Shop Around the Corner is a twice-monthly series where I share a variety of fan-tas-tic small business owners that I think you’d really dig. It’s very important to me to share the love with fellow small business folks – the welcoming community of entrepreneurs I’ve met is quite strong, and there is so much incredible talent out there! I look forward to introducing you to great photographers, designers, shop owners…the list goes on and on!
Oh my goodness…..I am so incredibly honored to share my interview with Molly Flanagan – one of my very favorite photographers – with you today! I learned of her through “the internets” about two years ago and fell in LOVE with her work. You know those Daily Sessions I keep telling you about? She was a big inspiration for those, because her work is all about seeing and appreciating the small moments in family life. Her work is honest and real and downright beautiful.
I was able to take a class of hers through The Define School a few months ago, and I was pleasantly surprised by her openness and desire to help all of us grow. She answered every question (and there were a lot!) with a thoughtful response, and it was obvious that she was excited to see where we’d all go with our new knowledge and confidence in visual storytelling. I highly recommend learning from her if possible!
Enough of me being in awe of Molly 😉 Read all about her below!
Tell us about your business!
I run a family photography business based out of Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in Storytelling Photography. Most of my sessions take place in clients homes, although we will often venture to other locations special to the family. This year I added Travel Sessions to my schedule and have traveled across the country and into Canada over the last couple of months. I have 3 kids, ages 7, 4 and 2 and will be celebrating my 11 year wedding anniversary this fall! This year will be our 2nd year homeschooling. I am a bit nervous about how my energetic 2 year old will affect the flow of our day. Last school year he was still napping in the morning, so we had a good rhythm going. But now he very much wants to be involved in everything we are doing!
When did you first become interested in photography?
When I graduated high school my dad bought me a Nikon SLR and in college I had a chance to go to China. While there I visited Western China and fell madly in love with the colorful lives and faces of the Nomadic people living there. I obsessively documented my trip and it really opened my eyes to the power of photography to convey stories.
How would you describe your style?
Documenting real life in an artistic manner.
Let’s hear about your ideal shoot! Who/where/the ”feel”:
Oh, lets see. I am not sure there is a certain look or place I would like to shoot. Mostly, I would like to work with a family that was 100% open to being honest in front of the camera. The good, the bad and the ugly (and the pretty and happy too).
Favorite lens or piece of gear:
I shoot with a 35L and 24L and love them both equally!
Most memorable session to date:
I learn so much every time I shoot. Even the sessions that don’t go so well are packed with meaning for me. But, this one was big for me. I took these pictures for a close friend. Her son has Leukemia and was in the middle of months of intensive treatment. On the way to the session I was stressing about what I was going to write on my blog post. And I had this sudden sickening feeling, realizing that I was consumed with thinking about myself and “my blog”, instead of this amazing family I had the opportunity to bless. It was a humbling experience for me, and it helped me to shift my thinking from portfolio building to being as open as humanly possible to telling each family’s story without a personal agenda.
What inspires you?
I want to live a life of gratitude and use the gifts I have been given to bring God glory. I screw it up a lot. I yell at my kids, put off cooking dinner, worry about money, avoid talking to my neighbors, drink too much coffee and get crazy anxious. But the message of the cross is all about forgiveness. Accepting it from Christ and extending it to everyone we come in contact with. Living in that truth motivates me to stop obsessing about myself. It helps me to see beauty in the mundane and inspires me to share my gifts with those around me.
Any advice for those just starting out? Work hard. When you get frustrated, keep going, it means you are growing. Learn to see light. Look for ways to use your talents to bless others.
Favorite dancing music: Justin Timberlake!
Favorite ice cream flavor: Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate
Favorite vacation spot: Last summer was our first time to have our very own family vacation. We went to the Outerbanks and are planning to go back again this fall. It was, quite honestly, in my top 5 favorite life experiences. Just spending a week with my family doing nothing in particular.
Favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon: Er, I am a little embarrassed that this is my answer because it doesn’t involve my family at all, but I am going to be honest. Since having kids I feel like it has been many years since I was able to experience a completely clean home. If I had it my way, a Saturday would consist of coffee. Deep cleaning the entire house. Then spending the rest of the day relaxing in a perfectly tidy and organized home. I think that would feel so nice. But, I seriously doubt that will happen for at least another 15 years.
Favorite part of running your business: Seriously every part other than the taxes and keeping up with math stuff. I love to turn up the music while editing a session on my laptop in the dining room, with my kids playing around me. I love traveling and meeting new families and the challenge of telling their story in a creative way without telling them what to do. I love the risk of entering a new situation not knowing what the outcome will be. I love when clients point out the special things they saw in their pictures that I didn’t even notice. I love making books for my clients. I even love returning emails! It’s all good.
Three words to describe your life: Messy. Ordinary. Lovely.
*All images are copyright of Molly Flanagan Photography*
Molly, thank you x 1,000,000! You and your work are a blessing to many, and I’m grateful for you taking the time out for me and this ol’ blog!