win a FREE Organic Bloom mini-frame ornament?  
 It would be a GREAT gift - or even better to keep for your self!   
And this is an AWESOME gift to win whether you are a Client, a fan or another Photographer!

It is simple to enter: 

  1. Go to Photography by DonnaKay - Click "Like" and leave a message that you are entering to win the FREE Organic Bloom mini-frame ornament (if you already "like" the page, just leave a message on the fb page that you are AAF and are entering to win) and
  2. Click to Follow this blog.  Then leave a comment on this Blog that you have completed steps 1 & 2.   
To enter the 1st time, you MUST do both steps 1 & 2.

If you would like an extra entry (you can have up to 2 entries) then simply share Photography by DonnaKay facebook page as well as this Blog with your friends, and if you even have one friend "like" (for fb) and "follow" (the blog) and leave a message that you sent them then you may enter by leaving another comment for another chance to win (they can also follow the steps to enter if they choose!) - just remember to comment once for a 2nd chance to enter (ex: "your name" is entering for another chance to win the OB frame - friend {include their name} liked fb page/joined to follow blog) -- It's really simple!! 

The Winner will be chosen at random on October 30th and announced on October 31st. ***The date of the drawing has been changed to Sunday, October 16th - with the winner being notified and announced on Monday, October 17th!! 

**This is only applicable for US residents due to shipping costs.  Shipping is FREE to you if you are the winner (it is part of the prize)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... 
a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Change is never easy.  Maybe that statement isn't true for you, but it is very accurate for me!  I love my comfort zone very much, although I am willing to go outside of it when it's necessary.  Obviously it is only natural that as much as I don't like change I would have a tough time implementing it in my business to affect others.  When I first made the decision to start a photography business I knew there was a lot of competition out there.  First problem: I am not a competitive person. that meant I would have to do something a bit different.  So starting out I knew I wanted to develop into a boutique photography business.  Not just the typical photographer, but rather offering something very unique, personal and customized to my clients.  Many people will have an initial thought "why should I pay that much for pictures when I can go to Sears or Walmart for a lot less?"  Simply - they actually can go there if that's where they want to have their pictures taken; they will probably be very surprised when they see what they get for the advertised price and what they actually end up paying in the end; and they will definitely not get the same custom work they would get from Photography by DonnaKay.  

Question: do you keep things that most people would throw away?  Can you believe I have all of the packets of pictures that I bought from Kinderfoto when my kids were little?!  I just recently cleaned that out!  And in most of the packets there was also the receipt showing how much I paid.  I was amazed at the high price I paid back then for very average (most often below average) pictures.  In fact, except that my gorgeous children are placed in those pictures, they look like any other persons pictures from back then. There is no personality, no customization, absolutely nothing unique about them.  THAT is where I offer something very different to my clients.   

What I would implore you to think about is this: How often do you have real professional photographs taken (for whatever reason: family photos, newborn, engagement, Senior photos, etc.)?  My guess is that it's not usually even always a once-a-year thing.  But wherever you are in your life, think of the times that you may already look back and think: wow, I wish I had some really gorgeous photos that captured those memories that could hang in my home as Art or sit on my table to show off in a gorgeous custom Album... images that are of my significant other in my life early on, my children as they went through this stage or that stage, my child as a newborn baby, or (if you are a woman) a collection of photos with my children along with one in the collection of me pregnant?  A story being told right there for you to see every day.  Then try to put a price on how much those memories are worth to you.  

My business is evolving...and the direction it is growing into is a boutique photography business that offers something unique to my clients that they can't get just anywhere.  Whether is it a photo session or a landscape for Wall Art for a home or office, I want my work to reflect special moments that were captured.  I want to decorate my clients' homes with custom Wall Art, Portrait Collections and Albums that hold memories that are exclusive and intimate to them.  So for me to be able to do this effectively I love developing relationships with my clients that will last a lifetime.  I don't want to just be a no-name photographer to my clients, but rather I want to be there to capture the special moments along the journey of their lives, and there is no price on such memories.  When we meet up for another photo session, or just to share a cup of coffee and chat, I am a friend that they are comfortable with and love to share a part of their life...and their children are excited to see me.  Photography to me is very personal.  I am asking my clients to show me a part of their heart and soul to be captured in a photograph in return I share a part of my heart and soul with them as well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Change is sometimes tough...but usually necessary

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... 
a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Who doesn't hate change?  After all, it's kind of scary!  Everyone has been up in the air about the changes on Facebook - including me at times.  I've been accused of being very inflexible when it comes to change in my life at times -- I just like my comfort zone and don't want to feel the growing pains that are so often associated with change.  But that's what it often is... growing pains.  And that is what I am implementing in my business now.  Photography by DonnaKay is going through major growth, and moving up to a new level.  

