Thursday, July 21, 2011

Upcoming Sessions

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Christmas Photos.....
Am I the only one feeling a little panicked that we are past the halfway mark of this year, with Christmas getting closer by the day?  Obviously, that means it will soon be time to start seriously thinking about Christmas card photos.  Some people like the idea of the photo in their Christmas card having a Christmas tree and all the decorations - and if that's what you're interested in, then you do have time before rushing to get your photos done.  There will be a mini-session set up just for you in a few months.  BUT, I have always personally preferred the photos that can be either cut out or removed and then placed in some kind of frame to look at for a long time - and often those look really nice if they are a beach photo or something special taken during another time of the year than Christmas.  Either way - it's time to start planning.  Send me an email with your opinions, ideas and preferences -- and we'll start moving forward from there with plans for Christmas photo sessions!  However you decide you want them done, we'll make these the best Christmas card photos ever! 

Pumpkin Patch/Fall Mini-Sessions.....
While I'm thinking about it, I am working on arrangements for mini-sessions in a pumpkin patch.  If you are interested in getting on the list for this special mini-session, please email me.  Names will be added to the list as they come in.  When I get all the details for the sessions worked out, you will notified.  Always keep an eye on the facebook fan page -- if you haven't "liked" it already, now is the perfect time at .  It's the perfect way that you can be sure to receive all updates on future announcements, specials and mini-sessions.  It's also a great way to just see just what's going on with Photography by DonnaKay as it grows!

Thank you for your loyalty and support in helping me grow as a new photography business!  I look forward to many years of sharing special times and capturing your memories!
                                                                          ~DonnaKay Johnson

Sharing some excitement!

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

This may not be as exciting for everyone else as it is for me - but I was nominated for a local "Best of Cleveland County 2011" contest - & I WON 1st Place for Photographer! I'm a newer photography business, so I was just excited to get my name on the list - but am ECSTATIC to have won! It comes out in the newspaper (full page ad) 7/31!!  
(Once the ad is out, I will show it off in a stay tuned!!) 
SO NOW WHAT?!!  Well, now I have to prove myself even more.  My initial excitement when I found out that I had been nominated and my name was included on the ballot was for the exposure.  I'm a newer photographer in the area, so many people (including people that I know) don't know anything about what I do.  Hopefully now they will take a peak at my work. If they are on facebook, they'll check out my facebook fan page, then look at my website and see what it is that I do.  And if I've done my work well enough, they will send me a contact form for an appointment. 
Photography is such a wonderful art.  To be able to share in some special time in someone's life, whether that day is a new baby, an engagement, a birthday, wedding day or just a Monday!  I am so blessed to be able to do what I love so much -- and to hopefully add smiles, tears and laughter to lives from the photos that I take.  I would be honored to share in your special day and capture those moments. And when you talk to your friends, refer me for their photography needs.  
I sincerely look forward to working with you one day really soon!!  


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Revealing Studio #1

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

Hopefully this finds everyone relaxed at the ending of a nice weekend!  The weather here was a bit rainy yesterday and earlier this morning, but it was honestly such a nice break from the high temperatures we've been having this summer that I couldn't complain.  I've also had so much work to get done in my house... working on my two new photo studios has really been fun, but also a ton of work.  My husband and I painted almost every night last week - and most nights I would almost pass out into bed when it was finally time to quit and go to bed.  I'm thrilled to be able to share pictures of my Studio #1 with you... Studio #2 still has some work to be done, but as soon as it's available (along with the bathroom/dressing room in between the two) I will certainly put pictures up for you to see it as well.  

This is my favorite area -- the newborn photo shoot area.  Behind the doors are bins and bins or newborn props (hats, blankets, cocoons, tutus, headbands, etc.)... it is such a fun area!  And the blanket covers a comfy (and rather large!) prop that is like a huge beanbag puck that is pose-able to place a newborn on comfortably.  Directly across from this area are the large windows that you will see in the next photo. 
 You can see a few of the props -- boxes, an antique suitcase, and the blanket folded up right there is actually one that my Great-Grandmother made years ago!!  It is one of my favorite things!  I have several other areas in my house - and actually a walk-in storage area that has recently been added into our house where there are tons of baskets, antiques, coca-cola bins...just too many props to even name.
 The door you see goes into the bathroom/dressing room that connects Studio #1 and Studio #2... it's still being worked on (it has been painted the most beautiful light lime green, though!) and I'll show photos as soon as it is done!
 I just LOVE this mirror... and it's my newest addition.  It is at least 6 1/2 ft tall and was quite a challenge to get home in my Venza!
 I'm so happy I could share some photos with you....and I am excited that you are sharing this with me!  Hopefully you may be one of my first photo sessions in one of my new studios!  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” - Alfred Eisenstaedt