At the After Dark conference that I attended earlier this week I really concentrated on classes in business.  Everything from Pricing and Knowing WHY for your prices (down to a formula to figure it all out! Who knew?!) to Writing out a Business Plan.  But not a Business Plan to take to a bank for a loan (which if some changes didn't happen soon might end up the case!) - but rather a Business Plan to follow day-by-day in running my business.  To run a business that can grow and support itself.  Honestly, I have felt lost many times since starting my photography business.  I want to be nice to everyone - I LOVE my clients so much!  But then there have been so many times that I have realized I didn't make enough on a Session and Sale to even cover my costs... much less to run a business!  I'm not a big believer in "destiny", but if I was I would say that After Dark was a necessary part of the destiny of Photography by DonnaKay so that this business can really start to grow and flourish.  

I'm sure I have your attention and interest by this time - whether you are another photographer in business (whether you are getting ready to start a business or you are already an established business) or a client... especially if you are a client.   And I can assure you - it's nothing to be afraid of!  But there will be some necessary adjustments in order that I can offer the VERY BEST to all of my clients... changes so that I can sustain and grow in my business to be here for my clients for years to come.  

Two questions that were put in front of me were WHY and WHAT.... WHY do I want to have a photography business?  And WHAT do I want to accomplish - WHAT is my dream for my business - WHAT do I want to offer that makes clients want to come to me, return to me and refer to me.  And as simple as the questions sound, the answers were just as simple and the changes only necessary. 
I trust that my clients love my work enough to follow me to the next level... to evolve with me as my business grows.  In fact, my hope would be that they would be excited as well.  So hold on tight... this journey is taking a leap...I am reaching for the stars and making my dreams come true.  And I am so glad to have you along with me!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Maternity Session WINNER!

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... 
a way to get to know a little more about me personally...


You won the FREE
Maternity Photo Session
(Value of session over $100) 
You will be notified by email in the next 24 hours
and we will begin making arrangements to 
schedule your session just for you!

Thanks so much to the others who did enter...
and to those who were not from my area who entered, 
I was more than flattered!  I wish I could travel to 
each person and do their maternity photos.

A 2nd name was chosen just in case the winner should
change her mind... you will be notified by email with 
an offer for a special session at a GREAT price!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Great News!

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... 
a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

This has certainly been a busy week!  Months ago I signed up for an After Dark Education conference, and as the time drew near I became more and more excited.  Then Monday arrived and it was TIME!  Anyone that knows me personally knows that I am NOT a "big crowd" kinda girl... I'm great and fine one-on-one, but when I get into a crowd I have a bit (a large bit!) of social anxiety and seem to clam up.  Sadly, that is often misinterpreted - but the simple truth is I'm having a bit of an internal breakdown in group situations!  But I didn't let that stop me from what I really wanted to accomplish at this conference.  I packed my car with my gear and my clothes for a couple-of-day stay at the Hilton in Charlotte (even though it was barely 50 minutes from my home!) and away I went.  I was barely checked in when I ran into another photographer I had met in a class back in the Winter, and that made everything a little bit easier for me.  And from there the remainder of my time seemed to flow... in fact, before I knew it I was being booted out and sent back home with the wealth of knowledge and growth I had attained at this conference.  I met so many awesome fellow photographers - and grew so much in my business knowledge that it just didn't seem possible to have only spent 3 days of my life there.  

But as great and awesome as that part of my week was already - on Tuesday morning I checked email after I got up, and was beyond elated to receive an email from NAPCP - National Association of Professional Child Photographers that I had been reviewed and was invited to be a member of their great organization.  I could have screamed from the excitement!     (Ok - so maybe I did scream a little scream, but ONLY because at After Dark I believe the name reflects WHEN the most learning is going on... NO ONE sleeps until the sun starts coming up!!  Seriously!!!)     After I calmed down from my initial surprise and excitement, which probably resembled Christmas morning with a small child, I just felt honored and elated...and more than humbled than words can express to feel appreciated for the hard work I've put into my art and business as a Professional Photographer. 

This is only the first time you'll see me blog about my experiences this past week at After Dark... there is so much I took away from it that I want to share with you.  But right now I'm still reeling in it for a few more moments, processing each detail that I want to hold onto and ideas that I want to implement.  So stay close by!  You don't want to miss a thing.... I promise!!  --  And to the NAPCP... Thank you for the honor of being a part of your organization.  Thank you for recognizing my hard work and talent... I am thrilled and challenged. 