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

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” - Alfred Eisenstaedt

Is there something in your life that is sort of a security blanket for you?  Some people want to stay in their homes, or at least be nearby.  And of course there are many people who are just fine out in groups and never have a moment of feeling anxious.  I'm certainly not one of those!  I have always been a bit shy, but as I have gotten older I would say in some ways it started turning into a social anxiety more than anything else.  There definitely have been times that it's to the point of some kind of medical condition, I'm sure!  But there are things in life that I find supernaturally take that anxiety away.  The first being my children.  I think most Moms probably find that there's a new, stronger woman who comes out when it comes to their children.  You are willing to look and act a little sillier, you become bolder and find yourself saying things you might have never had the nerve to say before.  Definitely you would pounce on someone who might harm your child, where before you might would just slink into the background and disappear rather than to face conflict.  Well, my kids helped me a lot with my shyness... but then they grew up and I didn't have them to hold my hand (see - they thought I was there for them, and it was really the other way around!) so in some ways I might have even become more of a loner, a little more secluded and a bit socially uncomfortable.  That is -- until I have my camera in my hand.  It is amazing the difference in my personality when that camera is in my hand, or around my neck.  It gives me a focus, a sense of purpose in the moment, and I know what I'm doing with it - so it also gives me a boost of confidence.  When I first started doing photo shoots with people I'd never met, I was terrified at the thought of how I was going to start talking (I can be a clam around strangers!) -- but miraculously, when that camera is with me, I'm a whole other woman.  I initiate conversations, I try to get someone talking with me, I share my own life with them... I interact!  I love to get into a conversation and see their personality come out in laughter, to see such a realness - and to have the opportunity to capture that in a picture.  Maybe there's a sense that I'm not a boisterous person, because people tend to sense that I'm extending something extra of myself to them... and they in turn open up to me.  

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” - Alfred Eisenstaedt.... Wow - I love that quote.  What could you put in the blank instead of "camera"?  I do believe we should all have at least one thing that puts us in a place of "no fear."  I hope that you do... and I am so thankful for how God has guided my life and put that "something" in place for me.  

This photo was from this morning... it is grooming day for my dog (Miles -- he's a labradoodle) and he LOVES spa-day (what I call it!)... I love it, because the area is gorgeous -- farms and streams everywhere.  So the normal 20 minute drive usually keeps me out for a couple of hours!


Monday, July 11, 2011

More of Baby B....

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"I have never taken a picture for any other reason than that at that moment it made me happy to do so." ~Jacques-Henri Lartigue

In this day and age most people are just happy to have a job.  Often it just doesn't matter whether it's necessarily a job that they love or not.  But there are still those who have jobs or careers that they really are satisfied or even excited to go to each day.  For me I've been really blessed to be doing something that I absolutely love.  It's still new enough, though, that it's a good thing I'm not having to pay the bills with the income... but I believe it's just a matter of time before that part works itself out.  

Today I went back to take more photos of Baby B from days ago.  He's a sweet newborn baby, and he was just not in the greatest of moods the first time I went to do his photo shoot.  Today he seemed much happier to see me, and even let me get him to sleep for some of his pictures.  I know I've said it before, but I absolutely love what I do!  Every time I'm doing a photo session I feel so happy and elated... and when I'm editing the photos later on, I think "this is my favorite...oh, wait, this is my favorite" over and over!  And to make it even better, when the client is really happy with their photos it makes it the best it could be!

Here are a few of the photos from Baby B... and if you would like to see more pictures, please visit my Photography by DonnaKay facebook page at!  I'd love to have you as a new fan!

Baby B kept looking around today while he was awake... his Daddy was in the room and he could hear him talking, so he was searching for him. 

For me, my favorite photos are the simplest ones.  I love the cocoons, hats, props... but the simplest photos, with the Mom holding her baby, and the love you can see in her face -- that is the priceless shot.  Those are the pictures that make me feel like I need to always say "Thank you" for allowing me to share in that moment. 

Again, this is one of the simple shots... but so sweet.  There is just nothing sweeter than a new baby! 


Friday, July 8, 2011

Haggling Prices....