It has been a great week... and I hope you, my reader, will not only celebrate with me, but be challenged to reach for your dreams... we'll talk more about that soon.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Would you like to win a free Maternity Photo Session??

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

Drawing for a FREE Maternity Photo Session
(15% off of prints from session). 
This will be for all the local mama's-to-be
To enter, please email me at 
and tell me why you would like to have maternity photos done. 
Then on Oct 1st I will draw from all entries 
and notify the winner by email. 
So if you live in the Cleveland County, Gastonia or Charlotte area* & you are expecting a baby
ENTER soon!
or share this with your friends if they are expecting!
 I look forward to hearing from you!!

**winner of this photo session will also be offered 
15% off of a newborn session
*photo session can be on location or in-studio... on location must be within 30 miles of zip code 28021

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Weekend at The Mast Farm Inn - Part II....

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... 
a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

You've seen how beautiful the area is around The Mast Farm Inn from yesterdays blog... and you've seen some photos of the gorgeous room that I got to stay in - The Joe Mast Room.  But let me tell you more about the evening.  When making the reservation I was asked if we planned to have dinner in the restaurant at the Inn "Simplicity at the Mast Farm Inn" and urged to make reservations before we arrived.  The best thing I can say is do not miss having dinner here at some point in your life!!  Of course, I would highly recommend that you also stay at the Inn for the evening, as that makes the entire experience complete... but even if you can't stay at the Inn, it is well worth your time (and a major treat in life) to have a meal in this restaurant.  There are two quaint dining rooms with only a few tables in each... so dinner is very intimate, and it's as if you are being served by a family member.  When we first arrived at The Mast Farm Inn earlier in the evening we were greeted by Courtney, who showed us to our room as well as around the Inn... and it was also Courtney who showed us to our table for dinner.  The dinner menu is a set menu, but you are given a personalized menu describing dinner for the evening that you may keep.  Our dinner started with a creamy cauliflower soup, an awesome salad that had a molasses glaze drizzled on it (I seriously wanted to lick the plate!), fig-stuffed chicken, sweet potato souffle and a zucchini casserole.  Then for desert there were several choices (at least one with chocolate), of which I chose peach cobbler (my fav) with homemade caramel-vanilla ice cream.  I was only able to eat maybe half of my food... but wouldn't have missed tasting all of it.  They also offer a very nice selection of wines and beers, with recommendations for what will best compliment dinner.  

After the wonderful dinner we decided to hang out in the front parlor.  It was a beautiful night, but honestly I was exhausted from a busy day of taking pictures and walking around Blowing Rock at the shops.  And the parlor was irresistible...large overstuffed leather chairs, a large comfy leather sofa (where I planted myself for the evening!)  It wasn't too long before we were joined in there by two other couples, who just so happened to also be from the Charlotte area - but none of us knew each other prior to this evening.  One couple had started a game of backgammon before dinner, so they were back to finish up their game.  The other couple was watching to learn how to play the game - and we watched to remind ourselves of just how to play the game too.  But more than that, we were three couples who were hanging out in this gorgeous old house on a Saturday night... laughing, getting to know each other, sharing our lives and making new friends.  During our drive home the next day my husband and I were talking about how great it was to be somewhere that there were no TV's - that we didn't have the computer to distract us - and we were forced to relax and just enjoy life.  Now let me share some of the evening with some photos.....

 Josh and Nicole were such a cute couple - they were at the Inn to celebrate their one-year anniversary!  I know it will be a 1st anniversary to always remember, sharing it with 2 other couples, playing backgammon (and even winning a game or two!) and laughing until it hurt!

Then there was John (who is married to Heather) - and he was a master of backgammon.  He was a very patient teacher, and his humor brought many laughs from us all.
I LOVED capturing the evening... seeing the excitement when there was a good roll (or many good rolls!).... and I may also have a much better understanding of the game myself now!

And then there was the great group shot with the four of them (no - I'm never in the pictures -- that's why I'm the photographer!!)  ....John, Heather, Josh & Nicole

So the next time you're trying to think of a romantic getaway weekend, if you are anywhere near the NC mountains, I would urge you to consider The Mast Farm InnYou will surely have no regrets, and you may even leave the weekend with some new friendships!  But you will surely be rested and feel welcome while you are in their care.

The fine print.....  
*These pictures and this blog are by no means advertisement for The Mast Farm Inn... in fact, I only hope that they will see this blog and these pictures and be pleased to learn of the wonderful experience we had staying in their Inn this past weekend.