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Are you one of those people who haggles over the prices all the time?  Trying to always see if you can get something for just a little bit less?  That works in some places, but most of the time the price is just the price.  When was the last time you saw someone in Sam's or Costco saying "Will you take $2.00 less for these paper towels?" or "I'll buy this lawn furniture right now if you knock 20% off the price."  Obviously, they would probably be walking out with nothing - and looking pretty dumb in the process.  I am a photographer.  It is what I do - my job.  Only I am amazed how often people want the work that I do, but they don't want to pay anything for it.  I have heard the stories of how broke someone is (when they might have even just gotten back from some big vacation!) to how they have someone else who will do the job for a much lower price.  There have been times that I've finally had to just say "I would love to be able to work with you sometime, but if that's where you need to go for the price, then that is just what may be best for you."  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings - afterall, this is my job... how I've chosen to make money.  But there are a few points that I wish people would consider:

1) It may seem to you that the photographer is not "out" anything by taking your pictures.  After all, anyone can click a button on a camera, right?  If that's so -- then just find the cheapest person out there and go for them.  But you are paying for much more than that.  Behind my photography is talent and skill... and both have come with money and time in classes, workshops and seminars to continue growing in my skill & talent; and then there's the equipment (most people would be surprised at the price tag on all of that equipment!) as well as things most people never consider, such as insurance, licenses, etc. 

2) I'm an on-site/on-location photographer, so there's usually some travel involved in my shoots.  Often, my drive will be an hour or even a little bit more to meet a client at their home or wherever they've chosen for photos.  Already, by the time I meet with a client to do a photo shoot I have already invested at least 2-3 hours in them... from preparations of getting my gear together, props (when necessary), packing up my car and traveling to get to them. This is all part of the job, but please know I do what I do because I love it -- not because it will ever make me wealthy!

3) When the photo shoot is over, it's still only just beginning for the photographer.  I shoot in a format (RAW) that requires that each photo is edited and processed to make it into something beautiful for you.  Often (which is what I strive for!) it will take very little editing -- but it is still time.  In the least, it is about 5 minutes for a photo.  But often if there is heavy editing (fixing blemishes, scars, etc.) it can take much longer to work on just a single photo.  There have been photo sessions that I've done that easily I've spent 18-20 hours on editing.  But I want to give my clients the very best photos I can give them... I would settle for nothing less from myself!  

I absolutely love all of my clients... and even those who want to haggle over the price.  My hope is that when someone contacts me to do a photo shoot that it is because they've seen my work (or are repeat clients!) and they feel I'm well worth my prices.  But I've learned as time goes by to stand my ground if someone wants to haggle the prices.  Ultimately, I do want to make everyone happy.  And there are times that I will try to find a compromise if I feel it's necessary - actually just creating a photo session just for that client that will fit in their budget.  I can't think of the last time that was done for me at Sam's or Costco!  
Just a note.... I took a lot of time coming up with my pricing - looking at what others charged, how much work I put into each job and what it would take to cover all of the time and expenses involved, etc.  I always want to be fair to my clients -- and return clients are the greatest of compliments.  Most of all - I want my clients to feel that every penny they spend with me is well worth it when the job is done.  Photography is SO MUCH MORE than a job... it is a passion... and I want to share my passion with you in the photos I take for you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Photo Session Special!!!

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

To celebrate Summer, I'm offering a  
Summer Photo Session

Up to 1 hour photo session (up to 4 people)... 10 web-sized edited & enhanced images on CD (you choose them from the images that are uploaded onto a Client Gallery just for you!)... and a 4X6 of each of the same 10 photos.

Price  $100 ** 
Professional printing is also available for 10% off
regular website listed prices

**This is at an outdoor location I have set near me or in my studio with a choice of 4 backgrounds.  
If you would like me to come to your location, there will be an additional charge of $25 
(within my normal travel area)  
~some exclusions apply~
~Session fee due upon booking to secure your date & time~

For more information, or to set up your Photo Session, 
or fill out the Contact form on my website at

This would be a great opportunity to get Senior photos (larger sessions 
also available), or just finally get updated family photos.

Thanks!!  I look forward to working with you 
very soon!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!

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

I hope your weekend has been GREAT -- and that you are celebrating Independence Day in a some special way.  But even if you are working today, or stuck in the house... if you are sick, or taking care of someone else... you can STILL celebrate 4th of July!!  Here in America is a day to celebrate the many freedoms that we still do have in our country.  And also a day we should remember all of those who have sacrificed so much that we may have this freedom.  My son is in the Navy, my husband was in the Army, and many men in my family have served in the US Military, and even served (some have died) in I honor their service and sacrifice.

Now -- to share some special photos with you!  First a little background... We live in a small Southern town... and one thing that seems to run deep are the family and friendship roots.  For as many years as we have lived here we have shared an evening of fireworks for 4th of July with some friends.  As a family, they put on a fireworks display that would compete easily with the fireworks put on by a town.  But here... you see how you like them!!  Enjoy -- and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

  Psalm 119:45
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts